Adhimokkha, determination or resolution, is another cetasika among the six "particulars" which arises with cittas of the four jatis but not with every citta.
The Visuddhimagga ( XIV, 151) gives the following definition of adhimokkha:
The act of resolving is resolution. It has the characteristic of conviction. Its function is not to grope. It is manifested as decisiveness. Its proximate cause is a thing to be convinced about. It should be regarded as like a boundary-post owing to its immovableness with regard to the object.
The "Paramattha Manjusa" (489), the commentary to the Visuddhimagga, states that:
" the act of resolving should be understood as the act of being convinced about an object".
The Atthasalini (I, Part IV, Chapter I, 133) give a definition similar to the one of the Visuddhimagga. 
Adhimokkha is not the same as what we usually mean by the words " determination" and "decision" in conventional language. In order to understand the characteristic of adhimokkha we should know which types of citta it accompanies.
Since adhimokkha is one of the "particulars" it accompanies cittas of the four jartis and thus it can be kusala, akusala, vipaka or kiriya as we have seen, the "particulars" do not arise with every citta. Adhimokkha does not accompany the dvi-pacavinnas (sense-cognitions) which are accompanied only by the "universals", not by other types of cetasikas. Seeing-consciousness, for example, arises at the eye-base and sees visible object. It does not need, apart from the seven "universals", adhimokkha or any other cetasika in order to see visible object.
Adhimokkha does not arise either with the type of moha-mula-citta (citta rooted in ignorance) which is accompanied bv doubt (vicikiccha). When there is doubt there cannot be at the same time the cetasika adhimokkha which "does not grope" and is "convinced" about the object.
Adhimokkha accompanies all cittas other than the afore-mentioned cittas. It arises in the sense-door process as well as in the mind-door process. Adhimokkha is one among the cetasikas which assist citta in cognizing its object. Adhimokkha also accompanies the cittas which do not arise in a process: the patisandhi-citta, the bhavanga-citta and the cuti-citta. It is "convinced" about the object these cittas experience.
When we hear the word "decision" or"determination", we usually associate this word with a decision we have to consider carefully. We may not have expected adhimokkha to arise in a sense-door process, but, as we have seen, it arises in sense-door processes as well as in mind-door processes and it assists the citta in cogizing the object.
Adhimokkha which accompanies akusala citta is determination which is akusala. When one, for example, speaks harshly or hits someone else, there is akusala adhimokkha which is convinced about the object of aversion. Adhimokkha which accompanies kusala citta is determination which is kusala. When one, for example, decides with kusala citta to study the Dhamma, kusala adhimokkha accompanies the kusala citta. However, at such a moment there are also many other wholesome cetasikas accompanying the kusala citta and adhimokkha is only one of them. It is difficult to know exactly what adhimokkha is. There is, for example, kusala cetana which "wills" kusala, there is non-attachment, alobha, and there are many other cetasikas which each have their own task in assisting the citta to perform its function. They all take part in "deciding" to study the Dhamma.
When one develops calm there is adhimokkha which is determined, sure about the object, which is in this case an object of samatha. When jhana is attained adhimokkha accompanies the jhana-citta and it performs its function of being determined as to the object of absorption.
When one develops right understanding of nama and rupa there is adhimokkha accompanying the kusala citta. We may believe that we can decide to make sati arise, but there is no self who can decide this. When there are the appropriate conditions for sati and panna they arise and then there is also adhimokkha which performs its function while it accompanies the kusala citta. When one begins to develop right understanding of nama and rupa, there will be doubt as to their different characteristics. When there is doubt adhimokkha does not arise. When there is right mindfulness of the nama or rupa which appears, adhimokkha performs its function of being "convinced", sure about the object.
Adhimokkha which accompanies lokuttara citta is "convinced", sure about the object which is nibbana.
Adhimokkha is not self; it is sankhara dhamma, a conditioned dhatnrna which arises and falls away with the citta it accompanies. It performs its function only while it is accompanying the citta and then it falls away together with the citta. If the next citta is accompanied by adhimokkha it is another adhimokkha and this falls away again. "
Since adhimokkha arises with all cittas except the ten panca-vinnanas and the type of moha-mula-citta which is accompanied by doubt, it arises with seventy-eight cittas in all.
Viriya, energy or effort, is another cetasiika among the "particulars" which arises with cittas of the four jatis but not with every citta. The Visuddhimagga ( XIV, 137) states concerning viriya :
Energy (viriya) is the state of one who, is vigorous (vira). Its characteristic is marshalling (driving). Its finction is to consolidate conascent states (the accompanying citta and cetasikas). It is manifested as non-collapse. Because of the words "Bestirred, he strives wisely" (Gradual Saying II. I l5), its proximate cause is a sense of urgency; or its proximate cause is grounds for the initiation of energy. When rightly initiated, it should be regarded as the root of all attainments.
Viriya which is the root of all attainments is right effort, viriya accompanying kusala citta. Since viriya accompanies cittas of the four jatis, there is also akusala viriya, viriya accompanying vipakacitta and viriya accompanying kiriyacitta.
The Atthasalini (I, Pan IV, Chapter1, 120, 121) gives a definition of viriya which is similar to the one given by the Visuddhimagga. Apart from this definition it gives first another one and here it deals with viriya under the aspect of "controlIing faculty" or indriya. The Pali term "indriya" means "governing or ruling principle". When kusala viriya has been developed it becomes a "controlling faculty". The controlling faculty of viriya "controls" or inhibits laziness, a defilement opposed to energy.
We read in the Atthaslini:
From its overcoming idleness it is a controlling faculty in the sense of predominance ...lts characteristic is strengthening, and grasp or support. As an old house stands when strengthened by new pillars, so the aspirant (meditator), when strengthened by energy, does not fall off or deteriorate as to moral states. Thus should the characteristic of strengthening be understood...
The Atthasalini then uses a simile of a small army which, if it goes to battle, might be repulsed. However, when they are supported by a strong reinforcement sent by the king, they can defeat the hostile army. We read:
... thus energy does not allow associated states to recede, to retreat; it uplifts, support them. Hence it has been said that energy has the characteristic of supporting.
The word 'energy' as it is used in conventional language does not render the precise meaning of viriya. When we for example say that we are full of energy, what do we mean? Energy for what? Is it energy accompanying akusala citta or energy accompanying kusala citta? Besides, there are also vipakacittas and kiriyacittas which are accompanied by viriya, We are inclined to take energy for self, but energy is sankhara dhamma, a conditioned dhamma. Energy is conditioned by the citta and the other cetasikas it accompanies and thus there is a different kind of energy with different dttas. In order to have more understanding about viriya we should study which types of cittas it accompanies.
Viriya accompanies all akusala cittas and all sobhana cittas. They include not only kusala cittas but also vipakacittas accompanied by sobhana cetasikas and kiriyacittas [of the arahat] accompanied by sabhana cetasikas. The sobhana cittas of the sense-sphere, kamavacara sobhana cittas, are: maha-kusala. cittas, maha-vipakacittas and maha-kiriyacittas. "Maha" means: "great sobhana cittas also include jhanacittas and lokutrara cittas. (including jhanacittas and lokuttara cittas), but it does not arise with all vipakacittas and with all kiriyacittas. Viriya does not accompany the dvi-panca-vinnanas, the sense-cognitions. Seeing or hearing do not need viriya in order to experience their object. The mind-door adverting-consciousness, mano-dvaravajjana-citta and the hasituppada-citta which causes smiling in the case of arahats are the only ahetuka cittas (rootless cittas) which are accompanied by viriya.
We read in the Visuddhimagga that the function of viriya is to consolidate conascent states. Viriya strengthens, supports the citta and the other cetasikas it accompanies so that they can carry out their work and do not "collapse".
Viriya accompanies every kusaIa citta and it supports the citta and accompanying cetasikas so that they can carry out their work in a whoIesome way. When there is loving kindness, it is strengthened and supported by kusala viriya. If there were no viriya accompanying the kusala citta, no kusala could be performed. Also when the citta is akusala citta, viriya accompanies the citta and the cetasikas so that they can carry out their work in the unwholesome way, Viriya accompanies every akusala citta. When there is anger, dosa, it is strengthened and supported by viriya. Viriya which accompanies akusala citta is wrong effort and viriya which accompanies kusala citta is right effort.
Kusala viriya can be energy for dana, for sila, for samatha or for vipassana. It depends on conditions which type of kusala arises at a particular moment. If one wants, for example, to subdue defilements through the development of calm and one knows how to develop calm, there is energy and perseverance with the development of calm. If one's goal is knowing realities as they are there are conditions for energy for vipassana. This kind of energy or effort arises together with the citta which is mindful of a nama or rupa appearing now, at this moment. Right effort arises because of its own conditions; there is no self who can exert himself. When we have a notion of self who has to make an effort to be aware, there is wrong effort instead of right effort. Right effort is a conditioned dhamma, sankhara dhamma, which arises because of its own conditions. It does not last, it falls away immediately with the citta it accompanies and then wrong effort may arise.
As we read in the definition of the Visuddhimagga, the proximate cause of viriya is "a sense of urgency or grounds for the initiation of energy'. Birth, old age and death can remind us of the urgency to develop right understanding which eventually will lead to freedom from the cycle of birth and death. When we are "urged" to be mindful of realities, there is no self who makes an effort to be mindful. Bight effort which is a reality arising because of its own conditions strengthens and supports the citta with mindfulness. There is energy, courage and perseverance to develop the eightfold Path since this is the only way leading to the end of dukkha.
The Visuddhimagga and the Atthasalini, when they mention that the proximate cause of viriya is a sense of urgency, quote the words, "bestirred, he strives wisely', from a sutta of the Gradual Sayings(Book of the Fours, Chapter XII, 3, The Goad). in the sutta we read about four kinds of horses. One horse is already stirred to activity when he sees the shadow of the goadstick, whereas another one is not stirred by that, but is only stirred when his coat is pricked by the goad. Another one is stirred only when his flesh is pierced by the goad. We read about the fourth kind of horse:
Once more, monks, we may hove a goodly thorough-bred steed, which is stirred, feels agitation neither at the sight of the goadstick nor when his coat is pricked, nor yet when his flesh is pierced with the goadstick but when he is pierced to the very bone he is stirred...
We then read about four kinds of people who are compared to these horses:
In this case, marks, here we may have a certain goodly thorough-bred man who hears it said that in such and such a village or township is a woman or a man afflicted or dead. Thereat he is stirred. he feels agitation. Thus agitated he strictly applies himself. Thus applied he both realizes in his own person the supreme truth, and sees it by penetrating it with wisdom...
Again, monks, here we may hove a goodly thoroughbred man who does not hear it said that in such or such a village or township is a woman or a man afflicted or dead, but with his own eyes sees it. Thereupon he is stirred...
Then again, monks, here we may hove a certain goodly thorough-bred man who does not hear it said... nor yet with his own eyes sees a woman or man articled or dead, but his own kinsman or blood-relation is afflicted or dead. Thereupon he is stirred...
Once more, monks, here we may have a goodly thoroughbred man who neither hears it said... nor yet with his own eyes sees... nor is his own kinsman or blood-relation afflicted or dead, but he himself is stricken with painful bodily feelings, grievous, sharp, racking, distracting, discomforting, that drain the life away. Thereat he is stirred, he feels agitation. Being so stirred he strictly applies himself. Thus applied he both realizes with his own person the supreme truth and sees it by penetrating it with wisdom...
Sickness, old age and death are realities of daily life which can remind us of the urgency to develop right understanding, they are like a "goadstick" which can "stir" us. They are the proximate cause of right effort, which is energy for mindfulness of the reality appearing at the present moment.
Viriya is the "root of aIl attainments", as we read in the definition by the Visuddhimagga. Right effort is an indriya, controlling faculty, which has to be developed together with the other indriyas for the attainment of jhana and the attainment of enlightenment. As the Atthasalini states, viriya is the indriya which "controls" or inhibits laziness. Laziness is an obstruction to jhana and to enlightenment, Right effort can also be seen under the aspect to path-factor and as such it is called samma-vayama of the eightfold Path. Right effort has to accompany right under-standing, samma-ditthi, of the eightfold Path in order to be a path-factor. Right effort of the eightfold Path develops through maha-satipatthana, the "four applications of mindfulness". When there is mindfulness of the reality which appears at the present moment there is also right effort.
Viriya is one of the factors of enlightenment, bojhangas.
The factors of enlightenment are:
- mindfulness (sati),
- investigation of the Dhamma (dhammavicaya, which is panna),
- enthusiasm (piti),
- calm (passaddhi),
- concentration (samadhi) and
- equanimity (upekkha).
When the enlightenment factors have been developed they lead to the realization of the four noble Truths. The enlightenment factors reach completion through the development of maha-satipattna.
Thus we see that there are different aspects to right effort. We read in the scriptures about "four right endeavours" and these are aspects of right effort. We read for example in the Middle Length Sayings (Ill, 141, the Analysis of the Truths) that Sariputta explained to the monks the four noble Truths. He spoke about dukkha, its origination, its cessation and the way leading to its cessation, the eightfold Path. He explained about right effort, one of the factors of the eightfold Path, that there are four right endeavours:
And what, your reverences, is right endeavour? As to this, your reverences, a monk generates desire, endeavours, stirs up energy. exerts his mind and strives for the non-arising of evil unskilled states that have not arisen... for the getting rid of evil unskilled states that have arisen... for the arising of skilled states that have not arisen... for the maintenance, preservation, increase, maturity, development and completion of skilled states that have arisen. This, your reverences, is called right endeavour.
When there is mindfulness of visible object which appears now, seeing which appears now, sound which appears now, hearing which appears now, or any other reality which appears now, right undetstand of the eightfold Path is being developed and this is the most effective way to avoid akusala, to overcome it, to make kusala arise and to maintain kusala and bring it to perfection. At the moment of right mindfulness right effort performs its task of strengthening the kusala citta so that there is perseverance with the development of the eightfold Path.
- Which cittas are not accompanied by adhimokkha?
- Can adhimokkha arise in a sense-door process?
- Can viriya be akusala?
- Viriya is sankhara dhamma. Why did the Buddha exhort people to strive for wisdom although there is no self who can put forth energy?
- What is right effort of the eightfold Path?
- Which are the proximate causes fot right effort?
- How can right effort of the eightfold Path be developed?
- At which moment is right effort of the eightfold Path be developed?
- What is the object which right effort of the eightfold Path experiences?
Footnotes and references:
The Dhammasangani does not mention adhimokkha in its fist of dhammas, but it adds:
"or whatever other factors there are"
The Atthasalini and the Visuddhimaga classify adhimokkha among the nine "whatsoevers" (ye va panaka). Manasikara is also classified among the "whatsoevers". Manasikara and adhimokkha are mentioned in the "Discourse on the Uninterrupted" (Middle Length Saying III, no.111) . see Abhidhamma Studies by Ven. Nyanaponika, in Chapter 4, p. 49, and in his Appendix. B.P.S. Kandy, 1976.
When cittas are counted as 89. Cittas Can be counted as 89 or 121. When they are counted as 121 the lokuttara jhanacittas accompanied by jhana-factors of the five stages of jhana are included.
See Dhammasangani 13, and for explanation: Atthasalini, Part IV, Chaprer 2, 146. There are five indriyas which should be developed together.
They are the "spiritual faculties" which are the following wholesome qualities:
- Saddha (confidence),
- samadhi (concentration) and
These facultes control or overcome the defilements which are their opposites. When indriya have been developed to the degree that they are "unshakable", they are "powers" or "strengths", balas. Powers cannot be shaken by the defilements which are their opposites.
Sobhana cittas, beautiful citta, are cittas accompanied by sobhana cetasikas.
For details see Appendix 4.
Kindred Sayings V, Maha-vagga, Kindred Sayings on the Limbs of Wisdom, Chapter I, 6.