by Ashin Janakabhivamsa | 66,666 words
English translation of "Abhidhamma in Daily Life" by Professor Ko Lay. Revised by Sayadaw U Silananda, International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Yangon, 1999...
The Four Causes And Conditions
Let us delve further into the nature of the four dhatus and how rupa is caused by kamma, citta, utu and ahara. Let us think of an earthen doll. Dust or soil particles do not make a doll because the particles will not cohere but be blown away. So we add some water; still the doll does not take shape. The doll must then be baked in the sun. This is an example of how an earthen doll is molded by a craftsman with the help of dust, water, wind and sun.
How Kamma Takes Effect
As in the above example, pathavi dhatu alone cannot cause the body to be formed. Apo dampens the pathavi and tejo dhatu removes the excess humidity; vayo presses and holds them together. The aggregate of four elements acquire physical properties such as appearance, smell, taste and nutritious essence. Then the systematic combination of the kalapas thus formed takes the form of human beings as directed by past kamma.
Kamma determines the sex and basic traits of the human being in conformity with the deeds done in the past. Some may become peta, animal, etc. for their evils. Kusala and akusala kamma manages to form beautiful or ugly beings correspondingly. Evil kamma makes one an animal but certain good kamma make the animal a lovely one. Conversely good kamma makes one a human but evil kamma makes him ugly and deplorable. In this way your life from fetus to death is managed by past and present actions good or bad. Rupa caused by kamma is called kammaja rupa.