The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[The Third Chapter for Recitation]

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[22: The Eight Liberations]

There are, Ānanda, eight liberations.

Which eight?

  1. One having form sees forms. This is the first liberation.

  2. Not perceiving forms internally, he sees forms externally. This is the second liberation.

  3. One is intent on endless beauty. This is the third liberation.

  4. 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’, he abides in the sphere of endless space. This is the fourth liberation.

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

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

  7. Having completely transcended the sphere of nothingness, he abides in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. This is the seventh liberation.

  8. Having completely transcended the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he abides in the cessation of perception and feeling. This is the eighth liberation.

These, Ānanda, are the eight liberations.