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vācā: 'speech'. On right sp., s. magga (3), sacca (IV.3). - Low
talk, s. tiracchāna-kathā.
vacī-kamma: 'verbal action'; s. karma, kamma-patha.
vacī-sankhāra: 'verbal karma-formation', or 'verbal function'.
(1) For verbal karma-formation, s. sankhāra (I. 1).
(2) For verbal function (of mind), i.e. thought-conception and discursive thinking, s. sankhāra
vacī-vi˝˝atti: s. vi˝˝atti.
vanishing, Contemplation of: vayānupassanā, is one of the 18 chief
kinds of insight (vipassāna, q.v.).
vanishing and reappearing: knowledge of the v. and r. of beings according
to karma, is identical with the divine eye (s. abhi˝˝ā 5).
vāritta-sīla: 'morality consisting in avoiding' (evil things), as
distinguished from 'morality consisting in performing' (good things). See caritta-varitta.
vasī: 'mastery'. Vis.M IV speaks of 5 kinds of m., which anyone who wishes
to develop the absorptions (jhāna, q.v.) should acquire first of all, with regard
to the 1st absorption, namely: mastery in adverting to it (āvajjana-vasī), in
entering it (samāpajjana-vasī), in determining it (adhitthāna-vasī), in
rising therefrom (vutthāna-vasī), in retrospection (paccavekkhana-vasī).
"If wherever, whenever, and for whatever duration desired, one enters the 1st
absorption, and at one's entering it, no slowness is experienced, this is called mastery
in entering the absorption, etc. In an analogous way, the 4 remaining kinds are to be
explained" (Vis.M IV, 131f; XXIII, 27ff.).
vatta: 1. 'round', 2. 'round of rebirths'.
(1) With reference to the dependent origination (paticcasamuppāda, q.v.),
Vis.M XVII speaks of 3 rounds: the karma round (kamma-vatta) comprising the
karma-formations and the karmaprocess (2nd and 10th links); the round of defilements (kilesa-vatta)
comprising ignorance, craving and clinging (1st, 8th and 9th links); the round of results (vipāka-vatta)
comprising consciousness, mind and corporeality, 6 bases, impression, feeling (3rd-7th
links). Cf. paticcasamuppāda (diagram).
(2) round of rebirth = samsāra (q.v.).
vatthu: 'physical base', i.e. the 6 physical organs on which the mental process
is based, are the 5 physical sense-organs and, according to the Com., the heart (hadaya-vatthu,
q.v.) as the 6th. This 6th vatthu must not be confounded with the 6th
which is a collective name for all consciousness whatever. - (App.).
vatthu-kāma: 'objective sensuality', the 5 sense-objects; s. kāma.
vavatthāna: 'determining', defining. In its application to insight
meditation, this term occurred first in Pts.M. (I, p. 53); but in a verbal form, as a past
participle, already in M. 111: tyassa dhammā anupada-vavatthitā honti,
"these things (the mental factors) were determined by him (i.e. Sāriputta)
successively" (s. Abh. St., p. 54). In Vis.M XX, 130, it is said: 'The determining
of the truth of suffering is effected with the determining of mind-and-body in the
purification of view (s. visuddhi III). The determining of the truth of origination
is effected with the discerning of conditions in the purification by transcending doubt
(s. visuddhi IV). The determining of the truth of the path is effected by emphasis
on the right path in the purification by knowledge and vision of what is path and not-path
(s. visuddhi V). Thus the determining of the 3 truths (suffering, origin, path) has
been first effected by means of mundane (lokiya, q.v.) knowledge only." - See sammasana,
For the determining of the 4 physical elements, s. dhātuvavatthāna.
vayānupassanā: 'contemplation of vanishing', is one of the 18 chief kinds
of insight (vipassanā, q.v.).
vāyo-dhātu: 'wind-element'; s. dhātu.
vāyo-kasina 'wind-kasina', is one of the kasina exercises (kasina, q.v.).
vedanā: 'feeling', sensation, is the 2nd of the 5 groups of existence (s.
khandha II). According to its nature, it may be divided into 5 classes: (1) bodily
agreeable feeling (kāyikā sukhā-vedanā = sukha); (2) bodily disagreeable
feeling (kāyikā dukkhā-vedanā = dukkhā); (3) mentally agreeable feeling (cetasikā
sukhā-vedanā = somanassa); (4) mentally disagreeable feeling (cetasikā
dukkhā-vedanā = domanassa); (5) indifferent or neutral (adukkha-m-asukhā
= upekkhā, q.v.).
With regard to the 6 senses, one distinguishes 6 kinds of feeling: feeling associated
with seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, bodily impression and mental impression. The
textual wording of it is 'feeling arisen through visual contact' (cakkhu-samphassajā
vedanā; S. XXII, 55; D. 22), etc.
Feeling is one of the 7 mental factors inseparably associated with all consciousness
whatever, s. nāma. In the formula of the dependent origination (paticcasamuppāda,
q.v.), feeling is the condition for the arising of craving (tanhā). The
above-mentioned 5 kinds of feeling are enumerated amongst the 22 faculties (indriya, q.v.).
- See M. 59; Contemplation of Feeling (Vedanā Samyutta), by Nyanaponika Thera (WHEEL
vedanānupassanā: 'contemplation of feeling', is one of the 4 foundations of
mindfulness (satipatthāna q.v.).
vehapphala is the name of a class of heavenly beings in the fine-material world;
verbal action: vacī-kamma; s. karma.
verbal functions of mind: vacī-sankhāra; s. sankhāra.
vesārajja: 'self-confidence' of a Buddha is fourfold. He is confident: 1.
to have attained to a perfect Enlightenment of which it cannot be said that it omits
anything essential to it; 2. to have destroyed all cankers (āsava), leaving none
that can be said to be undestroyed by him; 3. that what were declared by him as obstacles
to liberation are undeniably such; 4. that his teaching fulfils its purpose of actually
leading to final liberation from suffering. See A. IV, 8; VII, 58; M. 12.
vibhajja-vāda: 'analytical or discriminating doctrine' is an early name for the
original Buddha doctrine, called Theravāda. - The term vibhajja-vādī occurs in
M. 99 and A. X, 94, though not in the sense of a separate school, but as a characteristic
of the Buddha himself: "Now, by blaming what is blamable and praising what is
praiseworthy, the Blessed One is a 'discriminating teacher' (vibhajja-vadī) and is
not one-sided in his teaching" (A. X, 94).
Buddhaghosa, in the introduction to his Com. on the Kathāvatthu, says that in Asoka's
time, when the Sangha prospered, many heretics took ordination as Buddhist monks but
continued to spread their wrong doctrines. For purifying the Sangha, Asoka, together with
the venerable Moggaliputtatissa, summoned assembly of the bhikkhus. When each of the
assembled was individually questioned by the king about what the Buddha taught, those who
said that he was an eternalist (sassata-vadī), etc. were expelled. The genuine
bhikkhus replied that the Buddha was a vibhajja-vadī, an 'analyst' or
'discriminating teacher'; and when, on the king's question, Moggaliputtatissa confirmed
that this was the correct view, those monks were admitted to the Uposatha (q.v.) assembly
of the Sangha, and from their midst the participants of the 3rd Council at Pataliputta
were selected. - See Mahāvamsa, tr. by Wilh. Geiger, Ch. V, v. 268f.
vibhava ditthi = uccheda-ditthi; s. ditthi.
vibhava-tanhā: 'craving for non-existence', or for self-annihilation; s.
vicāra: 'discursive thinking'; s. vitakka-vicāra.
vicikicchā: 'sceptical doubt', is one of the 5 mental hindrances (nīvarana,
q.v.) and one of the 3 fetters (samyojana, q.v.), which disappear for ever at
Stream-entry, the first stage of holiness (s. ariya-puggala). As a fetter, it
refers to sceptical doubt about the Master (the Buddha), the Teaching, the Sangha, and the
training; about things past and future, and conditionality (Dhs. 1004; cf. A . X, 71 ) .
It also applies to uncertainty whether things are wholesome or not, to be practised or
not, of high or low value, etc. According to Vis.M XIV, 177, vicikicchā is the
lack of desire to think (things out i.e. to come to a conclusion; vigata-cikicchā,
desiderative to Í cit, to think); it has the nature of
wavering, and its manifestation is indecision and a divided attitude; its proximate cause
is unwise attention to matters of doubt. It is associated with one of the 2 classes of
unwholesome consciousness rooted in delusion (Tab. I, No. 32). - See also
view, right: sammā-ditthi; s. ditthi, magga 1, sacca IV,
1. - For wrong view, s. ditthi.
vigata-paccaya: 'disappearance', is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya, q.v.).
vihāra: 'abode' There are 3 abodes: the heavenly abode (dibba-vihāra),
the divine abode (brahma-vihāra, q.v.), the noble abode (ariya-vihāra). See
A. III, 63; D. 33.
vijjā: '(higher) knowledge', gnosis. For the 3-fold k., s.
and te-vijjā. Cf. foll.
vijjā-carana: knowledge and conduct'. This expression occurs in those passages
in the suttas where the qualities of a Buddha are described, namely: Truly, the Blessed
One is holy, is fully enlightened, perfect in knowledge and conduct..." According to
Vis.M VII, 1 and D. 3, knowledge (vijjā) refers here either to the 3-fold
knowledge (s. te-vijjā), or to the 8 kinds of knowledge, namely: the 6 higher
spiritual powers (abhi˝˝ā, q.v.), insight (vipassanā, q.v.), and magical
power (iddhi, q.v.); whilst conduct (carana) refers to 15 things: moral
restraint, watching over the sense-doors, moderation in eating, wakefulness, faith, moral
shame, moral dread, great learning, energy, mindfulness, wisdom and the 4 absorptions.
vikkhambhana-pahāna: 'overcoming by repression' (or 'suspension'), is one of
the 5 kinds of overcoming (pahāna, q.v.).
vikubbanā-iddhi: the 'power of transformation', is one of the magical faculties
vimamsā: 'investigation, inquiry, pondering', is one of the 4 roads to power (iddhi-pāda,
q.v.) and one of the 4 factors of predominance (s. paccaya, 3).
vimokkha: 'liberation' (deliverance). I. the 3; II. the 8.
I. The 3 liberations are: 1. the conditionless (or signless) liberation (animitta-v.),
2. the desireless liberation (apanihita-v.), 3. the emptiness (or void) liberation (su˝˝atā-v.
). They are also called 'the triple gateway to liberation' (vimokkha-mukha;
Vis.M XXI, 66ff), as they are three different approaches to the paths of holiness. - See visuddhi
VI, 8. Cf. Vis XXI, 6ff, 121ff; Pts.M. II. Vimokkha-Kathā.
1. "Whosoever being filled with determination (adhimokkha, q.v.), considers
all formations as impermanent (anicca), such a one attains the conditionless
liberation. 2. Whosoever being filled with tranquillity, considers all formations as
painful (dukkha), such a one attains the desireless liberation. 3. Whosoever being
filled with wisdom, considers all formations as without a self (anattā), such a
one attains the emptiness liberation" (Vis.M XXI, 70 = Pts.M. II, p. 58).
(1) and (2) are mentioned and explained in M. 43, under the name of deliverances of
mind (ceto-vimutti, q.v.). - (2) and (3) appear in Dhs. (344ff, 353ff) in the
section on supermundane consciousness (see Atthasālini Tr., p. 299ff).
II. The 8 liberations (attha vimokkha) occur frequently in the texts (A. VIII,
66; D. 16, etc.) and are described as follows:
"There are 8 liberations, o monks. Which are these?
(1) ''Whilst remaining in the fine-material sphere (rūpī), one perceives
corporeal forms: this is the first liberation.
(2) "Not perceiving corporcal forms on one's own person, one perceives corporcal
forms externally: this is the 2nd liberation.
(3) ''By thinking of the beautiful, one is filled with confidence: this is the 3rd
(4) "Through the total ovcrcoming of the corporeality-perceptions, the vanishing
of the reflex-perceptions, and the non-attention to the multiformity-perceptions, with the
idea 'Unbounded is space', one reaches the sphere of unbounded space (ākāsāna˝cāyatana)
and abides therein: this is the 4th liberation.
(5) "Through the total ovcrcoming of the sphere of unbounded space, and with the
idea 'Unbounded is consciousness', one reaches the sphere of unbounded consciousness
(vi˝˝āna˝cāyatana) and abides therein: this is the 5th liberation.
(6) "Through the total overcoming of the sphere of unbounded consciousness, and
with the idea 'Nothing is there', one reaches the sphere of nothingness (āki˝ea˝˝āyatana)
and abides therein: this is the 6th liberation.
(7) "Through the total overcoming of the sphere of nothingness, one reaches the
sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (n'eva-sa˝˝ā-nāsa˝˝āyatana) and
abides therein: this is the 7th liberation .
(8) "Through the total overcoming of the sphere of
neither-perception-nor-non-perception, one reaches the extinction of perception and
feeling (s. nirodha-samāpatti): this is the 8th liberation.
These, o monks, are the 8 kinds of liberation."
For (1-3), s. abhibhāyatana; for (4-7), s. jhāna; for (8), s. nirodha-samāpatti.
By (3) is meant the attainment of the fine-material absorptions (jhāna, q.v.)
by means of concentrating the mind on perfectly pure and bright colours as objects of the
kasina (q.v.). According to Pts.M. this mental state is produced also by concentrating the
mind on the 4 sublime states, i.e. all-embracing kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and
equanimity, in consequence of which allbeings appear perfectly pure and glorified, and
thus the mind turns to the beautiful.
See Pts.M. II, Vimokkha-kathā; Atthasālini Tr., p. 255; App.
vimutti: 'deliverance', is of 2 kinds: deliverance of mind (ceto-vimutti, q.v.)
and deliverance through wisdom (pa˝˝ā-vimutti, q.v.).
'Deliverance of mind', in the highest sense, is that kind of concentration (samādhi)
which is bound up with the path of Arahatship (arahatta-magga); 'deliverance
through wisdom' is the knowledge (˝āna) bound up with the fruition of Arahatship
(arahatta-phala). Cf. A. V, 142.
There are also 5 kinds of deliverance, identical with the 5 kinds of overcoming (pahāna,
vinipāta: 'world of suffering', is another name for the 4 woeful courses (duggati;
s. gati) of existence, and for the 4 lower worlds (apāya, q.v.).
The Stream-Winner (sotāpanna, q.v.) is no longer subject to rebirth in them (avinipāta-dhamma).
vi˝˝āna: 'consciousness', is one of the 5 groups of existence
(aggregates; khandha, q.v.); one of the 4 nutriments (āhāra, q.v.); the
3rd link of the dependent origination (paticcasamuppāda, q.v.); the 5th in the
sixfold division of elements (dhātu, q.v.).
Viewed as one of the 5 groups (khandha), it is inseparably linked with the 3
other mental groups (feeling, perception and formations) and furnishes the bare cognition
of the object, while the other 3 contribute more specific functions. Its ethical and
karmic character, and its greater or lesser degree of intensity and clarity, are chiefly
determined by the mental formations associated with it.
Just like the other groups of existence, consciousness is a flux (vi˝˝āna-sotā, 'stream
of c.') and does not constitute an abiding mind-substance; nor is it a transmigrating
entity or soul. The 3 characteristies (s. ti-lakkhana), impermanence, suffering and
no-self, are frequently applied to it in the texts (e.g., in the Anattalakkhana Sutta,
S.XXII, 59). The Buddha often stressed that "apart from conditions, there is no
arising of consciousness' (M 38); and all these statements about its nature hold good for
the entire range of consciousness, be it "past, future or presently arisen, gross or
subtle, in oneself or external, inferior or lofty, far or near" (S. XXII, 59).
According to the 6 senses it divides into 6 kinds, viz. eye- (or visual) consciousness (cakkhu-v.),
etc. About the dependent arising of these 6 kinds of consciousness, Vis.M XV, 39 says:
'Conditioned through the eye, the visible object, light and attention, eye-consciousness
arises. Conditioned through the ear, the audible object, the ear-passage and attention,
ear-consciousness arises. Conditioned, through the nose, the olfactive object, air and
attention, nose-consciousness arises. Conditioned through the tongue, the gustative
object, humidity and attention, tongue-consciousness arises. Condlitioned through the
body, bodily impression, the earth-element and attention, body-consciousness arises.
Conditioned through the subconscious mind (bhavanga-mano), the mind-object and
attention, mind-consciousness arises."
The Abhidhamma literature distinguishes 89 crasses of consciousness, being either
karmically wholesome, unwholesome or neutral, and belonging either to the sense-sphere,
the fine-material or the immaterial sphere, or to supermundane consciousness. See Table I.
vi˝˝āna-kicca: 'functions of consciousness', as exercised within a process of
consciousness or cognitive series (cittavīthi). In the Abhidhamma Com. and Vis.M
XIV the following functions are mentioned: rebirth (patisandhi), subconsciousness (bhavanga),
advertence (āvajjana), seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, body-consciousness;
recciving (sampaticchana), investigating (santīrana), determining (votthapana),
impulsion (javana), registering (tadārammana), dying (cuti).
A single unit of sense-perception (e.g. visual consciousness), being conditioned
through a sense-organ and its corresponding object, forms in reality an extremely complex
process, in which all the single phases of consciousness follow one upon another in rapid
succession, while performing their respective functions, e.g.:
"As soon as a visible object has entered the range of vision, it acts on the
sensitive eye-organ (cakkhu-pasāda), and conditioned thereby an excitation of the
subconscious stream (bhavanga-sota) takes place.
"As soon, however, as subconsciousness is broken off, the functional mind-element
(s. Tab. I, 70), grasping the object and breaking through the subconscious stream,
performs the function of 'adverting' the mind towards the object (āvajjana).
"Immediately thereupon there arises at the eye-door, and based on the
sensitive eye-organ, the eye-consciousness, while performing the function of 'seeing' (dassana)....
Immediately thereafter there arises the mind-element (Tab
I, 39, 55) performing the function of 'receiving' (sampaticchana) the object of
''Immediately thereafter there arises... the mind-consciousness-element (Tab. I, 40,
41, 56), while 'investigating' (santirana) the object received by the
"Immediately thereafter there arises the functional, rootless
mind-consciousness-element (Tab. I, 71), accompanied by indifference, while performing the
function of 'determining' (votthapana) the object......
"Now, if the object is large, then immediately afterwards there flash forth 6 or 7
'impulsive moments' (javana-citta), constituted by one of the 8 wholesome, or 12
unwholesome, or 9 functional classes of consciousness (Tab. I, 1-8; 22-23; 72-80).
''Now, if at the end of the impulsive moments, the object at the five-sense doors is
very large, and at the mind-door clear, then there arises, once or twice, one of the 8
root-accompanied, karma-resultant classes of consciousness (Tab. I, 42-49) of the
sense-sphere, or one of the 3 rootless karma-resultant mind-consciousness-elements (Tab.
I, 40, 41, 56).... Because this consciousness after the vanishing of the impulsive
moments, possesses the faculty continuing with the object of the subconsciousness, taking
the object of the subconsciousness as its own object, therefore it is called 'registering'
(tadārarmmana, lit. 'that object', or 'having that as object')" (Vis.M XIV,
If, however, the sense-object is weak, then it reaches merely the stage of 'impulsion'
(javana), or of 'determining' (votthapana); if very weak, only an excitation ot
the subconsciousness takes place.
The proeess of the inner or mind-consciousness, i.e. without participation of the 5
physical senses, is as follows: in the case that the mind-objeet entering the mind-door is
distinct, then it passes through the stages of 'advertence at the mind-door' (manodvārāvajjana),
the 'impulsive stage' and the 'registering stage', before finally sinking into the
subconscious stream. - (App.: citta-vīthi).
Literature: Aids to the Abhidhamma Philosophy, by Dr. C.B Dharmasena
(with colour chart of the Cognitive Series; WHEEL 63/64). - The Psychology and Philosophy
of Buddhism, by Dr. W. F. Javasuriya (Buddhist Missionary Socy., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).
vi˝˝āna˝cāyatana: 'sphere of boundless consciousn is a name for the
2nd meditiative absorption in the immateria sphere (s. jhāna, 6).
vi˝˝āna-tthiti: 'abodes or supports of consciousness'. The texts describe 7
such abodes (e.g. A. VII, 41):
(1) "There are beings who are different in body and different in perception, such
as men, some heavenly beings, and some beings living in states of suffering (s. apāya).
This is the 1st abode of consciousness.
(2) "There are beings who are different in body but equal in perception, such as
the first-born gods of the Brahmaworld (s. deva II). This is the 2nd abode of
(3) "There are beings who are equal in body but different in perception, such as
the Radiant Gods (ābhassara-deva). This is the 3rd abode of consciousness.
(4) ''There are beings who are equal in body and equal in perception, such as the
All-illuminating Gods (subhakinha-deva). This is the 4th abode of consciousness.
(5) "There are beings ... reborn in the sphere of boundless space. This is the 5th
abode of consciousness.
(6) "There are beings ... reborn in the sphere of boundless consciousness. This is
the 6th abode of consciousness.
(7) There are beings... reborn in the sphere of nothingness. This is the 7th abode of
About the 3 last-named spheres, s. jhāna (5-7). Cf. sattāvāsa.
In D. 33 there are mentioned 4 vi˝˝āna-tthiti, apparently in the sense of
'bases' of consciousness, namely: corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations,
which in S. XXII, 53 are further explained.
vi˝˝atti: (lit. 'making known') 'intimation', is an Abhidhamma term for bodily
expression (kāya-vi˝˝atti) and verbal expression (vacī-vi˝˝atti), both
belonging to the corporeality-group. They are produced by the co-nascent volition, and are
therefore, as such, purely physical and not to be confounded with karma (q.v.), which as
such is something mental. Cf. Kath. 80, 100, 101, 103, 194 (s. Guide V). - (App.).
"One speaks of 'bodily expression', because it makes known an intention by means
of bodily movement, and can itself be understood by the bodily movement which is said to
" 'Verbal expression' is so called because it makes known an intention by means of
a speech-produced noise" (Vis.M XIV).
vipacita˝˝u (or vipa˝cita˝˝u): 'one who realizes the truth after
explanation.' Thus is called one who realizes the truth only after detailed explanation of
that which already had been said to him in a concise form. Cf. ugghatita˝˝u.
vipāka: 'karma-result', is any karmically (morally) neutral mental
phenomenon (e.g. bodily agreeable or painful feeling, sense-consciousness, etc. ), which
is the result of wholesome or unwholesome volitional action (karma, q.v.) through body,
speech or mind, done either in this or some previous life. Totally wrong is the belief
that, according to Buddhism, everything is the result of previous action. Never, for
example, is any karmically wholesome or unwholesome volitional action the result of former
action, being in reality itself karma. On this subject s. titthāyatana, karma,
Tab. I; Fund II. Cf. A. III, 101; Kath. 162 (Guide, p. 80).
Karma-produced (kammaja or kamma-samutthāna) corporeal things are never
called kamma-vipāka, as this term may be applied only to mental phenomena.
vipāka-paccaya: 'karma-result condition' is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya,
vipallāsa: 'perversions' or 'distortions'. - ''There are 4 perversions which
may be either of perception (sa˝˝ā-vipallāsa), of consciousness (citta v.)
or of views (ditthi-v.). And which are these four? To regard what is impermanent (anicca)
as permanent; what is painful (dukkha) as pleasant (or happiness-yielding); what is
without a self (anattā) as a self; what is impure (ugly: asubha) as pure or
beautiful'' (A. IV, 49). - See Manual of Insight, by Ledi Sayadaw (WHEEL 31/32). p.5.
"Of the perversions, the following are eliminated by the 1st path-knowledge (sotāpatti):
the perversions of perception, consciousness and views, that the impermanent is permanent
and what is not a self is a self; further, the perversion of views that the painful is
pleasant, and the impure is pure. By the 3rd path-knowledge (anāgāmitā) are
eliminated: the perversions of perception and consciousness that the impure is pure. By
the 4th path-knowledge (arahatta) are eliminated the perversions of perception and
consciousness that the painful is pleasant" (Vis.M XXII, 68).
viparināmānupassanā: 'contemplation of change' (of all things), is one of the
18 chief kinds of insight (vipassanā, q.v.).
vipassanā: 'insight', is the intuitive light flashing forth and exposing the
truth of the impermanency, the suffering and the impersonal and unsubstantial nature of
all corporeal and mental phenomena of existence. It is insight-wisdom (vipassanā-pa˝˝ā)
that is the decisive liberating factor in Buddhism, though it has to be developed
along with the 2 other trainings in morality and concentration. The culmination of insight
practice (s. visuddhi VI) leads directly to the stages of holiness (s. visuddhi
Insight is not the result of a mere intellectual understanding, but is won through
direct meditative observation of one's own bodily and mental processes. In the
commentaries and the Vis.M, the sequene in developing insight-meditation is given as
follows: 1. discernment of the corporeal (rūpa), 2. of the mental (nāma), 3.
contemplation of both (nāmarūpa; i.e. of their pairwise occurrence in actual
events, and their interdependence), 4. both viewed as conditioned (application of the
dependent origination, paticcasamuppāda), 5. application of the 3 characteristics
(impermanency, etc.) to mind-and-body-cum-conditions.
The stages of gradually growing insight are described in the 9insight- knowledges
(vipassanā-˝āna), constituting the 6th stage of purification: beginning with the
'knowledge of rise and fall' and ending with the 'adaptation to Truth'. For details, see visuddhi
VI and Vis.M XXI.
Eighteen chief kinds of insight-knowledge (or principal insights, mahā-vipassanā)
are listed and described in Vis.M XXII, 113: (1) contemplation of impermanence
(aniccānupassanā), (2) of suffering (dukkhānupassanā), (3) of no self (anattānupnupassanā),
(4) of aversion (nibbidānupassanā). (5) of detachment (virāgānupassanā),
(6) of extinction (nirodhānupassanā), (7) of abandoning (patinissaggānupassanā),
(8) of waning (khayānupassanā), (9) of vanishing (vayānupassanā), (10)
of change (viparināmānupassanā), (11) of the unconditioned (or signless, animittānupassanā),
(12) of desirelessness (apanihitānupassanā), (13) of emptiness (su˝˝atāupassanā),
(14) insight into phenomena which is higher wisdom (adhipa˝˝ā-dhamma-vipassanā),
(15) knowledge and vision according to reality (yathā-bhūta-˝ānadassana), (16)
contemplation of misery (or danger, ādīnavānupassanā), (17) reflecting
contemplation (patisankhānupassanā), (18) contemplation of turning away (vivattanānupassanā).
Through these 18, the adverse ideas and views are overcome, for which reason this
way of overcoming is called 'overcoming by the opposite' (tadanga-pahāna,
overcoming this factor by that). Thus (1) dispels the idea of permanence. (2) the idea of
happiness, (3) the idea of self, (4) lust, (5) greed, (6) origination, (7) grasping, (8)
the idea of compactness, (9) karma-accumulation, (10) the idea of lastingness, (11) the
conditions, (12) delight, (13) adherence, (14) grasping and adherence to the idea of
substance, (15) attachment and adherence, (17) thoughtlessness, (18) dispels entanglement
Insight may be either mundane (lokiya, q.v.) or supermundane (lokuttara, q.v.).
Supermundane insight is of 3 kinds: (1) joined with one of the 4 supermundane paths, (2)
joined with one of the fruitions of these paths, (3) regarding the extinction, or rather
suspension, of consciousness (s. nirodha-samāpatti).
See samatha-vipassanā, visuddhi, III-VII.
Literature: Manual of Insight, by Ledi Sayadaw (WHEL 31/32). Practical Insight
Meditation, Progress of Insight, both by Mahāsi Sayadaw (BPS). The Experience of Insight,
by Joseph Goldstein (BPS).
vipassanā-yānika = sukkha-vipassaka (q.v.).
vipassanūpakkilesa: 'imperfections of insight'; s. visuddhi.
vipatti: 'aberration' or 'deviation', may be: deviation from morality
(sīla-vipatti), or deviation from understanding (ditthivipatti).
"To deviate in deeds, or in words, or in both deeds and words: this is called
deviation from morality.
" 'Alms and offerings are useless, there is no fruit and result of good and bad
actions, there are no such things as this and the next life' .... Such wrong views are
called deviation from understanding." (Pug. 67, 68)
vippayutta-paccaya: 'dissociation', is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya, q.v.).
virāga: 'fading away', detachment; absence of lust, dispassionateness. Appears
frequently together with nirodha, 'cessation' (1) as a name for Nibbāna, (2) in
the contemplations (a) forming the 4th tetrad in the exercises in mindfulness of breathing
(s. ānāpānasati 14), (b) of the 18 principal insights (No. 5); s. vipassanā.
According to Com., it may mean (1) the momentary destruction of phenomena, or (2) the
ultimate 'fading away', i.e. Nibbāna. In the aforementioned two contemplations, it means
the understanding of both, and the path attained by such understanding.
virāgānupassanā: s. prec.
virati: the 3 'abstentions' or abstinences, are: abstention from wrong speech,
wrong (bodily) action and wrong livelihood; corresponding to right speech, action and
livelihood of the 8-fold Path (s. magga, 3-5). By abstention is not simply meant
the non-occurrence of the evil things in question, but the deliberate abstaining
therefrom, whenever occasion arises. They belong to the 'secondary' (not constant) mental
concomitants obtaining in lofty consciousness (s. Tab. II). Cf. sīla.
virility: s. bhāva.
viriya: 'energy', lit. 'virility', 'manliness' or 'heroism' (from vīra,
man, hero; Lat. vir; cf. virtus), is one of the 5 spiritual faculties and
powers (s. bala), one of the 7 factors of enlightenment (s. bojjhanga) and
identical with right effort of the 8-fold Path (s. magga). For further
explanations, s. padhāna.
viriya-sambojjhanga: 'energy as factor of enlightenment', is one of the 7
factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga, q.v.).
virtue: s. sīla.
visesa-bhāgiya-sīla: (-samādhi, -pa˝˝ā): morality
(concentration, wisdom) connected with progress'. For details, s. hānabhāgiya-sīla.
visible object: s. āyatana.
visuddhi: 'purification', purity. The '7 stages of purification' (satta-visuddhi)
form the substructure of Upatissa's Vimutti-Magga (The Path To Freedom), preserved only in
Chinese, as well as of Buddhaghosa's monumental work, Visuddhi-Magga (The Path of
Purification), based on the former work.
The only place in the Canon where these 7 kinds of purification are mentioned is M. 24,
"The Simile of the Stage-coach" (s. 'Path', ž64), wherein their purpose and
goal are illustrated. There it is said that the real and ultimate goal does not consist in
purification of morality, or of mind, or of view, etc., but in total deliverance and
extinction. Now, just as one mounts the first coach and travels to the second coach, then
mounts the second coach and travels with it to the third coach, etc., in exactly the same
way the goal of (I) the purification of morality (sila-visuddhi) is (II) the
purification of mind (citta-visuddhi); its goal: (III) the purification of view
(ditthi-visuddhi); its goal: (IV) the purification by overcoming doubt (kankhāvitarana-visuddhi);
its goal: (V) the purification by knowledge and vision of what is path and not-path (maggāmagga-˝ānadassana-visuddhi);
its goal: (VI) the purification by knowledge and vision of the path-progress (patipadā-˝ānadassana-visuddhi);
its goal: (VII) the purification of knowledge and vision (˝ānadassana-visuddhi); but
the goal of this purification is deliverance freed from all clinging.
(I) "Purification of morality (sīla-visuddhi) consists of the 4-fold
purity of morality (catu-pārisuddhi-sīla), namely: restraint with regard to the
Disciplinary Code (pātimokkhasamvara-sīla), sense-restraint
(indriysamvara-sīla), purity of livelihood (ājīvapārisuddhi-sīla),
morality with regard to the 4 requisites (paccaya-sannissita-sīla)" (Vis.M
XVIII). On these 4 terms, s. sīla. - In the case of a layman, it entails the
observance of whatever moral rules (5 or more) he has taken upon himself.
(II) "Purification of mind (citta-visuddhi) is a name for the 8 attainments
(= absorptions: jhāna, q.v.), as well as for neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi;
s. samādhi)." (ib.).
(III) "By purification of view (ditthi-visuddhi) is meant the
understanding, according to reality, of mind and corporeality (nāmarūpa, q.v.)...
which is founded on undeludedness (wisdom) as base, and which in manifold ways determines
mind and corporeality after overcoming all belief in a persollality (attā: self,
(IV) "By purification by overcoming doubt (kankhā-vitarana-visuddhi) is
meant the understanding which, by grasping the conditions of this mind and corporeality,
has escaped from all doubt with regard to the 3 times (past, present, future)." (ib.
(V) "By purification by knowledge and vision of what is path and not-path (maggāmagga-˝ānadassana-visuddhi)
is meant that understanding which knows the right path from the wrong path: 'This is
the right path, that the wrong path.' " (ib. XX)
In order to attain this 5th stage of purification, one at first should develop
methodical insight (naya-vipassanā), i.e. through contemplation of the 5 groups of
existence (khandha, q.v.). For whosoever does not yet possess a perfectly developed
insight, to him such phenomena as effulgence of light, etc. (see below), arising during
insight, may become impediments in the 3 kinds of full understanding here considered (s. pari˝˝ā).
'As soon as the manifold ways and characteristics of the 4 Truths (sacca) and
the dependent origination (paticcasamuppāda) have become clear to the meditating
disciple, he says to himself: Thus do these things never before arisen arise, and having
arisen they disappear again. Thus do the formations of existence ever and again arise as
something quite new. But not only are they something new, they are moreover also of
limited duration, like a dew-drop at sunrise, like a bubble, like a line drawn with a
stick in the water, like a mustard seed placed on the point of an arrow, or like a flash
of lightning. Also as something unsubstantial and empty do they appear, as jugglery, as a
mirage .... Merely something subject to vanishing arises, and having arisen disappears
During such insight practice, however, may arise the 10 imperfections (or defilements)
of insight (vipassanūpakkilesa): effulgence of light (obhāsa), knowledge (˝āna),
rapture (pīti), tranquillity (passaddhi), happiness (sukha), determination
(adhimokkha), energy (paggaha), awareness (upatthāna), delight
(nikanti). - See Vis.M XX, 105f. (App.).
Excepting the last one, 'delight', they are not imperfections or defilements in
themselves, but may become a basis for them through the arising of pride or delight or by
a wrong conclusion that one of the holy paths has been attained. He, however, who is
watchful and experienced in insight practice, will know that these states of mind do not
indicate attainment of the true path, but are only symptoms or concomitants of insight
"Thus far the meditating disciple has determined 3 of the truths, namely while
determining the corporeal and mental phenomena he has, through purification of view (ditthi-visuddhi),
determined the 'truth of suffering'. While grasping the conditions he has, through
purification by overcoming doubt (kankhā-vitarana-visuddhi), determined the 'truth
of the origin of suffering'. While determining the right path, he has, through
purification by knowledge and vision of what is path and not-path (maggāmagga-˝ānadassana-visuddhi),
determined the 'truth of the path' (leading to the extinction of suffering)."
(VI) Purification by knowledge and vision of the path-progress (patipadā-˝ānadassana-visuddhi)
is the insight perfected in 8 kinds of knowledge, together with the 9th knowledge, the
'knowledge adapting itself to truth'.
By the 8 kinds of knowledge are here meant the following, which are freed from
defilements, follow the right process, and are considered as insight, namely:
1. knowledge consisting in contemplation of rise and fall (udayabbayānupassanā-˝āna),
2. in contemplation of dissolution (bhangānupassanā-˝āna),
3. in awareness of terror (or the fearful) (bhayatūpatthānā-˝āna),
4. in contemplation of misery (ādīnavānupassanā-˝āna),
5. in contemplation of aversion (nibbidānupassanā-˝āna),
6. in the desire for deliverance (muccitu-kamyatā-˝āna),
7. in reflecting contemplation (patisankhānupassanā-˝āna),
8. in equanimity regarding all formations of existence (sankhārupekkhā-˝āna)
- which is followed by
9. in adaptation to truth (saccānulomika-˝āna).
(1) consists in the meditative observation of the 3 characteristics of existence
(impermanence, suffering, no self) in one's own bodily and mental processes. As long as
the mind is still disturbed by the 10 imperfections (s. V), the 3 characteristics will not
become fully clear in their true nature. Only when the mind is free from these
imperfections can the characteristics be observed clearly.
(2) When through such repeated practice, knowledge and mindfulness have grown keen and
the bodily and mental formations become apparent quickly, at that stage the phase of
dissolution of these formations will become prominent.
"Consciousness with (e.g.) materiality as its object arises and dissolves. Having
reflected on that object, he contemplates the dissolution of (reflecting)
consciousness." (Pts.M. I, 57, quoted in Vis.M XXI, 11).
The 8 blessings of this knowledge are: abandoning the belief in eternal existence (bhava-ditthi),
giving up attachment to life, constant right application (of mind to meditative
endeavour), a purified livelihood, overcoming of anxiety, absence of fear, acquisition of
forbearance and gentleness, conquest of discontent and sensual delight (Vis.M XXI, 28).
(3) Knowledge consisting in awareness of terror (or fearfulness) is the seeing of
terror in the conditions as well as the continuity of existence. For whoso considers the
formations as impermanent, to him the conditions of existence (i.e. the karma-formations
producing ever new existence) appear as terror, as driving towards death. Whoso considers
the formations as misery, to him the continuity of existence appears as terror, as
something oppressive. Whoso considers the formations as impersonal, to him the
karmaformations, as well as the continuity of existence, appear as terror, as an empty
village, as a mirage, etc.
(4) Contemplation of misery (or danger) is another aspect of the awareness of terror:
"The origin (of existence) is terror ... continuance of existence is terror ...
arising is suffering', such understanding in the awareness of terror is the knowledge of
misery. 'Non-arising is bliss', this is knowledge of the peaceful state (Pts.M. I, 59);
that is, the no-more-arising is safety, is happiness, is Nibbāna.
(5) Contemplation of aversion means: aversion for all formations as terror, therefore
its name 'awareness of terror' has come into use. Because it has made known the misery of
all these formations, therefore it has received the name of 'contemplation of misery' (ādīnavānupassanā).
Because it has arisen through aversion for those formations, therefore it is known as
'contemplation of aversion' (nibbidānupassanā).
(6) Knowledge consisting in the desire for deliverance means: the desire for
freedom and escape from all formations of existence.. For feeling aversion for all
formations, becoming weary of them, finding no more delight in them, the mind does not
cling to a single one of all these formations.
(7) Reflecting contemplation is the repeated meditative discernment of the formations
of existence, attributing to them the 3 characteristics of existence, with the desire to
find deliverance from all forms of existence.
(8) Equanimity regarding all formations: "When the meditator (through reflecting
contemplation) has discerned the formations by applying the 3 characteristics to them and
sees them as void, he abandons both terror and delight, and becomes indifferent and
equanimous with regard to all formations; he neither takes them as I nor as 'mine'; he is
like a man who has divorced his wife" (Vis.M XXI, 61).
Now, while continuing to contemplate the 3 characteristics of existence and perceiving
the tranquil lot of Nibbāna as the peace, this equanimity-knowledge becomes the triple
gateway to liberation. As it is said (Pts.M. II, p. 48):
"Three gateways to liberation (vimokkha-mukha; s. vimokkha I) lead
to escape from the world, namely: that the mind is contemplating all formations as
limited, and is rushing forward to the conditionless element (animitta-dhātu); that
the mind is stirred with regard to all formations of existence, and is rushing forward to
the desireless element (appanihita-dhātu); that the mind sees all things as
something foreign, and is rushing forward to the void element
At this stage, and through the triple gateway, the diversification of path
attainment takes place, according to the 7 kinds of noble persons (ariya-puggala, q.v.);
on this see Vis.M XXI, 74ff.
The 6th, 7th and 8th knowledges, according to Vis.M XXI, form really only one single
knowledge in its first, middle and final stages of development. This knowledge is also
known as the 'insight leading to path ascent' (vutthāna-gāminī-vipassanā,
(9) Adaptation to truth (or conformity with truth) is called that knowledge which,
while contemplating impermanency, etc. adapts itself to the preceding 8 kinds of
insight-knowledge, as well as to the immediately following supermundane path and to the 37
elements pertaining to enlightenment (bodhipakkhiya-dhamma, q.v.). It is identical
with adaptation-knowledge (anuloma˝āna).
"Whosoever has cultivated, developed, and frequently practised 'equanimity
regarding all formations' in him arises very strong faith known as determination (adhimokkha-saddhā)
and his energy is better exerted, his mindfulness better established, his mind better
concentrated, and a still stronger 'equanimity regarding the formations' arises. 'Now the
path will reveal itself', thus thinking, the meditator contemplates with his
equanimity-knowledge all formations as impermanent, etc., and thereafter that knowledge
sinks into the subconscious stream of existence (s. bhavanga-sotā). Immediately
afterwards there arises advertence at the mind-door (s. vi˝˝āna-kicca). And just
like equanimity-knowledge, the adaptation-knowledge, too, takes as its object the
formations, regarding them as something impermanent, miserable and impersonal. Thereupon,
while continuing the uninterrupted continuity of consciousness (citta-santati),
there arises the 1st impulsive moment (javana, q.v.), called 'preparation' (parikamma),
taking the same formations as object. Immediately thereafter, with the same formations
as object, there arises the 2nd impulsive moment, known as 'access' (upacāra). And
again immediately after that, there arises the impulsive moment called 'adaptation' (anuloma)."
(VII) Purification of knowledge and vision (˝ānadassana-visuddhi) is the
knowledge associated with any of the 4 kinds of supermundane path-consciousness (s. ariyapuggala).
"Immediately upon this adaptation-knowledge there arises the
'maturity-knowlege' (gotrabhū-˝āna; s. gotrabhū) taking as object the
Unconditioned, the standstill of existence, the absence of becoming, cessation, Nibbāna,
while at the same time transcending the rank (gotta = gotra: lineage), designation and
plane of the worldling (puthujjana, q.v.), and entering the rank, designation and
plane of the Noble Ones (ariya), being the first turning towards Nibbāna as
object, the first thinking of it, the first concentration on it, and the condition for the
path ... forming the culmination of insight, and never as such coming back again.
''As the immediate continuation following upon that maturity knowledge (gotrabhū-˝āna),
there arises the first path-consciousness (Stream-entrance) forever destroying the first 3
of the 10 fetters of existence (samyojana, q.v.), and closing the entrance to the
lower worlds. Immediately after this path-knowledge, there arise, as its result, 2 or 3
path-produced states of consciousness, the fruitional consciousness (phala-citta). Immediately
after the sinking of this consciousness into the subconscious stream of existence, the
retrospective knowledge (paccavekkhana-˝āna, q.v.) arises, having the
path-consciousness as its object" (Vis.M XXI). For the 3 higher paths, s. ariya-puggala.
Each of the 4 kinds of path-consciousness performs at the one and the same time 4
functions, namely: the function of full understanding (pari˝˝ā, q.v.) of
suffering, the function of overcoming (pahāna, q.v.) the origin of suffering, the
function of realizing (sacchikiriyā) the extinction of suffering, the function of
developing (bhāvanā, q.v.) the supermundane Noble Eightfold Path (magga,
See Path of Purification, by Buddhaghosa, tr. by Đyanamoli (BPS); Path of Freedom, by
vitakka: 'thought', 'thought-conception', is one of the 'secondary' (not
constant) mental concomitants (s. Tab. II), and may be either karmically wholesome,
unwholesome or neutral. - "There are 3 karmically unwholesome (akusala)
thoughts: sensuous thought (kāma-vitakka), hating thought (byāpāda-v.),
and cruel thought (vihimsa-v.). There are 3 karmically wholesome (kusala) thoughts:
thought of renunciation (nekkhamma-v.), of hatelessness (avyāpāda-v.), of
not harming (avihimsā-v.) " The latter three constitute 'right thought', the
2nd link of the 8-fold Path (s. magga 2).
On the 'Removal of Distracting Thoughts' (vitakka-santhāna), s. M. 20 (tr. in
vitakka-vicāra: 'thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
sustained thought') are verbal functions (vacī-sankhāra: s. sankhāra) of
the mind, the so-called 'inner speech ('parole interieure'). They are constituents
of the 1st absorption (s. jhāna), but absent in the higher absorptions.
(1) "Thought-conception (vitakka) is the laying hold of a thought, giving
it attention. Its characteristic consists in fixing the consciousness to the object.
(2) "Discursive thinking (vicāra) is the roaming about and moving to and fro of
the mind.... It manifests itself as continued activity of mind" (Vis.M IV).
(1) is compared with the striking against a bell, (2) with its resounding; (1) with the
seizing of a pot, (2) with wiping it. (Cf. Vis . IV.).
vitality: jīvitindriya; s. indriya, khandha (corporeality, mental
formations), Tab. II.
vīthi = citta-vīthi: 'process of consciousness'; s. vi˝˝ānakicca.
vivatta: 'absence of the cycle of existence' (vatta, q.v.),
standstill of existence, is a name for Nibbāna (s. nibbāna). - (App.).
vivatta-kappa: s. kappa.
vivattanānupassanā: 'contemplation of the turning away', is one of the 18
chief kinds of insight (vipassanā, q.v.). - (App.).
viveka: 'detachment', seclusion, is according to Niddesa, of 3 kinds: (1) bodily
detachment (kāya-viveka), i.e. abiding in solitude free from alluring sensuous
objects; (2) mental detachment (citta-viveka), i.e. the inner detachment from
sensuous things; (3) detachment from the substrata of existence (upadhi-viveka).
In the description of the 1st absorption, the words "detached from sensuous
things" (vivicc' eva kāmehi) refer, according to Vis.M IV, to 'bodily
detachment'; the words "detached from karmically unwholesome things" (vivicca
akusalehi dhammehi) refer to 'mental detachment'; the words "born of
detachment" (vivekaja), to the absence of the 5 hindrances.
viveka-sukha: 'happiness of detachment', or aloofness (s. prec). "Whoso is
addicted to society and worldly bustle, he will not partake of the happiness of
renunciation, detachment, peace and enlightenment" (A. VII, 86).
vodāna: 'cleansing', may refer either to (1) morality (sīla), or (2)
concentration (samādhi), or (3) wisdom (pa˝˝ā).
(1) "Cleansing of morality takes place in 2 ways: by understanding the misery of
moral deviation (sīla-vipatti; s. vipatti) and by understanding the
blessing of moral perfection (sīla-sampatti)" (s. Vis.M I).
(2) Cleansing of concentration is concentration connected with progress (visesa-bhāgiya-samādhi;
s. hāna-bhāgiya). If, for example, one has entered the 1st absorption, and
sensuous perceptions and reflections arise, in that case there is concentration connected
with decline ... If, however, perceptions and reflections free from thought-conception and
discursive thinking (2nd jhāna; q.v.) arise, in that case there is concentration
connected with progress.
(3) Cleansing, with reference to wisdom, is identical with the 'insight leading to the
(path) ascent' (vutthāna-gāminī-vipassanā, q.v.), which arises at the stage of
'purification by knowledge and vision of the path-progress' (s. visuddhi VI), and
is followed immediately by the maturity moment and the entrance into the supermundane
vohāra-desanā: 'conventional exposition', as distinguished from an explanation
true in the highest sense (paramattha-desanā, q.v.). It is also called sammuti-sacca
(in Sanskrit samvrti). (App.).
void-deliverance; s. ceto-vimutti.
vokāra: s. pa˝ca-vokāra-bhava.
volition: cetanā (q.v.).
votthapana-citta: 'determining consciousness', is that mindelement (functioning
independently of karma; s. Tab. I, 70). which in the process of sense-perception performs
the function of determining the sense-object. It is one of the 14 functions of
consciousness (vi˝˝āna-kicca, q.v.).
vutthāna-gāminī-vipassanā: 'insight leading to (path) ascent'. It is also
called 'cleansing' (vodāna, q.v.), and according to Pts.M. II, 64, it is a name
for 3 kinds of insight-knowledge, namely: knowledge consisting in the desire for
deliverance (muccitu-kamyatā-˝āna; s. visuddhi VI 6);
reflecting-contemplation-knowledge (patisankhānupassanā-˝āna; ib. VI, 7); and
knowledge consisting in equanimity regarding all formations (sankhārupekkhā-˝āna; s.
visuddhi VI, 8).
It arises at the stage of 'purification by knowledge and vision of the path-progress'
(s. visuddhi VI), and is followed immediately by the maturity moment and the
entrance into the supermundane paths.
" 'Ascent' (vutthāna) is the supermundane path (s. ariya-puggala)
since it rises above the object forming the external foundation (of insight; i.e. the
external 5 groups of existence), in which object one's mind was absorbed, and also rises
above one's own continuity (one's own 5 groups of existence, or khandha, q.v.)
together with its defilements. By reason of its leading upwards to the supermundane path,
this insight is called 'ascending insight'. That it passes on to the path: that is the
meaning implied" (Vis.M XXI, 83f.). (App.).
vyāpāda: 'ill-will', is a synonym of dosa (s. mūla); it is one
of the 5 hindrances (nīvarana, q.v.) and one of the 10 fetters (samyojana,
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