Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Tatiyabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The Third Chapter for Recitation]

[21: Aṭṭha Abhibhāyatanāni] cf. Saṅgītisuttaṁ (DN 33); Abhibhāyatanasuttaṁ (AN Bk. 8:65); Mahāsakuludāyisuttaṁ (MN 77); a very different six Spheres of Mastery are mentioned elsewhere, see Parihānadhammasuttaṁ (SN 35:96).01
[The Eight Means of (Mind) Mastery]

Aṭṭha kho imāni Ānanda abhibhāyatanāni.
There are, Ānanda, eight means of (mind) mastery. The Commentary to MN 77 paraphrases this with abhibhavanakāraṇāni, which gives the translation here.02

Katamāni aṭṭha?
Which eight?

1) Ajjhattaṁ rūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati parittāni suvaṇṇadubbaṇṇāni,
Perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, limited, beautiful or ugly,

tāni abhibhuyya: ‘jānāmi passāmī’ ti PTS punctuates differently: “Tāni abhibhuyya jānāmi passāmīti” evaṁsaññī hoti. However, the Commentary's: Jānāmi passāmī ti iminā panassa ābhogo kathito; I know, I see: by this his thought is related, shows that the first part belongs outside the quotes.03 evaṁsaññī hoti.
and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’.

Idaṁ paṭhamaṁ abhibhāyatanaṁ.
This is the first means of (mind) mastery. The Commentary explains that these are means for mastering absorption (jhāna). If one takes a preliminary object (parikamma) internally but sees a limited sign (nimitta) externally, then the first means of (mind) mastery applies. With the second he sees an unlimited sign.04

2) Ajjhattaṁ rūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati appamāṇāni suvaṇṇadubbaṇṇāni,
Perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, unlimited, beautiful or ugly,

tāni abhibhuyya: ‘jānāmi passāmī’ ti evaṁsaññī hoti.
and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’.

Idaṁ dutiyaṁ abhibhāyatanaṁ
This is the second means of (mind) mastery.

3) Ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati parittāni suvaṇṇadubbaṇṇāni,
Without perceiving forms internally, Comm: alābhitāya vā anatthikatāya vā ajjhattarūpe parikammasaññāvirahito; without perception of the preliminary object on an internal form, either because he did not obtain it or because he did not need it.05 someone sees forms externally, limited, beautiful or ugly,

tāni abhibhuyya: ‘jānāmi passāmī’ ti evaṁsaññī hoti.
and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’.

Idaṁ tatiyaṁ abhibhāyatanaṁ.
This is the third means of (mind) mastery.

4) Ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati appamāṇāni suvaṇṇadubbaṇṇāni,
Without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, unlimited, beautiful or ugly,

tāni abhibhuyya: ‘jānāmi passāmī” ti evaṁsaññī hoti.
and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’.

Idaṁ catutthaṁ abhibhāyatanaṁ.
This is the fourth means of (mind) mastery.

5) Ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati,
Without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally, This and what follows refers to the kasiṇa excercies, whereby one focuses on a specific colour and obtains absorption that way.06

nīlāni nīlavaṇṇāni nīlanidassanāni nīlanibhāsāni,
blue, blue-coloured, of blue appearance, shiny blue,

seyyathā pi nāma Ummāpupphaṁ nīlaṁ nīlavaṇṇaṁ nīlanidassanaṁ nīlanibhāsaṁ
just as the flower called Ummā is blue, blue-coloured, of blue appearance, shiny blue,

seyyathā vā pana taṁ vatthaṁ Bārāṇaseyyakaṁ ubhatobhāgavimaṭṭhaṁ
or just as there is Banaras cloth smoothed on both sides that

nīlaṁ nīlavaṇṇaṁ nīlanidassanaṁ nīlanibhāsaṁ,
is blue, blue-coloured, of blue appearance, shiny blue,

evam-eva ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati,
so, without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally,

nīlāni nīlavaṇṇāni nīlanidassanāni nīlanibhāsāni,
blue, blue-coloured, of blue appearance, shiny blue,

tāni abhibhuyya: ‘jānāmi passāmī” ti evaṁsaññī hoti.
and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’.

Idaṁ pañcamaṁ abhibhāyatanaṁ.
This is the fifth means of (mind) mastery.

6) Ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati,
Without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally,

pītāni pītavaṇṇāni pītanidassanāni pītanibhāsāni,
yellow, yellow-coloured, of yellow appearance, shiny yellow,

seyyathā pi nāma Kaṇikārapupphaṁ pītaṁ pītavaṇṇaṁ pītanidassanaṁ pītanibhāsaṁ,
just as the flower called Kaṇikāra is yellow, yellow-coloured, of yellow appearance, shiny yellow,

seyyathā vā pana taṁ vatthaṁ Bārāṇaseyyakaṁ ubhatobhāgavimaṭṭhaṁ
or just as there is Banaras cloth smoothed on both sides that

pītaṁ pītavaṇṇaṁ pītanidassanaṁ pītanibhāsaṁ,
is yellow, yellow-coloured, of yellow appearance, shiny yellow,

evam-eva ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati,
so, without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally,

pītāni pītavaṇṇāni pītanidassanāni pītanibhāsāni,
yellow, yellow colour, of yellow appearance, shiny yellow,

tāni abhibhuyya: ‘jānāmi passāmī” ti evaṁsaññī hoti.
and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’.

Idaṁ chaṭṭhaṁ abhibhāyatanaṁ.
This is the sixth means of (mind) mastery.

7) Ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati,
Without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally,

lohitāni lohitavaṇṇāni lohitanidassanāni lohitanibhāsāni,
red, red-coloured, of red appearance, shiny red,

seyyathā pi nāma Bandhujīvakapupphaṁ
just as the flower called Bandhujīvaka

lohitaṁ lohitavaṇṇaṁ lohitanidassanaṁ lohitanibhāsaṁ,
is red, red-coloured, of red appearance, shiny red,

seyyathā vā pana taṁ vatthaṁ Bārāṇaseyyakaṁ ubhatobhāgavimaṭṭhaṁ
or just as there is Banaras cloth smoothed on both sides that

lohitaṁ lohitavaṇṇaṁ lohitanidassanaṁ lohitanibhāsaṁ,
is red, red-coloured, of red appearance, shiny red,

evam-eva ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati,
so, without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally,

lohitāni lohitavaṇṇāni lohitanidassanāni lohitanibhāsāni,
red, red-coloured, of red appearance, shiny red,

tāni abhibhuyya: ‘jānāmi passāmī” ti evaṁsaññī hoti.
and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’.

Idaṁ sattamaṁ abhibhāyatanaṁ.
This is the seventh means of (mind) mastery.

8) Ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati,
Without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally,

odātāni odātavaṇṇāni odātanidassanāni odātanibhāsāni,
white, white-coloured, of white appearance, shiny white,

seyyathā pi nāma osadhitārakā odātā odātavaṇṇā odātanidassanā odātanibhāsā,
just as the Osadhī star, is white, white-coloured, of white appearance, shiny white,

seyyathā vā pana taṁ vatthaṁ Bārāṇaseyyakaṁ ubhatobhāgavimaṭṭhaṁ
or just as there is Banaras cloth smoothed on both sides that

odātaṁ odātavaṇṇaṁ odātanidassanaṁ odātanibhāsaṁ,
is white, white-coloured, of white appearance, shiny white,

evam-eva ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati,
so, without perceiving forms internally, someone sees forms externally,

odātāni odātavaṇṇāni odātanidassanāni odātanibhāsāni,
white, white-coloured, of white appearance, shiny white,

tāni abhibhuyya: ‘jānāmi passāmī” ti evaṁsaññī hoti.
and having mastered them, he is one who perceives thus: ‘I know, I see’.

Idaṁ aṭṭhamaṁ abhibhāyatanaṁ.
This is the eighth means of (mind) mastery.

Imāni kho Ānanda aṭṭha abhibhāyatanāni.
These, Ānanda, are the eight means of (mind) mastery.