'understanding, knowledge, wisdom, insight',
comprises a very wide field. The specific Buddhist knowledge or wisdom, however,
as part of the Noble Eightfold Path (magga, q.v.) to deliverance, is
insight (vipassanā, q.v.), i.e. that intuitive knowledge which brings
about the 4 stages of holiness and the realization of Nibbāna (s. ariyapuggala),
and which consists in the penetration of the impermanency (anicca, q.v.),
misery (dukkha, s. sacca) and impersonality (anattā) of
all forms of existence. Further details, s. under tilakkhana.
With regard to the condition of its arising one distinguishes
3 kinds of knowledge knowledge based on thinking (cintā-mayā-paññā), knowledge
based on learning (suta-mayā-paññā), knowledge based on mental
development (bhāvanā-mayā-paññā) (D. 33).
" 'Based on thinking' is that knowledge which one has
accquired through one's own thinking, without having learnt it from others.
'Based on learning' is that knowledge which one has heard from others and thus
acquired through learning. 'Based on mental development' is that knowledge which
one has acquired through mental development in this or that way, and which has
reached the stage of full concentration" (appanā, q.v.) (Vis.M.
Wisdom is one of the 5 mental abilities (s. bala), one
of the 3 kinds of training (sikkhā, q.v.), and one of the perfections
(s. pāramī) For further details, s. vipassanā, and the detailed
exposition in Vis.M. XIV, 1-32.