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...
There are eighty-nine different types of citta and these can be classified according to different grades, namely as four planes (bhūmi) of citta:
- sensuous plane, kāmāvacara bhūmi
- fine-material plane, rūpāvacara bhūmi (rupa-jhāna)
- immaterial plane, arūpāvacara bhūmi (arupa-jhāna)
- supra-mundane plane, lokuttara bhūmi
The "Atthasālinī" (I, Book I, Part II, Analysis of terms, 62) gives an explanation of the meaning of kāmāvacara, sensuous, according to different methods. According to one method of explanation kāmāvacara is used for the citta which is involved in kāmāvacara Dhammas, thus, it is the citta which is of the grade of the sensuous plane of consciousness. "Kāmāvacara" is the complete term  , but the abridged form of "kāma" is also used. Citta of the grade or plane of kāma, kāmāvacara citta, frequents objects of sense, namely: visible object, sound, odor, flavor and tangible object.
At each moment in daily life there is kāmāvacara citta, except when there is citta of another grade or plane which is more refined than that of kāmāvacara citta. When one develops kusala citta with calm by means of a meditation subject which is dependent on rupa, materiality, and calm becomes firmly established so that it reaches the level of attainment concentration (appanā samādhi), there is rupa-jhānacitta which has an object which is still dependent on rupa. Then there is a higher plane of citta, the fine material plane of citta, rūpāvacara bhūmi, and the citta of this plane, the rūpāvacara citta, is free from kāma, sensuousness. A plane of citta which is still higher is the arupa bhūmi, immaterial plane. The citta of this plane, the arūpāvacara citta, is of a higher degree of calm and more refined, firmly established in calm with an object which is not dependent on rupa. The citta which is even more refined than arūpāvacara citta is lokuttara citta which realizes the characteristic of nibbāna. That is the citta of the supramundane plane, lokuttara bhūmi. Thus, cittas are varied as they are of different planes of citta.
The eighty-nine cittas can be classified according to the planes of citta in the following way:
There is kāmāvacara citta at the moments when there is not rūpāvacara citta, arūpāvacara citta or lokuttara citta.
The "Atthasālinī" (in the same section) states that the term kāma, sensuousness, has two meanings:
sensuousness of defilements, kilesa kāma the base or foundation of sensuousness, vatthu kāma
The "Atthasālinī" states:
"... the sensuousness of the defilements is so termed because it desires, and the other, the sensuousness of base, is so termed because it is desired by the sensuousness of defilements."
Kilesa kāma is sense desire (chanda rāga) which is lobha cetasika, the Dhamma which enjoys objects, is pleased with them and clings to them. Vatthu kāma are the objects which are the basis on which desire or clinging depends, that which is desired. Vatthu kāma also comprises the three classes of planes of existence where a person can be reborn: the sensuous planes of existence (kāma bhūmi), the fine material planes (rupa bhūmi)  and the immaterial planes  . So long as lobha has not been eradicated one is not free from the cycle of birth and death and thus, one can be reborn in those planes. They are vatthu kāma, the objects for kilesa kāma, the sensuousness of defilements.
Kāmāvacara citta which is attached to visible object, sound, odor, flavor and tangible object clings firmly to them, even though they appear just for a moment. Visible object appears for an extremely short moment, when it impinges on the eye-sense. Sound appears just for an extremely short moment, when it impinges on the ear-sense. It is the same with odor, flavor and tangible object. All of them are insignificant Dhammas (paritta Dhammas), they appear just for a moment and then they fall away. Nevertheless, citta is attached and clings all the time to these insignificant Dhammas. Since these Dhammas which arise and fall away are succeeding one another it seems that they can last, that they do not fall away.
There is no end to clinging to all the sense objects, to visible object, sound, odor, flavor and tangible object. We are infatuated with them and keep on clinging to them. These objects fall away, but they are replaced; the rupas which fall away are succeeded by new ones. We are deluded and cling again to visible object, sound and the other sense objects which replace those which have fallen away and thus clinging continues all the time. When we see visible object and we like it, we want to see it again and again. When we hear a sound which we like we want to hear it again, and it is the same with odor, flavor and tangible object which we like. When we are eating and we like a particular flavor, we wish to eat the same food again and taste that flavor again. Clinging to the sense objects arises each day, time and again. It is our nature to cling through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body-sense and the mind-door.
When we like something we see we wish to see it all the time, but that is impossible. All conditioned Dhammas, saṅkhāra Dhammas, arise and then fall away, that is their nature. When a delicious flavor appears, attachment which is depending on the tongue arises. At that moment attachment through the eyes, the ears, the nose or the body-sense cannot arise. When odor appears and attachment to it arises, there cannot be attachment through the eyes, the ears, the tongue or the body-sense, since only one citta arises at a time. There cannot be the arising of two cittas at the same time. We all are attached to the things which appear alternately through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body-sense and the mind-door. We are not attached just to color, just to sound or just to one of the other sense objects, we are attached to all of them. The reason is that attachment to all the sense objects has been accumulated continuously, from the past to the present time, and it is accumulated on to the future.
Thus, kāmāvacara citta, citta of the sense sphere, "travels" to, frequents visible object, sound, odor, flavor and tangible object; it clings to these objects, it is not free from them. Some people who want to be free from sense objects say that, as a result of having performed meritorious deeds, they want to be reborn in heaven. Even heavenly planes are not free from sense objects, but they are more refined than the objects in the human world.
From birth to death, when citta has not attained calm to the degree of attainment concentration (appanā samādhi), thus, when citta is not jhānacitta, and when citta is not lokuttara citta, citta is kāmāvacara citta. No matter whether we are asleep or awake, no matter whether we see, hear, smell, taste, experience tangible object or think of different subjects, at all such moments there is no living being who experiences objects, there is no person, no self. There are only cittas of the grade of kāma, sensuousness, kāmāvacara cittas which experience objects.
The person who is not an Anagami (non-returner who has attained the third stage of enlightenment) or an arahat still clings to visible object, sound, odor, flavor and tangible object. This shows how difficult it is to eradicate clinging to the sense objects which appear through the six doors. Even if someone has cultivated calm to the degree of jhāna and he is reborn in a Brahma plane  , clinging to the sense objects cannot be completely eradicated. If he is not yet an Anagami he will again and again return to a life of clinging to visible object and the other sense objects which appear through six doors. Therefore, we should not be negligent with regard to the defilements. We should understand realities as they are, we should understand which cause brings which effect. Then we shall be able to develop right understanding of the eightfold Path which can eradicate defilements completely.
Kāmāvacara is a name for the citta which is involved in Dhammas of the sense sphere, kāmāvacara Dhammas. The "Atthasālinī" explains that the planes of existence of the kāmāvacara Dhammas, thus, the sensuous planes of existence, extend from the lowest plane, which is the "avīci hell", up to the highest sensuous plane which is a heavenly plane, called the "paranimmita vasavatti deva plane" (the plane of heavenly beings with power over the creations of others). In all these planes there are sense objects.
As regards the term basis of sensuousness or clinging, vatthu kama, this has, according to the "Atthasālinī", a wider meaning than visible object, sound, odor, flavor or tangible object. Any kind of Dhamma which is a basis or foundation for attachment is actually vatthu kāma. Lobha cetasika is the reality which is attached, which clings to everything, except lokuttara Dhammas  . Lobha clings to the rupa-Brahma planes and the arupa-brahma planes, thus, these are vatthu kāma, the basis on which clinging depends. All Dhammas other than lokuttara Dhammas are vatthu kāma, they are the basis of clinging.
The "Atthasālinī" uses several methods to explain the meaning of kāmāvacara citta. According to the first explanation, kāmāvacara citta is the citta of the grade or plane of sensuousness, kāma; it is not free from kāma, sensuousness. According to the second method, kāmāvacara citta is the citta which frequents, "travels" to the sensuous planes of existence: the four unhappy planes  , the human plane and the six classes of heavenly planes (of the devas). According to the third explanation, kāmāvacara citta is so called because it attends to, frequents the sense objects: visible object, sound, odor, flavor and tangible object. Since the citta takes these sense objects as its objects of experience, citta is called kāmāvacara citta.
It is easy to understand that any citta which is involved in sense objects, thus, visible object and the other sense objects, is kāmāvacara citta.
Question: Does the arahat have kāmāvacara citta?
Answer: Yes. When the arahat sees visible object which appears through the eyes, the citta which sees is kāmāvacara citta, because visible object is a sense object. Whenever citta experiences visible object and the other sense objects, it is kāmāvacara citta, no matter whether it is the citta of the Buddha, an arahat disciple or anybody else.
According to the fourth method of explanation, citta is kāmāvacara citta because it causes rebirths in sensuous planes of existence, namely the four unhappy planes, the human plane and the six classes of heavenly planes.
All of us here are in the human plane, because kāmāvacara kusala citta has conditioned kāmāvacara vipākacitta to perform the function of rebirth in the human plane, which is a sensuous plane of existence.
Someone may develop samatha to the degree of attainment concentration (appanā samādhi) and attain rupa-jhāna or arupa-jhāna. If he does not lose his skill in jhāna and jhānacitta arises just before the dying-consciousness, the jhānacitta does not condition rebirth in this world but in a rupa-brahma plane or an arupa-brahma plane, depending on the degree of jhāna. Rebirth as a human being is the result of kāmāvacara kusala citta which performs dāna, generosity, observes sīla, morality, develops samatha or vipassanā. These ways of kusala performed by kusala citta of the sense-sphere, thus citta which is not free from kāma, have as result rebirth in sensuous planes of existence.
The term bhūmi, base or plane, has two different meanings: plane or grade of citta and plane of existence. As to the first meaning, bhūmi designates the citta which is the base or foundation for the accompanying Dhammas (sampayutta Dhammas), all cetasikas which arise together with the citta. As we have seen, we can classify cittas by way of four bhūmis or planes of citta: the cittas of the sense-sphere, kāmāvacara cittas, rupa-jhānacittas, arupa-jhānacittas and lokuttara cittas. As to the second meaning of bhūmi, this designates the plane of existence, the situation or place where a living being is born. The human world is one bhūmi, a plane where one is born. It is one plane among thirty-one planes of existence.
Citta is variegated. There are different types of citta and even cittas of the same type are varied. Kāmāvacara kusala cittas which arise are varied: the intensity of saddhā, confidence in kusala, paññā and the other accompanying cetasikas are different, there is a great variety of the accompanying cetasikas. Thus, their result is rebirth in different happy planes, not only in the human plane. Since citta is variegated, the planes of existence where cittas arise must be of great variety.
When one commits akusala kamma, it can be noticed that akusala kammas are of different degrees, they can be more serious or they can be of a lesser degree. Sometimes there may be a great deal of hate or vengefulness, sometimes there may not be so much aversion. Sometimes one does not make a great effort to hurt or kill other beings; the intention to kill may not be very strong, and more over, only tiny beings may die as a consequence of one’s effort to kill. Since the different akusala kammas are performed by cittas which are accompanied by various cetasikas of different intensities, their results are varied, in the form of vipākacittas performing the function of rebirth in four different classes of unhappy planes. Since both kusala kamma and akusala kamma are variegated, causing variegated results, there must be many different planes where there can be rebirth. Besides the human plane, there are other planes of existence.
- What is the difference between sensuousness of defilements, kilesa kāma, and sensuousness of base, vatthu kāma?
- What is the meaning of "insignificant Dhammas", paritta Dhammas?
- Did the Buddha have citta of the sense sphere, kāmāvacara citta?
- What are the meanings of bhūmi, plane?
Footnotes and references:
Avacara means moving in or frequenting.
Included are 12 akusala cittas, 8 kusala cittas, 8 maha-vipākacittas, 8] maha-kiriyacittas (of the arahat). Also included are the ahetuka vipāka-cittas which are the ten sense-cognitions (two pairs), 2 receiving-consciousnesses and 3 investigating-consciousnesses, the ahetuka kiriyacittas which are the sense-door adverting-consciousness, the mind-door adverting-consciousness and the smile-producing-consciousness of the arahat.
For each of the five stages of rupa-jhāna there are rūpāvacara kusala citta, vipākacitta and kiriyacitta.
For each of the four stages of arupa-jhāna there are arūpāvacara kusala citta, vipākacitta and kiriyacitta.
Four each of the four stages of enlightenment there are the path-consciousness, magga-citta, and its result, the fruition-consciousness, phala-citta.
Birth in these planes is the result of rupa-jhāna.
Birth in these planes is the result of arupa-jhāna.
Rebirth in a rupa-brahma plane is the result of rupa-jhāna and rebirth in an arupa-brahma plane is the result of arupa-jhāna.
Nibbāna and the lokuttara cittas which experience it cannot be objects of clinging.
The hell planes, the animal world, the plane of petas (ghosts) and the plane of asuras (demons).