From Nina van Gorkom:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... sage/21233
In the Commentary to the Brahmjala Sutta, Tr. by Ven. Bikkhu Bodhi, (The
All-embracing Net of Views, p. 128) we find under <Deep, difficult to see> a
discussion about it that the plural <dhammas> is used for the objects of
omniscience, sabba~n~nuta~naa.na. I only quote parts, it is rather long. It
<Because it takes a multiplicity of objects... It knows the entire past,
thus it is knowledge of omniscience, thus it is the unobstructed knowledge,
etc (Pts I.1.73). Therefore, because it is associated with multiple classes
of consciousness, and because it takes a multiplicity of objects on the
successive occasions of its arising, it is described in the plural.>
There is a discussion in the Subco. :<Query: If this is so, how is it
possible for a single, limited type of knowledge to penetrate without
omission the entire range of the knowable with its inconceivable,
Reply: Who says the Buddha-knowledge is limited?.... With the abandoning of
the entire obstruction of the knowable, the Exalted One gained unobstructed
knowledge which occurs subject to his wish and is capable of comprehending
all dhammas in all their modes. By means of this knowledge the Exalted One
was capable of penetrating all dhammas in continuous succession (santanena);
therefore he was omniscient or all-knowing in the way fire is called
"all-consuming" through its ability to burn all its fuel in continuous
succession. He was not, however, omniscient in the sense that he could
comprehend all dhammas simultaneously. >
This text refers to the Tika of the Visuddhimagga, VII, 29, footnote 7,
where there is the same discussion.
The Visuddhimagga, in the "Recollection of the Buddha" explains all the
words we use when paying respect to the Buddha. As to "Endowed with clear
vision and virtuous conduct, vijja carana sampanno", we read VII, 32:
Herein, the Blessed One's possession of clear vision consists in the
fulfilment of Omniscience (Ps. I, 131) , while his possession of conduct
consists in the fulfilment of the Great Compassion (Ps. 1, 126). He knows
through omniscience what is good and harmful for all beings, and through
compassion he warns them of harm and exhorts them to do good. >
The text of the Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga) about omniscience
has been referred to in the previously quoted texts. I shall only quote a
part of it. We read in Ch 72 (p. 131):
What is the Perfect One's omniscient knowledge?
It knows without exception all that is formed and unformed, thus it is
omniscient knowledge: it is without obstruction there, thus it is
All that is past it knows, thus it is omniscient knowledge: it is without
obstruction there, thus it is unobstructed knowledge.
All that is future it knows,...
All that is presently-arisen it knows...
Eye and visible objects: all that it knows...
Ear and sounds: all that it knows...
Nose and odours:all that it knows...
Tongue and flavours:all that it knows...
Body and tangible objects: all that it knows...
Mind and ideas (dhammas): all that it knows...>
After that the objects are the extent of the meaning of the three
characteristics of dhammas, knowledge of the extent of the meaning of direct
knowledge, etc. , of the khandhas, dhatus, bases (ayatanas) etc. Further on
To the extent of what is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, encountered,
sought, considered by the mind, in the world with its deities, its Maras and
its Brahma Gods, in this genertaion with its ascetics and brahmans, with its
princes and men: all that it knows, thus it is omniscient knowledge: it is
without obstruction there, thus it is unobstructed knowledge.
Here in this world is naught unseen by him,
Naught uncognized, and naught unknowable;
He has experienced all that can be known:
Therefore the Perfect One is called All-seer...