The Discourse giving the Analysis of the Topics

Arthaviniścayasūtram

9. The Four Formless Attainments

Herein, monastics, what are the four formless attainments?

  1. Here, monastics, a monastic, having completely transcended perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of (sensory) impact, not attending to perceptions of variety, (understanding): ‘This is endless space’, abides in the sphere of endless space.

  2. Having completely transcended the sphere of endless space, (understanding): ‘This is endless consciousness,’ he abides in the sphere of endless consciousness.

  3. Having completely transcended the sphere of endless consciousness, (understanding): ‘This is nothing,’ he abides in the sphere of nothingness.

  4. Having completely transcended the sphere of nothingness, he abides in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

These, monastics, are said to be the four formless attainments.