Looking for the phrase: Paññattiṃ ṭhapetvā visesena passati'ti vipassanā

veneration to the sangha & respectful regards to all learned members of this group.

i have often come across a definition of vipassana in dhamma articles where vipassana is defined very beautifully, perfectly and pithily as “paññattiṃ ṭhapetvā visesena passati’ti vipassanā”.

Most ven. Ashin Kundalabhivamsa has used this definition of vipassana in his (translated book) Patthana and Vipassana and vipassana acharya s. n. goenka ji too has referred to this definition in his discourses. The website of s. n. goenkaji’s organisation ( and author/s of vipassana research institute (VRI) ascribe this definition to most ven. ledi sayadaw (and the source being his paramattha dipani). This definition is quoted by many other researchers too, as google search confirms.

however, i have searched vipassana research institute’s online database at and asked others too but, this quote is yet to be located in any of ven. ledi sayadaw’s works or for that matter in ANY text by ANY author!

i will be deeply grateful if anyone here may kindly help in locating the original pali reference for this oft-quoted quote along with the text where it appears:
paññattiṃ (or paññatti) ṭhapetvā visesena passati’ti vipassanā

with deep regards and much metta,

manish agarwala


I too can’t find the exact phrase, it’s a bit of a puzzle!

In the commentary to the Apadana we find:

vipassīti visesena, vividhaṃ vā passatīti vipassī.

Ledi Sayadaw has a chapter on meditation, and in his definition of samatha and vipassanā he has

Visesena passanti etāyāti vipassanā

Neither has anything like the opening phrase paññattiṃ ṭhapetvā. Perhaps it is a term passed down in the oral tradition?

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