The 6 'higher powers', or supernormal knowledge's, consist of 5 mundane (lokiya) powers attainable through the utmost perfection in mental concentration (samādhi, q.v.) and one supermundane (lokuttara) power attainable through penetrating insight (vipassanā), i.e. extinction of all cankers (āsavakkhaya; s. āsava), in other words, realization of Arahatship or Holiness. 

They are: 

The stereotype text met with in all the 4 Sutta-collections (e.g. D.34; M.4, M.6, M.77; A.III.99; A.V.23; S.15.9 and Pug.271, Pug.239) is as follows:

4-6 appear frequently under the name of the 'threefold (higher) knowledge' (te-vijjā). They are, however, not a necessary condition for the attainment of sainthood (arahatta), i.e. of the sixth abhiññā.

Vis.M. XI-XIII gives a detailed explanation of the 5 mundane higher powers, together with the method of attaining them.

In connection with the 4 kinds of progress (s. patipadā), abhiññā means the 'comprehension' achieved on attainment of the paths and fruitions.


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