Buddhist Dictionary

- J -


janaka-kamma: 'regenerative karma'; s. karma.

jará: 'old age, decay', is one of the 3 divine messengers (s. deva-dúta, q.v.). For its conditioning by birth, s. paticcasamuppáda (11).

játi: 'birth', comprises the entire embryonic process beginning with conception and ending with parturition.

"The birth of beings belonging to this or that order of beings, their being born, their conception (okkanti) and springing into existence, the manifestation of the groups (corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness; s. khandha), the acquiring of their sensitive organs: this is called birth" (D. 22). For its conditioning by the prenatal karma-process (kamma-bhava; s. bhava), s. paticcasamuppáda (9, 10), patisandhi.

javana (fr. javati, to impel): 'impulsion', is the phase of full cognition in the cognitive series, or perceptual process (citta-víthi; s. viññána-kicca) occurring at its climax, if the respective object is large or distinct. It is at this phase that karma is produced, i.e. wholesome or unwholesome volition concerning the perception that was the object of the previous stages of the respective process of consciousness. There are normally 7 impulsive moments. In mundane consciousness (lokiya, q.v.), any of the 17 karmically wholesome classes of consciousness (Tab. I, 1-17) or of the 12 unwholesome ones (Tab. I, 22-23) may arise at the phase of impulsion. For the Arahat, however, impulsion has no longer a karmic, i.e. rebirth-producing character, but is a karmically independent function (kiriya, q.v.; Tab. I, 72-89). There are further 8 supermundane classes of impulsion (Tab. I, 18-21, 66-69).

The 4 impulsive moments immediately before entering an absorption (jhána, q.v.) or one of the supermundane paths (magga; s. ariyapuggala) are: the preparatory (parikamma), approach (upacára), adaptation (anuloma), and maturity-moment (gotrabhú, q.v.) In connection with entering the earth-kasina absorption (s. kasina), they are explained as follows, in Vis.M. IV: "After the breaking off of the subconscious stream of being (bhavanga-sota, q.v.), there arises the 'advertence at the mind-door' (manodvárávajjana, s. viññánakicca), taking as object the earthkasina (whilst thinking), 'Earth! Earth!' Thereupon, 4 or 5 impulsive moments flash forth, amongst which the last one (maturity-moment) belongs to the fine-material sphere (rúpávacara), whereas the rest belong to the sense-sphere (kámávacara; s. avacara), though the last one is more powerful in thought conception, discursive thinking, interest (rapture), joy and concentration (cf. jhána) than the states of consciousness belonging to the sense-sphere. They are called 'preparatory' (parikamma-samádhi), as they are preparing for the attainment-concentration (appaná-samádhi); 'approaching' (upacára-samádhi), as they are close to the attainment-concentration and are moving in its neighbourhood; 'adaptive' (anuloma), as they adapt themselves to the preceding preparatory states and to the succeeding attainment concentration. The last one of the four is called 'matured' (gotrabhú). In a similar way, the impulsive moments before reaching the divine ear are described in Vis.M. XIII, 1. - Cf. Karma - (App.).

jewels. The 3: ti-ratana (q.v.).

jhána: 'absorption' (meditation) refers chiefly to the four meditative absorptions of the fine-material sphere (rúpa-jjhána or rúpávacara-jjhána; s. avacara). They are achieved through the attainment of full (or attainment -, or ecstatic) concentration (appaná, s. samádhi), during which there is a complete, though temporary, suspension of fivefold sense-activity and of the 5 hindrances (s. nívarana). The state of consciousness, however, is one of full alertness and lucidity. This high degree of concentration is generally developed by the practice of one of the 40 subjects of tranquillity meditation (samatha-kammatthána; s. bhávaná). Often also the 4 immaterial spheres (arúpáyatana) are called absorptions of the immaterial sphere (arúpa-jjhána or arúpávacara-jjhána). The stereotype text, often met with in the Suttas, runs as follows:

(1) "Detached from sensual objects, o monks, detached from unwholesome consciousness, attached with thought-conception (vitakka) and discursive thinking (vicára), born of detachment (vivekaja) and filled with rapture (píti) and joy (sukha) he enters the first absorption.

(2) "After the subsiding of thought-conception and discursive thinking, and by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind, he enters into a state free from thought-conception and discursive thinking, the second absorption, which is born of concentration (samádhi), and filled with rapture (píti) and joy (sukha).

(3) "After the fading away of rapture he dwells in equanimity, mindful, clearly conscious; and he experiences in his person that feeling of which the Noble Ones say, 'Happy lives the man of equanimity and attentive mind'; thus he enters the 3rd absorption.

(4) "After having given up pleasure and pain, and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond pleasure and pain, into the 4th absorption, which is purified by equanimity (upekkhá) and mindfulness.

(5) "Through the total overcoming of the perceptions of matter, however, and through the vanishing of sense-reactions and the non-attention to the perceptions of variety, with the idea, 'Boundless is space', he reaches the sphere of boundless space (ákásánañcáyatana) and abides therein.


["By 'perceptions of matter' (rúpa-saññá) are meant the absorptions of the fine-material sphere, as well as those objects themselves . . . " (Vis.M. X, 1).

"By 'perceptions of sense-reactions' (patigha-saññá) are meant those perceptions that have arisen due to the impact of sense-organs (eye, etc.) and the sense-objects (visible objects, etc.). They are a name for the perception of visible objects, as it is said (Jhána-Vibh . ): 'What are here the perceptions of sense-reactions? They are the perceptions of visible objects, sounds, etc.' - Surely, they do no longer exist even for one who has entered the 1st absorption, etc., for at such a time the five-sense consciousness is no longer functioning. Nevertheless, this is to be understood as having been said in praise of this immaterial absorption, in order to incite the striving for it" (Vis.M. X, 16).

"Perceptions of variety (ñánatta-saññá) are the perceptions that arise in various fields, or the various perceptions" (ib.). Hereby, according to Vis.M. X, 20, are meant the multiform perceptions outside the absorptions.]


(6) "Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless space, and with the idea 'Boundless is consciousness', he reaches the sphere of boundless consciousness (viññánañcáyatana) and abides therein.

(7) "Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless consciousness, and with the idea 'Nothing is there', he reaches the sphere of nothingness (ákiñcaññáyatana) and abides therein.

(8) "Through the total overcoming of the sphere of nothingness he reaches the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (nevasaññá-n'asaññáyatana) and abides therein."

"Thus the 1st absorption is free from 5 things (i.e. the hindrances, nívarana, q.v.), and 5 things are present (i.e. the factors of absorption; jhánanga). Whenever the monk enters the 1st absorption, there have vanished sensuous desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and scruples, doubts; and there are present: thought-conception (vitakka), discursive thinking (vicára) rapture (píti), joy (sukha), and concentration (samádhi). In the 2nd absorption there are present: rapture, joy and concentration; in the 3rd: joy and concentration; in the 4th: equanimity (upekkhá) and concentration" (Vis.M. IV).

The 4 absorptions of the immaterial sphere (s. above 5-8) still belong, properly speaking, to the 4th absorption as they possess the same two constituents. The 4th fine-material absorption is also the base or starting point (pádaka-jhána, q.v.) for the attaining of the higher spiritual powers (abhiññá, q.v.).

In the Abhidhamma, generally a fivefold instead of a fourfold division of the fine-material absorptions is used: the 2nd absorption has still the constituent 'discursive thinking' (but without thought-conception), while the 3rd, 4th and 5th correspond to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively, of the fourfold division (s. Tab. I, 9- 13) . This fivefold division is based on sutta texts like A . VIII, 63 .

For the 8 absorptions as objects for the development of insight (vipassaná), see samatha-vipassaná. - Full details in Vis.M. IV-X.

Jhána in its widest sense (e.g. as one of the 24 conditions; s. paccaya 17), denotes any, even momentary or weak absorption of mind, when directed on a single object.

jhánanga: 'constituents (or factors) of absorption'; s. prec.

jhána-paccaya, is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya, q.v.).

jíva: life, vital principle, individual soul. 'Soul (life) and body are identical' and 'Soul and body are different', these two frequently quoted wrong views fall under the 2 kinds of personality-belief (sakkáya-ditthi; s. ditthi), i.e. the first one under the annihilation-belief (uccheda-ditthi) and the second under the eternity-belief (sassata-ditthi).

"Verily, if one holds the view that the soul (life) is identical with the body, in that case a holy life is not possible; or if one holds the view that the soul (life) is something quite different, also in that case a holy life is impossible. Both these extremes the Perfect One has avoided and shown the Middle Doctrine, which says: 'On ignorance depend the karma-formations, on the karma-formations depends consciousness', etc." (S. XII. 35).

jívita and jívitindriya: 'Life, vitality', may be either physical (rúpa-jívitindriya) or mental (náma-jívitindriya). The latter is one of the mental factors inseparably associated with all consciousness; cf. náma, cetaná, phassa.

jívita-navaka-kalápa: ninefold vital group; s. rúpa-kalápa.

joy: somanassa (q.v.). - Altruistic j. = muditá (s. brahma-vihára).