Aññā

Renderings

aññā: arahantship

aññā: knowledge [of things according to reality]

aññā: knowledge of

aññā: understanding of

aññā: realisation of

Introduction

Aññā: the knowledge of an arahant

Aññā is defined in the dictionaries as follows:

• PED: ‘knowledge, recognition, perfect knowledge, philosophic insight, knowledge par excellence, viz. Arahantship, saving knowledge, gnosis’

• DOP: ‘knowledge, philosophic insight, perfect knowledge, i.e. arahatship.’

In fact aññā means to know that one has destroyed birth etc. This is clear in the Kaḷāra Sutta, where the Buddha asks Venerable Sāriputta:

―’If they were to ask you: “Through what state of deliverance (kathaṃ vimokkhā) have you declared aññā thus: ‘I know that birth is destroyed; the religious life has been fulfilled; what had to be done has been done; there will be no further arising in any state of individual existence?” Being asked thus, how would you answer?’
Sace pana taṃ sāriputta evaṃ puccheyyuṃ kathaṃ vimokkhā pana tayā āvuso sāriputta aññā vyākatā khīṇā jāti vusitaṃ brahmacariyaṃ kataṃ karaṇīyaṃ nāparaṃ itthattāyāti pajānāmi ti. Evaṃ puṭṭho tvaṃ sāriputta kinti vyākareyyāsī ti (S.2.54).

Thus, to declare aññā is to declare ‘I know that birth is destroyed etc.’ This is equivalent to declaring arahantship. Therefore, with the support of both dictionaries, this is our rendering for aññā: ‘arahantship.’

Aññā: knowledge [of things according to reality]: Quote 1

The link between aññā and yathābhūta is seen in the following passage, where our intention is to explain the parenthesis (‘[of things according to reality]’):

• On what grounds is a bhikkhu an arahant with perceptually obscuring states destroyed, one who has fulfilled [the religious life], done what had to be done, laid down the burden, achieved his objective, destroyed the ties to individual existence, and is liberated [from perceptually obscuring states] through the complete knowledge [of things according to reality] (sammadaññā)?
Kittāvatā pana bho gotama bhikkhu arahaṃ hoti khīṇāsavo vusitavā katakaraṇīyo ohitabhāro anuppattasadattho parikkhīṇabhavasaṃyojano sammadaññā vimutto ti?

… In this regard, having seen any kind of bodily form… sphere of sensation according to reality (yathābhūtaṃ) with perfect penetrative discernment as “not [in reality] mine,” “not [in reality] what I am,” “not my [absolute] Selfhood,” a bhikkhu is liberated [from perceptually obscuring states] through being without grasping.
Idha aggivessana bhikkhu yaṃ kiñci rūpaṃ atītānāgata paccuppannaṃ ajjhattaṃ vā bahiddhā vā oḷārikaṃ vā sukhumaṃ vā hīnaṃ vā paṇītaṃ vā yaṃ dūre sannike vā sabbaṃ rūpaṃ n’etaṃ mama n’eso’hamasmi na me so attā ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya disvā anupādā vimutto hoti (M.1.235).

In this passage yathābhūta has an object (‘any kind of bodily form’ etc), and so, in accordance with our notes sv Yathābhūta, we render it as ‘according to reality.’ But aññā does not have an object, so we parenthesise with yathābhūta, which we now translate as ‘things according to reality.’ We discuss these two ways of rendering yathābhūta, sv Yathābhūta.

Aññā: knowledge [of things according to reality]: Quote 2

The link between aññā and yathātathaṃ is seen in the following passage, where our intention is again to explain the parenthesis (‘[of things according to reality]’):

• Recognising this danger, that suffering arises dependent on karmically consequential deeds, with the quelling of karmically consequential deeds, and the ending of mental images, in this way is there the destruction of suffering. Knowing this in accordance with truth (yathātathaṃ), those who see rightly, who are blessed with profound knowledge, and who are wise through the complete knowledge [of things according to reality], having overcome Māra’s tie [that ties one to renewed states of individual existence], they do not come to renewed states of individual existence.
Etamādīnavaṃ ñatvā dukkhaṃ saṅkhārapaccayā
Sabbasaṅkhārasamathā saññānaṃ uparodhanā
Evaṃ dukkhakkhayo hoti etaṃ ñatvā yathātathaṃ
Sammaddasā vedaguno sammadaññāya paṇḍitā
Abhibhuyya mārasaṃyogaṃ nāgacchanti punabbhavan ti
(Sn.v.732-3).

Other meanings of aññā

Aññā can also mean:

• understanding (of something)

• realisation (of something)

For examples, see Illustrations.

Illustrations

Illustration: aññā, arahantship

If anyone practises the four satipaṭṭhāna for seven days, one of two fruits can be expected. Either [the attainment of] arahantship in this very lifetime, or if there is a remnant of grasping, non-returnership.
☸ dvinnaṃ phalānaṃ aññataraṃ phalaṃ pāṭikaṅkhaṃ diṭṭheva dhamme aññā sati vā upādisese anāgāmitā ti (M.1.62).

Illustration: aññā, knowledge [of things according to reality]

Let Subhadda see me. Whatever he asks will be from desire for knowledge [of things according to reality], not from wanting to trouble me.
sabbantaṃ aññāpekkho’va pucchissati no vihesāpekkho (D.2.150).

Illustration: aññāya, knowledge [of things according to reality]

Those enlightened ones, through complete knowledge [of things according to reality], fare virtuously amidst the unvirtuous.
Sambuddhā sammadaññāya caranti visame samanti (S.1.4).

Illustration: aññā, knowledge [of things according to reality]

Māra does not find the path of those who, through the complete knowledge [of things according to reality], are liberated [from perceptually obscuring states].
Sammadaññā vimuttānaṃ māro maggaṃ na vindati (Dh.v.57).

Illustration: aññāya, knowledge [of things according to reality]

Then the group of [the first] five bhikkhus listened to the Blessed One, gave ear to him, and applied their minds to the knowledge [of things according to reality].
Atha kho pañcavaggiyā bhikkhu bhagavantaṃ sussūsiṃsu. Sotaṃ odahiṃsu. Aññāya cittaṃ upaṭṭhāpesuṃ (Vin.1.10).

Illustration: aññā, knowledge [of things according to reality]

The purpose of the wise person’s counsel is to convey knowledge [of things according to reality]and to inspire people’s faith.
aññātatthaṃ pasādatthaṃ sataṃ ve hoti mantanā (A.1.199).

Illustration: aññā, to understand [them]

When those discourses spoken by the Perfect One… are being recited, we will really listen, lend an ear, and apply our minds to understand [them].
ye te suttantā tathāgatabhāsitā… bhaññamānesu sussusissāma sotaṃ odahissāma aññācittaṃ upaṭṭhāpessāma (S.2.267).

Illustration: aññāya, understand [what one says]

Also, one’s children, wives, slaves, servants, and workers, listen to one, lend an ear, and apply their minds to understand [what one says].
Yepissa te honti puttāti vā dārāti vā dāsāti vā pessāti vā kammakarāti vā tepi sussūsanti sotaṃ odahanti aññāya cittaṃ upaṭṭhapenti (A.4.393).

Illustration: aññāya, realising

Apart from the Noble Ones, who is worthy to fully realise the [Untroubled] State? Through completely realising the [Untroubled] State, being free of perceptually obscuring states, they realise the Untroubled.
Ko nu aññatramariyehi padaṃ sambuddhumarahati
Yaṃ padaṃ sammadaññāya parinibbanti anāsavā ti
(Sn.v.765).

Comment:

We take padaṃ as nibbānapadaṃ, as in Sn.v.365.

Illustration: aññāya, realisation of

By the complete realisation of spiritual health through the destruction of perceptually obscuring states, the one who is blessed with profound knowledge, being established in righteousness, though he makes use of conception he is beyond the limits of conception.
Ārogyaṃ sammadaññāya āsavānaṃ parikkhayā
Saṅkhāya sevī dhammaṭṭho saṅkhaṃ nopeti vedagū ti
(Sn.v.749).

Illustration: aññāya, understanding

The greed on account of which greedy beings are reborn in the plane of misery,
Yena lobhena luddhāse sattā gacchanti duggatiṃ

through the complete understanding of that greed, those with insight abandon it.
Taṃ lobhaṃ sammadaññāya pajahanti vipassino (It.1).