Chapter 26. Liberation (Vimutti) in Buddhism

Vimutti or liberation in Buddhism can be classified in many ways.  To classify it in a juxtaposition approach is the contrast between Ceto-Vimutti (meditation power) and Panna-Vimutti (wisdom power).  Normally, each of the two approaches can be achieved by way of trading off or balancing one-another. 

The Ceto-Vimutti is to liberate one’s mind from clinging defilements with meditation power where one can do so with jhana or meditative absorption which enables mental unification (unification of magga) altogether with adequate merit cultivation.  Hence, one can uproot the defilements in one’s mind and become liberated.  This approach allows one to also have supernormal power from meditation including the 3 Vijja and 8 Vijja, such as the divine eye and ear.

The Panna-Vimutti can be contrasted with Ceto-Vimutti as Panna-Vimutti or wisdomful liberation requires the wisdom power to comprehend the Dhamma, especially Vipassana.  However, this can be done with the wisdom from learning and thinking where one’s mind is in a state of more or less mindfulness and concentration.  With such accurate knowledge and understanding in the state of mindfulness, the mind can be powerful enough to diminish ignorance and attain enlightenment.  Thus, the mind is liberated without supernatural power from jhana or meditative absorption.

According to our graph, we can see how the Ceto-Vimutti and Panna-Vimutti are juxtaposed.  Followingly, we can contrast how cultivation of meditation and wisdom can be traded off.  However, it is still possible that a Dhamma practitioner can balance between the two by practicing meditation and cherish Vipassana in meditation to promote Adhi-Panna or sublime wisdom in meditation.

The Four Noble Truths are beneficial for ‘the trained ones’ who have been through merit cultivation until meeting the period of qualification.  Thus, they can become aware of the truths and prosper their Dhamma practice towards enlightenment whereas ‘the untrained ones’ may disregard these truths.  Notwithstanding, the Four Noble Truths always remains true irrespective of either regarding or disregarding. 


By Pirajak T. Suwapatdecha (formerly Pittaya Wong)

17 June 2020