Four Imponderables

Four Imponderables: Acintita Sutta

Striking SunriseFour unconjecturables exist: (1) range of powers of a Buddha; (2) range of powers obtained while absorbed in jhana; (3) precise working out of the results of karma; (4) speculation about the origin (the first moment, purpose, etc.) of the cosmos

“There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness and vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

“The Buddha-range of the Buddhas (that is, the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha) is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness and vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

“The jhana-range of a person in jhana (that is, the range of powers that one may obtain while absorbed in jhana) . . .

“The [precise working out of the] results of kamma . . .

“Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness and vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

“These are the four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness and vexation to anyone who conjectured about them.”

©1997 Thanissaro Bhikkhu. (Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)

Source: “Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable” (AN 4.77), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.077.than.html .

The text of this page (“Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable”, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. To view a copy of the license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/. Documents linked from this page may be subject to other restrictions. Transcribed from a file provided by the translator. Last revised for Access to Insight on 30 November 2013.