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Pīti in Pali (Sanskrit: Prīti) is a mental factor (Pali:cetasika, Sanskrit: chaitasika) associated with the concentrative absorption (Sanskrit: dhyana; Pali: jhana) of Buddhist meditation. Piti is a very specific joy associated with a state of deep tranquillity. It is often translated with the English words "joy" or "rapture" and is distinguished from the longer-lasting meditative "pleasure" or "happiness" (Pali, Sanskrit: sukha) that arises along with pīti.
|Table: Jhāna-related factors.|
|Source: AN 5.28 (Thanissaro, 1997) * diagram details|
- applied thought (vitakka)
- sustained thought (vicāra)
- joy/rapture/happiness (pīti)
- happiness/pleasure/bliss (sukha)
- equanimity (upekkhā)
Both pīti and sukha are born of bodily seclusion and mental quietude. The 5th century CE Visuddhimagga distinguishes between pīti and sukha in the following experiential manner:
- And wherever the two are associated, happiness [here, Ñāṇamoli's translation of pīti] is the contentedness at getting a desirable object, and bliss [sukha] is the actual experiencing of it when got. Where there is happiness [pīti] there is bliss (pleasure) [sukha]; but where there is bliss [sukha] there is not necessarily happiness [pīti]. Happiness is included in the formations aggregate; bliss is included in the feeling aggregate. If a man exhausted in a desert saw or heard about a pond on the edge of a wood, he would have happiness; if he went into the wood's shade and used the water, he would have bliss....
As the meditator experiences tranquillity (samatha), one of five kinds of joy (piti) will arise. These are:
- Weak rapture only causes piloerection.
- Short rapture evocates some thunder "from time to time".
- Going down rapture explodes inside the body, like waves.
- Exalting rapture "makes the body jump to the sky".
- Fulfilling rapture seems to be a huge flood of a mountain stream.
Note only the last two are considered specifically piti. The first four are just a preparation for the last one, which is the jhanic factor.
- Dhyāna/Jhāna (absorption)
- Rapture (Christian use of the term "rapture")
- Sukha (happiness/bliss, conascent with piti during first two jhanas)
- See, for instance, Samādhaṅga Sutta (a/k/a, Pañcaṅgikasamādhi Sutta, AN 5.28) (Thanissaro, 1997).
- Vsm. IV, 100 (Ñāṇamoli, 1999, p. 142). Similarly, see also the Abhidhamma's commentary, Atthasalini (Bodhi, 1980).
- Vsm. IV, 94-99 (Ñāṇamoli, 1999, pp. 141-2).
- Bodhi, Bhikkhu (1980). Transcendental Dependent Arising: A Translation and Exposition of the Upanisa Sutta (Wheel No. 277/278). Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society. Retrieved 2008-05-08 from "Access to Insight" (1995) at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/wheel277.html.
- Ñāṇamoli, Bhikkhu (trans.) (1999). The Path of Purification: Visuddhimagga. Seattle, WA: BPS Pariyatti Editions. ISBN 1-928706-00-2.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997). Samadhanga Sutta: The Factors of Concentration (AN 5.28). Retrieved 2008-05-09 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.028.than.html.