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The Buddhist Philosophy of Relations

Chapter 5 - Samanantara-paccaya

Or The Relation Of Immediate Contiguity

The classifications of the paccaya-Dhammas and paccayuppanna-dhamma of this relation, are, all of them, the same as those of the anantarapaccaya.

In what sense is samanantara to be understood? Samanantara is to be understood in the sense of 'thorough immediateness'. How? In a stone pillar, though the groups of matter therein seem to unite into one mass, they are not without the material quality of limitation or space, which intervenes between them, for matter, is substantial and formative. That is to say, there exists an element of space, called mediary or cavity, between any two units of matter. But it is not so with immaterial qualities. There does not exist any space, mediary or cavity, between the two consecutive groups of mind and mental concomitants. That is to say, they (groups of mind and mental concomitants) are entirely without any mediacy, because the mental state is not substantial and formative. The mediacy between two consecutive groups of mind and mental concomitants is also not known to the world. So it is thought that mind is permanent, stable, stationary, and immutable. Hence, samanantara' is to be understood in the sense of 'thorough immediateness'.

Anantarattha has also been explained in the foregoing relation as Attano anantare attasadisassa dhammantarassa uppadanatthena; that is because it causes such states of phenomena as are similar to its own to succeed in the immediately following instant. This being so, some such suggestion as follows might be put forward: at the time of 'sustained cessation' [1] (nirodhasamapatti), the preceding consciousness is that of neither-consciousness-nor-unconsciousness, and the succeeding consciousness is that of the Aryan Fruit. Between these two classes of consciousness, the total suspension of thought occurs either for one day, or for two, or three... or even for seven days. Also in the abode of unconscious beings, the preceding consciousness is that of decease (cuticitta, the dying-thought) from the previous Kamaloka; and the succeeding one is that of rebirth (patisandhicitta) in the following Kamaloka. Between these two classes of consciousness, the total suspension of thought of the unconscious being occurs for the whole term of life amounting to five hundred kappa’s or great aeons.

Hence, is it not correct to say that the two classes of preceding consciousness are without the faculty of causing to arise something similar to themselves in an immediately following instant? The reply to this is: No, they are not without this faculty. The faculty has only been retarded in its operation for a certain extended period, through certain highly cultivated contemplations and resolutions made. When the preceding thoughts cease, they cease together with the power, which they possess, of causing something to arise similar to themselves. And the succeeding thoughts, being unable to arise in continuity at that immediate instant, arise only after the lapse of the aforesaid extent of time. It cannot be rightly said that they (the preceding thoughts) do not possess the faculty of causing to arise something similar to themselves, or that they are not anantara-relations only because of a suspension of operation of the faculty. For, we do not speak of a king's armies when they are not actually in a battle or in the very act of fighting, or while they are roaming about, not being required to fight by the king, who at such times may say, "My men, it is not the proper time for you yet to fight. But you shall fight at such and such a time." We do not then say that they are not armies or that they have no fighting qualities. In precisely the same way, the relation between the two aforesaid preceding thoughts is to be understood.

Here some might say: 'It has just been said in this relation that both the relating and the related things, being incorporeal qualities having no form whatever and having nothing to do with any material quality of limitation (space) intervening between, are entirely without mediacy or cavity. If this be so, how shall we believe the occurrence at every moment, of the arising and ceasing of consciousness, which has been explained in the arammana-paccaya by the illustration of the sound of a gong and of a violin? We may answer this question by asserting the fact, which is quite obvious in the psychical world that the various classes of consciousness are in a state of continual flux, i.e., in a continuous succession of change. It has also been explained, in detail, in the essays on Citta Yamaka.

[End of the Samanantara-Relations]

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- Footnotes:

1.

Has been rendered as "sustained cessation". Here the cessation is that not only of consciousness but also of mental concomitants and mental qualities, born of mind. (Translator.)

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