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 Bases


§ 12.

Vatthusangahe vatthūni nāma cakkhu sota ghāna jivhā kāya hadayavatthu c'āti chabbi-dhāni bhavanti.

Tāni kāmaloke sabbāni' pi labbhanti. Rūpaloke pana ghānādittayam natthi. Arūpaloke pana sabbāni' pi na samvijjanti.

Tattha pañcaviññānadhātuyo yathākkamam ekantena pañcappasādavatthūni nissāy' eva pavattanti. Pañcadvārāvajjanasampaticchanasankhātā pana manodhātu ca hadayam nissāy' eva pavattanti. Tathā avasesā pana manoviññānadhātu-sankhātā ca santīrana mahā vipākapatighadvāyapathamamaggahasanarūpāvacaravasena hadayam nissāy' eva pavattanti.

Avasesā kusalākusalakriyānuttaravasena pana nissāya vā anissāya. Arūppavipākavasena hadayam anissāy' evā ti.

§ 13.

Chavatthū nissitā kāme satta rūpe catubbidhā Ti vatthū nissitāruppe dhātvekā nissitā matā.
Tecattālīsa nissāya dve cattālīsa jāvare Nissāya ca anissāya pākā' ruppa anissitā' ti.
Iti Abhidhammatthasangahe Pakinnakasangahavibhāgo nāma Tatiyo Paricchedo.



§ 12.

In the summary of bases (93), there are six kinds-namely, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and heart.

All these, too, (94) are found in the Sense-sphere. But in the Form-sphere three bases - nose, tongue, and body - are not found (96). In the Formless-sphere no base (96) exists.

Therein the five elements of sense-impressions lie entirely dependent on the five sensory parts (97) of the organs as their respective bases. But the mind-element - namely, the five-door adverting consciousness and the (two types of) receiving consciousness - rest in dependence on the heart (98). Likewise the remaining mind-conscious-element (99) comprising the (100) investigating consciousness, the great Resultants, the two (101) accompanied by aversion, the first Path (192) consciousness, smiling consciousness (103), and Form-sphere (104) consciousness, rest in dependence on the heart (105).

(10 + 3 + 3 + 8 +2 + 1 + 1 + 15 = 43)

The remaining classes of consciousness (106) whether Moral, Immoral, Functional, or Supramundane, are either dependent on, or independent of, the heart-base. The Formless-sphere Resultants are independent of the heart-base.

§ 13.

It should be known that in the Sense-sphere seven elements (107) are dependent on the six bases, in the Form sphere four (108) are dependent on three (109) bases, in the Formless-sphere the one single (110) mind-element is not

dependent on any.

Forty-three arise dependent on a base. Forty-two arise with or without a base. The formless Resultants arise without any base.

Thus ends the third chapter in the compendium of Abhidhamma, entitled the Miscellaneous Treatment.



93. Vatthu is derived from Ö vas, to dwell. In its primary sense it means a garden, field, or avenue. In its secondary sense it means a cause or condition. Vatthu is also applied to something that exists, that is, a substance, object, or thing. Referring to the three objects of worship, the Buddha says "Uddesikam ti avatthukam." Here avatthuka means objectless, without a thing or substance.

Vatthu is the seat of sense-organs.

There are six seats of physical bases corresponding to the six senses.

These will be fully described in the chapter on rūpa.

94. The indeclinable particle 'pi' (too) in the text indicates that there is an exception in the case of those who are born blind, deaf, dumb, etc.

95. The organs exist, but not their sensory faculties as beings in these higher planes have temporarily inhibited the desire for sensual pleasures (kāmarāga). They possess eye and ear so that they may utilize them for good purposes. The heart-base also exists because it is the seat of consciousness.

96. Being devoid of all forms of matter. Mind alone exists even without the seat of consciousness by the power of meditation.

97. For instance, the eye-consciousness depends on the sensory surface of the eye but not on the physical organ or 'eye of flesh.' The other sense-impressions also depend on their respective sensory surfaces.

The sensory surfaces (pasāda) of these five organs should be understood as follows: -

"Cakkhu" which stands for vision, sense of sight and eye. "Eye," however, is always in the present work to be understood as the seeing faculty or visual sense, and not as the physical or 'eye of flesh' (mamsa cakkhu). The commentary gives an account of the eye, of which the following is the substance: First the aggregate organism (sasambhāra-cakkhu): a ball of flesh fixed in a cavity, bound by the socket bone beneath and by the bone of the eyebrow above, by the angles of the eye at the sides, by the brain within and by the eyelashes without. There are fourteen constituents: the four elements, the six attributes dependent on them, viz., colour, odour, taste, sap of life, form (santhānam), and collocation (sambhavo); vitality, sex, body-sensibility (kāyappasādo), and the visual sentient organ. The last four have their source in kamma. When 'the world, seeing an obvious extended white object fancies it perceives the eye, it only perceives the basis (or seat-vatthu) of the eye. And this ball of flesh, bound to the brain by nerve-fibers, is white, black and red, and contains the solid, the liquid, the lambent and the gaseous. It is white by superfluity of humour, black by superfluity of bile, red by superfluity of blood, rigid by superfluity of the solid, exuding by superfluity of the liquid, inflamed by superfluity of the lambent, quivering by superfluity of the gaseous. But that sentient organ (pasādo) which is there bound, inherent, derived from the four great principles - this is the visual sense (pasāda-cakkhu). Placed in the midst and in the front of the black disc of the composite eye, the white disc surrounding it (note that the iris is either not distinguished or is itself the 'black disc') and in the circle of vision, in the region where the forms of adjacent bodies come to appear, it permeates the seven ocular membranes as sprinkled oil will permeate seven cotton wicks. And so it stands, aided by the four elements, sustaining, maturing, moving (samudīranam) - like an infant prince and four nurses, feeding, bathing, dressing, and fanning him - maintained by nutriment both physical (utu) and mental, protected by the (normal) span of life, invested with colour, smell, taste, and so forth, in size the measure of a louse's head - stands duly constituting itself the door of the seat of visual cognitions etc.

For as it has been said by the Commander of the Doctrine (Sāriputta):

'The visual sense by which he beholds forms
Is small and delicate, comparable to a louse's head.'

Sotappasāda -

"This, situated within the cavity of the aggregate organism of the ear, and well-furnished fine reddish hairs, is in shape like a little finger-stall (angulivethana)."

(Asl. 310).

Ghānappasāda -

"This is situated inside the cavity of the aggregate nasal organism, in appearance like a goat's hoof."

(Asl. 310).

Jivhāppasāda -

"This is situated above the middle of the aggregate gustatory organism, in appearance like the upper side of the leaf of a lotus."

(Asl. 310).

Kāyappasāda -

"The sphere of kāya - so runs the comment (Asl. 311) - is diffused over the whole bodily form just as oil pervades an entire cotton rag."

(Buddhist Psychology, pp. 173-181).

98. Hadayavatthu - heart-base.

According to the commentators, hadayavatthu is the seat of consciousness. Tradition says that within the cavity of the heart there is some blood, and depending on which lies the seat of consciousness. It was this cardiac theory that prevailed in the Buddha's time, and this was evidently supported by the Upanishads.

The Buddha could have adopted this popular theory, but He did not commit Himself.

Mr. Aung in his Compendium argues that the Buddha was silent on this point. He did not positively assert that the seat of consciousness was either in the heart or in the brain. In the Dhammasangani the term hadayavatthu has purposely been omitted. In the Patthāna, instead of using hadaya as the seat of consciousness, the Buddha has simply stated 'yam rūpain nissāya' - 'depending on that rūpa.' Mr. Aung's opinion is that the Buddha did not want to reject the popular theory. Nor did He advance a new theory that brain is the seat of consciousness as is regarded by modern scientists.

See Buddhist Psychology - Introduction lxxviii, and Compendium of Philosophy, pp. 277-279.

99. Dhātu is derived from Ö dhar, to hold, to bear. 'That which carries its own characteristic mark is dhātu. They are so called since they are devoid of being or life (nissatta nijjīva).

For the sake of convenience three technical terms are used here. They are pañca-viññāna-dhātu, manodhātu, mano-viññāna-dhātu.

Pañca-viññāna-dhātu is applied to the ten sense-impressions.

Mano-dhātu - is applied to the two types of receiving consciousness and five-door adverting consciousness (sampaticchana and pañcadvārāvajjana).

Mano-viññāna-dhātu is applied to all the remaining classes of consciousness.

100. The three classes of investigating consciousness and the eight great Resultants do not arise in the Formless sphere owing to the absence of any door or any function there.

101. As aversion has been inhibited by, those born in rūpa and arūpa planes the two classes of consciousness, accompanied by aversion, do not arise there.

102. To attain the first stage of Sainthood one must hear the word from another (paratoghosappaccaya).

103. Smiling consciousness cannot arise without a body. Buddhas and Pacceka Buddhas who experience such classes of consciousness are not born outside the human plane.

104. No rūpa jhāna consciousness arises in the arūpaloka as those persons born in such planes have temporarily inhibited the desire for rūpa.

105. All the 43 types of consciousness, stated above, are dependent on the hadayavatthu.

(10 + 3 + 3 + 8 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 15 = 43)

106. They are the 8 sobhana kusalas, 4 rūpa kusalas, 10 akusalas, 1 manodvārāvajjana, 8 sobhana kriyā, 4 arūpa kriyā, 7 lokuttaras = 42.

These may arise in planes with the five Aggregates or in planes with four Aggregates (arūpa-loka).

107. i.e., 5 pañca-viññāna-dhātus + 1 manodhātu + 1 mano-viññāna-dhātu = 7.

108. i.e., 1 cakkhu-viññāna, 1 sota-viññāna, 1 mano-dhātu, 1 mano-viññāna-dhātu = 4.

109. Namely, cakkhu, sota and hadayavatthu.

110. Dhātu + eka = Dhātv' eka. This refers to mano-viññāna-dhātu.

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