The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[The Third Chapter for Recitation]

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[21: The Eight Means of (Mind) Mastery]

There are, Ānanda, eight means of (mind) mastery. The Commentary to MN 77 paraphrases this with abhibhavanakāraṇāni, which gives the translation here.01

Which eight?

  1. Perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, limited, beautiful or ugly, and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’. This is the first means of (mind) mastery. The Commentary explains that these are means for mastering absorption (jhāna). If one takes a preliminary object (parikamma) internally but sees a limited sign (nimitta) externally, then the first means of (mind) mastery applies. With the second he sees an unlimited sign.02

  2. Perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, unlimited, beautiful or ugly, and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’. This is the second means of (mind) mastery.

  3. Without perceiving forms internally, Comm: alābhitāya vā anatthikatāya vā ajjhattarūpe parikammasaññāvirahito; without perception of the preliminary object on an internal form, either because he did not obtain it or because he did not need it.03 someone sees forms externally, limited, beautiful or ugly, and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’. This is the third means of (mind) mastery.

  4. Without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, unlimited, beautiful or ugly, and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’. This is the fourth means of (mind) mastery.

  5. Without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, This and what follows refers to the kasiṇa excercies, whereby one focuses on a specific colour and obtains absorption that way.04 blue, blue-coloured, of blue appearance, shiny blue, just as the flower called Ummā is blue, blue-coloured, of blue appearance, shiny blue, or just as there is Banaras cloth smoothed on both sides that is blue, blue-coloured, of blue appearance, shiny blue, so, without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, blue, blue-coloured, of blue appearance, shiny blue, and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’. This is the fifth means of (mind) mastery.

  6. Without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, yellow, yellow-coloured, of yellow appearance, shiny yellow, just as the flower called Kaṇikāra is yellow, yellow-coloured, of yellow appearance, shiny yellow, or just as there is Banaras cloth smoothed on both sides that is yellow, yellow-coloured, of yellow appearance, shiny yellow, so, without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, yellow, yellow colour, of yellow appearance, shiny yellow, and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’. This is the sixth means of (mind) mastery.

  7. Without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, red, red-coloured, of red appearance, shiny red, just as the flower called Bandhujīvaka is red, red-coloured, of red appearance, shiny red, or just as there is Banaras cloth smoothed on both sides that is red, red-coloured, of red appearance, shiny red, so, without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, red, red-coloured, of red appearance, shiny red, and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’. This is the seventh means of (mind) mastery.

  8. Without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, white, white-coloured, of white appearance, shiny white, just as the Osadhī star, is white, white-coloured, of white appearance, shiny white, or just as there is Banaras cloth smoothed on both sides that is white, white-coloured, of white appearance, shiny white, so, without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, white, white-coloured, of white appearance, shiny white, and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’. This is the eighth means of (mind) mastery.

These, Ānanda, are the eight means of (mind) mastery.