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aññā {pi}

Pāḷi; √ aññā
alt. sp.: IPA: əɲɲɑː, Velthuis: a~n~naa, readable: annyaa, simple: anna
translation ~:
khmer: អញ្ញា
thai: อญฺญา
sinhal.: අඤ්ඤා
burm.: အညာ


[dic] aññā (anna)

aññā: Description welcome. Info can be removed after imput.

ATI Glossary

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Buddhist Dictionary

by late Ven. Nyanalokita Thera:

aññā: 'highest knowledge', gnosis, refers to the perfect knowledge of the Saint (Arahat; see ariya-puggala).

The following passage occurs frequently in the Suttas, when a monk indicates his attainment of Holiness (Arahatta):

“He makes known highest knowledge (aññaṁ byākaroti), thus: 'Rebirth has ceased, fulfilled is the holy life, the task is accomplished, and there is no more of this to come.' ”

The 'faculty of highest knowledge' (aññindriya = aññā-indriya; see indriya), however, is present in six of the eight stages of holiness, that is, beginning with the fruition of Stream-Winning (Sotāpatti-phala) up to the path of Holiness (Arahatta-magga). See Dhammasaṅgaṇi (PTS) 362-364, 505, 553; Indriya Vibhaṅga; “Path” 162.


PTS Dictionary

by the Pali Text Society:


Glossary Thanissaro

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Illustrated Glossary of Pāli Terms

by Ven. Varado Maha Thera:


Aññā: the knowledge of an arahant

Aññā is defined in the dictionaries as follows:

  • PED: ‘knowledge, recognition, perfect knowledge, philosophic insight, knowledge par excellence, viz. Arahantship, saving knowledge, gnosis’
  • DOP: ‘knowledge, philosophic insight, perfect knowledge, i.e. arahatship.’

In fact aññā means to know that one has destroyed birth etc. This is clear in the Kaḷāra Sutta, where the Buddha asks Venerable Sāriputta:

• ’If they were to ask you: “Through what state of deliverance (kathaṁ vimokkhā) have you declared aññā thus: ‘I know that birth is destroyed; the religious life has been fulfilled; what had to be done has been done; there will be no further arising in any state of individual existence?” Being asked thus, how would you answer?’

Sace pana taṁ sāriputta evaṁ puccheyyuṁ kathaṁ vimokkhā pana tayā āvuso sāriputta aññā vyākatā khīṇā jāti vusitaṁ brahmacariyaṁ kataṁ karaṇīyaṁ nāparaṁ itthattāyāti pajānāmi ti. Evaṁ puṭṭho tvaṁ sāriputta kinti vyākareyyāsī ti. (SN ii 54)

Thus, to declare aññā is to declare ‘I know that birth is destroyed etc.’ This is equivalent to declaring arahantship. Therefore, with the support of both dictionaries, this is our rendering for aññā: ‘arahantship.’

Aññā: knowledge [of things according to reality]: Quote 1

The link between aññā and yathābhūta is seen in the following passage, where our intention is to explain the parenthesis (‘[of things according to reality]’):

• On what grounds is a bhikkhu an arahant with perceptually obscuring states destroyed, one who has fulfilled [the religious life], done what had to be done, laid down the burden, achieved his objective, destroyed the ties to individual existence, and is liberated [from perceptually obscuring states] through the complete knowledge [of things according to reality] (sammadaññā)?

Kittāvatā pana bho gotama bhikkhu arahaṁ hoti khīṇāsavo vusitavā katakaraṇīyo ohitabhāro anuppattasadattho parikkhīṇabhavasaṁyojano sammadaññā vimutto ti?

… In this regard, having seen any kind of bodily form… field of sensation according to reality (yathābhūtaṁ) with perfect penetrative discernment as “not [in reality] mine,” “not [in reality] what I am,” “not my [absolute] Selfhood,” a bhikkhu is liberated [from perceptually obscuring states] through being without grasping.

Idha aggivessana bhikkhu yaṁ kiñci rūpaṁ atītānāgata paccuppannaṁ ajjhattaṁ vā bahiddhā vā oḷārikaṁ vā sukhumaṁ vā hīnaṁ vā paṇītaṁ vā yaṁ dūre sannike vā sabbaṁ rūpaṁ n’etaṁ mama n’eso’hamasmi na me so attā ti evametaṁ yathābhūtaṁ sammappaññāya disvā anupādā vimutto hoti. (MN i 235)

In this passage yathābhūta has an object (‘any kind of bodily form’ etc), and so, in accordance with our notes sv Yathābhūta, we render it as ‘according to reality.’ But aññā does not have an object, so we parenthesise with yathābhūta, which we now translate as ‘things according to reality.’ We discuss these two ways of rendering yathābhūta, sv Yathābhūta.

Aññā: knowledge [of things according to reality]: Quote 2

The link between aññā and yathātathaṁ is seen in the following passage, where our intention is again to explain the parenthesis (‘[of things according to reality]’):

• Recognising this danger, that suffering arises dependent on karmically consequential deeds, with the quelling of karmically consequential deeds, and the ending of mental images, in this way is there the destruction of suffering. Knowing this in accordance with truth (yathātathaṁ), those who see rightly, who are blessed with profound knowledge, and who are wise through the complete knowledge [of things according to reality], having overcome Māra’s tie [that ties one to renewed states of individual existence], they do not come to renewed states of individual existence.

Etamādīnavaṁ ñatvā dukkhaṁ saṅkhārapaccayā
Sabbasaṅkhārasamathā saññānaṁ uparodhanā
Evaṁ dukkhakkhayo hoti etaṁ ñatvā yathātathaṁ
Sammaddasā vedaguno sammadaññāya paṇḍitā
Abhibhuyya mārasaṁyogaṁ nāgacchanti punabbhavan ti. (Snp 732-3)

Other meanings of aññā

Aññā can also mean:

  • understanding (of something)
  • realisation (of something)

For examples, see Illustrations.


Illustration: aññā, arahantship

If anyone practises the four satipaṭṭhāna for seven days, one of two fruits can be expected. Either [the attainment of] arahantship in this very lifetime, or if there is a remnant of grasping, non-returnership.

dvinnaṁ phalānaṁ aññataraṁ phalaṁ pāṭikaṅkhaṁ diṭṭheva dhamme aññā sati vā upādisese anāgāmitā ti. (MN i 62)

Illustration: aññā, knowledge [of things according to reality]

Let Subhadda see me. Whatever he asks will be from desire for knowledge [of things according to reality], not from wanting to trouble me.

sabbantaṁ aññāpekkho'va pucchissati no vihesāpekkho. (DN ii 150)

Māra does not find the path of those who, through the complete knowledge [of things according to reality], are liberated [from perceptually obscuring states]

Sammadaññā vimuttānaṁ māro maggaṁ na vindati. (Dhp 57)

The purpose of the wise person’s counsel is to convey knowledge [of things according to reality] and to inspire people’s faith.

aññātatthaṁ pasādatthaṁ sataṁ ve hoti mantanā. (AN i 199)

Illustration: aññā, to understand [them]

When those discourses spoken by the Perfect One… are being recited, we will really listen, lend an ear, and apply our minds to understand [them].

ye te suttantā tathāgatabhāsitā… bhaññamānesu sussusissāma sotaṁ odahissāma aññācittaṁ upaṭṭhāpessāma. (SN ii 267)


aññāya: (main article see: aññā)

Illustration: aññāya, knowledge [of things according to reality]

Those enlightened ones, through complete knowledge [of things according to reality], fare virtuously amidst the unvirtuous.

Sambuddhā sammadaññāya caranti visame samanti. (SN i 4)

Then the group of [the first] five bhikkhus listened to the Blessed One, gave ear to him, and applied their minds to the knowledge [of things according to reality].

Atha kho pañcavaggiyā bhikkhu bhagavantaṁ sussūsiṁsu. Sotaṁ odahiṁsu. Aññāya cittaṁ upaṭṭhāpesuṁ. (Vin.1.10)

Illustration: aññāya, understand [what one says]

Also, one’s children, wives, slaves, servants, and workers, listen to one, lend an ear, and apply their minds to understand [what one says].

Yepissa te honti puttāti vā dārāti vā dāsāti vā pessāti vā kammakarāti vā tepi sussūsanti sotaṁ odahanti aññāya cittaṁ upaṭṭhapenti. (AN iv 393)

Illustration: aññāya, realising

Apart from the Noble Ones, who is worthy to fully realise the [Untroubled] State? Through completely realising the [Untroubled] State, being free of perceptually obscuring states, they realise the Untroubled.

Ko nu aññatramariyehi padaṁ sambuddhumarahati
Yaṁ padaṁ sammadaññāya parinibbanti anāsavā ti. (Snp 765)


We take padaṁ as nibbānapadaṁ, as in Snp 365.

Illustration: aññāya, realisation of

By the complete realisation of spiritual health through the destruction of perceptually obscuring states, the one who is blessed with profound knowledge, being established in righteousness, though he makes use of conception he is beyond the limits of conception.

Ārogyaṁ sammadaññāya āsavānaṁ parikkhayā
Saṅkhāya sevī dhammaṭṭho saṅkhaṁ nopeti vedagū ti. (Snp 749)

Illustration: aññāya, understanding of

The greed on account of which greedy beings are reborn in the plane of misery,

Yena lobhena luddhāse sattā gacchanti duggatiṁ

through the complete understanding of that greed, those with insight abandon it.

Taṁ lobhaṁ sammadaññāya pajahanti vipassino. (Iti 1)


Glossary various Teacher

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See also

Suttas and Dhammadesanā

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