Ubhatobhāgavimutto; Paññāvimutto; Paññāvimuttin; Cetovimuttin

Renderings

ubhatobhāgavimutto: one who is liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) both through (penetrative discernment and through attaining the immaterial states of awareness)

paññāvimutto: one who is liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) through penetrative discernment

paññāvimuttin: one who is liberated (from uninsightfulness) through penetrative discernment

cetovimuttin: one who is liberated (from attachment through inward calm)

Introduction

Paths to arahantship

Arahantship is gained either 1) by first attaining the four jhānas or 2), by first attaining the immaterial states of awareness, says the Jhānanissaya Sutta:

• The destruction of perceptually obscuring states depends on (attaining) first jhāna, I declare… depends on (attaining) the state of awareness of boundless space, I declare… etc
Paṭhamampahaṃ bhikkhave jhānaṃ nissāya āsavānaṃ khayaṃ vadāmi… Ākāsānañcāyatanampahaṃ bhikkhave nissāya āsavānaṃ khayaṃ vadāmi… (A.4.422).

This gives rise to two types of arahants: ubhatobhāgavimutto and paññāvimutto:

1) If arahantship is gained through the immaterial states of awareness, the bhikkhu is called ‘one who is liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) both through (penetrative discernment and through attaining the immaterial states of awareness)’ (ubhatobhāgavimutto). The following passage is the basis of us saying this:

• And what is the individual liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) both through (penetrative discernment and through attaining the immaterial states of awareness)?
Katamo ca bhikkhave puggalo ubhatobhāgavimutto

… In this regard, some person abides touching with his very being those immaterial states of awareness, those peaceful states of refined awareness that transcend the refined material states of awareness, and by seeing (reality) with penetrative discernment, his perceptually obscuring states are destroyed.
idha bhikkhave ekacco puggalo ye te santā vimokkhā atikkamma rūpe āruppā te kāyena phassitvā viharati paññāya cassa disvā āsavā parikkhīṇā honti (M.1.477-9).

2) If arahantship is gained through the jhānas, the bhikkhu is called ‘one who is liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) through penetrative discernment’ (paññāvimutto). The following passage is the basis of us saying this:

• And what is the individual liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) through penetrative discernment?
Katamo ca bhikkhave puggalo paññāvimutto

… In this regard, some person does not abide touching with his very being those immaterial states of awareness, those peaceful states of refined awareness that transcend the refined material states of awareness, but by seeing (reality) with penetrative discernment, his perceptually obscuring states are destroyed.
idha bhikkhave ekacco puggalo ye te santā vimokkhā atikkamma rūpe āruppā te na kāyena phassitvā viharati paññāya cassa disvā āsavā parikkhīṇā honti (M.1.477-9).

Paññāvimutti and Cetovimutti: review

Regarding paññāvimutti and cetovimutti, we have shown (sv Cetovimutti) that:

1) the terms mean:

paññāvimutti: liberation (from uninsightfulness) through penetrative discernment

cetovimutti: liberation (from attachment through inward calm)

2) paññāvimutti and cetovimutti correspond to vipassanā (‘insightfulness’) and samatha (‘inward calm’) respectively.

3) the terms do not necessarily imply arahantship. So the enlightened connotations of paññāvimutti do not necessarily apply to paññāvimutto.

Paññāvimuttin and Cetovimuttin

Therefore let us now consider paññāvimuttin and cetovimuttin which occur only in the Mahāmāluṅkya Sutta. The terms stem etymologically from paññāvimutti and cetovimutti and therefore mean:

paññāvimuttin: one who is liberated (from uninsightfulness) through penetrative discernment

cetovimuttin: one who is liberated (from attachment through inward calm)

In the Mahāmāluṅkya Sutta, after the Buddha had explained the path and practice to abandon the five ties to individual existence in the low plane of existence, Ānanda enquired:

―Bhante, if this is the path and practice to abandon the five ties to individual existence in the low plane of existence, then how is that some bhikkhus here are liberated (from attachment through inward calm) (cetovimuttino), while some are liberated (from uninsightfulness) through penetrative discernment (paññāvimuttino)?
Eso ce bhante maggo esā paṭipadā pañcannaṃ orambhāgiyānaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ pahānāya atha kiñcarahi idhekacce bhikkhū cetovimuttino ekacce bhikkhū paññāvimuttino ti.

―The difference here, Ānanda, is in their (mental) faculties, I declare.
Ettha kho tesāhaṃ ānanda indriyavemattataṃ vadāmī ti (M.1.437).

This confirms that the paññāvimuttin and cetovimuttin are not necessarily arahants, unlike the paññāvimutto.

Commentary: -mutto and -muttin

The commentary to the Mahāmāluṅkya Sutta says: Samathavaseneva hi gacchantesu ekassa bhikkhuno cittekaggatā dhuraṃ hoti so cetovimutto nāma hoti. Ekassa paññā dhuraṃ hoti, so paññāvimutto nāma hoti. Vipassanāvaseneva ca gacchantesu ekassa paññā dhuraṃ hoti, so paññāvimutto nāma hoti.

Thus it mistakenly says paññāvimutto and cetovimutto where Ānanda had said paññāvimuttino and cetovimuttino. Nonetheless, it correctly links paññāvimutto to vipassanā, and cetovimutto to samatha.

Illustrations

Illustration: paññāvimutto, liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) through penetrative discernment

The Perfect One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One, who is liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) through being without grasping, through disillusionment with, non-attachment to, and the ending of bodily form, is called the Perfectly Enlightened One.
Tathāgato bhikkhave arahaṃ sammāsambuddho rūpassa nibbidā virāgā nirodhā anupādāvimutto sammāsambuddhā ti vuccati

Likewise, the bhikkhu who is liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) through penetrative discernment, through disillusionment with, non-attachment to, and the ending of bodily form, is called one who is liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) through penetrative discernment.
bhikkhūpi bhikkhave paññāvimutto rūpassa nibbidā virāgā nirodhā anupādā vimutto paññāvimutto ti vuccati (S.3.65).

Illustration: paññāvimuttassa, liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) through penetrative discernment

For one who is liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) through penetrative discernment there is no undiscernment of reality.
paññāvimuttassa na santi mohā (Sn.v.847).

Illustration: vimuttaṃ ubhatobhāge, liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) both through (penetrative discernment and through attaining the immaterial states of awareness)

Look at this good-looking Sāriputta coming, liberated (from perceptually obscuring states) both through (penetrative discernment and through attaining the immaterial states of awareness), inwardly well-collected.
Imañca passa āyantaṃ sāriputtaṃ sudassanaṃ
Vimuttaṃ ubhatobhāge ajjhattaṃ susamāhitaṃ
(Th.v.1176).