Re: an āmalakī in the palm of th e hand

L.S. Cousins selwyn at NTLWORLD.COM
Sat Apr 30 20:17:06 UTC 2011

Ryan Damron asked:
>   Thus for a situation to be "like an /āmalakī/ fruit in one's own
> hand" means one is able to see the referent inside and out, that is,
> in totality.  My question then is this:  is this analogy common in
> Indic traditions and, more importantly, are there any known references
> to these properties of the /āmalakī/ in Sanskrit works?
References to seeing something as clearly as an āmalaka in the hand are 
quite common in Pali commentaries from Buddhaghosa on. It is usually 
explained in terms of clear or plain seeing or in terms of direct 
experience. However, the older ṭīkā to the Abhidhammāvatāra glosses the 
final pāda of Abhidh-av v. 181:
  ekavidhādinaye pan' imasmiṃ,
yo kusalo matimā idha bhikkhu.
tassabhidhammagatā pana atthā,
hatthagatāmalakā viya honti ||
*hatthagatā* hatthapaviṭṭhā *āmalakā viya* suddhamaṇikā viya honti.

So the āmalaka is compared to a clear gem. That seems somewhat parallel 
to the Tibetan interpretation.

Lance Cousins,
Wolfson College, Oxford

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