The Patthanuddesa Dipani

The Buddhist Philosophy of Relations

by Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw | 1935 | 21,602 words

The Patthanuddesa Dipani The Buddhist Philosophy of Relations By Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw, Aggamahapandita, D.Litt. Translated into English by Sayadaw U Nyana, Patamagyaw of Masoeyein Monastery Mandalay. Edited by The English Editorial Board Note to the electronic version: This electronic version is reproduced directly from the printed version the...

Chapter 14 - Vipaka-paccaya

Or The Relation Of Effect

Thirty-six classes of resultant consciousness and their concomitants are the relation of effect. As they are mutually related to one another, the related things embrace all of them, as well as the material qualities born of kamma at the time of conception, and those produced by the resultant consciousness during life.

In what sense is vipaka applied? It is applied in the sense of vipaccana, which means a change of state from infancy or youth to maturity. Whose tenderness and maturity are meant? What is meant of the former is the infancy of the past volition, which is known as asynchronous kamma. By maturity, also, is meant the maturity of the same kamma.

Here, it should be understood that each volition has four avatthas, or time-phases--cetanavattha, or the genesis of volition; kammavattha, or the continuance of volition; nimittavattha, or the representation of volition, and vipakavattha, or the final result. Here, although the volition itself ceases, its peculiar function does not cease, but latently follows the series of thought. This is called kammavattha, or the continuance of volition.

When it obtains a favorable opportunity for fruition, the kamma represents itself to the person about to die. That is to say, he himself feels as if he were giving charity, or observing the precepts, or perhaps killing some creatures. If this kamma fails to represent itself, a symbol of it is represented. That is to say, he himself feels as if he were in possession of the offerings, the gifts, the weapons, and so on; or any thing with which he had committed such kamma in the past. Or, sometimes, there is represented to him the sign of the next existence where he is destined to open his new life. That is to say, such objects as the abodes or palaces of the Devas, or the fires of the Niraya-worlds, or what-not, which--as it will be his lot to obtain, or to experience, such in the existence immediately following--enter the fields of presentation through the six doors. These are called nimittavattha, the representation, of the volition.

Now, how are we to understand the vipakavattha? If a person dies with his attention fixed upon one of these three classes of objects, either on the kamma itself or on the sign of it, or on the sign of destiny, it is said that kamma has effected itself, or has come to fruition, in the immediately new existence. It has transmuted itself into a personality, and appears, so to speak, in the form of a being in the new existence. This is called the vipakavattha, or the final result. Here, in the first three avatthas, the volition is said to be in the state of infancy or youth. [1] The last one shows that the volition has arrived in maturity, and can effect itself. Therefore, as has been said, vipaccana means a change of state from infancy or youth to maturity. Thus vipaka is the name assigned to the states of consciousness and their concomitants, which are the results of the volitions, or to the matured volitions themselves.

Just as mangoes are very soft and delicate when they are ripe, so also the resultant states are very tranquil, since they are inactive and have no stimulus. They are so tranquil that the objects of sub-consciousness are always dim and obscure. On reviving from sub-consciousness, one has no consciousness of what its object was. For this reason, there is no possibility of occurrence of a process of thought, which can reflect the object of the sub-consciousness thus: "Such and such an object has been met with in the past existence"--although, in sleep at night, the sub-consciousness takes for its object one of the three classes of objects (kamma, the symbols of kamma, and the symbols of one’s future destiny), which had been experienced before, at the time of approaching death, in the immediately preceding existence. Hence, it is, that one knows nothing about any object from a past existence, either in sleep or in waking. Thus the mutual relationship by way of inactivity, non-stimulation, and tranquility, is termed the function of Vipaka.

[End of Vipaka-Relation]

Footnotes and references:


Ledi Sayadaw has not explained the cetanavattha. But it is easy enough to understand, since it is the commission of the initial volition or kamma.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: