A Manual of Abhidhamma

by Nārada Thera | 80,494 words | ISBN-13: 9789380336510

In the Abhidhammattha Sangaha there is a brief exposition of the Law of Dependent Origination, followed by a descriptive account of the Causal Relations that finds no parallel in any other philosophy. Edited in the original Pali Text with English Translation and Explanatory Notes by Narada Maha Thera....

Summary of Objects

Ālambana Sangaho

§ 10.

ālambana-saligahe ālambanāni nāma rūpā-rammana saddhā-rammanam gandhā-rammanam rasā-rammanam photthabbā-rammanam dhammā-rammana c'āti chabbidhāni bhavanti.

Tattha rūpam'eva rūpā-rammana. Tathā saddādayo saddhā-rammanādīni. Dhammā-rammana pana pasāda, sukhuma-rūpa, citta, cetasikā, nibbāna, paññattivasena chaddhā sangayhanti .

Tattha cakkhu-dvārika-cittānam sabbesampi rūpam'eva ārammanam. Tañ ca paccuppannam'eva. Tathā sota-dvārika-cittādīnam' pi saddādīni. Tāni ca paccuppannāni y'eva. Manodvārika-cittānam pana chabbidham' pi paccuppannam' atītam anāgatam kālavimuttañ ca yathāraham' ālambanam hoti

Dvārāvimuttānañ ca pana patisandhi-bhavanga-cuti sankhātānam chabbidham pi vathāsambhavam yebhuyyena bhavantare chadvāragahitam paccuppannam' atītam paññattibhūtam va kammam kamma-nimittam gati-nimittasammatam ālambanam hoti.

Tesu cakkhu-viññānādīni yathākkamam rūpā-diekekālambanān' eva. Manodhātuttikam pana rūpā-dipañcālambanam. Sesāni kāmāvacaravipākani hasancittañc'āti sabbathā'pi kāmāvacarālambanān' eva.

Akusalāni c'eva ñānavippayuttajavanāni c'āti lokuttara-vajjitasabbālambanāni. Ñāna-sampayutta-kāmāvacara-kusalāni c'eva pañca-majjhāna-sankhātam-abhiññā-kusalañc'āti arahatta-maggaphala vajjitāsabbālambanāni.

Ñāna-sampayutta-kāmāvacara-kriyā c' eva kriyā-bhiññā-votthapanañc'āti sabbathā' pi sabbālambanāni.

āruppesu dutiyacatutthāni mahaggatālambanāni. Sesāni mahaggatacittāni pana sabbāni' pi paññāttālambanāni. Lokuttaracittāni Nibbānalambanāni' ti.

§ 11.

Pañcavīsa parittamhi cha cittāni mahaggate
Ekavisati vohāre attha nibbānagocare
Vīsānuttaramuttamhi aggamaggaphalujjhite
Pañca sabbattha chacceti sattadhā tattha sangaho.


§ 10.

In the summary of objects (60) there are six kinds-namely, visible object (61), audible object (62), odorous object (63), sapid object (64), tangible object (65), and cognizable object (66).

Therein form itself is visible object. Likewise sound and so forth are the audible objects etc. But cognizable object is sixfold: - sensitive (parts of organs) (67) subtle matter (68), consciousness (69), mental states (70), Nibbāna (71), and concepts (72).

To all types of eye-door consciousness visible form itself is the object. That too pertains only to the present (73). Likewise sounds and so forth of the ear-door consciousness and so forth also pertain to the present (74).

But the six kinds of objects of the mind-door consciousness are accordingly (75) present, past, future, and independent of time.

(76) To the 'door-freed' such as relinking, bhavanga, and decease any of the afore-said six becomes objects as they arise. They are grasped, mostly (77) through the six doors, pertaining to the immediately preceding life, as past or present object or as concepts. They are (technically) known as Kamma, a symbol of Kamma,' or a symbol of the state of rebirth.'[1]

Of them eye-consciousness and so forth have respectively form and so forth as their single object. But the three mind-elements have five objects such as form and so forth. The remaining Sense-sphere Resultants and the smiling consciousness have wholly Sense-sphere objects.

The Immorals and the Javanas, dissociated with knowledge, have all objects except the Supramundane objects (78).

The Sense-sphere Morals and the super-intellect (79) consciousness, known as the fifth jhāna, have all objects except the Path and Fruit of Arahatship

The Sense sphere Functionals, associated with knowledge, super-intellect Function al consciousness (80 ) and the determining consciousness (81) have in all cases all kinds of objects (82).

(83) Amongst the arūpa consciousness the second and fourth have Sublime objects. All the remaining sublime types of consciousness have concepts (84 ) as objects. The Supramundane types of consciousness have Nibbāna as their object.

§ 11.

Twenty-five (85) types of consciousness are connected with lower objects (86); six (87) with the Sublime; twenty-one (88) with concepts (89); eight with Nibbāna.

Twenty (90) are connected with all objects except the Supramundane objects; five (91) in all except with the Highest Path and Fruit; and six (92) with all.

Sevenfold is their grouping.


Notes: -

60. ārāmmanam or ālambanam -

ārāmmanam is derived from ā + ram, to attach, to adhere, to delight.

ālambanam is derived from ā + lamb, to hang upon.

That on which the subject hangs, or adheres to, or delights in, is ārammana or ālambana. It means an object.

According to Abhidhamma there are six kinds of objects, which may be classified as physical and mental.

Each sense has its corresponding object.

61. Rūpa is derived from rup, to change, to perish. In its generic sense it means' that which changes its colour owing to cold, heat, etc.' (sītunhādivasena vannavikāramāpajjatī' ti rūpam).

Abhidhamma enumerates 28 kinds of rūpa, which will be descriptively dealt with in a special chapter. Here the term is used in its specific sense of object of sight.

The Vibhāvini Tīkā states, "Rūpa is that which manifests itself by assuming a difference in colour, that which expresses the state of having penetrated into the heart." (vannavikāram āpajjamānam rūpayati hadayangatabhāvam pakāsetī' ti rūpam).

Rūpa is the abode, range, field, or sphere of colour (vannāyatana). It is the embodiment of colour.

It should be understood that according to Abhidhamma rūpa springs from four sources - namely, Kamma, mind (citta), seasonal phenomena (utu), and food (āhāra).

62. Sadda or (sound) arises from the friction of elements of extension (pathavī dhātu). There are four material elements (bhūta rūpa) - namely, the element of extension (pathavi), the element of cohesion (āpo), the element of heat (tejo), and the element of motion (vāyo). These are the fundamental units of matter. They are always inter-dependent and inter-related. One element may preponderate over the other as, for example, the element of extension predominates in earth, the element of cohesion in water, the element of heat in fire, and the element of motion in air.

When an element of extension collides with a similar element there arises sound. It springs from both mind (citta) and seasonal phenomena (utu).

Sounds are either articulate (vykata) or inarticulate (avyākata).

63. Gandha (odour) is derived from gandh, to express (sūcane). It springs from all the four sources.

64. Rasa (taste) is diffused in all the elements. Only the sapidity that exists in them is regarded as rasa.

65. Photthabbārammana - tangible object. It is not mere contact. With the exception of the element of cohesion all the remaining three elements are regarded as tangible, because the former cannot be felt by the body.

When these three elements, which constitute a tangible object, collide with the sensory surface of the body there arises either pain or pleasure according to the desirability or undesirability of the object. In the case of other objects there results only upekkhā - neutral feeling.

66. Dhammārammana includes all objects of consciousness. Dhamma embraces both mental and physical phenomena.

67. The sensory surfaces of all the five organs are known as pasāda. In the case of eye, ear, nose, tongue the sensory surfaces are located in particular spots, while the sensory surface of the body pervades the whole system.

There are five kinds of pasāda rūpa corresponding to the five sense-organs.

68. Sukhuma rūpa -

Of the 28 kinds of rūpa 16 are classed as sukhuma (subtle) and 12 as odārika (gross).

The physical objects of (i) sight, (ii) hearing, (iii) scent, (iv) taste, and touch (which includes the element of (v) extension, (vi) heat, (vii) and motion), and the five pasāda rūpas belong to the gross group. The remaining 16 which will be described in the chapter on rūpa, belong to the subtle group. They are termed subtle as there is no collision on their part.

69. Namely, all the 89 types of consciousness. They are sometimes collectively treated as one object as they all possess the identical characteristic of awareness.

70. Namely, the 52 mental properties.

71. This is a supramundane object which is perceived by the eight kinds of Supramundane consciousness.

72. Paññatti is that which is made manifest. It is twofold-namely, nāma paññatti and attha paññatti. The former means a name or term such as chair, table, etc., the latter means the object or idea conveyed thereby.

73. What is time? Strictly speaking, it is a mere concept which does not exist in an absolute sense. On the other hand what space is to matter, time is to mind. Conventionally we speak of past (atīta), present (paccuppanna), and future (anāgata).

Past is defined as that which has gone beyond its own state or the moments of genesis, development, and cessation (attano sabhāvam uppādādikkhanam vā atītā atikkantā atītā).

Present is that which on account of this and that reason enters, goes, exists above the moments of genesis etc. (tam tam kāranam paticca uppādādikkhanam uddham pannā, gatā, pavattā = paccuppannā).

Future is that which has not yet reached both states (tadubhayam' pi na āgatā sampattā).

According to Abhidhamma each consciousness consists of three phases - uppāda (genesis), thiti (development), and bhanga (dissolution or cessation). In the view of some commentators there is no intermediate thiti stage but only the stages of arising and passing away. Each thought-moment is followed by another. Time is thus the sine qua non of the succession of mental states. The fundamental unit of time is the duration of a thought-moment. Commentators say that the rapidity of these fleeting thought moments is such that within the brief duration of a flash of lightning there may be billions of thought-moments.

Matter, which also constantly changes, endures only for seventeen thought-moments, being the time duration for one thought-process.

Past is gone, Future has not come. We live only for one thought-moment and that slips into the irrevocable past. In one sense there is only the eternal NOW. In another sense the so-called present is the transitional stage from the future to the past.

The Dictionary of Philosophy defines time "as the general medium in which all events take place in succession or appear to take place in succession."

Atthasālini states that time is a concept derived from this or that phenomenon. And it does not exist in reality; it is merely a concept. (Tam tam upādāya paññatto kālo nāma. So pan' esa sabhāvato avaijjamānattā paññatti-mattako eva).

74. All sense-objects belong to the present.

75. Accordingly - yathāraham, i.e., with respect to sense-sphere Javana, Higher Intellect (abhiññā) and other Sublime Javanas.

The six kinds of objects of the Sense-sphere Javanas, with the exception of smiling consciousness, are present, past, future, and independent of time.

The objects of the smiling consciousness are past, present, and future.

The objects of the Javanas, by means of which the Higher Intellect such as Divine Eye, Divine Ear are developed, are past, present, future, and independent of time.

The objects of sublime Javanas may be either timeless or past.

As Nibbāna is eternal it does not belong to the past, present, or future. It is timeless. So is paññatti, independent of time.

76. This difficult passage needs some explanation.

When a person is about to die he sometimes recollects a good or bad action he has performed during his lifetime. The moral or immoral consciousness, experienced at the particular moment, arises now as a fresh consciousness This is technically known as 'Kamma'.

Being a thought, it is a dhammārammana grasped through the mind-door, and is past.

The object of the patisandhi, bhavanga, and cuti classes of consciousness of the subsequent life is this dhammārammana.

At times it may be a sign or symbol associated with the good or bad action. It may be one of the five physical objects viewed through one of the six doors, as a present or past object.

Suppose, for instance, one hears the Dhamma at the dying moment. In this case the present audible word grasped through the ear becomes the object. It, therefore, follows that the object of the afore-said three classes of consciousness of the following life becomes this kamma nimitta.

Again, let us think that a dying physician sees through his mental eye the patients he has treated. Now this is a past rūpārammana perceived through the mind-door.

Or again, let us think that a dying butcher hears the groans of cattle he has killed. The past audible object is presented to the person through the mind-door.

Kamma-nimitta may, therefore, be past or present, viewed through one of the six doors. In some cases some symbol of the place in which he is to be reborn such as fire, flesh, celestial mansions, etc. may appear to the dying person. This is regarded as present object grasped through the mind-door.

Gati-nimitta is, therefore, a visual object, present in point of time, and is perceived through the mind-door.

It should be noted that the patisandhi, bhavanga, and cuti thought-moments of the Sense-sphere have for their objects a kamma, a kamma-nimitta, or a gati-nimitta, perceived through one of the six-doors, in the immediately preceding life.

In the case of all rūpāvacara patisandhi etc., the object is always a past kamma-nimitta which is a concept (paññatti) such as a kasina symbol, perceived through the mind door.

The object of the first and third arūpa patisandhi etc., is also a past concept (paññatti) such as 'ananto ākāso' 'infinite is space' in the case of the first, and the concept 'natthi kiñci'-'there is nothing,' in the case of the third. These two concepts are regarded as kamma-nimittas perceived through the mind-door.

The object of the second and fourth arūpa jhāna patisandhi etc., is a past mental object which serves as the kamma-nimitta perceived through the mind-door.

As was explained in the first chapter the second arūpa consciousness was developed by taking the first arūpa consciousness as the object, and the fourth with the third as the object.

77. The term 'yebhuyyena' (mostly) is used to indicate the rebirth of one born in the asañña plane where there is no consciousness. The commentary states that by the power of Kamma some object such as a kamma-nimitta presents itself to the patisandhi consciousness.

78. In Buddhism an ordinary worldling is called a puthujjana (lit., manyfolk or one who is born again and again). Those who have attained the first three stages of Sainthood are called sekhas (lit., those who undergo a training). Those who have attained the Final stage of Sainthood (Arahatship) are called asekhas, who no more undergo any training.

The sekhas cannot comprehend the Path and Fruit consciousness of an Arahat because they have not attained that superior state, but worldly thoughts of an Arahat they can.

Similarly the worldlings cannot comprehend the supramundane consciousness of the Sekha Saints.

79. Abhiññā are the five kinds of Higher Knowledge. They are Divine Eye (dibbacakkhu), Divine Ear (dibbasota), Reminiscence of past births (pubbenivāsānussati ñāna), Reading the thoughts of others (paracittavijānana) and Psychic Powers (iddhividha ñāna). To develop these five abhiññas one must possess the fifth Jhāna. Not even with this developed Sublime consciousness can a worldling or a Sekha comprehend the Path and Fruit consciousness of an Arahat.

It is only an Arahat who can comprehend the Path and Fruit consciousness of an Arahat.

A detailed account of abhiññā will appear in a later chapter.

80. These two classes of consciousness are experienced only by Arahats.

81. This is the manodvārāvajjana which occurs before every Javana process. Hence there is nothing that is beyond the scope of this consciousness.

82. Namely, Sense-sphere objects, Sublime objects, Supramundane objects, and concepts (paññatti).

83. The object of the second arūpa consciousness is the first arūpa consciousness, while that of the fourth is the third.

84. i.e., the object of the first arūpa consciousness is the concept 'ananto ākāso' 'infinite is space,' that of the third is the concept 'natthi kiñci' there is nothing.'

An explanation of these appears in the first chapter,

All the rūpa jhānas have concepts such as kasinas as their objects.

85. Namely, 23 Sense-sphere Resultants + 1 sense-door consciousness + 1 smiling consciousness = 25.

86. Paritta, derived from pari + dā, to break, to shorten, means lower or inferior. This refers to Sense-sphere objects.

87. Namely, the Moral, Resultant, and Functional 2nd and 4th arūpa cittas (viññānāñcāyatana and n'eva saññā n'āsaññāyatana).

88. Namely, 16 rūpa jhānas and Moral, Resultant, and Functional 1st and 3rd arūpa jhānas (ākāsānañcāyatana and ākiñcaññāyatana); 15 + 6 = 21.

89. Vohāra here refers to concepts such as kasinas.

90. Namely, the 12 Immorals and 8 Sense-sphere Morals and Functionals, dissociated with knowledge.

91. They are the 4 Sense-sphere Morals associated with knowledge and the 5th Moral rūpa jhāna (abhiññā kusala citta).

92. They are the 4 Sense-sphere Functionals, 5th Functional rūpa jhāna, and mind-door apprehending (manodvārāvajjana).

Footnotes and references:


Mr. Aung translates this passages as follows:......

"Further, the objects of those 'door-freed' classes of consciousness which are called rebirth, life-continuum, and re-decease cognitions, are also of six kinds according to circumstances. They have usually been grasped (as object) in the immediately preceding existence by way of the six doors, they are objects of things either present or past, or they are concepts. And they are (technically) known as 'Karma', 'sign of Karma', or 'sign of destiny'.

Compendium of Philosophy' p. 120.

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