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Patisambhidā: 'analytical knowledge' or 'discrimination', is of 4 kinds: analytical knowledge of the true meaning attha-patisambhidā of the law dhamma-patisambhidā, of language nirutti-patisambhidā of ready wit patibhāna-patisambhidā.
As an alternative rendering of the fourth term patibhāna Bhikkhu Ñānamoli proposes: perspicuity in expression and knowledge.
- The analytical knowledge of the meaning is the knowledge with regard to the sense.
- The analytical knowledge of the law Dhamma is the knowledge with regard to the law.
- The analytical knowledge of language is the knowledge of the language with regard to those former 2 things.
- The analytical knowledge of ready-wit is the knowledge about the former 3 kinds of knowledge; Vibh. XV.
1 attha Sanskrit artha, to reach; result, meaning, purpose, essence: designates, in short, the fruit phala of a cause hetu for since the fruit of a cause results from adhering to the cause, and is reached and effected thereby, therefore it is called result attha In particular, however, 5 things are considered as attha namely: everything dependent on conditions, Nibbāna, the meaning of words, kamma-result, and functional consciousness. When anyone reflects on that meaning any knowledge of his, falling within the category concerned with meaning or result, is the 'analytical knowledge' of meaning.
2 dhamma Sanskrit dharma Ö dhar to bear; bearer, condition, law, phenomenon, thing is, in short, a name for condition paccaya... In particular, however, 5 things are considered as dhamma namely: every cause hetu producing a result, the noble path, the spoken word, the kammically advantageous, the kammically disadvantageous. When anyone reflects on that law, any knowledge of his, falling within the category concerned with law or cause, is the 'analytical knowledge' of the law.
In Vibh. it is further said: 'The knowledge of suffering is the 'analytical knowledge' of the true meaning attha-patisambhidā the knowledge of its origin is the 'analytical knowledge' of the law dhamma-patisambhidā The knowledge of the cause is the 'analytical knowledge' of the law dhamma-patisambhidā the knowledge of the result of the cause is the 'analytical knowledge' of the true meaning attha-patisambhidā.. That the Bhikkhu knows the law, the sunas etc. this is called the 'analytical knowledge' of the law dhamma-patisambhidā if however, he understands the meaning of this or that speech... it is called the 'analytical knowledge' of the true meaning attha-patisambhidā.'
3 'The knowledge of the language concerning those things' means: the language corresponding to reality, and the unfailing mode of expression concerning the true meaning and the law.
4 'Knowledge about the kinds of knowledges' is that knowledge which has all knowledges as object and considers them. Or, the analytical knowledge of ready wit patibhāna-patisambhidā means the knowledge of the above mentioned 3 kinds of knowledge, in all their details, with their objects, functions, etc.; Vis.M XIV.
On the 7 qualities leading to the attainment of the 4 'analytical knowledge', see: A. VII, 37 - See Vis.M XIV, 21ff; Vibh. XV; Pts.M. Patisambhidā Kathā.
Maha Thera Nyanatiloka. Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, Buddhist Publication Society, first edition 1952.