Dhammanando wrote:In the Ugghaṭitaññū Sutta (AN. ii. 135) the Buddha says that there are four kinds of person found in this world: those who are quick in acquiring, those who learn by means of a detailed exposition, those who may be guided, and those for whom the letter [of the Teaching] alone is the highest thing. In the Abhidhamma Piṭaka these are defined as follows:
What sort of person is quick in acquiring (ugghaṭitaññū)?
The person for whom there is penetration of the Dhamma at the very time when it is being taught is called “quick in acquiring.”
What sort of person is one who learns by means of a detailed exposition (vipañcitaññū)?
The person for whom there is penetration of the Dhamma when the meaning of what has been taught in brief is later analysed in detail is called “one who learns by means of a detailed exposition.”
What sort of person is one who may be guided (neyya)?
The person for whom penetration of the Dhamma comes gradually by means of recitation, questioning, proper attention, and by serving, cultivating and waiting upon kalyānamittas is called “one who may be guided.”
What sort of person is one for whom the letter alone is the highest thing (padaparama)?
The person for whom penetration of the Dhamma will not come in this life, however much [of the Teaching] he may hear and speak and bear in mind or recite, is called to be “one for whom the letter alone is the highest thing.”
(Puggalapaññatti 41-2; Designation of Human Types 58)
Regarding the fourth type, the padaparama, his lack of potential for awakening in the present life may be due to a number of factors. Most padaparamas were already such before they were even born, when still in their mothers’ wombs. Only humans conceived with a triple-rooted relinking consciousness (i.e., one accompanied by all three kusala roots: non-greed, non-hate and non-delusion) have the possibility of attaining jhāna or the noble path in their present life. Those with fewer kusala roots than this are all padaparamas.
Even those who have been reborn with such a consciousness may still be padaparamas. In the Puggalapaññati Atthakathā (PuggA. 184-5) Buddhaghosa lists six causes for incapacity to attain the paths and fruits in the present life; in each case the state is reckoned as one that lacks the requisite decisive support condition (upanissaya-paccaya). A similar list is also given in the Paṭisambhidāmagga (Paṭi. i. 123), but here I will use Buddhaghosa’s as the Paṭisambhidāmagga’s version does not supply any explanation.
1. Obstruction by kamma (kammāvaraṇa); meaning those who have committed one of the five anantariyaka kammas.
2. Obstruction by defilement (kilesāvaraṇa); meaning those who hold to any of the ten niyata wrong views (“there is no giving, no sacrifice… etc.”).
3. Obstruction by kammic ripening (vipākāvaraṇa); meaning those who were reborn with only a double-rooted or a rootless relinking consciousness.
4. Lack of faith (assaddha); “one lacking faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha.”
5. Lack of zeal/desire-to-act (acchandika); defined as being one who either lacks chanda in the sense of desiring to undertake what is kusala.
6. Being weak in wisdom (duppañña); defined as those in whom the bhavaṅga-citta of that lifetime lacks the mental factor of paññā (this in fact overlaps with #3, for it is the relinking consciousness that determines the character of the bhavaṅga-citta in any lifetime).
“Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of persons found existing in the world. What four? One who understands quickly; one who understands through elaboration; one who needs to be guided; and one for whom the word is the maximum. These are the four kinds of persons found existing in the world.”
(Ugghaṭitaññū Sutta, A. ii. 135)
Bhikkhu Bodhi’s notes:
(1) “The person of quick understanding is one for whom the breakthrough to the Dhamma (dhammābhisamaya) occurs together with an utterance. (Pp-a: Ugghaṭita means the opening up of knowledge (ñāṇugghāṭana); the meaning is that one knows as soon as knowledge opens up. Together with an utterance: as soon as [a statement on Dhamma] is uttered. The breakthrough occurs together with knowledge of the Dhamma of the four truths.)”
(2) “The person who understands through elaboration is one for whom the breakthrough to the Dhamma occurs when the meaning of what has been stated briefly is being analyzed in detail. (Pp-a: This is the person able to attain arahantship when, after a concise outline of the teaching has been set up, the meaning is being analyzed in detail.)”
(3) “The person to be guided is one for whom the breakthrough to the Dhamma occurs gradually, through instruction, questioning, careful attention, and reliance on good friends.”
(4) “One for whom the word is the maximum is one who—though hearing much, reciting much, retaining much in mind, and teaching much—does not reach the breakthrough to the Dhamma in that life.”
Nett 125 (Be §88) correlates these four types with the four kinds of practice (see 4:161–62): the ugghaṭitaññū puggala with one emancipated by pleasant practice and quick direct knowledge, the vipañcitaññū puggala with one emancipated by either painful practice and quick direct knowledge or by pleasant practice and sluggish direct knowledge, and the neyya puggala with one emancipated by painful practice and sluggish direct knowledge. The padaparama puggala is not emancipated and thus the four alternatives do not apply.