Aṅguttara Nikāya

9. Book of the Nines

37. With Ananda

On one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying in Kosambi at Ghosita’s monastery. There he addressed the monks, “Friend monks!”

“Yes, friend,” the monks replied to him.

Ven. Ananda said, “It is amazing, friends, it is marvelous, how the Blessed One who knows & sees, the worthy one, rightly self-awakened, has attained & recognized the opportunity for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding, where the eye will be, and forms, and yet one will not be sensitive to that dimension; where the ear will be, and sounds… where the nose will be, and aromas… where the tongue will be, and flavors… where the body will be, and tactile sensations, and yet one will not be sensitive to that dimension.”

When this was said, Ven. Udayin said to Ven. Ananda, “Is one percipient when not sensitive to that dimension, my friend, or unpercipient?”

[Ananda:] “One is percipient when not sensitive to that dimension, my friend, not unpercipient.”

[Udayin:] “When not sensitive to that dimension, my friend, one is percipient of what?”

[Ananda:] “There is the case where, with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] ‘Infinite space,’ one enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. This is one way of being percipient when not sensitive to that dimension.

“Then again, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, [perceiving,] ‘Infinite consciousness,’ one enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. This is another way of being percipient when not sensitive to that dimension.

“Then again, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [perceiving,] ‘There is nothing,’ one enters & remains in the dimension of nothingness. This is another way of being percipient when not sensitive to that dimension.

“Once, friend, when I was staying in Saketa at the Game Refuge in the Black Forest, the nun Jatila Bhagika went to where I was staying, and on arrival—having bowed to me—stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to me: ‘The concentration whereby—neither pressed down nor forced back, nor with fabrication kept blocked or suppressed—still as a result of release, contented as a result of standing still, and as a result of contentment one is not agitated: This concentration is said by the Blessed One to be the fruit of what?’

“I said to her, ‘Sister, the concentration whereby—neither pressed down nor forced back, nor with fabrication kept blocked or suppressed—still as a result of release, contented as a result of standing still, and as a result of contentment one is not agitated: This concentration is said by the Blessed One to be the fruit of gnosis.’ This is another way of being percipient when not sensitive to that dimension.”