feminine Rare in the older texts. It appears in two contexts. Firstly, certain conditions are said to conduce (inter alia) to serenity, to special knowledge (abhiññā), to special wisdom, and to Nibbāna These conditions precedent are the Path (SN.v.421 = Vin.i.10 = SN.iv.331), the Path + best knowledge and full emancipation (AN.v.238), the Four Applications of Mindfulness (SN.v.179) and the Four Steps to Iddhi (SN.v.255) The contrary is three times stated; wrong-doing, priestly superstitions, and vain speculation do not conduce to abhiññā and the rest (DN.iii.131; AN.iii.325 sq. and AN.v.216) Secondly, we find a list of what might now be called psychic powers. It gives us 1 Iddhi (cp. levitation); 2 the Heavenly Ear (cp. clairaudience); 3 knowing others thoughts (cp. thought-reading); 4 recollecting one’s previous births; 5 knowing other people’s rebirths; 6 certainty of emancipation already attained (cp. final assurance) This list occurs only at DN.iii.281 as a list of abhiññās It stands there in a sort of index of principal subjects appended at the end of the Dīgha, and belongs therefore to the very close of the Nikāya period. But it is based on older material. Descriptions of each of the six, not called abhiññās, and interspersed by expository sentences or paragraphs, are found at DN.i.89 sq. (trsl. Dial. i.89 sq.); MN.i.34 (see Buddh. Suttas, 210 sq.); AN.i.255, AN.i.258 AN.iii.17, AN.iii.280 = AN.iv.421. At SN.i.191; Vin.ii.16; Pp.14, we have the adj. chaḷabhiññā (“endowed with the 6 Apperceptions”). At SN.ii.216 we have five, and at SN.v.282 SN.v.290 six abhiññās mentioned in glosses to the text. And at SN.ii.217, SN.ii.222 a bhikkhu claims the 6 powers. See also MN.ii.11; MN.iii.96. It is from these passages that the list at DN iii. has been made up, and called abhiññās.
Afterwards the use of the word becomes stereotyped In the Old Commentaries (in the Canon), in the later ones (of the 5th cent. a.d.), and in medieval and modern Pāli, abhiññā, nine times out ten, means just the powers given in this list. Here and there we find glimpses of the older, wider meaning of special, supernormal power of apperception and knowledge to be acquired by long training in life and thought. See Mnd.108, Mnd.328 (expln. of ñāṇa); Cnd s.v. and No. 466; Pts.i.35; Pts.ii.156, Pts.ii.189; Vb.228, Vb.334; Pp.14; Ne.19, Ne.20; Mil.342; Vism.373 Mhvs.xix.20; DN-a.i.175; Dhp-a.ii.49; Dhp-a.iv.30; Sdhp.228 Sdhp.470, Sdhp.482. See also the discussion in the Cpd. 60 sp. 224 sq. For the phrase sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā and abhiññā-vosita see abhijānāti. The late phrase yath’ abhiññaṃ means ʻas you please, according to liking, as you like’, Ja.v.365 (= yathādhippāyaṃ yathāruciṃ C.). For abhiññā in the use of an adj. (˚abhiñña) see abhiñña.
fr. abhi + jñā, see jānāti
ger. of abhijānāti.