one of the dogmatic terms of Buddhist teaching varying in meaning in diff. sections of the Canon. It is not always the positive to avijjā (which has quite a well-defined meaning from its first appearance in Buddhist psych. ethics), but has been taken into the terminology of Buddhism from Brahmanic and popular philosophy The opposite of avijjā is usually ñāṇa (but cp. SN.iii.162 f. SN.iii.171; SN.v.429). Although certain vijjās pertain to the recognition of the “truth” and the destruction of avijjā, yet they are only secondary factors in achieving “vimutti” (cp. abhiññā, ñāṇa-dassana & paññā) That; vijjā at MN.i.22 is contrasted with avijjā is to be explained as a word-play in a stereotype phrase
■ A diff side of “knowledge” again is given by “bodhi.”

  1. Vijjā is a general, popular term for lore in the old sense, science, study, esp. study as a practice of some art (something like the secret science of the medicine man: cp. vejja!); hence applied in special, “dogmatic sense as “secret science,” revelation (put into a sort of magic formula), higher knowledge (of the learned man), knowledge which may be applied and used as an art (cp. magister artium!), practical knowledge; but also mysterious knowledge: “charm.”
  2. vijjā having a varying content in its connotation, is applied to a series of diff. achievements. A rather old tabulation of the stages leading by degrees to the attainment of the highest knowledge is given in the Sāmañña-phala-sutta (DN.i.63–DN.i.86), repeated in nearly every Suttanta of D i. It is composed of the 3 sampadās, viz. sīla˚, citta˚ paññā˚. Under the first group belong sīla(-kkhandha) indriya-saṃvara, sati-sampajañña, santuṭṭhi; the second is composed 1 of the overcoming of the nīvaraṇas, 2 of the 4 jhānas; the third consists of 8 items, viz 1 ñāṇa-dassana, 2 manomaya-kāya, 3 iddhi 4 dibba-sota, 5 ceto-pariyañāṇa, 6 pubbe-nivās ânussatiñāṇa, 7 cut’ ûpapatti-ñāṇa, 8 āsavānaṃ khaya-ñāṇa. Other terms used are: for the 2nd sampadā: caraṇa (DN.i.100), and for the 3rd: vijjā (ibid.). The discussion at DN.i.100 is represented as contradicting the (brahmaṇic) opinion of Ambaṭṭha, who thought that “vijjā nāma tayo Vedā, caraṇaṃ pañca sīlāni” (DN-a.i.267 sq.)
    ■ In the enumn of 3 vijjās at MN.i.22 sq. only Nos. 6–8 of the 3rd sampadā (said to have been attained by the Buddha in the 3 night watches) with the verbs anussarati (No. 6), pajānāti (7), abhijānāti (8), each signifying a higher stage of (“saving”) knowledge, yet all called “vijjā.” Quoted at Vism.202, where all 8 stages are given as “aṭṭha vijjā,” and caraṇa with 15 qualities (sīla-saṃvara, indriyesu guttadvāra etc.). The same 3 vijjās (No. 6, 7, 8) are given at DN.iii.220, DN.iii.275, and poetically at AN.ii.165 as the characteristics of a proper (ariya, Buddhist) monk (or brāhmaṇa): “etāhi tīhi vijjāhi tevijjo hoti brāhmaṇo,” opposing the three Veda-knowledge of the Brahmins
    ■ Tevijja (adj.) in same meaning at SN.i.146 (where it refers to Nos. 3, 5, 8 of above enumn), SN.i.192, SN.i.194. In brahmanic sense at Snp.594 (= tiveda Snp-a.463). Both meanings compared contrasted at AN.i.163 (aññathā brāhmaṇā brāhmaṇaṃ tevijjaṃ paññāpenti, aññathā ca pana ariyassa vinaye tevijjo hoti “different in the Brahmanic and diff. in the Buddhist sense”)
    Tisso vijjā (without specification but referring to above 6, 7, 8) further at Vin.ii.183; Snp.656; Pts.i.34; Pts.ii.56; Pv.iv.1#34; Mil.359 (+ chaḷabhiññā); Dhp-a.iv.30 (id.). It is doubtful whether the defn of ñāṇa as “tisso vijjā” at Vin.iii.91 is genuine. On vijjā-caraṇa see also DN.iii.97, DN.iii.98, DN.iii.237; SN.i.153, SN.i.166 SN.ii.284; SN.v.197; AN.ii.163; AN.iv.238; AN.v.327; Snp.163, Snp.289, Snp.442-On vijjā in the doctrinal appln see: DN.iii.156, DN.iii.214 DN.iii.274; SN.ii.7 sq. (cakkhu, ñāṇa, paññā, vijjā, āloka), SN.iii.47; SN.iii.163; SN.iii.171; SN.iv.31, SN.iv.49 sq. AN.i.83; AN.ii.247; Snp.334 (simply meaning “wisdom,” craft, care, but Bdhgh Snp-a.339 takes it as “āsavānaṃ-khaya-ñāṇa”), Snp.1026 (opposed to avijjā); Pp.14, Pp.57; Vb.324; Ne.76, Ne.191
  3. popular meanings & usage of; vijjā: science, craft, art, charm spell DN.i.213 (Gandhārī nāma v., also mentioned at Ja.iv.498 as practised by physicians), Ja.iv.214 (Maṇika n. v.); Ja.iii.504 (cintāmaṇi v.); Ja.iv.323 (vatthu˚: see under vatthu), Ja.iv.498 (ghora˚); Ja.v.458 (anga˚ palmistry) Mil.200; Dhp.i.259 (bhūmicala n. v. “earthquake charm), Dhp.i.265 (dhanu-agamanīyaṃ Ambaṭṭha n. v.); Kp-a.237 (vatthu˚, khetta˚, anga˚); and see the list of forbidden crafts at DN.i.9 (anga˚, vatthu˚, khetta˚; etc. cp. Dial. i.18, 19).
  • -gata having attained wisdom Snp.730 (opp. avijjā the playful expln at Snp-a.505 is “ye arahatta-maggavijjāya kilese vijjhitvā gatā khīṇāsava-sattā”).
  • -caraṇa (-sampanna) (endowed with) special craft (wisdom) virtue: see above, b.;
  • -ṭṭhāna branch of study; there are 18 vijja-ṭṭhānāni or “arts & sciences,” subjects of study referred to at Ja.i.259.
  • -dhara a knower of charms, a sorcerer Ja.iii.303, Ja.iii.529; Ja.iv.496; Ja.v.94; Mil.153, Mil.200, Mil.267
  • -bhāgiyā (dhammā) (states) conducive to wisdom (6 kinds of saññā) AN.iii.334; cp. DN.iii.243; SN.v.395; AN.iv.52 sq.
  • -mayā (iddhi) (potency) accomplished by art or knowledge (Expos. i.122) Vism.383; see iddhi.
  • -vimutti wisdom (higher knowledge) as salvation SN.v.28 SN.v.335 sq.; Pts.ii.243 (in detail). Vijju & vijjuta

cp. Vedic vidyā knowledge: etym. see under vindati