U Ba Khin, in IMC: Personal Experiences of Candidates, writes some quite interesting "explanatory remarks" about the experiences that Mr. J. Van Amersfoort had during a meditation course.

In those remarks U Ba Khin sees the Parajikan Atthakatha as an authoritative treatise which talks about the "realization of the Truth by an analysis of the kalapas in the body with the lens of Samadhi obtained through Anapana Sati".

I was not able to find the text of that Parajikan Atthakatha, as far I could gather it should be a Vinaya commentary. Does someone have a full English translation of it? I would be interested in how it deals with kalapas.


3 Answers 3


This (Parajikan Atthakatha) is available within Samantapāsādikā more particularly the part called Parajikakanda Atthakatha. The original is published by PTS and available in Pali at the Pariyatti Store. As for an English translation there is: The Inception of Discipline & the Vinaya Nidana: Being a Translation & Edition of the Bahiranidana of Buddhaghosa's Samantapasadika, the Vinaya Commentary (Sacred Books of the Buddhists). (Link to Inception of Discipline N.A. Jayawickrama at Pariyatti Store) I am not sure if this is complete and thorough thought as the original is a 8 volume set which seems to be condensed to 1 volume in the English translation. If you are looking fro free editions both (Pali and english) are available in https://archive.org/ which I have given the links above.

Probably U Ba Khin is referring to the following passage (PDF from Parajikakanda Atthakatha, page 160):

Evaṃ nāmarūpaṃ vavatthapetvā tassa paccayaṃ pariyesati, pariyesanto ca taṃ disvā tīsupi addhāsu nāmarūpassa pavattiṃ ārabbha kaṅkhaṃ vitarati. Vitiṇṇakaṅkho kalāpasammasanavasena tilakkhaṇaṃ āropetvā udayabbayānupassanāya pubbabhāge uppanne obhāsādayo dasa vipassanupakkilese pahāya upakkilesavimuttaṃ paṭipadāñāṇaṃ ‘‘maggo’’ti vavatthapetvā udayaṃ pahāya bhaṅgānupassanaṃ patvā nirantaraṃ bhaṅgānupassanena bhayato upaṭṭhitesu sabbasaṅkhāresu nibbindanto virajjanto vimuccanto yathākkamaṃ cattāro ariyamagge pāpuṇitvā arahattaphale patiṭṭhāya ekūnavīsatibhedassa paccavekkhaṇañāṇassa pariyantappatto sadevakassa lokassa aggadakkhiṇeyyo hoti. Ettāvatā cassa gaṇanaṃ ādiṃ katvā vipassanāpariyosānā ānāpānassatisamādhibhāvanā ca samattā hotīti.

That turns out to be a quote from Visuddhimagga (viii-224 and viii-225), part of a commentary on the first tetrad of anapana meditation. The English Bhikkhu Ñánamoli’s translation is the following:

  1. Having defined mentality-materiality in this way, he seeks its condition. With search he finds it, and so overcomes his doubts about the way of mentalitymateriality’s occurrence in the three divisions of time (Ch. XIX). His doubts being overcome, he attributes the three characteristics [beginning with that of suffering to mentality and materiality], comprehending [them] by groups (XX.2f.); he abandons the ten imperfections of insight beginning with illumination, which arise in the first stages of the contemplation of rise and fall (XX.105f.), and he defines as “the path” the knowledge of the way that is free from these imperfections (XX.126f.). He reaches contemplation of dissolution by abandoning [attention to] arising. When all formations have appeared as terror owing to the contemplation of their incessant dissolution, he becomes dispassionate towards them (Ch. XXI), his greed for them fades away, and he is liberated from them (Ch. XXII). After he has [thus] reached the four noble paths in due succession and has become established in the fruition of Arahantship, he at last attains to the nineteen kinds of reviewing knowledge (XXII.19f.), and he becomes fit to receive the highest gifts from the world with its deities.
  2. At this point his development of concentration through mindfulness of breathing, beginning with counting and ending with looking back (§189) is completed.
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    Thank you, I'll give it a read. Just curious how is it that a Vinaya commentary speaks about kalapas, as reported by U Ba Khin in host.pariyatti.org/treasures/… page 6.
    – robermann
    Jan 15, 2016 at 14:57
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    This also baffled me initially. Many of the cemeteries does this, i.e., refer to Abhidhamma. E.g. Saddharmasagara or Dharmapada Varnana, a later commentary on the Dhammapada is very Abhidhamma heavy. Jan 15, 2016 at 15:04
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    After skimming the book, I can't se any reference to kalapas... Maybe I'm missing something, or UBK was referring to another text...
    – robermann
    Jan 15, 2016 at 15:44
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    The english book most likely an abridged version of the Pali one. Jan 15, 2016 at 15:47
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    A list of commentaries and sub commentaries List of Commentaries to the Tipitaka Jan 15, 2016 at 15:52

Not sure if able to follow, since the question does not provide much further explaining, but Atma could think, that it recognizes the importance that one actually has to face and investigate the circle of birth, aging, death and rebirth as a phenomena seeing within one self, which seem like never been mentioned by the Buddha, speaking of death, moment for moment (kalapa means also time of existence or life).

The Commentary especially the Visuddhimagga, gives much arguments to focus on that and not keeping it different form depending co-arising.

  • I was asking if someone has a the full text of Parajikan Atthakatha (question now made more clear). As for your answer, why do you infer the "Atma" term?
    – robermann
    Jan 15, 2016 at 8:55
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    Atma douts that there is a full translation of the Vinaya commentary in western language, yet even seldom in SEAsian-languages and Atma doubts that Vinayacommentary do transport any essential in regard of Abhidhamma. Maybe some analytical lit. Abhidhamma on kalapas are of use for Mr. Robermann: Kalāpas - Groups of matter, Ayya Agganyani (you may also try to contact Samaneri, Sister is very into Visuddhimagga, Abhidhamma and a Burmes trained Nun in Germany speaking and teaching in english as well. abhidhamma.com S. may maybe know a link and wink.
    – user7586
    Jan 15, 2016 at 10:52

Monk Sarana has been so kind to let me know the existence of an English translation he is aware of (now out of print but digitalized by him):

A Chinese version by Sanghabhadra of Samantapasadika,
Commentary on Pali Vinaya translated into English for the first time
By Prof. P. V. Bapat, Poona
in collaboration with Prof. A. Hirakawa, Tokyo
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, 1970

This is a complete translation of the Chinese version of the Vinaya Commentary, so not exactly corresponding to the Burmese version that U Ba Khin could have used.

The Anapana section starts from page 358 to 381 of the PDF file. I was not able to find a passage similar to what U Ba Khin was mentioning. A possibile candidate may be the following, where after emergence from strong samadhi (fourth jhana) one contemplates its physical base:

[20] [How does he stabilise it? This Bhikkhu emerges from the Fourth
trance. He- firmly grasps the factors of the trance. When he has grasped
this, [he sees that] these factors of trance are depending upon the heartbasis
which, in turn, is based upon the Four Great Elements; the contemplation
upon Four Great Elements is [also] based upon his physical
body. Out of these, the factors of a trance are called non-material and(heart-)
basis and the rest material. The non-material dhammas are to cover consciousness.
Out of these [dhammas ], the Four Great Elements and the like
are material and mind accompanying those material qualities, is nonmaterial.
Or, when he emerges from the samadhi, he notices that the body
and mind are the source ( ... ) of the out-going and in-coming breath.

Incidentally but interestingly, what should be the same passage as translated from the Visuddhimagga and reported in the other answer is here rendered differently:

Thus -he has discriminated Name from Form and then he seeks their causal factors. In all the three worlds, the Name and Form are inseparably joined; they are never severed [from each other]. Regarding this inseparable connection, he begins to have some doubt. But he overcomes that and then notices three characteristic marks. Having noticed these three characteristic marks, he further reflects upon the coming into and passing out of existence. Because of this contemplation upon the coming into and passing out of existence, he first notices the [illusion of] light and gets rid of the ten minor taints of the penetrating insight (vipassana'). [22] When he has got rid of them, there appears the Knowledge of the Path (...). When this has appeared, he abandons thinking of the coming into existence and has his attention directed only to the passing out of existence. Then he again and again reflects upon that characteristic of the passing out of existence and when these two dhammas (coming into and passing out of existence) have now become clear to him, he begins to have a sense of aversion [for all things] in this threefold world. And then in due succession, he attains the Four Paths and reaches the Fruit of Arhatship. He attains the highest stage of the nineteen types of deep knowledge (...) and in this threefold existence consisting of Brahmas, Maras, and Samana-Brahmanas, he reaches the highest stage of being the field of merit (...). Thus is concluded the first tetrad of the detailed explanation of the mindfulness of Anapana [commencing with ] counting.

Also as we can see (in bold) the word "kalāpasammasanavasena" (if even present in the Chinese version) is interpreted differently. Bhikkhu Ñánamoli rendered that as "comprehension by groups", and it seems not related to the kalapas as groups of the four elements, that is to what U Ba Khin was intending.

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