Home | Library | Dictionary index
nāma: (lit. 'name'): 'mind', mentality. This term is generally used as a
collective name for the 4 mental groups (arūpino khandha), viz. feeling (vedanā),
perception (sa˝˝ā), mental formations (sankhāra) and consciousness (vi˝˝āna).
Within the 4th link (nāma-rūpa) in the formula of the paticcasamuppāda
(q.v.), however, it applies only to karma-resultant (vipāka) feeling and
perception and a few karma-resultant mental functions inseparable from any consciousness.
As it is said (M. 9; D. 15; S. XII, 2): "Feeling (vedanā), perception (sa˝˝ā),
volition (cetanā), impression (phassa), mental advertence (manasikāra):
this, o brother, is called mind (nāma)." With the addition of 2 more
mental factors, namely, mental vitality (jīvita) and concentration (samādhi),
here 'stationary phase of mind' (cittatthiti), these 7 factors are said in the
Abhidhammattha Sangaha to be the inseparable mental factors in any state of consciousness.
For the complete list of all the 50 mental formations of the sankhāra-kkhandha
(not including feeling and perception), s. Tab. II.
nāma-kāya: the 'mind-group' (as distinguished from rūpa-kāya, the
corporeality-group) comprises the 4 immaterial groups of existence (arūpino
khandha). This twofold grouping, frequent in Com., occurs first in D. 15, also in
Pts.M. (I, 183); nāma-kāya alone is mentioned in Sn. 1074.
nāma-rūpa (lit. 'name and form'): 'mind-and-body', mentality and corporeality.
It is the 4th link in the dependent origination (s. paticcasamuppāda 3, 4) where
it is conditioned by consciousness, and on its part is the condition of the sixfold
sense-base. In two texts (D. 14, 15), which contain variations of the dependent
origination, the mutual conditioning of consciousness and mind-and-body is described (see
also S. XII, 67), and the latter is said to be a condition of sense-impression (phassa);
so also in Sn. 872.
The third of the seven purifications (s. visuddhi), the purification of views,
is defined in Vis.M XVIII as the "correct seeing of mind-and-body," and various
methods for the discernment of mind-and-body by way of insight-meditation (vipassanā,
q.v.) are given there. In this context, 'mind' (nāma) comprises all four mental
groups, including consciousness. - See nāma.
In five-group-existence (pa˝ca-vokāra-bhava, q.v.), mind-and body are
inseparable and interdependent; and this has been illustrated by comparing them with two
sheaves of reeds propped against each other: when one falls the other will fall, too; and
with a blind man with stout legs, carrying on his shoulders a lame cripple with keen
eye-sight: only by mutual assistance can they move about efficiently (s. Vis.M XVIII,
32ff). On their mutual dependence, see also paticca-samuppāda (3).
With regard to the impersonality and dependent nature of mind and corporeality it is
"Sound is not a thing that dwells inside the conch-shell and comes out from time
to time, but due to both, the conch-shell and the man that blows it, sound comes to arise:
Just so, due to the presence of vitality, heat and consciousness, this body may execute
the acts of going, standing, sitting and lying down, and the 5 sense-organs and the mind
may perform their various functions" (D. 23).
"Just as a wooden puppet though unsubstantial, lifeless and inactive may by means
of pulling strings be made to move about, stand up, and appear full of life and activity;
just so are mind and body, as such, something empty, lifeless and inactive; but by means
of their mutual working together, this mental and bodily combination may move about, stand
up, and appear full of life and activity."
˝āna: 'knowledge, comprehension, intelligence, insight', is a synonym for
(q.v.); see also vipassanā.
˝ānadassana-visuddhi: 'purification of knowledge and vision', is the last of
the 7 purifications and a name for path-knowledge (magga˝āna), i.e. the
penetrating realization of the path of Stream-winning, Once-returning, Non-returning or
Arahatship. Vis.M XXII furnishes a detailed explanation of it (s. visuddhi, VII).
In A. IV, 41 ˝ānadassana apparently means the divine eye (dibbacakkhu,
s. abhi˝˝ā), being produced through concentrating the mind on light.
nānatta-sa˝˝ā: The 'variety (or multiformity) - perceptions are explained
under jhāna (q.v.).
˝āna-vipphārā iddhi: the 'power of penetrating knowledge', is one of the
magical powers (iddhi, q.v.).
˝āta-pari˝˝ā: 'full understanding (or comprehension) of the known', is one
of the 3 kinds of full understanding (pari˝˝ā q.v.).
natthika-ditthi: 'nihilistic view' (a doctrine that all values are baseless,
that nothing is knowable or can be communicated, and that life itself is meaningless), s. ditthi.
natthi-paccaya: 'absence-condition', is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya,
natural morality: pakati-sīla (q.v.).
navanga-buddha (or satthu)- sāsana: s. sāsana.
nava-sattāvāsa: s. sattāvāsa.
naya-vipassanā: s. kalāpa (2).
˝āya: 'right method', is often used as a name for the Noble Eightfold Path (s.
magga), e.g. in the Satipatthāna Sutta (M. 10, D. 22).
neighbourhood-concentration: upacāra-samādhi (q.v.) .
nekkhamma: 'freedom from sensual lust', renunciation. Though apparently from nir
+ Í kram, 'to go forth (into the homeless state of a
monk)', this term is in the Pāli texts nevertheless used as if it were derived from kāma,
lust, and always as an antonym to kāma. It is one of the perfections (s.
pāramī). N. sankappa, thought free from lust, or thought of
renunciation, is one of the 3 kinds of right thought (sammā-sankappa), the 2nd
link of the Noble Eightfold Path (s. magga, 2), its antonym being kāmasankappa,
nesajjikanga: one of the 13 dhutanga (q.v.).
neutral, karmically: avyākata (q.v.); n. feelings, s.
n'eva-sa˝˝ā-n'āsa˝˝āyatana: The 'sphere of
neither-perception-nor-non-perception', is the name for the fourth absorption of the
immaterial sphere (arūpāvacara), a semi-conscious state, which is surpassed only
by the state of complete suspense of consciousness, called 'attainment of extinction' (nirodha-samāpatti,
q.v.). See jhāna (8).
n'eva-sekha-n'āsekha: 'neither in training nor beyond training', i.e. neither
learner nor master. Thus is called the worldling (puthujjana, q.v.), for he is
neither pursuing the 3-fold training (sikkhā q.v.) in morality, mental culture and
wisdom, on the level of the first 3 paths of sanctity, nor has he completed his training
as an Arahat. See sekha. - (App.).
neyya: 'requiring guidance', is said of a person "who through advice and
questioning, through wise consideration, and through frequenting noble-minded friends,
having intercourse with them, associating with them, gradually comes to penetrate the
truth" (Pug. 162). Cf. ugghatita˝˝ū.
neyyattha-dhamma: A 'teaching the meaning of which is implicit, or has to be
inferred' as contrasted with a 'teaching with an explicit or evident meaning' (nītattha-dhamma).
In A. I, 60 (PTS) it is said: "Whoso declares a sutta with an implicit meaning as a
sutta with explicit meaning (and conversely), such a one makes a false statement with
regard to the Blessed One." - See paramattha.
Nibbāna, (Sanskrit nirvāna): lit. 'extinction' (nir + Í va, to cease blowing, to become extinguished); according to
the commentaries, 'freedom from desire' (nir+ vana). Nibbāna constitutes the
highest and ultimate goal of all Buddhist aspirations, i.e. absolute extinction of that
life-affirming will manifested as greed, hate and delusion, and convulsively clinging to
existence; and therewith also the ultimate and absolute deliverance from all future
rebirth, old age, disease and death, from all suffering and misery. Cf. Parinibbāna.
"Extinction of greed, extinction of hate, extinction of delusion: this is called
Nibbāna" (S. XXXVIII. 1).
The 2 aspects of Nibbāna are:
(1) The full extinction of defilements (kilesa-parinibbāna), also called sa-upādi-sesa-nibbāna
(s. It. 41), i.e. 'Nibbāna with the groups of existence still remaining' (s. upādi).
This takes place at the attainment of Arahatship, or perfect holiness (s. ariya-puggala).
(2) The full extinction of the groups of existence (khandha-parinibbāna),
also called an-upādi-sesa-nibbāna (s. It. 41, A. IV, 118), i.e. 'Nibbāna without
the groups remaining', in other words, the coming to rest, or rather the
'no-more-continuing' of this physico-mental process of existence. This takes place at the
death of the Arahat. - (App.: Nibbāna).
Sometimes both aspects take place at one and the same moment, i.e. at the death of the
Arahat; s. sama-sīsī.
"This, o monks, truly is the peace, this is the highest, namely the end of all
formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving,
detachment, extinction, Nibbāna" (A. III, 32).
"Enraptured with lust (rāga), enraged with anger (dosa), blinded by
delusion (moha), overwhelmed, with mind ensnared, man aims at his own ruin, at the
ruin of others, at the ruin of both, and he experiences mental pain and grief. But if
lust, anger and delusion are given up, man aims neither at his own ruin, nor at the ruin
of others, nor at the ruin of both, and he experiences no mental pain and grief. Thus is
Nibbāna visible in this life, immediate, inviting, attractive, and comprehensible to the
wise" (A. III, 55).
"Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so neither
visible forms, nor sounds, nor odours, nor tastes, nor bodily impressions, neither the
desired nor the undesired, can cause such a one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is
deliverance" (A, VI, 55).
"Verily, there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not
this Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the
originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible" (Ud. VIII, 3).
One cannot too often and too emphatically stress the fact that not only for the actual
realization of the goal of Nibbāna, but also for a theoretical understanding of it, it is
an indispensable preliminary condition to grasp fully the truth of anattā (q.v.),
the egolessness and insubstantiality of all forms of existence. Without such an
understanding, one will necessarily misconceive Nibbāna - according to one's either
materialistic or metaphysical leanings - either as annihilation of an ego, or as an
eternal state of existence into which an ego or self enters or with which it merges. Hence
it is said:
"Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found;
The deed is, but no doer of the deed is there;
Nibbāna is, but not the man that enters it;
The path is, but no traveler on it is seen." (Vis.MXVI)
Literature: For texts on Nibbāna, see Path, 36ff. - See Vis.M XVI.
64ff. - Anattā and Nibbāna, by Nyanaponika Thera (WHEEL 11); The Buddhist Doctrine of
Nibbāna, by Ven. P. Vajiranana & F. Story (WHEEL 165/166).
nibbatti: 'arising', 'rebirth', is a synonym for patisandhi
nibbedha-bhāgiya-sīla (-samādhi, -pa˝˝ā): 'morality (concentration,
wisdom) connected with penetration'; s. hāna-bhāgiya-sīla.
nibbidānupassanā-˝āna: 'contemplation of aversion', is one of the 18
chief kinds of insight; s. vipassanā (4), samatha-vipassanā (2), visuddhi
nicca-sa˝˝ā (-citta,-ditthi): perception (or consciousness, or view)
of permanency, is one of the 4 perversions (vipallāsa, q.v.).
nihilistic view: natthika-ditthi; s. ditthi.
nīla-kasina: 'blue-kasina exercise' s. kasina.
nimitta: mark, sign; image; target, object; cause, condition. These meanings
are used in, and adapted to, many contexts of which only the doctrinal ones are mentioned
1. 'Mental (reflex-) image', obtained in meditation. In full clarity, it will appear in
the mind by successful practice of certain concentration-exercises and will then appear as
vividly as if seen by the eye. The object perceived at the very beginning of concentration
is called the preparatory image (parikamma-nimitta). The still unsteady and unclear
image, which arises when the mind has reached a weak degree of concentration, is called
the acquired image (uggaha-nimitta). An entirely clear and immovable image arising
at a higher degree of concentration is the counter-image (patibhāga-nimitta). As
soon as this image arises, the stage of neighbourhood (or access) concentration (upacāra-samādhi)
is reached. For further details, s. kasina, samādhi.
2. 'Sign of (previous) kamma' (kamma-nimitta) and 'sign of (the future)
destiny' (gati-nimitta); these arise as mental objects of the last karmic
consciousness before death (maranāsanna-kamma; s. karma, III, 3).
Usages (1) and (2) are commentarial (s. App.). In sutta usage, the term occurs, e.g.
3. 'Outward appearance': of one who has sense-control it is said- that "he does
not seize upon the general appearance' of an object (na nimittaggāhī; M. 38, D.
2; expl. Vis I, 54f; see sīla).
4. 'Object': the six objects, i.e. visual, etc. (rūpa-nimitta; S. XXII, 3).
Also, when in explanation of animitta-cetovimutti, signless deliverance of mind (s.
cetovimutti, vimokkha), it is said, 'sabba-nimittānam amanasikārā', it
refers to the 6 sense-objects (Com. to M. 43), and has therefore to be rendered "by
paying no attention to any object (or object-ideas)." - A pleasant or beautiful
object (subha-nimitta, q.v.) is a condition to the arising of the hindrance of
sense-desire; a 'repellent object' (patigha-nimitta) for the hindrance of ill-will;
contemplation on the impurity of an object (asubha-nimitta; s. asubha) is an
antidote to sense-desire.
5. In Pts.M. II, in a repetitive series of terms, nimitta appears together with uppādo
(origin of existence), pavattam (continuity of existence), and may then be rendered
by 'condition of existence' (s. Path, 194f.).
nimmāna-rati: the name of a class of heavenly beings of the sensuous sphere; s.
nine abodes of beings: s. sattāvāsa.
ninefold dispensation: s: sāsana.
nippapa˝ca: s. papa˝ca.
nipphanna-rūpa: 'produced corporeality', is identical with rūpa-rūpa,
'corporeality proper', i.e. material or actual corporeality, as contrasted with
'unproduced corporeality' (anipphanna-rūpa), consisting of mere qualities or modes
of corporeality, e.g. impermanence, etc., which are also enumerated among the 28 phenomena
of the corporeality group. See khandha, Summary I; Vis.M XIV, 73.
niraya: lit. 'the downward-path', the nether or infernal world, usually
translated by 'hell', is one of the 4 lower courses of existence (apāya, q.v.).
The Buddhists are well aware that on account of the universal sway of impermanence a life
in hell, just as in heaven, cannot last eternally, but will after exhaustion of the karma
which has caused the respective form of rebirth, necessarily be followed again by a new
death and a new rebirth, according to the stored-up karma.
nirodha: 'extinction'; s. nirodha-samāpatti, anupubba-nirodha.
nirodhānupassanā: 'contemplation of extinction', is one of the 18 chief
kinds of insight (vipassanā q.v.). See ānāpānasati (15).
nirodha-samāpatti: 'attainment of extinction' (S. XIV, 11), also called sa˝˝ā-vedayita-nirodha,
'extinction of feeling and perception', is the temporary suspension of all
consciousness and mental activity, following immediately upon the semi-conscious state
called 'sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception' (s. jhāna, 8). The
absolutely necessary pre-conditions to its attainment are said to be perfect mastery of
all the 8 absorptions (jhāna), as well as the previous attainment of Anāgāmi or
Arahatship (s. ariya-puggala).
According to Vis.M XXIII, the entering into this state takes place in the following
way: by means of mental tranquillity (samatha) and insight (vipassanā) one
has to pass through all the 8 absorptions one after the other up to the sphere of
neither-perception-nor-non-perception and then one has to bring this state to an end. If,
namely, according to the Vis.M, the disciple (Anāgāmi or Arahat) passes through the
absorption merely by means of tranquillity, i.e. concentration, he will only attain the
sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, and then come to a standstill; if, on the
other hand, he proceeds only with insight, he will reach the fruition (phala) of
Anāgāmi or Arahatship. He, however, who by means of both faculties has risen from
absorption to absorption and, having made the necessary preparations, brings the sphere of
neither-perception-nor-non-perception to an end, such a one reaches the state of
extinction. Whilst the disciple is passing through the 8 absorptions, he each time emerges
from the absorption attained, and regards with his insight all the mental phenomena
constituting that special absorption, as impermanent, miserable and impersonal. Then he
again enters the next higher absorption, and thus, after each absorption practising
insight, he at last reaches the state of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, and
thereafter the full extinction. This state, according to the Com., may last for 7 days or
even longer. Immediately at the rising from this state, however, there arises in the
Anāgāmi the fruition of Anāgāmiship (anāgāmi-phala), in the Arahat the
fruition of Arahatship (arahatta-phala).
With regard to the difference existing between the monk abiding in this state of
extinction on the one hand, and a dead person on the other hand, M 43 says: "In him
who is dead, and whose life has come to an end, the bodily (in-and-outbreathing), verbal
(thought-conception and discursive thinking), and mental functions (s. sankhāra,
2) have become suspended and come to a standstill, life is exhausted, the vital heat
extinguished, the faculties are destroyed. Also in the monk who has reached 'extinction of
perception and feeling' (sa˝˝ā-vedayita-nirodha), the bodily, verbal and mental
functions have been suspended and come to a standstill, but life is not exhausted, the
vital heat not extinguished, and the faculties are not destroyed."
For details, see Vis.M XXIII; for texts s. Path 206.
nirutti-patisambhidā: the 'analytical knowledge of language', is one of the 4
nirvana: (Sanskrit= ) Nibbāna (q.v.).
nissarana-pahāna: 'overcoming by escape', is one of the 5 kinds of overcoming (pahāna
nissaya: 'foundation'. The 2 wrong foundations of morality are craving (tanhā-nissaya)
and views (ditthi-nissaya). Hence there are two wrong bases of morality:
morality based on craving (tanhā-nissita-sīla) and morality based on views (ditthi-nissita-sīla).
" 'Based on craving' is that kind of morality which has come about by the desire
for a happy existence, e.g.: 'O that by this morality I might become a godlike or heavenly
being!' (A.IX, 172). 'Based on views' is that morality which has been induced by the view
that through the observation of certain moral rules purification may be attained"
nissaya-paccaya: 'support', base, foundation, is one of the 24 conditions (s. paccaya,
nītattha-dhamma: A 'doctrine with evident meaning', contrasted with a 'doctrine
with a meaning to be inferred' (neyyattha-dhamma, q.v.). See also paramattha.
nīvarana: 'hindrances', are 5 qualities which are obstacles to the mind and
blind our mental vision. In the presence of them we cannot reach
neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi) and full concentration (appanā-samādhi),
and are unable to discern clearly the truth. They are:
1. sensuous desire (kāmacchanda),
2. ill-will (vyāpāda),
3. sloth and torpor (thīna-middha),
4. restlessness and scruples (uddhacca-kukkucca), and
5. skeptical doubt (vicikicchā; q.v.).
In the beautiful similes in A. V, 193, sensuous desire is compared with water mixed
with manifold colours, ill-will with boiling water, sloth and torpor with water covered by
moss, restlessness and scruples with agitated water whipped by the wind, skeptical doubt
with turbid and muddy water. Just as in such water one cannot perceive one's own
reflection, so in the presence of these 5 mental hindrances, one cannot clearly discern
one's own benefit, nor that of others, nor that of both.
Regarding the temporary suspension of the 5 hindrances on entering the first
absorption, the stereotype sutta text (e g. A. IX, 40) runs as follows:
"He has cast away sensuous desire; he dwells with a heart free from sensuous
desire; from desire he cleanses his heart.
"He has cast away ill-will; he dwells with a heart free from ill-will, cherishing
love and compassion toward all living beings, he cleanses his heart from ill-will.
"He has cast away sloth and torpor; he dwells free from sloth and torpor; loving
the light, with watchful mind, with clear consciousness, he cleanses his mind from sloth
"He has cast away restlessness and scruples; dwelling with mind undisturbed, with
heart full of peace, he cleanses his mind from restlessness and scruples.
"He has cast away skeptical doubt; dwelling free from doubt, full of confidence in
the good, he cleanses his heart from doubt.
"He has put aside these 5 hindrances, and come to know these paralysing
defilements of the mind. And far from sensual impressions, far from unwholesome things, he
enters into the first absorption, etc."
The overcoming of these 5 hindrances by the absorptions is, as already pointed out, a
merely temporary suspension, called 'overcoming through repression' (vikkhambhana-pahāna).
They disappear forever on entering the 4 supermundane paths (s. ariyapuggala),
i.e. skeptical doubt on reaching Sotāpanship; sensuous desire, ill-will and mental worry
on reaching Anāgāmiship; sloth, torpor and restlessness on reaching Arahatship.
For their origination and their overcoming, s. A. I, 2; VI, 21; S. XLVI, 51.
See The Five Mental Hindrances, by Nyanaponika Thera (WHEEL 26).
niyāma: the 'fixedness of law' regarding all things; cf. tathatā.
- Pa˝ca-niyāma is a commentarial term, signifying the 'fivefold lawfulness' or
'natural order' that governs: (1) temperature, seasons and other physical events (utu-niyāma);
(2) the plant life (bīja-n.); (3) karma (kamma-n.); (4) the mind (citta-n.),
e.g. the lawful sequence of the functions of consciousness (s. vi˝˝āna-kicca) in
the process of cognition; (5) certain events connected with the Dhamma (dhamma-n.), e.g.
the typical events occurring in the lives of the Buddhas. (App.).
niyata-micchāditthi: 'wrong views with fixed destiny', are the views of
uncausedness of existence (ahetuka-ditthi), of the inefficacy of action (akiriya-ditthi),
and nihilism (natthika-ditthi). For details, s. ditthi; and M. 60, Com.
(WHEEL 98/99). - (App.)
niyata-puggala: a 'person with a fixed destiny', may be either one who has
committed one of the 5 'heinous deeds with immediate result' (ānantarika-kamma, q.v.),
or one who follows 'wrong views with fixed destiny' (niyata-micchā-ditthi, q.v.),
or one who has reached one of the 4 stages of holiness (s. ariya-puggala). About
the latter cf. the frequent passage: "Those disciples in whom the 3 fetters (of
personality-belief, sceptical doubt and attachment to mere rules and ritual; s. samyojana)
have vanished, they all have entered the stream, have forever escaped the states of woe;
fixed is their destiny (niyata), assured their final enlightenment."
noble abodes: s. vihāra.
noble family, Passing from n.f. to n.f.: kolankola; s. sotāpa˝˝ā.
noble persons: ariya-puggala (q.v.).
noble power: ariya iddhi; s. iddhi.
noble truths, the 4: ariya-sacca; s. sacca. - The 2-fold
knowledge of the n.t.; s. sacca-˝āna.
noble usages, the 4: ariya-vamsa (q.v.).
non-disappearance: avigata-paccaya, is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya,
non-violence: s. avihimsā.
not-self: s. anattā.
no-upādā-rūpa: 'underived corporeality', designates the 4 primary elements (mahābhūta
or dhātu), as distinguished from the 'derived corporeality' (upādā-rūpa),
such as the sensitive organs, etc. Cf. khandha, I.
nutriment: s. ojā, āhāra. - āhāra is one of the 24 conditions
(paccaya, q.v.) - n.- produced corporeality; s. samutthāna.
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y
05 November 2005