Knowledge and vision in MN29 (Longer) & MN30 (shorter) simile of the heartwood

Does nanadassanena (knowledge and vision) as spoken of in the context of suttas MN29 & MN30 refer to stream entry? or something lesser? thank you :anjal:

And so, mendicants, this spiritual life is not lived for the sake of possessions, honor and popularity, or for accomplishment in ethics, or for accomplishment in immersion, or for knowledge and vision.

Iti kho, bhikkhave, nayidaṁ brahmacariyaṁ lābha­sak­kāra­silokā­nisaṁ­saṁ, na sīlasampadānisaṁsaṁ, na samā­dhi­­sampadāni­s­aṁsa­ṁ, na ñāṇadassanānisaṁsaṁ.

Rather, the goal, heartwood and final end of the spiritual life is the unshakable freedom of heart.”

Yā ca kho ayaṁ, bhikkhave, akuppā cetovimutti— etadatthamidaṁ, bhikkhave, brahmacariyaṁ, etaṁ sāraṁ etaṁ pariyosānan”ti.

MN 29

But when my true knowledge and vision about these four noble truths was fully purified in these three perspectives and twelve aspects, I announced my supreme perfect awakening in this world with its gods, Māras, and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans.

Yato ca kho me, bhikkhave, imesu catūsu ariyasaccesu evaṁ tiparivaṭṭaṁ dvādasākāraṁ yathābhūtaṁ ñāṇadassanaṁ suvisuddhaṁ ahosi, athāhaṁ, bhikkhave, sadevake loke samārake sabrahmake sassamaṇabrāhmaṇiyā pajāya sadevamanussāya ‘anuttaraṁ sammāsambodhiṁ abhisambuddho’ti paccaññāsiṁ.

Knowledge and vision arose in me:

Ñāṇañca pana me dassanaṁ udapādi:

‘Unshakable is the liberation of my mind. This is my last birth. Now there is no more renewed existence.’”

‘akuppā me vimutti, ayamantimā jāti, natthi dāni punabbhavo’”ti.

That is what the Buddha said.

Idamavoca bhagavā.

SN 56. 11 SuttaCentral

Right view gives rise to right thought. Right thought gives rise to right speech. Right speech gives rise to right action. Right action gives rise to right livelihood. Right livelihood gives rise to right effort. Right effort gives rise to right mindfulness. Right mindfulness gives rise to right immersion. Right immersion gives rise to right knowledge. Right knowledge gives rise to right freedom.

Sammādiṭṭhissa, bhikkhave, sammāsaṅkappo pahoti, sammāsaṅkappassa sammāvācā pahoti, sammāvācassa sammākammanto pahoti, sammākammantassa sammāājīvo pahoti, sammāājīvassa sammāvāyāmo pahoti, sammāvāyāmassa sammāsati pahoti, sammāsatissa sammāsamādhi pahoti, sammāsamādhissa sammāñāṇaṁ pahoti, sammāñāṇassa sammāvimutti pahoti.

So the trainee has eight factors, while the perfected one has ten factors.

Iti kho, bhikkhave, aṭṭhaṅgasamannāgato sekkho, dasaṅgasamannāgato arahā hoti.

MN 117

Hello Adrian. It seems ‘nanadassana’ refers to ‘insight knowledge’, which a stream-enterer would have; but is fully perfected by the Arahant. In SN 56.11, the stream-entry of Koṇḍañña is described as:

And while this discourse was being spoken, the stainless, immaculate vision of the Dhamma arose in Venerable Koṇḍañña:

Imasmiñca pana veyyākaraṇasmiṁ bhaññamāne āyasmato koṇḍaññassa virajaṁ vītamalaṁ dhammacakkhuṁ udapādi:

“Everything that has a beginning has an end.”

“yaṁ kiñci samudayadhammaṁ sabbaṁ taṁ nirodhadhamman”ti.

Then the Buddha expressed this heartfelt sentiment:

Atha kho bhagavā imaṁ udānaṁ udānesi:

“Koṇḍañña has really understood! Koṇḍañña has really understood!”

aññāsi vata bho, koṇḍañño, aññāsi vata bho, koṇḍañño”ti.

And that’s how Venerable Koṇḍañña came to be known as “Koṇḍañña Who Understood”.

Iti hidaṁ āyasmato koṇḍaññassa “aññāsikoṇḍañño” tveva nāmaṁ ahosīti.

SN 56.11 :slightly_smiling_face:

I DON’T think they are the same as mentioned in SN56.11

yathabutam nanadassanam is stream entry, but here it’s just nanadassanam. Unless I’m mistaken.

Also in MN30 towards the endof the sutta, the jhanas and the immaterial attainments are referred to as “something better and finer”, which makes me think it’s lesser than stream entry :thinking:

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For MN 29, addressed to the bhikkhus, this seems to be the case because MN 29 says samadhi is fulfilled prior to nanadassana. However, yes, MN 30, addressed to the brahman Piṅgalakoccha, seems different. I will try to read it. :face_with_monocle:

MN 30 starts with some sectarian propaganda, when it says:

“Master Gotama, there are those ascetics and brahmins who lead an order and a community, and teach a community. They’re well-known and famous religious founders, regarded as holy by many people. Namely: Pūraṇa Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta, Pakudha Kaccāyana and Ajita Kesakambala. According to their own claims, did all of them have direct knowledge, or none of them, or only some?”

sabbete sakāya paṭiññāya abbhaññaṁsu sabbeva nābbhaññaṁsu, udāhu ekacce abbhaññaṁsu ekacce nābbhaññaṁsū”ti?

Then Buddha says a person attains sila, attains samadhi, attains nanadassana but then the Buddha shows off about jhanas and immaterial spheres , until declaring the defilements come to an end with the cessation of perception & feeling (which is only the sphere of Non-Returners & Arahants).

Furthermore, take a mendicant who, going totally beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enters and remains in the cessation of perception and feeling. And, having seen with wisdom, their defilements come to an end.

Puna caparaṁ, brāhmaṇa, bhikkhu sabbaso nevasañ­ñā­nāsa­ñ­ñāya­tanaṁ samatikkamma saññā­ve­dayi­tani­r­odhaṁ upasampajja viharati, paññāya cassa disvā āsavā parikkhīṇā honti.

This too is something better and finer than knowledge and vision.

Ayampi kho, brāhmaṇa, dhammo ñāṇadassanena uttaritaro ca paṇītataro ca

MN 30

MN 30 does not make sense to me because the sutta has distinguished “samadhi” from the “four jhanas” and has distinguished “knowledge and vision” from “having seen with wisdom”.

Possibly MN 30 is saying the better/finer dhammas listed are better & finer than the knowledge and vision declared by Pūraṇa Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta, Pakudha Kaccāyana and Ajita Kesakambala.

At least for me, as already posted, MN 30 seems to be sectarian propaganda. Bhikkhu Bodhi concluded about MN 29 vs MN 30:

knowledge & vision here [in MN 29] refers to the divine eye [per AN 4.41]

although the jhanas may also have been included in the attainment of concentration, set forth in paragraph/section 10 [of MN 30], and knowledge & vision was described as higher than the attainment of concentration; the jhanas [in MN 30] now become higher than knowledge & vision because they are treated as the basis for the attainment of cessation & the destruction of the taints.

I certainly do not agree with Bhikkhu Bodhi about MN 29 because this does not make sense, i.e., liberation cannot be attained without insight knowledge. Personally, I prefer my sectarian theory, taking account of the audience & context. In short, imo, the other Gurus have declared to have Direct Knowledge but the Buddha says they have not even attained the various jhanas, let alone ended the defilements. :slightly_smiling_face:

Oh right I see what you mean now! You could be right :anjal:

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No it is a process and a path applying to insight knowledge including but above stream entry. It refers to progressive purification the stages of which are defined to Sariputta (who characteristically deals with advanced subjects) in Majhima Nikaya 24, and comprehensively expanded upon in the Vism., “The Path of Purification,” the chapters being based on it. In other suttas such as Anguttara 11.1 a shorthand version is used meaning knowledge of impermanence. Whenever ‘impermanence’ is used in the suttas it refers to the path of insight. This sutta shows how the development of basic skills such as piti are a necessary precursor to knowledge & vision, and the supportive role concentration plays in insight, where there has to be balance between the two. The list in the sutta can be divided into sila, samadhi, panna, knowledge & vision corresponding to panna.

It can be seen Majjhima Nikaya 30 follows the same pattern of sila-samadhi-panna:

“He achieves consummation in virtue. He is gratified with that consummation in virtue, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that consummation in virtue he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He generates desire & exerts himself for the realization of those qualities that are higher & more sublime than consummation in virtue. He is not drooping or lax. He achieves consummation in concentration. He is gratified with that consummation in concentration, but his resolve is not fulfilled. Because of that consummation in concentration he does not exalt himself or disparage others. He generates desire & exerts himself for the realization of those qualities that are higher & more sublime than consummation in concentration. He is not drooping or lax. He achieves knowledge & vision. He is gratified with that knowledge & vision, his resolve fulfilled.”

Agreed, within the context of MN24.

However, I suspect that within the context of the above-mentioned suttas (MN29 & MN30), it means something entirely different.

I asked Bhante Sujato about this and he did mention that usually if ‘knowledge and vision’ refers to stream entry then nanadasana would be prefixed by ‘yathabhutta’.

As to what exactly is ‘knowledge and vision’ withing MN29 & MN30, I’m still not exactly sure myself, hence the question. Thanks Paul :anjal:

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This statement from the beginning of XXII defines the Vism. interpretation of knowledge & vision:


  1. [672] Change-of-lineage knowledge comes next. Its position is to advert
    to the path, and so it belongs neither to purification by knowledge and vision
    of the way nor to purification by knowledge and vision, but being intermediate,
    it is unassignable. Still it is reckoned as insight because it falls in line with
  2. Purification by knowledge and vision properly consists in knowledge of the
    four paths, that is to say, the path of stream-entry, the path of once-return, the path
    of non-return, and the path of Arahantship.

This has to be reconciled with the sutta view, which is speaking in terms of active process, which at any given stage values the most forward element (being from that class, the Buddha always speaks as of battle strategy), in this case the first jhana:

"There is the case where a monk — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. This is a quality higher & more sublime than knowledge & vision. [2]

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I read a note on nanadassana by Bhikkhu Bodhi with regards to it’s use within MN29 referring “to the divine eye, the ability to see subtle forms invisible to normal vision.” from the Middle length discourse of the Buddha by Wisdom pulbications, note# 347. :anjal:

That is described in Anguttara Nikaya 4.41, and knowledge & vision there is a product of tranquillity meditation and limited, whereas in the Vism. it is an insight attainment.

“The indication given in the Dhammacakkapavattana-sutta
that there are different levels of knowledge and vision according to reality is echoed in other discourses, which similarly indicate that there are stages of growth in regard to knowledge that is in accordance with reality.”—Analayo

See p. 126 fwd.:

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Brilliant, thanks Paul :anjal:

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