XVIII. Purification of View¶
587 Now, it was said earlier (XIV.32) that he “should first fortify his knowledge by learning and questioning about those things that are the ‘soil’ after he has perfected the two purifications—purification of virtue and purification of consciousness—that are the ‘roots.’” Now, of those, purification of virtue is the quite purified fourfold virtue beginning with Pātimokkha restraint; and that has already been dealt with in detail in the Description of Virtue; (Chs. I and II) and the purification of consciousness, namely, the eight attainments together with access concentration, has also been dealt with in detail in all its aspects in the Description of Concentration, (Chs. III to XIII) stated under the heading of “consciousness” [in the introductory verse]. So those two purifications should be understood in detail as given there.
2 Defining of Mentality-Materiality¶
2.1 (1) Definition Based on the Four Primaries¶
§2 But it was said above (XIV.32) that “The five purifications, purification of view, purification by overcoming doubt, purification by knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path, purification by knowledge and vision of the way, and purification by knowledge and vision, are the ‘trunk.’” Herein, “purification of view” is the correct seeing of mentality-materiality. 
2.1.1 (a) Starting with Mentality¶
§3 One who wants to accomplish this, if, firstly, his vehicle is serenity,  should emerge from any fine-material or immaterial jhāna, except the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception,  and he should discern, according to [610/668] characteristic, function, etc., the jhāna factors consisting of applied thought, etc., and the states associated with them, [that is, feeling, perception, and so on]. When he has done so, all that should be defined as “mentality” (nāma) in the sense of bending (namana)  because of its bending on to the object.
§4 Then, just as a man, by following a snake that he has seen in his house, finds its abode, so too this meditator scrutinizes that mentality, he seeks to find out what its occurrence is supported by and he sees that it is supported
588 by the matter of the heart. After that, he discerns as materiality the primary elements, which are the heart’s support, and the remaining, derived kinds of materiality that have the elements as their support. He defines all that as “materiality” (rūpa) because it is “molested” (ruppana) [by cold, etc.]. After that he defines in brief as “mentality-materiality” (nāma-rūpa) the mentality that has the characteristic of “bending” and the materiality that has the characteristic of “being molested.”
2.1.2 (b) Starting with Materiality¶
§5 But one whose vehicle is pure insight, or that same aforesaid one whose vehicle is serenity, discerns the four elements in brief or in detail in one of the various ways given in the chapter on the definition of the four elements (XI.27ff.). Then, when the elements have become clear in their correct essential characteristics, firstly, in the case of head hair originated by kamma there become plain ten instances of materiality (rūpāni) with the body decad thus: the four elements, colour, odour, flavour, nutritive essence, and life, and body sensitivity. And because the sex decad is present there too there are another ten [that is, the same nine with sex instead of body sensitivity]. And since the octad-with-nutritive-essence-as-eighth [that is, the four elements and colour, odour, flavour, and nutritive essence,] originated by nutriment, and that originated by temperature, and that originated by consciousness are present there too, there are another twenty-four. So there is a total of forty-four instances of materiality in the case of each of the twenty-four bodily parts of fourfold origination. But in the case of the four, namely, sweat, tears, spittle, and snot,  which are originated [611/669] by temperature and by consciousness, there are sixteen instances of materiality with the two octads-with-nutritive-essence-as-eighth in each. In the case of the four, namely, gorge, dung, pus, and urine, which are originated by temperature, eight instances of materiality become plain in each with the octad-with-nutritive-essence-as-eighth in what is originated only by temperature. This, in the first place, is the method in the case of the thirty-two bodily aspects.
§6 But there are ten more aspects  that become clear when those thirty-two aspects have become clear. And as regards these, firstly, nine instances of materiality, that is, the octad-with-nutritive-essence-as-eighth plus life, become plain in the case of the kamma-born part of heat (fire) that digests what is eaten, etc., and likewise nine [instances of materiality], that is, the octad-with-nutritive-essence-as-eighth plus sound, in the case of the consciousness-born part [of air consisting] of in-breaths and out-breaths; and thirty-three instances of materiality, that is, the [kamma-born] life-ennead and the three octads-with-nutritive-essence-as-eighth in the case of each of the remaining eight [parts] that are of fourfold origination.
§7 And when these instances of materiality derived [by clinging] from the primaries have thus become plain in detail in the case of these forty-two aspects, [that is, thirty-two parts of the body, four modes of fire, and six modes of air,] another sixty instances of materiality become plain with the physical [heart-] basis and the [five] sense doors, that is, with the heart-basis decad and the five decads beginning with the eye decad.
Taking all these together under the characteristic of “being molested,” he sees them as “materiality.”
§8 When he has discerned materiality thus, the immaterial states become plain to him in accordance with the sense doors, that is to say, the eighty-one kinds  of mundane consciousness consisting of the two sets of five consciousnesses ((34)–(38) and (50)–(54)), the three kinds of mind element ((39), (55) and (70)) and the sixty-eight
589 kinds of mind-consciousness element; and then seven consciousness-concomitants, that is, (i) contact, feeling, perception, (ii) volition, (vii) life, (viii) steadiness of consciousness, and (xxx) attention, which are invariably conascent with all these consciousnesses. The supramundane kinds of consciousness, however, are not discernible either by one who is practicing pure insight or by one whose vehicle is serenity because they are out of their reach. Taking all these immaterial states together under the characteristic of “bending,” he sees them as “mentality.”
This is how one [meditator] defines mentality-materiality in detail through the method of defining the four elements.
2.2 (2) Definition Based on the Eighteen Elements¶
§9 [612/670] Another does it by means of the eighteen elements. How? Here a bhikkhu considers the elements thus: “There are in this person the eye element, … the mind-consciousness element.” Instead of taking the piece of flesh variegated with white and black circles, having length and breath, and fastened in the eye socket with a string of sinew, which the world terms “an eye,” he defines as “eye element” the eye sensitivity of the kind described among the kinds of derived materiality in the Description of the Aggregates (XIV.47).
§10 But he does not define as “eye element” the remaining instances of materiality, which total fifty-three, that is, the nine conascent instances of materiality consisting of the four primary elements, which are its support, the four concomitant instances of materiality, namely, colour, odour, flavour, and nutritive essence, and the sustaining life faculty; and also the twenty kamma-born instances of materiality that are there too, consisting of the body decad and sex decad; and the twenty-four unclung-to instances of materiality consisting of the three octads-with-nutritive-essence-as-eighth, which are originated by nutriment and so on. The same method applies to the ear element and the rest. But in the case of the body element the remaining instances of materiality total forty-three, though some say forty-five by adding sound and making nine each for the temperature-born and consciousness-born [sound].
§11 So these five sensitivities, and their five respective objective fields, that is, visible data, sounds, odours, flavours, and tangible data, make ten instances of materiality, which are ten [of the eighteen] elements. The remaining instances of materiality are the mental-data element only.
The consciousness that occurs with the eye as its support and contingent upon a visible datum is called “eye-consciousness element” [and likewise with the ear and so on]. In this way the two sets of five consciousnesses are the five “consciousness elements.” The three kinds of consciousness consisting of mind element ((39), (55) and (70)) are the single “mind element.” The sixty-eight kinds of mind-consciousness element are the “mind-consciousness element.” So all the eighty-one kinds of mundane consciousness make up seven kinds of consciousness element; and the contact, etc., associated therewith are the mental-data element.
So ten-and-a-half elements are materiality and seven-and-a-half elements
590 are mentality. This is how one [meditator] defines mentality-materiality by means of the eighteen elements.
2.3 (3) Definition Based on the Twelve Bases¶
§12 Another does it by means of the twelve bases. How? He defines as “eye base” the sensitivity only, leaving out the fifty-three remaining instances of materiality, in the way described for the eye element. And in the way described there [he also defines] the elements of the ear, nose, tongue, and body, as “ear base, nose base, tongue base, body base.” He defines five states that are their respective objective fields as “visible-data base, sound base, odour base, flavour base, tangible-data base.” He defines the seven mundane consciousness elements [613/671] as “mind base.” He defines the contact, etc., associated there with and also the remaining instances of materiality as “mental-data base.” So here ten-and-a-half bases are materiality and one-and-a-half bases are mentality. This is how one [meditator] defines mentality-materiality by means of the twelve bases.
2.4 (4) Definition Based on the Five Aggregates¶
§13 Another defines it more briefly than that by means of the aggregates. How? Here a bhikkhu defines as “the materiality aggregate” all the following twenty-seven instances of materiality, that is, the seventeen instances of materiality consisting of the four primaries of fourfold origination in this body and dependent colour, odour, flavour, and nutritive essence, and the five sensitivities beginning with the eye sensitivity, and the materiality of the physical [heart-]basis, sex, life faculty, and sound of twofold origination, which seventeen instances of materiality are suitable for comprehension since they are produced and are instances of concrete materiality; and then the ten instances of materiality, that is, bodily intimation, verbal intimation, the space element, and the lightness, malleability, wieldiness, growth, continuity, aging, and impermanence of materiality, which ten instances of materiality are, however, not suitable for comprehension since they are merely the mode-alteration and the limitation-of-interval; they are not produced and are not concrete materiality, but they are reckoned as materiality because they are mode-alterations, and limitation-of-interval, of various instances of materiality. So he defines all these twenty-seven instances of materiality as the “the materiality aggregate.” He defines the feeling that arises together with the eighty-one kinds of mundane consciousness as the “feeling aggregate,” the perception associated therewith as the “perception aggregate,” the formations associated therewith as the “formations aggregate,” and the consciousness as the “consciousness aggregate.” So by defining the materiality aggregate as “materiality” and the four immaterial aggregates as “mentality,” he defines mentality-materiality by means of the five aggregates.
2.5 (5) Brief Definition Based on the Four Primaries¶
§14 Another discerns “materiality” in his person briefly thus: “Any kind of materiality whatever all consists of the four primary elements and the materiality derived from the four primary elements” ( [M] I 222 ), and he likewise discerns the mind base and a part of the mental data base as “mentality.” Then he defines mentality-materiality in brief thus: “This mentality and this materiality are called ‘mentality-materiality.’” 
3 If the Immaterial Fails to Become Evident¶
591 But if he has discerned materiality in one of these ways, and while he is trying to discern the immaterial it does not become evident to him owing to its subtlety, then he should not give up but should again and again comprehend, give attention to, discern, and define materiality only. For in proportion as materiality becomes quite definite, disentangled and quite clear to him, so the immaterial states that have that [materiality] as their object become plain of themselves too.
§16 Just as, when a man with eyes looks for the reflection of his face in a dirty looking-glass and sees no reflection, he does not throw the looking-glass away because the reflection does not appear; on the contrary, he polishes it again and again, and then the reflection becomes plain of itself when the looking-glass is clean—and just as, when a man needing oil puts sesame flour in a basin and wets it with water and no oil comes out with only one or two pressings, he does not throw the sesame flour away; but on the contrary, he wets it again and again with hot water and squeezes and presses it, and as he does so clear sesame oil comes out—or just as, when a man wanting to clarify water has taken a katuka nut and put his hand inside the pot and rubbed it once or twice but the water does not come clear, he does not throw the katuka nut away; on the contrary, he rubs it again and again, and as he does so the fine mud subsides and the water becomes transparent and clear—so too, the bhikkhu should not give up, but he should again and again comprehend, give attention to, discern and define materiality only.
§17 For in proportion as materiality becomes quite definite, disentangled and quite clear to him, so the defilements that are opposing him subside, his consciousness becomes clear like the water above the [precipitated] mud, and the immaterial states that have that [materiality] as their object become plain of themselves too. And this meaning can also be explained in this way by other analogies such as the [pressing of] sugarcane, [the beating of] criminals [to make them confess], [the taming of] an ox, the churning of curds [to produce butter], and [the cooking of] fish.
4 How the Immaterial States Become Evident¶
§18 When he has quite cleared up his discerning of materiality, then the immaterial states become evident to him through one of three aspects, that is, through contact, through feeling, or through consciousness. How?
§19 1. (a) When he discerns the [four primary] elements in the way beginning, “The earth element has the characteristic of hardness” (XI.93), contact becomes evident to him as the first conjunction. Then the feeling associated with that as the feeling aggregate, the associated perception as the perception aggregate, the associated volition together with the aforesaid contact as the formations aggregate, and the associated consciousness as the consciousness aggregate.
[615/673] 1. (b)
592 Likewise [when he has discerned them in this way,] “In the head hair it is the earth element that has the characteristic of hardness … in the in-breaths and out-breaths it is the earth element that has the characteristic of hardness” (XI.31), contact becomes evident as the first conjunction. Then the feeling associated with it as the feeling aggregate, … the associated consciousness as the consciousness aggregate.
This is how immaterial states become evident through contact.
§20 2. (a) To another [who discerns the four primary elements in the way beginning] “The earth element has the characteristic of hardness,” the feeling that has that as its object and experiences its stimulus [as pleasant, etc.,] becomes evident as the feeling aggregate, the perception associated with that as the perception aggregate, the contact and the volition associated with that as the formations aggregate, and the consciousness associated with that as the consciousness aggregate.
2. (b) Likewise [to one who discerns them in this way] “In the head hair it is the earth element that has the characteristic of hardness … in the in-breaths and out-breaths it is the earth element that has the characteristic of hardness,” the feeling that has that as its object and experiences its stimulus becomes evident as the feeling aggregate … and the consciousness associated with that as the consciousness aggregate.
This is how the immaterial states become evident through feeling.
§21 3. (a) To another [who discerns the four primary elements in the way beginning] “The earth element has the characteristic of hardness,” the consciousness that cognizes the object becomes evident as the consciousness aggregate, the feeling associated with it as the feeling aggregate, the associated perception as the perception aggregate, and the associated contact and volition as the formations aggregate.
3. (b) Likewise [to one who discerns them in this way] “In the head hair it is the earth element that has the characteristic of hardness … in the in-breaths and out-breaths it is the earth element that has the characteristic of hardness,” the consciousness that cognizes the object becomes evident as the consciousness aggregate … and the associated contact and volition as the formations aggregate.
This is how the immaterial states become evident through consciousness.
§22 In the case of [the ways of discerning materiality as consisting of] the forty-two aspects of the elements beginning with the head hairs [that is, thirty-two aspects of the body, four aspects of the fire element and six aspects of the air element,] either by these same means given above or by means of the method beginning, “In the kamma-originated head hairs it is the earth element that has the characteristic of hardness—and also in the case of the methods of discerning materiality as consisting of the eye, etc.—by means of the four primary elements in each, the construing should be done by working out all the differences in each method.
§23 Now, it is only when he has become quite sure about discerning materiality in this way that immaterial states become quite evident to him in the three aspects. [616/674] Therefore he should only undertake the task of discerning the immaterial states after he has completed that, not otherwise. If he leaves off discerning materiality when, say, one or two material states have become evident in order to begin discerning the immaterial, then he falls from his meditation subject like the mountain cow already described under the Development of the Earth Kasiṇa (IV.130).
593 But if he undertakes the task of discerning the immaterial after he is already quite sure about discerning materiality thus, then his meditation subject comes to growth, increase and perfection.
5 No Being Apart from Mentality-Materiality¶
§24 He defines the four immaterial aggregates that have thus become evident through contact, etc., as “mentality.” And he defines their objects, namely, the four primaries and the materiality derived from the four primaries, as “materiality.” So, as one who opens a box with a knife, as one who splits a twin palmyra bulb in two, he defines all states of the three planes,  the eighteen elements, twelve bases, five aggregates, in the double way as “mentality-materiality,” and he concludes that over and above mere mentality-materiality there is nothing else that is a being or a person or a deity or a Brahmā.
§25 After defining mentality-materiality thus according to its true nature, then in order to abandon this worldly designation of “a being” and “a person” more thoroughly, to surmount confusion about beings and to establish his mind on the plane of non-confusion, he makes sure that the meaning defined, namely, [617/675] “This is mere mentality-materiality, there is no being, no person” is confirmed by a number of suttas. For this has been said:
§26 Again, this has been said: “Just as when a space is enclosed with timber and creepers and grass and clay, there comes to be the term ‘house,’ so too, when a space is enclosed with bones and sinews and flesh and skin, there comes to be the term ‘material form’ (rūpa)” ( [M] I 190 ).
§27 And again this has been said:
§28 So in many hundred suttas it is only mentality-materiality that is illustrated, not a being, not a person. Therefore, just as when the component parts such as axles, wheels, frame poles, etc., are arranged in a certain way, there comes to be the mere term of common usage “chariot,” yet in the ultimate sense when each part is examined there is no chariot—and just as when the component parts of a house such as wattles, etc., are placed so that they enclose a space in a certain way, there comes to be the mere term of common usage “house,” yet in the ultimate sense there is no house—and just as when the fingers, thumb, etc., are placed in a certain way, there comes to be the mere term of common usage
594 “fist,”—with body and strings, “lute”; with elephants, horses, etc., “army”; with surrounding walls, houses, states, etc., “city”—just as when trunk, branches, foliage, etc., are placed in a certain way, there comes to be the mere term of common usage “tree,” yet in the ultimate sense, when each component is examined, there is no tree—so too, when there are the five aggregates [as objects] of clinging, there comes to be the mere term of common usage “a being,” “a person,” yet in the ultimate sense, when each component is examined, there is no being as a basis for the assumption “I am” or “I”; in the ultimate sense there is only mentality-materiality. The vision of one who sees in this way is called correct vision.
§29 But when a man rejects this correct vision and assumes that a [permanent] being exists, he has to conclude either that it comes to be annihilated or that it does not. If he concludes that it does not come to be annihilated, he falls into the eternity [view]. If he concludes that it does come to be annihilated, he falls into the annihilation [view]. Why? Because [the assumption] precludes any gradual change like that of milk into curd. So he either holds back, concluding that the assumed being is eternal, or he overreaches, concluding that it comes to be annihilated.
§30 Hence the Blessed One said: “There are two kinds of view, bhikkhus, and when deities and human beings are obsessed by them, some hold back and [618/676] some overreach; only those with eyes see. And how do some hold back? Deities and human beings love becoming, delight in becoming, rejoice in becoming. When Dhamma is taught to them for the ceasing of becoming, their minds do not enter into it, become settled, steady and resolute. Thus it is that some hold back. And how do some overreach? Some are ashamed, humiliated and disgusted by that same becoming, they are concerned with non-becoming in this way: ‘Sirs, when with the breakup of the body this self is cut off, annihilated, does not become any more after death, that is peaceful, that is sublime, that is true.’ Thus it is that some overreach. And how do those with eyes see? Here a bhikkhu sees what is become as become. Having seen what is become as become, he has entered upon the way to dispassion for it, to the fading away of greed for it, to its cessation. This is how one with eyes sees” (It 43; [Paṭis] I 159 ).
§31 Therefore, just as a marionette is void, soulless and without curiosity, and while it walks and stands merely through the combination of strings and wood,
595 yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness, so too, this mentality-materiality is void, soulless and without curiosity, and while it walks and stands merely through the combination of the two together, yet it seems as if it had curiosity and interestedness. This is how it should be regarded. Hence the Ancients said:
6 Interdependence of Mentality and Materiality¶
§32 And this should be explained not only by means of the simile of the marionette, but also by means of the analogies of the sheaves of reeds and so on. For just as when two sheaves of reeds are propped one against the other, each one gives the other consolidating support, and when one falls the other falls, so too, in the five-constituent becoming mentality-materiality occurs as an interdependent state, each of its components giving the other consolidating support, and when one falls owing to death, the other falls too. Hence the Ancients said:
§33 And just as when sound occurs having as its support a drum that is beaten by the stick, then the drum is one and the sound another, the drum and the sound are not mixed up together, the drum is void of the sound and the sound is void of the drum, so too, when mentality occurs having as its support the materiality called the physical basis, the door and the object, then the materiality is one and the mentality is another, the mentality and materiality are not mixed up together, the mentality is void of the materiality and the materiality is void of [619/677] the mentality; yet the mentality occurs due to the materiality as the sound occurs due to the drum. Hence the Ancients said:
§34 Furthermore, mentality has no efficient power, it cannot occur by its own efficient power. It does not eat, it does not drink, it does not speak, it does not adopt postures. And materiality is without efficient power; it cannot occur by its own efficient power. For it has no desire to eat, it has no desire to drink, it has no desire to speak, it has no desire to adopt postures. But rather it is when supported by materiality that mentality occurs; and it is when supported by mentality that materiality occurs. When mentality has the desire to eat, the desire to drink, the desire to speak, the desire to adopt a posture, it is materiality that eats, drinks, speaks, and adopts a posture.
§35 But for the purpose of explaining this meaning they gave this simile as an example: a man born blind and a stool-crawling cripple wanted to go somewhere. The blind man said to the cripple, “Look, I can do what should be done by legs, but I have no eyes with which to see what is rough and smooth.” The cripple said, “Look, I can do what should be done by eyes, but I have no legs with which to go and come.” The blind man was delighted, and he made the cripple climb up on his shoulder. Sitting on the blind man’s shoulder the cripple spoke thus, “Leave the left, take the right; leave the right, take the left.”
Herein, the blind man has no efficient power; he is impotent; he cannot travel by his own efficient power, by his own strength. And the cripple has no efficient power; he is impotent; he cannot travel by his own efficient power, by his own strength. But there is nothing to prevent their going when they support each other. So too, mentality has no efficient power; it does not arise or occur in such [620/678] and such functions by its own efficient power. And materiality has no efficient power; it does not arise or occur in such and such functions by its own efficient power.
But there is nothing to prevent their occurrence when they support each other.
§36 Hence this is said:
§37 The correct vision of mentality and materiality, which, after defining mentality-materiality by these various methods, has been established on the plane of non-confusion by overcoming the perception of a being, is what should be understood as purification of view. Other terms for it are “defining of mentality-materiality” and “delimitation of formations.”
The eighteenth chapter called “The Description of Purification of View” in the Treatise on the Development of Understanding in the Path of Purification composed for the purpose of gladdening good people.