Freedom by heart and by wisdom MN73

In the Buddha’s discussion with Vacchagotta MN73, he talks about freedom by heart and freedom by wisdom. What does this mean? Is it freedom of heart through opening the heart through Brahma Vihara practice and knowing and seeing with wisdom , dependent origination?
Thank you for clarifying.

1 Like

Traditionally it means either liberation via cultivating the Jhānas including the formless (freedom of the heart/mind) or via insight (liberation via wisdom). Others however, such as Gombrich, have argued that they simply refer to the same thing i.e. liberation.

No. The answer is found within the sutta itself. When Vacchagotta reports basic training has been completed, the Buddha’s reply contains the statement that serenity and discernment… will result in freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom. How this dual strategy is achieved by attacking on two fronts is described in Anguttara Nikaya 2.30. These two categories relate to sila>samadhi>panna, where the wisdom component contains two elements, right view and right intentions.

Development of wisdom:

Thank you both for your replies, this clarifies the meaning!
I am continually amazed on how the suttas are interwoven and can be cross referenced and cross checked.


1 Like

Are there any cases where the Buddha discusses the two—cetovimutti and paññavimutti—separate from each other? I’m only used to seeing the terms together and assumed they really just describe the same thing. Perhaps we could translate them as “liberation of the mind through wisdom”

1 Like

Yes. SN 41.7 discusses cetovimutti some, as does e.g. MN 43. SN 22.58 discusses paññāvimutti. I know there is a or several suttas which discuss the two in more depth/distinction, but I can’t recall (someone help if they know! :pray:)

Cetovimutti is for freedom from sensual desire / passion (i.e. the hindrances), whereas paññāvimutti is freedom from ignorance. Cetovimutti can refer to temporary liberation from the hindrances, such as the jhānas or brahmavihāras, or to permanent liberation from them (usually when it occurs next to paññāvimutti). However, a state of paññāvimutti is, AFAIK, always a permanent liberation related to the destruction of avijjā — there is no temporary liberation by wisdom. I believe this boils down to the word ‘ceto’/citta here: the mind can be liberated permanently or temporarily, whereas “liberation [from] wisdom” cannot be temporary; true paññā is understood as ‘akuppa’ — unshakable.



Thanks for clearing that up!

1 Like

Ceto-vimutti ( = citta-vimutta) is also the same meaning as ceto-samadhi and samadhi. (p. 52):
Pages 51-2 from Notion of Emptiness in Early Buddhism @Choong Mun-keat.pdf (482.5 KB)

But citta-vimutta is also the same meaning as panna-vimutta (= panna-vimutti) and ditthadhamma-nibbana. (pp. 69-70):
Pages 69-70 from The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism Choong Mun-keat 2000.pdf (144.0 KB)

Tse-Fu Kuan in his paper The Pavāraṇā Sutta and “liberation in both ways” as against “liberation by wisdom have also argued that the two kinds of liberation is a later addition based on comparison on various versions of Pavarana Sutta (in Pali Nikayas and Chinese Agamas)

1 Like