In the sphere of Conventional Truth personality exists, but in the sphere of Ultimate Truth this personality is nothing but material and immaterial factors of a person (Namarupam).
Eye, ear, nose, tongue and body are the five doors through which a person sees, hears, smells, tastes and touches respectively and in conjunction with his mind which is the sixth door he acquires the knowledge of the outside world. Another function of the mind is that it cognises ideas when an object is not presented to but represented in it . When the colour and the form of the material object come in touch with the eye, there is eye consciousness. When the sound touches or rather the vibration of the sound touches the ear, there is ear consciousness. In the same way nose consciousness, tongue consciousness and body consciousness are formed. Consciousness is one of the constituents of a person. It is important to understand its nature and qualities.
An object is presented to ones eye or ear or nose or tongue or body. The impact of the presentation of the object perturbs the faculty of the sight or the sound or the smell or the taste or the touch as the case may be. Then comes the course of cognition through the mind door. This will be best explained by the following simile: "Covering his head, a man is lost in sound and dreamless sleep under a mango tree bearing ripe fruits. A fruit falls besides him.
Consequently, he is aroused from his sleep. He then uncovers his head in order to find out what has aroused him from his sleep. He then sees the fallen fruit, picks it up and smells and examines it. Having ascertained that it is quite ripe and good he eats it. He then goes to sleep again."
The sound and dreamless sleep may be compared with the life continuum (bhavanga) when the mind is open to receive a course of new consciousness. In sound sleep the mind is undisturbed by any kind of impressions, either objective or ideational.
The fall of the mango from the tree may be compared with the contact of the image of an object on the faculty of the eye, or the sound on the faculty of the ear and the smell on the faculty of the nose and the taste on the faculty of the tongue and the touch on the faculty of the body. Uncovering his head in order to find out what has aroused him from his sleep, may be compared with the hazy state of mind. Seeing the fruit maybe compared with the arising of a particular sensation, either of the eye or of any other doors of senses. It is only sensation as yet. Picking up the mango is like the mind receiving the stimulus. This is recipient stage of the progress of consciousness (sampaticchana). Smelling and examining the mango may be compared with the reflection over the object in the light of previous experiences. This is the investigating stage for the process of consciousness (santirana). Ascertaining that the mango is quite ripe and good maybe compared with the discriminative or determining process which enables him to know what it is and what attributes it has. This is the determining stage of consciousness (votthapana). Eating the mango maybe compared with the act of apperception.
This constitutes consciousness (citta). That the man goes to sleep again may be compared with the mind subsiding into the undisturbed flow of life continuum.
In the process of cognition through the mind door, the object of cognition is not stimulus from the outside world but an ideational image arising from within which presents itself with an already ascertained and determined character. The process of cognition here begins with the determining stage of consciousness (votthapana)
It will be seen that whenever there is consciousness there are always (1) contact of the subject with the object (phassa) (2) the feeling of the subject that has been effected by the object (vedana) (3) perception or marking the appearance of the object (sanna) (4) volition or inclining towards the object (cetana) (5) oneness with the object or concentrating towards the object (ekaggata) (6) psychic life that keeps the consciousness alive (jivitindriya) and (7) attending to the object (manisikara). These seven psychic categories are the first seven mental properties without which consciousness is impossible. Of course without consciousness no mental property arises. The relation of consciousness to mental properties is something like that of a King to his Kingdom. Without a Kingdom there is no King. There are altogether fifty two kinds of mental properties. They always arise and cease with consciousness and have the same object and base. But the seven mental properties that have been shown above are those that are essential for the consciousness to arise but the rest forty five however are not essential for the consciousness to arise. These forty five are:
- Applying the mind on the object (vitakka)
- sustaining the mind on the object (vicara)
- deciding (adhimokkha)
- effort (virya)
- thrill of pleasant sensation (piti)
- desire to do (chanda)
These six mental properties and the first seven mental properties are unmoral properties.
- dullness (moha)
- impudence (ahirika)
- shamelessness (anottappa)
- distraction (uddhacca)
- greed and lust (lobha)
- error or false belief (ditthi)
- conceit (mana)
- anger and hate (issa)
- envy (issa)
- jealousy or selfishness (macchriya)
- worry (kukkucca)
- sloth (thina) 19. torpor (midda)
- perplexity (vicikiccha)
These fourteen mental properties are immoral properties.
- faith (saddha)
- mindfulness (sati)
- prudence (hiri,)
- discretion (ottappa)
- disinterestedness (alobha)
- good will (adosa)
- balance of mind (tatramajjatattha)
- composure of mental properties (kayapassadhi)
- composure of mind (cittapas sadhi)
- buoyancy of mental properties (kayalahuta)
- buoyancy of mind (cittalahuta)
- pliancy of mental properties (kayamuduta)
- pliancy of mind (cittamudita)
- fitness of work of the mental properties (kayakammannata)
- fitness of the work of the mind (cittakammannata)
- proficiency of mental properties ( kayapagunnata)
- proficiency of mind (cittapa gunnata)
- rectitude of mental properties (kayujukata)
- rectitude of mind (cittajukata)
- right speech (sammavaca)
- right action (sammakammata)
- right livelihood (sammajiva)
- compassion (karuna)
- appreciation (mudita)
- reason as a guiding principle (pannindriya)
These twenty five mental properties are moral properties.
The consciousness and these fifty two mental properties constitute the entire mental side of a person. When consciousness arises with immoral mental properties, the consciousness is called immoral consciousness and when it arises with moral mental properties, it is called moral consciousness.
Ordinarily speaking, mind and body constitute a person. In the above, it has been shown that consciousness and mental properties constitute the entire mental side of a person So mind means consciousness and mental properties, which are ultimate truths.
From the Conventional Truth point of view, there is body but from the Ultimate Truth point of view, there are material qualities and qualities conditioned by material qualities only.
To illustrate, think of a piece of stone it is white, hard, round and heavy. These are the different qualities of the stone and there is nothing of the stone besides the group of these and its other qualities. In other words there is no such thing as a stone. There are only qualities. Actually what is seen with the eye is the colour of the stone only and by the colour of the stone the form of the stone that it is round is also seen. That it is hard and heavy can be felt by the hand. It is thus found that the stone is composed of the qualities of whiteness, hardness, roundness, and heaviness and other qualities only. From the Ultimate Truth point of view, the stone has no substance and has only qualities. But from the Conventional Truth of view, the stone has a hard and heavy substance.
If one puts his hand on his forehead he will feel the heat of the forehead and also hardness. The heat is the element of fire and the hardness is the element of extension represented by earth. The heat and hardness are found together and they are kept together by the element of cohesion which is represented by water. These are kept mobile and this mobility is the element of motion which is represented by air. These four elements of fire, earth, water, and air or rather hardness, heat, cohesion and mobility are always found together and they are inseparable and indivisible. This group of material qualities is more than million times smaller than the smallest atom and is seen with Divine Eye only. Innumerable groups of these qualities and qualities conditioned by these qualities, constitute the entire physical side of a person. The elements of earth (hardness), fire (heat), water (cohesion) and air (motion) may be called primary material qualities (mahabhuta) and the rest may be called conditioned material qualities (pupadaya rupa). The latter are (1) eye, (2) ear, (3) nose, (4) tongue (5) body (touch) (6) form (7) sound (8) smell (9) taste (10) female sex (11) male sex (12) heart (13) vital force and (14) nutriment (edible food). These eighteen material qualities are generated by or rather are results of kamma, mind weather or climactical condition and nutriment (edible food) They are real and are in a state of flux. They change ceaselessly.
The following are ten material qualities secondary to the above eighteen depending on them for their own existence:
- Material quality of limitation - viz, the element of space
- Material quality of expression, bodily and vocal.
- Conditions of matter, lightness, pliancy, adaptability, bodily and vocal expression.
- The essential characteristics of material quality, growth, continuity, decay and death. These ten material qualities are not generated by , or rather are not result of kamma, mind, weather or climatical conditions and nutriment (edible food)
Coloured object is visible material quality; all else are invisible material qualities; eye and ear catch their object from distance but nose, tongue and touch catch their objects coming in contact with them.
The material qualities are being continuously generated by four causes, namely (1) thought, act and expression (bodily and vocal) which form what in Pali is called kamma(2) consciousness and mental properties which form mind (3) physical change and (4) food.
The consciousness and fifty two mental properties and four primary material qualities and the twenty four qualities conditioned by the four material qualities constitute a person.
In the Buddhist Scriptures the fivefold factors clinging existence (pancupadanakkhanda) are frequently mentioned and men and women are always referred to as such. The fivefold factors are (1) material qualities and qualities conditioned by the material qualities which are twenty eight in number, constituting what is called body or form, (2) the feeling of the subject that has been effected by the object, (3) perception or marking the object, (4) the rest fifty mental properties that arise with the consciousness and (5) consciousness. These five factors constitute a person.
It must be noted here that all mental properties are not present at the same time. When a person intends to perform or performs a moral deed, the consciousness and the first thirteen unmoral mental properties and twenty five moral properties and twenty seven material factors( female sex must be omitted in ease of a male and vice versa) constitute that person. When a person intends to perform or performs and immoral deed the consciousness and the first thirteen unmoral mental properties and fourteen immoral mental properties, twenty seven material factors constitute that person. As a rule all the moral and immoral mental properties do not arise with the consciousness at the same time and only some of them may arise according to the intention of the performer of the deed. Only the first thirteen mental properties are constant with consciousness: others arise according to the need of the situation.
It must always be remembered that in order to attain the Transcendental Summum Bonum, (Nibbana) it is most important and essential to realise by insight that four primary material qualities and the twenty four qualities conditioned by the primary qualities are impermanent or rather in a state of flux. They appear and disappear constantly in the present existence and in the existences to come according to ones past and present thought action expression (kamma), mind (citta), season (utu) and nutriment (edible food) (ahara), which are exclusively the causes of the existence of a person. In Pali therefore this human body is called that which is caused by the four causes (catusamutthanika).
It has been shown that a person has twenty seven physical qualities and one consciousness and thirteen unmoral mental properties and may have fourteen immoral properties or twenty five moral properties according to his volition or rather intention in plain language, at one moment. It cannot be over emphasised that these mental and physical factors ceaselessly change every moment and for no two consecutive moments a person is the same. The existence of a person is like the current of a river (nadi soto viya). The conscious existence called life, is indeed like the current of a river which maintains one constant form and one seeming identity, though not a single drop of water remains in it to day of all the volume that composed the river of yesterday. A man in the street may think that the river is the same today as yesterday, or as it was during the previous month or at last year, though not a drop of water he found there before is there as it has flowed away continuously giving place to new volume of water. Conventionally, the river is said to have its source and mouth though the whole river is composed of the same material. So the life of a person is a compared to the course of a river the source of the river as the birth of a person and the mouth as the death and the course of the river to the course of a persons life.
The Ultimate Truth is that there is no river and no person. There are only material qualities and qualities conditioned by material qualities and consciousness and mental properties. However in the sphere of the Conventional Truth there is indeed the river, also the earth, the vegetation, the minerals and the world. But in the spine of the Ultimate Truth there are only three categories in this world viz consciousness, mental properties and material qualities and qualities conditioned by the material qualities, which all are in a state of flux
Then how do the earth, river, vegetation, minerals and the rest of the world come to be? The answer is that there are five Laws of Nature which account for their apparent presence and govern their existence. They are: -
- seed or origin of vegetation (bija niyama)
- weather or climatical conditions (utu niyama)
- mind, deed and expression of living beings (kamma niyama)
- dependant origination (dhamma niyama) and
- mind (citta niyama)
The constituents of a person are in accordance with the working of these Laws of Nature. But the thought act expression (kamma) a person determines a persons birth and his sojourn in this world and the next and volition, which is one of the mental properties, dominates the thought in its entirety.