III. Vimokṣa, Abhibhu and Kṛtsna according to the Abhidharma
These technical procedures aimed at complete detachment from the things of the threefold world are fully studied by the Abhidharma of the Sarvastivādins and related texts: Jñānaprasthāna, T 1544, k. 18, p. 1013 seq.; Saṃgītiparyāya,T 1536, k. 18–20, p. 443a26– 446a18, 447a25–452c11; Saṃyuktābhidharmasāra, T 1552, k. 7, p. 96b–929a; Abhidharmāmṛta, T 1553, k. 2, p. 976117–b16 (reconstruction by Sastri, p. 103–107);Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 84–85, p. 434b15– 442b14; Kośa, VIII, p. 203–218; Nyāyānusāra, T 1562, k. 80, p. 771b–775a; Abhidhamadīpa, p. 429–432; Satyasiddhiśāstra, T 1646, k. 12–13, p. 5339a16–340b16,346b14–c22; Abhidharmasamuccahaya (of the Vijñānavādins), T 1605, k. 7, p. 680c23–691a22 (reconstructed by Pradhan, p. 95–96).
Here is a summary of the Abhidharma scholasticism.
In general, the vimokṣas are the gateway into the abhibus, which in turn are the gateway into the kṛtsnas. The vimokṣas are ‘complete emancipation’ (vimokṣamātra) from the object. The abhibhus exert a twofold mastery (abhibhavana) over the object, entailing the view of the object as one wishes it (yatheṣṭam adhimokṣaḥ) and the absence of the negative emotion provoked by the object (kleśānutpatti). The kṛtsnas embrace the object without a gap and in its totality (nirantarakṛtsnaspharaṇa). All are derived from the dhyānas and the samāpattis.
A. Vimokṣas 1–3, eight abhibhus and kṛtsnas 1–8.
In nature they are the five skandhas and they have as object the visibles of kāmadhātu.
Vimokṣas 1–2 and abhibhus 1–4 are contemplations of the horrible (aśubhabhāvana), i.e., of the decomposing corpse, and are practiced in the 1st and 2nd dhyānas. When practiced in the first, they counteract attachment to color (varṇarāga) of kāmadhātu; when practiced in the second, they counteract attachment to color of the first dhyāna.
In vimokṣaṣ 1 and abhibhus 1–2, the ascetic still has the notion of inner visibles, those of his own body; in vimokṣa 2 and abhibhus 3–4, he no longer has them. But in all cases, he contemplates unpleasant outer visibles (amanojñā), less numerous (parītta) in abhibhus 1 and 3, numerous (mahodgata or paramāna) in abhibhus 2 and 4.
Vimokṣa 3, abhibhus 5–8 and kṛtsnas 1–8 are contemplations on the beautiful (śubhabhāvana) and are practiced exclusively in the 4th dhyāna. No longer having the notion of inner visibles, the ascetic contemplates the outer pleasant visibles (manojñā) of kāmadhātu: in vimokṣa 3, the beautiful (śubha) in general, which he actualizes (kāyena sākādātkaroti); in abhibhus 5–8 and kṛtsnas 5–8, the four pure colors (blue, yellow, red and white); in kṛtsnas 1–4, the four great elements (earth, water, fire and wind).
Preliminary note to liberations, masteries and totalities
2. The first two vimokṣas
The yogin has not destroyed inner and outer visibles: he has not suppressed the notion of both [his own] inner and outer visibles (rūpasaṃjñā) and he sees these visibles with a feeling of horror (aśubhacitta): this is the first vimokṣa.
The yogin has destroyed the inner visibles and suppressed the notion of inner visibles (adhyātmaṃ rūpasaṃjñā), but he has not destroyed outer visibles nor suppressed the notion of outer visibles (bahirdhā rūpasaṃjñā) and it is with a feeling of horror that he sees outer visibles: this is the second vimokṣa.
These two vimokṣas both contemplate the horrible (aśubha): the first contemplates inner as well as outer visibles; the second does not see inner visibles and sees only outer visibles. Why is that?
Beings (sattva) have two kinds of behavior (pratipad): sensualism (tṛṣṇācarita) and rationalism (dṛṣṭicarita). The sensualists (tṛṣṇābahula) are attached to happiness (sukharakta) and are bound (baddha) by outer fetters (bāhyasaṃyojana). The rationalists (dṛṣṭibahula) are strongly attached to the view of the individual (satkāyadṛṣṭi), etc., and are bound by inner fetters (adhyātmasaṃyojana). This is why the sensualists [usefully] contemplate the horrors of outer visibles (bāhyarūpāśubha), whereas the rationalists [usefully] contemplate the horrors (aśubha) and corruption (vikāra) of their own body.
Furthermore, at the beginning of the practice, the yogin’s mind lacks sharpness (asūkṣṃa) and at the start it is difficult for him to fix his mind on a single point [viz, outer visibles]. That is why he disciplines his mind and tames it by gradual practice (kramābhyāsa) consisting of the [simultaneous] consideration of both outer and inner visibles. Then he can destroy the notion of inner visibles and see only outer visibles
Question. – If the yogin no longer has the notion of inner visbles, why can he see outer visibles?
Answer. – This is a matter of a subjective method (adhimuktimārga) and not an objective method (bhūtamārga). The yogin thinks about his future corpse burned by the fire (vidagdhaka), devoured by insects (vikhāditaka), buried in the ground and completely decomposed. Or, if he considers it at present, he analyzes this body down to the subtle atoms (paramāṇu), all non-existent. This is how ‘he sees outer visibles, not having the notion of inner visibles’.
Question. – In the [first] two abhibhvāyatanas, the yogin sees inner and outer visibles; in the [last] six abhibhvÂatanas he see only outer outer visibles. In the first vimokṣa, he sees inner and outer visibles; in the second vimokṣa, he sees only outer visibles. Why does he destroy only the concept of inner visibles and not destroy the outer visibles?
Answer. – When the yogin sees with his eyes this body marked with the marks of death (maraṇanimitta), he grasps the future characteristics of death; as for the actual body, in it he sees, to a lesser degree, the disappearance (nirodhalakṣaṇa) of the outer four great elements (mahābhūta). Therefore, since [215 b ] it is difficult for him to see that they do not exist, the [Sūtra] does not speak of the destruction of the visibles. Besides, at the time when the yogin will have transcended the form realm (rūpadhātu), he will no longer see outer visibles.
3. The third vimokṣa
“He actualizes the pleasant vimokṣa” (śubhaṃ, vimokṣaṃ kāyena sākṣātkaroti). – This is a pleasant meditation in regard to unpleasant things (aśubheṣu śubhabhāvanā), as is said about the eight abhibhāyatanas.
The first eight kṛtsnāyatanas contemplate, in the pure state (śuddha),: 1) earth (pṛthivī), 2) water (ap), 3) fire (tejas), 4) wind (vāyu), and also 5) blue (nīla), 6) yellow (pīta), 7) red (lohita), 8) white (avadāta).
The [fifth] sees visibles as blue (rūpāṇi nīlāni) like the blue lotus flower (nīlotpalapuṣpa), like the kin-tsing-chan, like the flax flower (umakapuṣpa) or like fine Benares muslin (saṃpannaṃ vā vārāṇaseyaṃ vastram). It is the same for the visions of yellow (pīta), red (lohita) and white (avadāta), each according to its respective color. The entire thing is called ‘the pleasant vimokṣa’.
Question. – If all of that is the pleasant vimokṣa, it should not be necessary to speak of the kṛtsnāyatanas [under the pain of repeating oneself].
Answer. – The vimokṣas are the initial practice (prathamacaryā); the abhibhvāyatanas are the intermediate practice (madhyamacaryā) and the kṛtsnāyatanas are the long-standing practice.
The meditation of the horrible (aśubhabhāvatana) is of two types: i) unpleasant (aśubha); ii) pleasant (śubha). The [first] two vimokṣas and the [first] four abhibhvāyatanas are of the unpleasant type. One vimokṣa, [i.e., the third], the [last] four abhibhvāyatanas and the [first] eight kṛtsnāyatanas are of the pleasant type.
Question. – When the yogin takes as pleasant (śubha) that which is unpleasant (aśubha), he is making a mistake (viparyāsa). Then why is the meditation that he practices in the course of the pleasant vimokṣa not erroneous?
Answer. – The error is in seeing wrongly as pleasant a woman’s beauty which is unpleasant, but the meditation practiced during the pleasant vimokṣa is not a mistake due to the extension (viśālatva) of all true blue color, [etc].
Moreover, in order to tame the mind (cittadamanārtham), the pleasant meditation presupposes a lengthy practice of the meditation on the horrible (aśubhabhāvana) and on mental revulsion (cittanirveda): this is why practicing the pleasant meditation is not a mistake and there is no desire (lobha) in it.
Moreover, the yogin begins by contemplating the horrors of the body and fixes his mind on all the inner and outer horrors in bodily things. Then he feels revulsion (nirveda): [his negative emotions], lust (rāga), hatred (dveśa) and stupidity (moha) decrease; he becomes frightened and understands: “I do not possess these characteristics as a person at all: it is the body that is like that. Then why am I attached to it?”
He concentrates his mind and really meditates so as not to commit mistakes. As soon as his mind becomes disciplined and gentle, he avoids thinking of the horrors of the body, such as skin (tvac), flesh (māṃsa), blood (lohita) and marrow (asthimajjan): for him there are only white bones (śvetāsthika) and he fixes his mind on the skeleton (kaṅkāla). If his mind wanders outward, he concentrates and gathers it back. Concentrating his mind deeply, he sees the diffused light of the white bones (śvetāsthika) like a conch-shell (śaṅkha), like shells (kapardaka), lighting up inner and outer things. This is the gateway of the pleasant vimokṣa.
Class 5: The eight liberations (vimokṣa)
And so on. If you think this is helpful and pointing to the right direction, the rest of the explanation is on the link provided. It would be too long if I copy everything here