Conditions

An outline of the 24 Conditions as taught in the Abhidhamma

by Nina van Gorkom | 2003 | 56,782 words

Conditionality of Life in the Buddhist Teachings An outline of the 24 Conditions as taught in the Abhidhamma...

Chapter 3 - Predominace-condition

Adhipati-paccaya

We read in the"Patthana" (II, Analytical Exposition, 3) about two kinds of predominance-condition:

  • conascent-predominance (sahajatadhipati)
  • object-predominance (arammanadhipati)

As to conascent-predominance-condition, the conditioning factor (paccaya) which has a dominating influence over the realities it conditions (paccayupanna dhammas) is conascent with these, that is, it arises together with them. A phenomenon does not arise alone, it arises simultaneously with other phenomena. Citta does not arise alone, it is accompanied by cetasikas; citta and cetasikas arise together and fall away together.

There are four factors which condition other realities they arise together with by way of conascent-predominance-condition, and these are:

  • chanda (desire-to-do)[1]
  • viriya (energy or effort)
  • citta
  • vimamsa (investigation of Dhamma, panna cetasika)

Three of these factors, namely, chanda, viriya and vimamsa are cetasikas and one is citta, but not every citta can be a predominant factor as we shall see. It is due to these four factors that great and difficult enterprises can be accomplished. Whenever we wish to accomplish a task, one of these four factors can be the leader, the predominance-condition for the realities they arise together with and also for the rupa which is produced at that moment by citta[2]. Only one of these four factors at a time can be predominant. For example, when chanda is foremost, the other three factors cannot be predominant at the same time. Chanda, viriya and citta can be predominant in the accomplishment of an enterprise or task both in a wholesome way and in an unwholesome way, whereas vimamsa, investigation of Dhamma, which is a sobhana cetasika, beautiful cetasika, can only be predominant in a wholesome way.

The conascent predominant factors operate at the moments of javana-cittas (kusala cittas or akusala cittas in the case of non-arahats)[3] and these javana-cittas have to be accompanied by at least two roots (hetus), otherwise they would be too weak for the occurrence of predominance-condition. For instance, the two types of moha-mula-citta (citta rooted in ignorance) which are: moha-mula-citta accompanied by uddhacca (restlessness) and moha-mula-citta accompanied by kukkucca (doubt), have moha as their only root; they have no strength to accomplish a task with one of the predominant factors as predominance-condition.

When one undertakes works of art, such as painting, or one applies oneself to music, one is bound to do so with lobha-mula-citta (citta rooted in attachment). Lobha is attached to the object it experiences, but it cannot accomplish an enterprise, it is not a predominant factor. Chanda, zeal or wish-to-do, which accompanies lobha-mula-citta can be a predominant factor in the accomplishment of one's undertakings, it conditions the citta and the other cetasikas it accompanies by way of conascent-predominance. When we are generous and like to give something away, chanda, which is kusala in this case, may be predominant. There are also alobha, non-attachment, and adosa, non-aversion or kindness, but these wholesome roots cannot be predominant in the accomplishment of a generous deed. It is chanda which can be predominant in the accomplishment of the generous deed, for example, when one chooses the gift and hands it to someone else.

Viriya can be a predominant factor in the accomplishment of our tasks. Preparing food may be part of our daily chores, and sometimes, when we like to do this, chanda may be predominant. At other times we may find it an effort but we may still want to cook. Then we may prepare food with viriya as predominant factor. At such moments there is likely to be lobha, but viriya is foremost in the accomplishment of cooking.

Citta can be a predominance-condition for the accompanying cetasikas, but not all cittas can be predominance-condition. As we have seen, predominance-condition can operate only when there are javana-cittas accompanied by at least two roots. Seeing, for example, is an ahetuka citta (without roots), it can only perform the function of seeing and it cannot be predominance-condition. Moha-mula-citta, which has moha as its only root cannot be predominance-condition. Lobha-mula-citta and dosa-mula-citta have each two roots (respectively moha and lobha, and moha and dosa), they can be predominance-condition; then they have a dominating influence over the accompanying cetasikas in the fulfilling of a task or enterprise in the unwholesome way. All maha-kusala cittas (kusala cittas of the sense-sphere) and all maha-kiriyacittas (of the arahat), always have the two roots of alobha, non-attachment, and adosa, non-aversion, and they can have in addition the root which is panna, thus, they have two or three roots and therefore they can be predominance-condition. When we accomplish a task with cittas which are resolute, firmly established in kusala, the citta can be the predominance-condition. The jhanacittas (kusala jhanacittas and kiriya jhanacittas of the arahat) and the lokuttara cittas are always accompanied by panna, they have three roots, and thus they can be predominance-condition[4].

Lobha cetasika is not a predominant factor, but lobha-mula-citta, citta rooted in attachment, can be predominance-condition, as we have seen. For example, when there is wrong view and wrong practice, the citta arising at that moment is firm and steady in this way of akusala, and then that citta is predominance-condition for the accompanying dhammas. That type of citta is rooted in moha and lobha and thus it is conditioned by these two roots by way of root-condition. When we abstain from slandering, the citta which is firm in kusala can be predominant, and in that case chanda, wish-to-do, and viriya, effort, are not predominant.

With regard to investigation of the Dhamma, vimamsa, this is panna cetasika. When we listen to the Dhamma, consider it and are mindful of realities, vimamsa can condition the accompanying citta and cetasikas by way of predominance-condition.

The rupas produced by citta can also be conditioned by way of predominance-condition. Body intimation (kaya-vinnatti) and speech intimation (vaci-vinnatti) are rupas produced by citta[5]. When we present food to the monks, citta which is firm in kusala can be the predominant factor. While we, at such an occasion, show by our gestures our intention to give, there are rupas which are body intimation, and these are conditioned by kusala citta by way of predominance-condition. When we slander the citta which is firm in akusala may be predominance-condition, and then the rupa which is speech intimation is conditioned by the akusala citta by way of predominance-condition.

For the attainment of jhana the predominant factors are necessary conditions, and in that case they have to be sobhana. It is extremely difficult to develop samatha to the degree of jhana, and without the conditioning force of one of the four predominant factors one would not be able to attain jhana. We read in the Visuddhimagga (III, 24):

...If a bhikkhu obtains concentration, obtains unification of mind, by making zeal (chanda) predominant, this is called concentration due to zeal. If... by making energy predominant, this is called concentration due to energy. If... by making (natural purity of) citta predominant, this is called concentration due to citta. If... by making inquiry (vimamsa) predominant, this is called concentration due to inquiry (Vibhanga 216-219). So it is of four kinds as predominance.

There are different degrees of the predominant factors. When these four factors have been developed to a high degree, they have become "bases of success", iddhipadas, and then they can lead to the acquisition of supernatural powers (Visuddhimagga, Ch XII, 50-53)[6]. The rupas produced by citta which exercises such powers are also conditioned by way of predominance-condition.

In the development of vipassana, right understanding of nama and rupa, one also needs the "four bases of success" for the realisation of the stages of insight wisdom and for the attainment of enlightenment. The arising of awareness and understanding of realities is beyond control, it is due to conditions. We need patience and courage to persevere studying and considering nama and rupa, and to be aware of them in daily life. For the accomplishment of our task, the development of right understanding, the factors which are predominant condition are indispensable. The study of the predominance-condition can be a reminder that right understanding is dependant on different kinds of conditions, that it does not depend on a "self". We read in the "Kindred Sayings" (V, Maha-vagga, Book VII, Kindred Sayings on the bases of Psychic Power (Bases of Success), Ch I, 2, Neglected):

By whomsoever, monks, the four bases of psychic power are neglected, by them also is neglected the ariyan way that goes on to the utter destruction of dukkha. By whomsoever, monks, the four bases of psychic power are undertaken, by them also is undertaken the ariyan way that goes on to the utter destruction of dukkha....

It is then explained what the four bases of psychic power (iddhipadas) are. They arise together with right concentration and with right effort. Right effort in vipassana is right effort to be aware of whatever reality appears at this moment.

As we have seen, there are two kinds of predominance-condition: conascent-predominance-condition and object-predominance-condition. In the case of conascent-predominance-condition the conditioning factor arises simultaneously with the conditioned dhammas, but this is not so with object-predominance-condition. As regards object-predominance-condition (arammanadhipati-paccaya), not every object citta experiences is object-predominance-condition. An object which is predominance-condition is highly regarded by citta and the accompanying cetasikas so that they give preponderance to it. The predominant object is the conditioning factor (paccaya), and the citta and cetasikas which experience that object are the conditioned dhammas (paccayupanna dhammas). Object-predominance-condition is different from object-condition. For example, when we like the colour of a certain cloth, but we do not particularly want to possess it, that object conditions the lobha-mula-citta by way of object-condition. When we like that cloth very much and want to possess it, that object conditions the lobha-mula-citta by way of object-predominance-condition. We then give preponderance to that object.

Certain objects cannot be object-predominance-condition, because they are undesirable. Among them is the type of body-consciousness which is akusala vipaka, accompanied by painful feeling[7]. The two types of dosa-mula-citta (one type unprompted and one type prompted, c.f. Appendix 2) cannot be object-predominance-condition. They are accompanied by unpleasant feeling and thus they are not desirable. The two types of moha-mula-citta, one associated with doubt and one associated with restlessness, cannot be object-predominance-condition, they are not desirable. The akusala cetasikas which accompany dosa-mula-citta and moha-mula-citta are not desirable either, thus, they cannot be object-predominance-condition. One could not esteem regret, jealousy or stinginess, akusala cetasikas which may accompany dosa-mula-citta. We read in the "Patthana" (Faultless Triplet, VII, Investigation Chapter, Conditions: Positive, 1, Classification Chapter, Predominance, 10, §413):

... After having offered the offering, having undertaken the precept, having fulfilled the duty of observance, (one) esteems and reviews it. (One) esteems and reviews (such acts) formerly well done...

Wholesomeness can be object-predominance-condition for kusala citta which esteems and considers the wholesome deed which was done. In this case one gives preponderance to that object. When we have been generous we can recollect our generosity and then there can be the arising again of kusala cittas.

We read in the same section (§414) that dana, sila and jhana can be object-predominance-condition also for akusala citta. When we have performed generous deeds with kusala citta we may find that citta highly desirable, we may be pleased with our own generosity. There may be attachment and wrong view on account of our good deeds. If we do not know the different conditions for kusala citta and akusala citta we may take for kusala what is actually akusala. Thus, kusala can be object of clinging, it can even be object-predominance-condition for clinging. Anything can be object of clinging, except Nibbana. As we have seen (in Ch 2), Nibbana and the eight lokuttara cittas which experience it cannot be object-condition for lobha-mula-citta; neither can they be object-predominance-condition for lobha-mula-citta. We read in the same section of the "Patthana" (§416):

Learners esteem and review (lower) Fruition. (They) esteem and review Nibbana. Nibbana is related to change-of-lineage, purification[8], path by predominance-condition.

Nibbana is object-predominance-condition for the eight lokuttara cittas which experience it, and it can also be object-predominance-condition for maha-kusala citta accompanied by panna and maha-kiriyacitta (of the arahat) accompanied by panna. Lokuttara cittas can be object-predominance-condition for the cittas which arise after the attainment of enlightenment and which review, consider with panna, the lokuttara cittas which arose. Akusala can condition akusala citta by way of object-predominance-condition. We read in the "Patthana", in the same section, §415:

(One) esteems, enjoys and delights in lust. Taking it as estimable object, arises lust, arises wrong views. (One) esteems, enjoys and delights in wrong views. Taking it as estimable object, arises lust, arise wrong views.

If someone does not see the danger of lobha, he considers it the goal of his life to have as much enjoyment as possible. We like to enjoy nature, to buy beautiful cloths, to eat delicious food, to hear nice music. We like to enjoy all the pleasant things of life. It is natural that we enjoy pleasant things, but we can also develop right understanding of the different cittas which arise in daily life.

Pleasant sense objects are desirable and they can condition lobha-mula-citta by way of object-predominance-condition. It may happen that we have many duties to do but that we are so carried away by the sound of music that we leave our duties and play the piano or go to a concert. Then we give preponderance to sound and this is object-predominance-condition for lobha-mula-citta. This happens time and again in our daily life. We should not pretend that we do not have lobha, we should come to know our inclinations as they are. When lobha has arisen already because of its own conditions we should not ignore it, but we can develop right understanding of it. When there is mindfulness of lobha when it appears it can be known as a conditioned nama, not self.

We read in the "Patthana" (in the same section, §416):

(One) esteems, enjoys and delights in the eye... ear... nose... tongue... body... visible object... sound... smell... taste... tangible object... (heart-)base... taking it as estimable object, arises lust, arises wrong views...

The rupas with characteristics which can be directly experienced can be object-predominance-condition. Rupa which is a desirable object can be object-predominance-condition only for lobha-mula-citta. Rupa cannot condition kusala citta by way of object-predominance-condition, only by way of object-condition. For example, we want to give beautiful flowers to someone else. Then rupa, such as colour or odour, can condition kusala citta by way of object-condition, rupa is the object experienced by kusala citta. That rupa cannot be object-predominance-condition for kusala citta, one does not give preponderance to it, one is intent on giving it away. The kusala one has performed, such as generosity, may be object-predominance-condition for kusala citta, then there are conditions for more kusala cittas. Rupa in itself does not condition further development of kusala, that is conditioned by other factors. The development of kusala is conditioned by the kusala one accumulated in the past, and also by the factors of chanda (wish-to-do), viriya (effort), citta and vimamsa (investigation of the Dhamma), which are conascent-predominance-conditions.

We should find out to which objects we give preponderance. We should know whether they condition kusala citta or lobha-mula-citta. It is important to realize in which way objects can condition different cittas. When lobha-mula-citta arises the object which it experiences may condition that citta only by way of object-condition or it may condition it by way of object-predominance as well. At different moments different conditions play their part in our life. Kusala can condition wrong view or conceit by way of object-predominance-condition. We may attach great importance to the notion of "my kusala" with wrong view. Or we may have a high esteem of our good deeds with conceit, while we compare ourselves with others.

When we are attached to colourful pictures our attachment may be object-predominance-condition for lobha-mula-cittas; we may be quite absorbed in our enjoyment and forgetful of the development of right understanding. At other moments we may devote time to the study and the consideration of the Dhamma so that right understanding can develop. The Dhamma we hear may condition maha-kusala citta accompanied by panna by way of object-predominance-condition. We read in the "Lesser Discourse on the Destruction of Craving" (Middle Length Sayings I, no. 37) that Sakka, lord of the devas, had inclinations to mental development, but when there were conditions to enjoy sense-pleasures, he was absorbed in those. We read that Sakka asked the Buddha, who was staying near Savatthi in the Eastern Monastery, to what extent a monk comes to be completely freed by the destruction of craving. The Buddha answered:

As to this, lord of devas, a monk comes to hear: "It is not fitting that there should be inclination towards any (mental-physical) conditions."[9] If, lord of devas, a monk comes to hear this, that "It is not fitting that there should be any inclination towards any (mental-physical) conditions", he knows all the conditions thoroughly, he knows all the conditions accurately; by knowing all the conditions accurately, whatever feeling he feels, pleasant or painful or neither painful nor pleasant, he abides viewing impermanence, he abides viewing dispassion, he abides viewing stopping, he abides viewing renunciation in regard to those feelings.

We then read that when he is so abiding he grasps after nothing in the world and attains arahatship. Moggallana wanted to find out whether Sakka had grasped the meaning of the Buddha's words and to this end he appeared among the "devas of the Thirty-three". Sakka, who was equipped and provided with five hundred deva-like musical instruments, was amusing himself. When he saw Moggallana coming he stopped those instruments and welcomed Moggallana. Moggallana then asked Sakka to repeat the Buddha's words about freedom by the destruction of craving. Sakka answered:

I, my good Moggallana, am very busy, there is much to be done by me; both on my own account there are things to be done, and there are also (still more) things to be done for the devas of the Thirty-three. Further, my good Moggallana, it was properly heard, properly learnt, properly attended to, properly reflected upon, so that it cannot vanish quickly....

Sakka invited Moggallana to come and see the delights of his splendid palace. Moggallana thought that Sakka lived much too indolently and wanted to agitate him. By his supernatural power he made the palace tremble, shake and quake. Moggallana asked Sakka again to repeat the Buddha's words and then Sakka did repeat them.

We may recognize ourselves in Sakka when he tries to find excuses not to consider the Dhamma. We also are inclined to think at times that we are too busy to develop right understanding of realities, to be aware of nama and rupa over and over again, until they are thoroughly understood. When Moggallana agitated Sakka there were conditions for him to give preponderance to the development of right understanding. Our life is likewise. When we listen to the Dhamma or read the scriptures there can be conditions to give preponderance to the consideration of the Dhamma and the development of right understanding. When there is mindfulness of nama and rupa as they appear one at a time, they can eventually be known as they are: elements which are non-self.

 

 

Footnotes and references:

1.

Chanda is a cetasika which arises with cittas of the four jatis, but it does not arise with every citta. It accompanies kusala citta as well as akusala citta. It is translated as wish-to-do, desire or zeal.

2.

As we have seen, citta is one of the factors which produces rupas of the body.

3.

Javana literally means: "running through", impulsion; the javana-cittas arise in the sense-door processes of cittas and in the mind-door process, and they "run through the object". There are usually seven javana-cittas in a process of cittas, and these are kusala cittas or akusala cittas. Arahats do not have kusala cittas or akusala cittas, they have kiriyacittas which perform the function of javana.

4.

For details about the cittas which can be conascent-predominance-condition, see Appendix 2.

5.

Body-intimation is a kind of rupa which conditions gestures and other movements of the body by which we express our intentions. Speech intimation is a rupa which conditions speech sound by which we express our intentions.

6.

Powers developed by means of samatha, such as walking on water, knowing one's former lives, etc.

7.

Body-consciousness is vipakacitta which experiences pleasant or unpleasant tangible objects. When it is kusala vipaka it is accompanied by pleasant bodily feeling and when it is akusala vipaka it is accompanied by unpleasant bodily feeling.

8.

Change-of-lineage or adaptation is the maha-kusala citta accompanied by panna preceding the lokuttara citta of the sotapanna and purification is the maha-kusala citta accompanied by panna preceding the lokuttara citta of the three higher stages of enlightenment.

9.

In the "Papancasudani", the commentary to this sutta, it is stated that these are the five khandhas, the twelve sense-fields (ayatanas), the eighteen elements.

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