Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Tatiyabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The Third Chapter for Recitation]

[22: Aṭṭha Vimokkhā] cf. Mahānidānasuttaṁ (DN 15); Saṅgītisuttaṁ (DN 33); Dasuttarasuttaṁ (DN 34); Vimokkhasuttaṁ (AN Bk. 8:66); Mahāsakuludāyisuttaṁ (MN 77).01
[The Eight Liberations]

Aṭṭha kho ime Ānanda vimokkhā.
There are, Ānanda, eight liberations.

Katame aṭṭha?
Which eight?

1) Rūpī rūpāni passati.
One having form sees forms.

Ayaṁ paṭhamo vimokkho.
This is the first liberation. These liberations refer to the progress through the states of meditative absorption (jhāna). The first three listed are attained through developing the first four meditative absorptions.02

2) Ajjhattaṁ arūpasaññī bahiddhā rūpāni passati.
Not perceiving forms internally, he sees forms externally.

Ayaṁ dutiyo vimokkho.
This is the second liberation. These first two are like a summary of the Abhibhāyatanā.03

3) Subhanteva adhimutto hoti.
One is intent on endless beauty. Through developing one of the Brahmāvihāra (mettā, karuṇā, muditā, upekkhā) meditations to absorption level.04

Ayaṁ tatiyo vimokkho.
This is the third liberation.

4) Sabbaso rūpasaññānaṁ samatikkamā, paṭighasaññānaṁ atthaṅgamā,
Having completely transcended perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of (sensory) impact,

nānattasaññānaṁ amanasikārā: ‘Ananto ākāso’ ti,
not attending to perceptions of variety, (understanding): ‘This is endless space’,

ākāsānañcāyatanaṁ upasampajja viharati.
he abides in the sphere of endless space. This and the three that follow are the spheres of concentration developed through refinement of the fourth absorption.05

Ayaṁ catuttho vimokkho.
This is the fourth liberation.

5) Sabbaso ākāsānañcāyatanaṁ samatikkamma: ‘Anantaṁ viññāṇan’-ti
Having completely transcended the sphere of endless space, (understanding): ‘This is endless consciousness’,

viññāṇañcāyatanaṁ upasampajja viharati.
he abides in the sphere of endless consciousness.

Ayaṁ pañcamo vimokkho.
This is the fifth liberation.

6) Sabbaso viññāṇañcāyatanaṁ samatikkamma: ‘Natthi kiñcī’ ti
Having completely transcended the sphere of endless consciousness, (understanding): ‘This is nothing’,

ākiñcaññāyatanaṁ upasampajja viharati.
he abides in the sphere of nothingness.

Ayaṁ chaṭṭho vimokkho.
This is the sixth liberation.

7) Sabbaso ākiñcaññāyatanaṁ samatikkamma,
Having completely transcended the sphere of nothingness,

nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṁ upasampajja viharati.
he abides in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

Ayaṁ sattamo vimokkho.
This is the seventh liberation.

8) Sabbaso nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṁ samatikkamma,
Having completely transcended the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception,

saññāvedayitanirodhaṁ upasampajja viharati.
he abides in the cessation of perception and feeling.

Ayaṁ aṭṭhamo vimokkho.
This is the eighth liberation.

Ime kho Ānanda aṭṭha vimokkhā.
These, Ānanda, are the eight liberations.