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From the Lonaphala Sutta:

Now, a trifling evil act done by what sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment? There is the case where a certain individual is developed in the body, developed in virtue, developed in mind [i.e., painful feelings cannot invade the mind and stay there], developed in discernment: unrestricted, large-hearted, dwelling with the immeasurable. A trifling evil act done by this sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.

What developed in body and developed in mind means, is elaborated in MN36:

"And how is one developed in body and developed in mind? There is the case where a pleasant feeling arises in a well-educated disciple of the noble ones. On being touched by the pleasant feeling, he doesn't become impassioned with pleasure, and is not reduced to being impassioned with pleasure. His pleasant feeling ceases. With the cessation of the pleasant feeling there arises a painful feeling. On being touched with the painful feeling, he doesn't sorrow, grieve, or lament, beat his breast or becomes distraught. When that pleasant feeling had arisen in him, it didn't invade his mind and remain because of his development of the body. When that painful feeling had arisen in him, it didn't invade his mind and remain because of his development of the mind. This is how one is developed in body and developed in mind."

What being developed in virtue (sila) means, is covered by the Five Precepts (and also the Eight Precepts and Ten Precepts), Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood. These links provide more info on these.

However, what does "developed in discernment" mean?

Please also provide references from the scriptures.

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The word translated "developed in discernment" is bhāvitapañño, i.e. increased or developed pañña.

The dictionary entry for pañña says,

of wisdom, endowed with knowledge or insight, possessed of the highest cognition

The dictionary definition lists a lot of places where it's used in various compounds, (possibly describing various types of wisdom or insight) -- including the bhāvita compound, which is used in for example SN 35.127 (in summary, immune to sexual desire, and guarding the senses) and AN 10.24 (in summary, immune to various unwholesome mental factors).

I'd say these describe the effect of wisdom rather than describing the object of wisdom -- but, that's not surprising because what it's describing is "developed wisdom" i.e. the effect of having perfected wisdom.

I guess you'd have to look at other places pañña is used by itself (to find a description of pañña itself), and/or other pañña compounds (for descriptions of the various types of pañña).1

Wikipedia says it means "insight into the three characteristics": quoting Gombrich and others.

It's one of the several perfections (i.e. virtues which can be "perfected" or completed).


1 Not easy to summarise:

  • A search of SuttaCentral returns 500 results -- many from the Abhidamma and so on.
  • AN 8.2 describes 8 different types of discernment (which may confirm my theory that there are many different types or aspects of wisdom, that's it's not a term with a narrow meaning)
  • Pañña is an entire branch of the Threefold Training, so I expect it includes right view and right intention
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Developed in discernment (wisdom) means developed in Noble Right View rather than attached and burdened by the ignoble right view of reincarnation, as explained in MN 117.

It follows a trifling evil act done by this sort of individual is experienced in the here & now and, for the most part, barely appears for a moment.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – ChrisW May 2 '18 at 10:04

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