When a sense object, which is rupa, impinges on one of the sensedoors, it is experienced by several cittas arising in a sense-door process. Counting from the "past bhavanga", there are seventeen moments of citta if the sense-door process of cittas runs its full course. Rupa lasts as long as seventeen moments of citta, and thus it falls away when that process is over. The seventeen moments of citta are as follows:
- atita-bhavanga (past bhavanga)
- bhavanga calana (vibrating bhavanga)
- bhavangupaccheda (arrest bhavanga, the last bhavanga arising before the object is experienced through the sense-door)
- five-sense-door-adverting-consciousness (pancadvaravajjana-citta), which is a kiriyacitta
- sense-cognition (dvi-pancavinnana, seeing-consciousness, etc.), which is vipakacitta
- receiving-consciousness (sampaticchana-citta), which is vipakacitta
- investigating-consciousness (santirana-citta) which is vipakacitta
- determining-consciousness (votthapana-citta) which is kiriyacitta
- javana-citta ("impulsion", kusala citta or akusala citta in the case of non-arahats)
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- registering-consciousness (tadarammana-citta) which may or may not arise, and which is vipakacitta
A sense-door process does not always run its full course. When a rupa impinges on one of the senses it may happen that more than three bhavanga-cittas pass before the sense-door adverting-consciousness arises, and then the process cannot run its full course, but it is interrupted earlier, since rupa cannot last longer than seventeen moments of citta. The rupa may have fallen away before the tadarammana-citta is due to arise, and in that case the process ends with the javana-cittas. The process of cittas which experience rupa may also end its course with the votthapana-citta, determining-consciousness, and then the javana-cittas do not arise. Or it may happen that the "vibrating bhavanga", bhavanga calana, succeeds the past bhavanga, atita-bhavanga, but that the arrest bhavanga, bhavangupaccheda (last bhavanga before the stream of bhavanga-cittas is arrested and a sense-door process begins), does not arise and then there cannot be any sense-door process. In that case there is a "futile course".
After a sense object has been experienced through a sense-door it is experienced through the mind-door, and then that object has just fallen away. Before the mind-door process begins there are bhavanga-cittas and the last two of these are specifically designated by a name. There are the following cittas:
bhavanga calana (vibrating bhavanga);
bhavangupaccheda (which is in this case the mind-door through which the cittas of the mind-door process will experience the object);
mind-door-adverting-consciousness (mano-dvaravajjana-citta) which is kiriyacitta;
2 tadarammana-cittas (which may or may not arise).
After the mind-door process has been completed there are bhavanga-cittas again.