Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 940,961 words

This page describes “iii.a causality according to the abhidharma” as written by Nagarjuna in his Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra (lit. “the treatise on the great virtue of wisdom”) in the 2nd century. This book, written in five volumes, represents an encyclopedia on Buddhism as well as a commentary on the Pancavimsatisahasrika Prajnaparamita.

III.a Causality according to the Abhidharma

a. The four conditions and the six causes.

[As we have just seen, the causal condition (hetupratyaya) is the five causes (hetu):

1) The mental events (caitta) coexist with the mind (cittasahabhū), – namely, feeling (vedanā), notion (saṃjñā), intention (cetanā), etc.;[1] they have the same aspect (ekākāra) and the same object (ekālambana) as the mind, being ‘associated’ (saṃprayukta) with it.[2] The mind as associated with the mental events is cause, and the mental events as associated with the mind are cause. This is what is called associated causes (saṃprayuktakahetu). These associated causes are like friends and acquaintances who come together to do something.

2) The simultaneous cause (sahabhūhetu). – Conditioned dharmas (saṃskṛtadharma) each have a simultaneous cause and, as simultaneous, these dharmas mutually help each another.[3] They are like an older brother and a younger brother who, being of the same birth, help one another mutually.

3) The homogeneous cause (sabhāgahetu). – Dharmas of the good category (kuśalanikāya), when they are past (atīta), are [homogeneous] cause of present (pratyutpanna) and future (anāgata) dharmas; past (atīta) or present (pratyutpanna), dharmas of the good category are [homogeneous] cause of future (anāgata) good dharmas.[4] [Mutatis mutandis], it is the same for bad (akuśala) dharmas and indeterminate (avyākṛta) dharmas. Thus all dharmas each have their homogeneous cause.

4) The universal cause (sarvatragahetu). – The perverse tendencies (anuśaya) to be abandoned by seeing the truth of suffering and the truth of the origin (duḥkhasamudayasatya-darśanaprahātavya) are cause of all defiled (kliṣṭa) dharmas and are called universal cause.[5]

5) The ripening cause (vipākahetu). – As a result of the accomplishment of action (karman), a favorable (kuśala) or unfavorable (akuśala) fruit of ripening (vipākaphala) is obtained: this is the ripening cause.[6]

These five causes (hetu) constitute the causal condition (hetupratyaya).

[Immediately preceding condition (samanantarapratyaya)]. – When the minds-and-mental-events (cittacaitta) follow one another in order (kramaśas) without intermediary (anantaram), there is the immediately preceding condition.[7]

[Object condition (ālambanapratyaya)]. – When the minds-and-mental-events (cittachaitta) arise and take things as object (viṣayān ālambya), there is the object condition.[8]

Dominant condition (adhipatipratyaya)]. – At the moment of their arising, the dharmas do not obstruct one another mutually: that is an absence of obstacle (avighna) [called dominant condition].[9]

b. Number of conditions occurring in the different types of dharmas.

[10]

1) The mind and mental events arise as a result of four conditions (caturbhiś cittacaittāḥ).

2) The absorption of non-conception (asaṃjñisamāpatti) and the absorption of cessation (nirodhasamāpatti) arise as a result of three conditions [hetupratyaya, samanantarapratyaya, adhipatipratyaya], with the exclusion of the object condition (ālamabanapratyaya).

3) The other dharmas, namely, the other formations not associated with the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra) and the material dharmas (rūpa) arise as a result of two conditions [hetupratyaya and adhipatipratyaya], with the exclusion of the immediately preceding condition (samanantarapratyaya) and the object condition (ālambanapratyaya).

The conditioned dharmas (saṃskṛtadharma), being weak by nature (svabhāvadaurbalyatvāt), none of them arise from a single condition.[11]

c. Number of causes occurring in the various types of dharmas.

[12]

1) The mind and mental events (cittacaitta), when they arise from retribution (vipākaja), arise from five causes [kāraṇahetu, sahabhūhetu, [297a] sabhāgahetu, saṃprayuktakahetu and vipākahetu]. Being non-defiled-indeterminate (anivṛtavyākṛta) and not being afflicted (akliṣṭa), they exclude the universal cause (sarvatragahetu).[13]

2) When they are afflicted (kliṣṭa), the mind and mental events also arise from five causes [kāraṇahetu, sahabhūhetu, sabhāgahetu, saṃprayuktahetu and sarvatragahetu], excluding the ripening cause (vipākahetu). Why? These kleśas are defiled (nivṛta) whereas the ripening (vipāka) itself is non-defiled (anivṛta); therefore the ripening cause should be excluded.

3) When they have arisen from retribution (vipāka), form (rūpa) and the formations non-associated with the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra) arise from four causes [kāraṇahetu, sahabhūhetu, sabhāgahetu and vipākahetu]. Not being mind-and-mental-event (cittacaitta), they exclude the associated cause (saṃprayuktakahetu); being non-defiled-indeterminate (anitvṛtāvyākṛta), they exclude the universal cause (sarvatragahetu).

4) When they are afflicted (kliṣṭa), form (rūpa) and the formations non-associated with the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra) also arise from four causes [kāranahetu, sahabhūhetu, sabhāhahetu and sarvatragahetu]. Not being mind-and-mental-event (cittacaitta), they exclude the associated cause (saṃprayuktahetu); being afflicted (kliṣṭa), they exclude the ripening cause (vipākahetu).

5) The other minds-and mental-events (śeṣāś cittacaittāḥ), except for the minds pure for the first time (prathamānāsrava),[14] arise from four causes [kāraṇahetu, sahabhūhetu, sabhagahetu and saṃprayuktakahetu], excluding the ripening cause (vipākahetu) and the universal cause (sarvatragahetu). Why? Not being indeterminate (avyākṛta), they exclude the ripening cause (vipākahetu); not being afflicted (kliṣṭa), they exclude the universal cause (sarvatragahetu).

6) In regard to other things not associated with the mind (anye cittaprayuktadharmāḥ), namely, form (rūpa) and the formations non-associated with the mind (cittaprayuktasaṃskāra), it is necessary to distinguish]:

a. If they have a homogeneous cause (sabhāgahetu), they arise from three causes [kāraṇahetu, sahabhūhetu and sabhāgahetu], excluding the associated cause (saṃprayuktahetu), the ripening cause (vipākahetu) and the universal cause (sarvatragahetu).

b. If they do not have a homogeneous cause (sabhāgahetu), they arise from two causes: the simultaneous cause (sahabhūhetu) and the cause ‘not making an obstacle’ (avighnakāraṇa) [commonly designated by the name kāraṇahetu].

7) As for form (rūpa) and the formations non-associated with the mind (cittaviprayukta-saṃskāra), occurring in minds pure for the first time (prathamānāsravacitta), they arise from two causes: the simultaneous cause (sahabhūhetu) and the cause ‘not making an obstacle’ (avighnakāraṇa).

There are no dharmas that are derived from one single cause (ekahetusaṃbhūto nāsti dharmaḥ).[15]

The six causes (hetu) make up the four conditions (pratyaya).

Footnotes and references:

1.

See Kośa, II, p. 153–156.

2.

For Kośa, II, p. 267, only the mind and mental events (cittacaitta) that have the same aspect (ekākāra), the same object (ekālambana) and the same point of support (samāśraya) are saṃprayuktakahetu.

3.

Dharmas that are the result of one another (mithaḥphala) are sahabhūhetu, such as, for example, the great elements (bhūta), the mind (citta) and the accompaniments of the mind (cittānuvartin), that which characterizes (lakṣaṇa) and that which is characterized (lakṣya): cf. Kośa, II, p. 248.

4.

Similar (sadṛśa) dharmas belonging to one and the same category and to one and the same stage (svanikāyabhū) and arisen earlier (agraja), are sabhāgahetu. Dharmas arisen earlier are homogeneous cause of later dharmas, whether the latter are arisen or not yet arisen (pūrvotpannāḥ paścimānām utpannānutpannānāṃ sabhāgahetuḥ); future dharmas are never homogeneous cause (anāgatā naiva sabhagahetuḥ): cf. Kośa, II, p. 255–257. – Vasubandhu in his Kośabhāṣyā, p. 85, l. 24–86, l. 2, cites a passage of the Jñānaprasthāna, T 1544, k. 1, p. 920c15–18: Sabhāgahetuḥ katamaḥ. pūrvotpannāni kuśalamūlāni paścad utpannānāṃ kuśalamūlānāṃ tatsaṃprayuktānāṃ ca dharmāṇāṃ svadhātau abhāgahetunā hetuḥ. evam atītāny atītapratyutpannānām. atītapratyutpannāny anāgatānām iti vaktyavyam. – What is the homogeneous cause? The previously arisen roots of good are homogeneous cause of roots of good arisen later and of the dharmas associated with them that are of the same category. Similarly also, the past roots of good are homogeneous cause of past and present roots of good, and the past and present roots of good are homogeneous cause of future roots of good.

5.

The anuśayas are the perverse tendencies by virtue of which actions are accumulated (upacayaṃ gacchanti) and are capable of producing a new existence (Kośa, V, p. 1). Scholasticism lists 98 of them. Among them, 11 are called universal (sarvatraga) because they take as object their entire dhātu (sakalasvadhātvālambanatvāt), in the sense that they are concerned with all categories of their dhātu in the sphere of existence in which the individual in whom they occur is born (Kośa, V, p. 32 at bottom). These 11 universals are: 1–7) the five dṛṣṭis, satkāyadṛṣṭi, etc., to be abandoned by the seeing of suffering (duḥkhadarśanaprahātavya), plus two dṛṣṭis, mithyādṛṣṭi and śīlavrataparāmarśadṛṣṭi, to be abandoned by the seeing of the origin (samudayadarśana-prahātavya); 8–9) the two vicikitsās (doubts concerning the reality of suffering and of non-suffering), to be destroyed by the seeing of suffering and of the origin (duḥkhasamudaya-darśanaprahātavya); 10–11) the two kinds of avidyā, one associated with the other anuśayas, the other alone (āveṇiki), both of which are to be abandoned by the seeing of suffering and of the origin (cf. Kośa, V, p. 31; Kośavyākhyā, p. 458, l. 10–16.

These universals are sarvatragahetu. The Kośavyākhyā, p. 89, l. 3 states: Svabhūmikaḥ pūrvotpannāḥ sarvatragā dharmāḥ paścimānāṃ klisṭānāṃ dharmāṇāṃ sarvatragahetuḥ. – The universal dharmas belonging to a certain stage and previously arisen [i.e., past or present] are the universal cause of later defiled dharmas.

6.

According to the simplest interpretation, the vipākahetu is the cause involving ripening. Morally defined actions, whether bad (aśubha = akuśala) or good-impure, produce an unpleasant or a pleasant fruit of ripening respectively, but always morally indeterminate. Hence the definition of Kośa, II, p. 271: Vipākahetur aśubhāḥ kuśalaś sāsravāḥ.

7.

The minds-and-mental-events which immediately precede other minds-and-mental-events are samanantarapratyaya of the latter.

8.

Every dharma indiscriminately is capable of being taken by the mind and the mental events associated with the latter. When a consciousness arises by taking it as object, this dharma is the ālambanapratyaya of this consciousness.

9.

The adhipatipratyaya manifests in such a way that it never presents an obstacle in any circumstance: this is its only activity (Kośabhāṣya, p. 101, l. 4–5: adhipatipratyayas tu sarvasyām avasthāyām anāvaraṇabhāvenāvasthita ity etad asya kāritram). The cause called ‘raison d’Ītre’ is the dominant condition. This dominant condition is the one that belongs to the greatest number of dharmas or that acts on the greatest number of dharmas (Kośabhāṣya, p. 100, l. 12–15: ya eva kāraṇahetuḥ sa evādhipatipratyayaḥ … adhiko ‘yaṃ pratyayaḥ adhikasya vā pratyayaḥ).

Every dharma is kāraṇahetu with respect to all dharmas except for itself. Every dharma is kāraṇahetu of all conditioned dharmas except for itself insofar as it appears as not being an obstacle to the arising of the others (Kośabhāṣya, p. 82, l. 23–24: svato ’nye kāraṇahetuḥ. saṃskṛtasya hi dharmasya svabhāvavarjyāḥ sarvadharmaḥ kāraṇahetuḥ. avighnabhāvāvasthānāt.)

The author of the Traité, or his translator Kumārajīva, avoids the term kāraṇahetu and substitutes wou tchang yin for it, probably avighnakāraṇa ‘the cause which is not an obstacle’. On the different ways of translating kāraṇahetu, see A. Hirakawa, Kośa Index I, p. 129, l. 14–15.

10.

Mahāvibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 136, p. 703a3–b1; Abhidharmasāra, T 1550, k. 1,p. 812a17–b13; Abhidharmāmṛta, T 1553, k. 1, p. 970b11–14; Kośa, II, p. 309–311; Kośabhāṣya, p. 101, l. 6–20.

11.

Kośabhāṣya, p. 101, l. 19–20: Pratyayebhyo bhāvā upajāyante na punaḥ sarvasyaiva jagataḥ īśvarapuruṣapradhānādikaṃ kāraṇam. – All the essences arising from four conditions at most and from two at least, the theistic or Sāṃkhya systems that make the world depend on a single condition are to be excluded.

12.

Abhidharmasāra, T 1550, k. 1, p. 811c1–812a17; Abhidharmāmṛta, T 1553, k. 1, p. 970b3–11; Kośa, II, p. 297–298; Kośabhāṣya, p. 97, l. 14–98, l. 2.

13.

Anivṛta-avyākṛta (pou yin mou wou ki in Kumārajīva, wou feou wou ki in Hiuan-tsang), which may be rendered as ‘non-defiled-indeterminate’. This is an anivṛta mind, not covered by afflictive emotion (na keśācchadita) and avyākṛta, indeterminate from the moral point of view, i.e., neither good (kuśala) nor bad (akuśala), and thereby unable to project and bring about a fruit of retribution (phalapratigrahaṇadānāsamartha).

The afflictive emotions (kleśa) and the dharmas associated with them or deriving their origin from them are called kliṣṭa, soiled, tainted.

14.

The prathamānāsravas are the first pure dharmas of the Path of seeing the truths, namely, the duḥkhe dharmajñānakṣānti and the dharmas co-existing with this kṣānti. See above, p. 130F as note, 214F, 651F, 747F, 1412F, 1796F.

15.

Actually the kāraṇahetu and the sahabhūhetu are never absent.