by Sujin Boriharnwanaket | 129,875 words
A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas is a guide to the development of the Buddha's path of wisdom, covering all aspects of human life and human behaviour, good and bad. This study explains that right understanding is indispensable for mental development, the development of calm as well as the development of insight The author describes in detail all ment...
The arising and falling away of bhavanga-cittas and of vīthi-cittas, cittas arising in processes, is our ordinary, daily life. When one hears about the Dhamma terms which explain the characteristics and functions of the different cittas, but one does not understand the meaning of these terms, one may have doubts. All these terms explain the characteristics of realities, and these exist not merely in text books, they occur in daily life. They occur each time when cittas arise which are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, experiencing tangible object or thinking. At this moment we are seeing, and thus we can know that there are cittas arising in a process. There is the arising of eye-door adverting-consciousness, seeing-consciousness, receiving-consciousness, investigating-consciousness, determining-consciousness and javana-cittas. All these cittas arise and fall away in succession. Right understanding of the Dhamma will remind us to consider whether the javana-cittas which arise after seeing, hearing or the other sense-cognitions are kusala cittas or akusala cittas. The javana-cittas arise in their own series.
When we have learnt about the four "jātis" of kusala, akusala, vipāka and kiriya, we shall come to know which citta is cause, producing result in the form of vipākacitta which arises later on. We shall come to know which citta is vipāka, the result produced by a cause, by kamma performed in the past. We should know the jāti, the nature, of the cittas which arise in processes and of those which do not arise in processes. We should, for example, know that rebirth-consciousness is vipākacitta, the result of kamma. One kamma among all the kammas performed in the past is the condition for the rebirth-consciousness to succeed the dying-consciousness of the previous life. The rebirth-consciousness is vipāka-citta which performs only once the function of rebirth. It performs this function once and for all in a lifespan, at the first moment of life, when it succeeds the dying-consciousness of the previous life. Thus, it cannot perform this function again in one lifespan. The rebirth-consciousness arises and then falls away immediately, it does not last.
The rebirth-consciousness, which is of the jāti of vipāka, is contiguity-condition, anatara-paccaya, for the immediate arising of the succeeding citta. This citta, which is not vīthi-citta but performs the function of bhavanga, is also vipāka. Kamma does not only condition the arising of rebirth-consciousness, it also conditions the arising of the succeeding bhavanga-cittas which perform the function of bhavanga, life-continuum. The bhavanga-citta which immediately succeeds the rebirth-consciousness is called "first bhavanga" (pathama bhavanga). The following bhavanga-cittas, arising throughout life until the dying-consciousness, are not called by any particular name. They are countless.
Bhavanga-cittas arise and fall away in succession, all the time, until vīthi-citta arises. The vīthi-citta which arises first in a process, before the other vīthi-cittas, is the citta which performs the function of adverting to the object. There are two types of adverting-consciousness: the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness which performs the function of adverting through the five sense-doors, and the mind-door adverting-consciousness which performs the function of adverting through the mind-door. Both types of citta are kiriyacitta, thus, not kusala citta, akusala citta or vipākacitta. These types of kiriyacitta can experience an object which is pleasant and agreeable (iṭṭhārammaṇa) as well as an object which is unpleasant (aniṭṭhārammaṇa). In the case of vipākacitta the situation is different, because akusala vipākacitta can experience only an unpleasant object and kusala vipākacitta can experience only a pleasant object.
The "Atthasālinī" (II, Book I, Part X, Ch VI, 293) explains that the characteristic of kiriyacitta is the "mere acting or doing of a function"  . There are different types of kiriyacitta: those of the arahat which perform the function of javana, and those which do not perform the function of javana but other functions and which are common to the arahat and the non-arahat. As to the kiriyacittas which do not perform the function of javana, the "Atthasālinī" states that they are "fruitless like a plant with a wind-snapped flower". When a flower drops there will not be any fruit and even so the kiriyacitta is like that flower, it cannot produce any result. There are two types of kiriyacitta which do not perform the function of javana: the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness and the mind-door adverting-consciousness. The five-sense-door adverting-consciousness performs only one function, the function of adverting through the five sense-doors. Whereas the mind-door adverting-consciousness performs two functions: the function of adverting through the mind-door and the function of determining the object, votthapana, through the five sense-doors.
Apart from these two types of kiriyacitta which are common to the arahat and the non-arahat alike, there are other types of kiriyacitta which perform the function of javana, but only in the case of the arahat. The "Atthasālinī" refers to these in the same section and explains:
"...that which has reached the state of javana (the kiriyacitta of the arahat) is fruitless like the flower of an uprooted tree."
Only the arahat has kiriyacittas which perform the function of javana, and these are not akusala nor kusala; they cannot produce any result. They are fruitless like the flower of an uprooted tree because the arahat has eradicated all defilements. These types of kiriyacitta merely accomplish the function of javana.
When in the eye-door process the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness has fallen away, it is succeeded by seeing-consciousness which is vipākacitta, the result of kamma which has been performed. Kusala kamma conditions seeing-consciousness which is kusala vipāka to see visible object which is beautiful, enjoyable, thus, a pleasant object. Akusala kamma conditions seeing-consciousness which is akusala vipāka to see visible object which is not beautiful, not enjoyable, thus, an unpleasant object. Vīthi-citta which hears through th ears, hearing-consciousness, is vipākacitta. Nobody knows what kind of sound hearing-consciousness will hear at a particular moment. It is all according to conditions, it depends on kamma which was already performed in the past. When odor is smelt through the nose, there is vipākacitta which is smelling-consciousness. When flavor is tasted through the tongue, there is vipākacitta which is tasting-consciousness. When tangible object is experienced through the body-sense, such as cold, heat, softness or hardness, there is vipākacitta which is body-consciousness. Kamma is the condition for all these vipākacittas to arise and to experience an object, after the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness has performed its function of adverting to that object.
The five pairs of sense-cognitions, such as seeing or hearing, are contiguity-condition, anantara-paccaya, for the arising of the succeeding citta, the receiving-consciousness which receives the object. Receiving-consciousness is vipākacitta, it is the result of the same kamma which produced the preceding sense-cognition. When the receiving-consciousness has fallen away, the same kamma produces the investigating-consciousness, which is also vipākacitta and which performs the function of investigating, after the function of receiving has been performed.
The vīthi-cittas which are vipāka and which arise in the five-sense-door processes are: seeing-consciousness, hearing-consciousness, smelling-consciousness, tasting-consciousness, body-consciousness, receiving-consciousness and investigating-consciousness. These cittas do not accumulate, they do not arise in their own continuing series like the javana-cittas; they are merely results of kamma. They arise, they perform their own function and then they fall away. After the investigating-consciousness has fallen away, the determining-consciousness, votthapana-citta, arises, and this citta is actually the mind-door adverting-consciousness, mano-dvārāvajjana-citta, performing in the five-sense-door processes the function of determining, votthapana. The determining-consciousness is kiriyacitta which merely performs its function and then falls away; it does not arise in its own series. When it has fallen away, it is succeeded by javana vīthi-cittas which perform their function of "running through the object", and these may be kusala cittas or akusala cittas in the case of the non-arahat. As we have seen, for the arahat the javana-cittas are kiriyacittas. There are usually seven javana-cittas and these are of the same type, arising and falling away in succession; thus, these cittas accumulate, they arise in their own continuing series. This happens also at this very moment.
The "Atthasālinī" (II, Book I, Part X, Ch II, 279, 280) uses a simile in order to explain the arising of vīthi-cittas which experience an object in the five-sense-door process. We read:
A certain king went to bed and fell asleep. His attendant sat shampooing his feet; a deaf door-keeper stood at the door. Three guards stood in a row. Then a certain man, resident at a border village, bringing a present, came and knocked at the door. The deaf door-keeper did not hear the sound. He who shampooed the king’s feet gave a sign, by which the door-keeper opened the door and looked. The first guard took the present and handed it to the second guard, who gave it to the third, who in turn offered it to the king. The king partook of it....
When we consider this parable we shall understand the functions performed by each of the vīthi-cittas which arise and experience the object. The impinging of the object on the eye base is like the knocking on the door by the resident of the border village who brought the present. This parable shows us that the object has as its only function to impinge on the sense base. The resident of the border village cannot enter to visit the king, but his present is handed to the first, second and third guard who then offers it to the king. The function of the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness is compared to the giving of the sign by the attendant who shampooed the king’s feet. He knows that a guest has come and knocks at the door. The five-sense-door adverting-consciousness adverts to the object which impinges on one of the sense-doors and then it falls away. After that, in the case of the eye-door process, seeing-consciousness arises and performs the function of seeing through the eye-sense which is the eye-door, and this is compared to the door-keeper who opens the door and looks. Only seeing-consciousness performs the function of seeing the object, impinging on the eye-door. Visible object can only impinge on the rupa which is eye-sense and the succeeding cittas have to know that object; the object cannot escape or intrude on another sense base. Seeing-consciousness is succeeded by the receiving-consciousness which receives the object. Seeing-consciousness cannot perform the function of receiving the object, it can only see and then it falls away. Thus, the receiving-consciousness is compared to the first guard who receives the present and hands it to the second guard. The investigating-consciousness is like the second guard who examines the present and hands it to the third guard. The determining-consciousness is like the third guard who decides about the present and then offers it to the king. The king who enjoys the present and partakes of it represents the javana-cittas which succeed the determining-consciousness and which enjoy the essential property of the object.
The king partakes of the object and this explains the characteristic of kusala citta or akusala citta which performs the function of javana, "running through the object", through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body-sense or the mind-door. The javana-cittas partake of the object with attachment, aversion and ignorance; or they can be kusala citta or, in the case of the arahat, kiriyacitta. The javana-cittas perform their own function, they do not see, receive the object, investigate it or determine it, because the preceding cittas have already performed all these functions. Therefore, there are conditions for the arising of kusala cittas, akusala cittas or kiriyacittas which run through the object in a succession of seven cittas of the same type. The javana vīthi-cittas can partake of the object, they "consume" it. In the case of a "futile course"  , sound, for example, may impinge on the ear-sense, but there will not be hearing, and javana-cittas do not arise either. Evenso in the case of a course ending with determining-consciousness, votthapana-citta, javana-cittas which are kusala cittas, akusala cittas or kiriyacittas do not arise. Then there is no "consuming" of the object. Whereas javana-cittas which arise and fall away in a succession of seven cittas of the same type, kusala, akusala or kiriya, do partake of the object, they consume it.
It is according to conditions that there are seven javana-cittas arising and falling away in succession which partake of the object. The first javana-citta is repetition-condition, asevana-paccaya, for the second one which arises and partakes of the object again, and so on until the seventh javana-cutta which is not repetition-condition for the succeeding citta. Akusala javana vīthi-citta, kusala javana vīthi-citta and kiriya javana vīthi-citta can be repetition-condition for the arising of the succeeding citta. Through this condition there is a repetition of cittas of the same jāti (nature) which arise and perform the function of javana, and thus, kusala citta and akusala citta can acquire strength, they can become kamma-condition for the arising of vipāka in the future. Moreover, they can be natural strong dependence-condition, upanissaya-paccaya, for the arising again in the future of kusala javana vīthi-citta and akusala javana vīthi-citta. The frequent arising in a continuing series of different kinds of akusala javana-cittas conditions an ever increasing accumulation of akusala. Because of this we are infatuated with what we see as soon as we wake up and open our eyes. When we are fast asleep and not dreaming there are bhavanga-cittas, but when we are dreaming or thinking there are no bhavanga-cittas but cittas in mind-door processes which are thinking. When there are bhavanga-cittas we do not know any object through one of the six doors, any object of this world, but this does not mean that we are without defilements. Also with the bhavanga-cittas there are latent tendencies of defilements, anusaya kilesa.
There are three levels of defilements:
- subtle defilement, anusaya kilesa, accumulated defilements which lay dormant in the citta as latent tendencies,
- medium defilement, pariyuṭṭhāna  kilesa, arising together with the javana-citta,
- coarse defilement, vītikkama  kilesa, arising together with the javana-citta.
Thus, even with the cittas other than the javana-cittas there are defilements, present in the form of latent tendencies. The arahat has completely eradicated all defilements and thus he has no more latent tendencies.
The vīthi-citta which sees what appears through the eyes, hears sound through the ears or experiences any other sense object, is in that process followed by javana-cittas which arrange themselves in their own series of several kāmāvacara cittas of the same type: akusala citta, kusala citta or kiriyacitta.
In the case of the eye-door process, there are seven different types of vīthi-cittas  . It is the same in the case of the ear-door process or the other sense-door processes, there are seven different types of vīthi-cittas. In the case of the mind-door process, there are three different types of vīthi-cittas.
- Which vīthi-cittas in a five-sense-door process and in the mind-door process are vipākacittas?
- How many kiriyacittas does the non-arahat have?
- How many kiriyacittas which are not javana vīthi-cittas does the arahat have?
- What is repetition-condition, asevana-paccaya?
- Which cittas can be repetition-condition?
Footnotes and references:
Kiriya or kriyā is derived from karoti, to do. It means action or occupation. Kiriyacitta performs a function. It is translated as "functional", or it is translated as "inoperative", because it does not produce any result. It is neither kusala nor akusala and it is not vipāka.
See Ch 11.
This means prepossession, outburst or bias.
This means transgression.
See Ch 10.