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The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

Sūtra on the Differences in the Karmic Recompenses of Action

Section 21

“Furthermore, there are ten actions that can cause sentient beings to receive the karmic recompense of [rebirth in] the heavens of the sensuous realm (kāmāvacara): that is to say, they perfect and cultivate superior forms of (adhipati) the ten wholesome [ways of action].
“Furthermore, there are ten actions that can cause sentient beings to receive the karmic recompense of [rebirth in] the heavens of the realm of subtle-materiality (rūpāvacara): that is to say, they cultivate the ten wholesome [ways of action] that are still associated with the contaminants (āsrava有漏) and come into accord with the meditative absorptions (dhyāna) [of the realm of subtle-materiality].
“Furthermore, there are four actions that can cause sentient beings to receive the karmic recompense of [rebirth in] the heavens of the immaterial realm (ārūpyāvacara). 1. Transcending all material characteristics and extinguishing all sensory impressions [lit. the perception of resistance, 有對想 , Skt. pratighasaṃjñā, P. paṭighasaññā], and so forth [viz., nonattraction to the perception of diversity or manifoldness, 異想, Skt. nānātvasaṃjñā; P. nānattasaññā], they access the absorption (dhyāna) of the sphere of infinite space (ākāśānantyāyatana). 2. Transcending the absorption of the sphere of infinite space, they access the absorption of the sphere of infinite consciousness (āvijñānānantyāyatana). 3. Transcending the absorption of the sphere of infinite consciousness, they access the absorption of the sphere of nothingness (ākiñcanāyatana). 4. Transcending the absorption of the sphere of nothingness, they access the absorption of the sphere of neither perception nor nonperception (naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana). These four actions can cause sentient beings to receive the karmic recompense of [rebirth in] the heavens of the immaterial realm.