(Skt.; Pāli, vimutti).
Liberation; the release from suffering andrebirth (saṃsāra) attained through a realization of the Four Noble Truths. In the Mahāyāna.there are three so-called ‘gates’ to liberation which are said to facilitate release: emptiness (śūnyatā), signlessness, or the absence of perceptual forms (animitta); and wishlessness, or the absence of purpose or desires (apraṇidhāna). To these a fourth item is sometimes added, namely intrinsic luminosity (prakṛti-prabhāsvara). In Pāli sources, two kinds of ‘gates to liberation’ (vimokkha-mukha) are distinguished, namely freedom through understanding (paññā-vimutti) and freedom through mind (ceto-vimutti). The former is intellectual in nature and cultivated through the practice of insight meditation (vipaśyanā), while the latter involves transic states of consciouness and is cultivated through calming meditation (śamatha). The ideal is to be one who is ‘freed in both ways’ (ubhato-bhāga-vimutta), as the Buddha was understood to be, but it is thought to be possible to attain liberation through insight alone (paññā-vimutti): such a one is then known as ‘dry-eyed’ or ‘dry visioned’ (sukkha-vipassaka).