A Process of Citta
As we read in the Atthasåliní about citta:
... Or, inasmuch as this word citta is common to all states or classes of citta, that which is known as mundane: kusala, akusala or mahå-kiriya, is termed citta, because it arranges itself in its own series or continuity by way of javana (impulsion), in a process of citta.
In order to understand the aspect of citta as that which arranges itself in its own series or continuity by way of javana, we should remember that cittas arise and fall away, succeeding one another very rapidly and that wholesome and unwholesome qualities, cetasikas, which accompany citta and fall away with the citta, are accumulated from one moment of citta to the next moment of citta.
When citta arises and sees what appears through the eyes, hears sound through the ears or experiences another sense object, it is usually not known that such experiences are a characteristic of citta. We are more likely to notice citta when it is unhappy, sad or annoyed, when it is happy or pleased, when there is citta with anger or loving kindness, when there is the inclination to help someone else or to treat him with affection. Each citta which arises and falls away very rapidly is succeeded by the next citta and therefore the accumulations of the preceding citta are going on to the next citta. No matter whether the citta is kusala citta or akusala citta, each citta which arises and falls away conditions the next citta which immediately succeeds it. That is why inclinations accumulated in the preceding citta can go on to the next citta and so it continues all the time.
We can notice that everybody has different inclinations, a different character, and this is so because all the different inclinations have been accumulated in the citta, and these are going on from one citta to the next citta. Some people are inclined to perform wholesome deeds and they are able to do so because kusala citta which, in the past, arose and fell away, was succeeded by the next citta which accumulated the inclination of wholesomeness; thus, conditions have been created for the arising of kusala citta later on. It is the same in the case of akusala citta, be it akusala citta rooted in attachment, in aversion or in ignorance. When the akusala citta falls away it conditions the arising of the succeeding citta and thus the inclination to akusala accumulated in the preceding citta goes on to the succeeding citta and in this way there are conditions for the arising of akusala citta in the future. The fact that cittas succeed one another is due to contiguity-condition, anantara-paccaya: each citta is anantara-paccaya for the following citta; this means that the preceding citta conditions the arising of the next citta which immediately succeeds it, as soon as the preceding citta has fallen away. Each citta is anantara-paccaya for the succeeding one, except the dying-consciousness (cuti-citta) of the arahat. This citta cannot be anantara-paccaya, because when it has fallen away there is the parinibbåna of the khandhas, the final passing away. Therefore, the dying-consciousness of the arahat is not succeeeded by rebirth-consciousness nor by any other citta.
Summarizing the conditions which were already dealt with, they are three:
As we read in the Atthasåliní about the second aspect of citta:
...Or, inasmuch as this word citta is common to all states or classes of citta, that which is known as mundane: kusala, akusala or mahå-kiriya, is termed citta, because it arranges itself in its own series or continuity, by way of javana, in a process of citta.
This seems rather complicated, but it refers to realities in daily life. People may have heard time and again the words kusala citta and akusala citta, but they may not be familiar with the terms mundane mahå-kiriyacitta and with the term javana in a process.
All the different types of citta can be classified by way of four jåtis or categories (jåti meaning birth or nature):
Kusala citta is the citta which is wholesome, it is the cause which produces pleasant result, kusala vipåka, in the future. When kusala citta and the accompanying cetasikas which are the cause of a future result have fallen away, the accumulated wholesome qualities of that citta go on to the next citta and again to the following ones, and thus they are a condition for the arising in the future of kusala vipåkacitta and accompanying cetasikas, which are the result of the kusala citta which formerly arose. It has been explained in the Commentary that the cetasikas which accompany the vipåkacitta are vipåka cetasikas, but since citta is the leader the word vipåkacitta is used; the accompanying cetasikas are also vipåka.
Another example where the word citta also refers to the accompanying cetasikas is the term cittaja rúpa, the rúpa which citta conditions to arise. In fact, cittaja rúpa arises because citta and the accompanying cetasikas are the condition for its arising. Thus, the word cittaja rúpa also refers to the accompanying cetasikas which condition the arising of that rúpa. In the same way, the word vipåkacitta also refers to the accompanying vipåka cetasikas.
Akusala citta is a reality which is harmful and dangerous. It causes the arising of unhappy, unpleasant result in the form of different kinds of akusala vipåkacittas.
Apart from kusala citta, akusala citta and vipåkacitta there is another class of citta and this is kiriyacitta, inoperative citta. Kiriyacitta is neither kusala citta nor akusala citta, thus, not a cause for the arising of vipåkacitta, nor is it vipåkacitta, result of kusala citta or akusala citta. As we have seen, all cittas can be classified as the four jåtis of kusala, akusala, vipåka and kiriya.
If we do not study realities in detail, we shall not know when citta is kusala, when akusala, when vipåka and when kiriya. The rebirth-consciousness, paìisandhi-citta, is the first citta which has arisen in this lifespan. We all are alive at this moment because the rebirth-consciousness has arisen in this lifespan and it conditions us to be this particular individual. The rebirth-consciousness is neither kusala nor akusala; when it arises it cannot commit any kamma (action) through body, speech or mind. The rebirth-consciousness is vipåkacitta, it arises because it is conditioned by a particular kamma. No matter how numerous the kammas may have been which were performed in each of our lifespans, whichever of these kammas conditions the arising of the rebirth-consciousness or any other type of vipåkacitta, that kamma is kamma-condition, kamma-paccaya, for the rebirth-consciousness or the other types of vipåka-citta. If someone is born in the human plane of existence which is a happy plane, that birth must be the result of kusala kamma. In that case the rebirth-consciousness is kusala vipåka. If one is born in an unhappy plane, a hell plane, as a ghost (peta), as an asura (demon) or as an animal, it is the result of akusala kamma. The rebirth-consciousness which arises in an unhappy plane is akusala vipåka.
A kamma which was formerly committed conditions the arising of the rebirth-consciousness, the first citta of this life, which immediately succeeds the dying-consciousness of the previous life. After the rebirth-consciousness has fallen away the same kamma is the condition for the arising of the following vipåkacittas which perform the function of life-continuum, bhavanga. The bhavanga-citta has the function to maintain the continuation in the life of someone as this particular person. It performs its function throughout life, in between the processes of cittas, until the dying-consciousness arises and one passes away from life in this plane of existence. Then there is no longer this particular person in this lifespan. In the course of life other kammas can be the condition for the arising of different vipåkacittas which experience objects through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue and the bodysense.
Kusala is the reality which is good, wholesome, blameless, not harmful. Some people think that they can only perform kusala if they are rich and are able to spend money, but they forget that one can be generous and give assistance in other ways. Even if someone does not have much money, he may still have some things he can share with others in order to help them. Can one give assistance to others? If one cannot do this, is that kusala or akusala? If someone with few means does not know that kusala citta is the citta which is good, wholesome and faultless, he will perhaps be unhappy and believe that he cannot perform deeds of merit, but there are actually many other kinds of kusala, apart from a donation of money, one can perform. One can have loving kindness towards someone else. Then one treats him as a fellow human being and the citta is tender and gentle; one can utter affectionate, amiable speech which comes from ones heart. There are always ways and means to give assistance to others and share things with them. At such moments the citta is kusala citta, it is a dhamma which is faultless, which cannot cause any harm or danger.
When there is conceit and someone thinks himself more important, superior or more clever than someone else, when he compares himself with someone else and thinks in terms of he and I, there cannot be kusala citta. At such moments one cannot help others, there cannot be any giving or sharing. There is akusala citta, the dhamma which is unwholesome and harmful.
If we really understand the characteristic of kusala we shall find ways and means to develop many different kinds of kusala. However, if a person wants to keep things for himself he is unable to be generous. He may have desire for calm, or he may be attached to the idea of eradicating defilements and becoming a sotåpanna, but he is unable to give something away to someone else.
Each person has accumulated inclinations to different kinds of kusala and akusala. We should consider and investigate our own citta and find out whether there is still a great deal of stinginess, or whether we can gradually begin to give away useful things to others. In that way generosity can become our nature, it can even become a powerful condition, a support for paññå which eliminates the wrong view which takes nåma and rúpa for self. When paññå has been developed it can become so keen that nibbåna can be realized.
We may believe that we want to be without defilements, but when defilements actually arise it seems that we wish to have them. We may have conceit, we may find ourselves important or we may be jealous. Someone else may say that such defilements should be eradicated, that one should rejoice in someone elses happiness or that one should have loving kindness towards a disagreeable person, but are we able to follow such advice? People who want to be angry, who want to have contempt for others, who want to be arrogant or jealous, cannot follow the advice to cultivate wholesomeness. This shows that the eradication of defilements cannot occur immediately, that it can only be accomplished very gradually. Paññå can gradually be developed so that it can arise from time to time. If we really want to eradicate defilements we should know that all kinds of kusala should be developed. It is not right to just perform dåna, generosity, and pay no attention to the defilements which still arise. It is essential to know ones defilements. Someone may just want to be calm because he often feels restless and disturbed. Because of his thoughts he is angry or confused, all the time there seem to be circumstances which make him feel worried or annoyed. The reason is that at such moments he does not examine his citta, but pays attention only to other people he is angry with. If one pays attention to other people in an unwholesome way so that akusala citta arises, the citta will be disturbed, restless and worried. Someone may notice that he is upset and then he just wants to be calm, but he fails to see that when there is no anger he will not be disturbed, whereas when there is anger, he is unhappy and disturbed. When one is angry and disturbed, there is akusala citta, the dhamma which is harmful.
If we can be mindful after we have been angry, and we can then think of others in such a way that loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy or equanimity arises, there will immediately be calm. When the citta is accompanied by loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy or equanimity, it is kusala citta, citta without attachment, aversion and ignorance, and then there is calm. There is true calm with each kusala citta, thus, if we want to eradicate defilements we should develop all kinds of kusala, not merely generosity, dåna.
As we read in the Atthasåliní about the second aspect of citta, that which is known as mundane: kusala, akusala and mahå-kiriya, is termed citta, because it arranges itself in its own series or continuity, by way of javana, in a process of citta.
The word series or continuity, in Påli santåna, refers to the arising and falling away of cittas in succession, in their own series. The citta which sees, hears, smells, tastes or experiences tangible object is vipåkacitta, not kusala citta or akusala citta. Therefore, these cittas are not javana-cittas which arise and fall away in their own series in the process of cittas 1. Vipåkacittas are results of past kammas. When a deed or kamma has ripened and it is ready to produce result, and there are also other conditioning factors which play their part, vipåkacitta can arise. There are different kinds of vipåkacitta which perform different functions, such as seeing or hearing. Vipåkacitta does not arise in the succession of javana, it is result produced by kusala kamma or akusala kamma which has been accumulated and can therefore be the condition for the arising of vipåka. Vipåkacitta which arises and then falls away cannot cause the arising of any other vipåkacitta.
We should have right understanding of the second aspect of citta, that kusala citta, akusala citta and mahå-kiriyacitta arrange themselves in their own series or continuity by way of javana, in the process of cittas. First of all we have to know what cittas arising in a process, víthi-cittas, are, which types of cittas they are and when they arise. Javana cittas in a process are a succession or series of kusala cittas or akusala cittas. For the arahat there is, instead of kusala citta or akusala citta, mahå-kiriyacitta performing the function of javana 2. Also the arahat has different types of cittas which condition the movement of the body, which condition speech and which think, arising in the series of javana-cittas.
We should first of all know that víthi-citta, citta arising in a process, is not rebirth-consciousness, bhavanga-citta or dying-consciousness. All types of citta other than these are víthi-cittas. The rebirth-consciousness arises only once in a life-span. It succeeds the dying-consciousness of the previous life and it only performs the function of rebirth. At that moment there is no seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or the experience of tangible object. Rebirth-consciousness is vipåkacitta, the result of kamma. The rebirth-consciousness which arises in the human plane of existence is kusala vipåkacitta, the result of kusala kamma.
Kamma not only produces the rebirth-consciousness as result. When the rebirth-consciousness has fallen away, kamma also conditions the arising of the succeeding citta which is the same type of vipåkacitta and performs the function of bhavanga, life-continuum. As we have seen, this type of citta maintains the continuation in the lifespan of someone as this particular person until death. So long as the dying-consciousness has not arisen yet the bhavanga-cittas which arise and fall away perform the function of preserving the continuity in ones life. They perform their function at the moments there is no seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, the experience of tangible object or thinking. Thus, the rebirth-consciousness, the bhavanga-citta and the dying-consciousness are cittas which do not arise in processes, they are not víthi-cittas.
When we are fast asleep, we do not see or experience other sense objects, we do not think. The bhavanga-cittas arise and fall away in succession all the time, until we dream or wake up, and there is again seeing, hearing, the experience of other sense objects or thinking of different subjects of this world. This world does not appear to the rebirth-consciousness, the bhavanga-citta and the dying-consciousness. At the moment the vipåkacitta arises which performs the function of rebirth or the function of bhavanga, the different objects of this world, in our case the human world, do not appear. If we are fast asleep at this moment, we do not know anything, we do not see anyone who is here, we do not experience sound, odour, cold or heat. The bhavanga-citta is not involved with anything in this world. It does not even know who we are ourselves, where we are, who are our relatives and friends. It does not know anything about possessions, rank, a honorable position, happiness or misery. Whereas when we are not asleep we remember the things of this world, the different people and the different stories connected with this world.
When we see, there is not bhavanga-citta but víthi-citta which arises and sees what appears through the eyes. The citta which sees, the citta which knows what the object is that is seen, the citta which likes what appears through the eyes, the cittas which experience objects through the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense or the mind-door, all those cittas are víthi-cittas. When we hear a sound and then like it or dislike it, there are no bhavanga-cittas but víthi-cittas.
All the cittas which arise and experience visible object which appears through the eyes, are eye-door process cittas, cakkhu-dvåra víthi-cittas. Evenso there are víthi-cittas which are ear-door process cittas, nose-door process cittas, tongue-door process cittas, body-door process cittas and mind-door process cittas, which experience an object through the corresponding doorway.
The nåma dhammas which naturally occur in our daily life are bhavanga-cittas arising and falling away as well as víthi-cittas which arise and experience an object through one of the six doors. Successions of bhavanga-cittas and víthi-cittas arise alternately.
When one is born in a five khandha plane (where there are nåma and rúpa), kamma conditions the arising of kammaja rúpa (rúpa produced by kamma) and these are among others the rúpas which are eyesense, earsense, smellingsense, tastingsense and bodysense. These rúpas arise and fall away in succession. They provide one with the ability to experience sense objects, thus, they prevent one to be blind, deaf or disabled with regard to the other senses. However, when kamma at a particular moment does no longer condition the arising of, for example, the rúpa which is eyesense, one will be blind, one will not be able to see anything at all. Thus, the citta which sees and the other sense-cognitions are each dependent on the appropriate conditions which cause their arising.
So long as víthi-cittas do not arise yet, bhavanga-cittas are arising and falling away in succession. When a rúpa which can be sense object arises, and impinges on the corresponding sense-base (pasåda rúpa), víthi-cittas cannot arise immediately. First there are bhavanga-cittas arising and falling away before sense-door process cittas arise which can experience that rúpa. Rúpa arises and falls away very rapidly, but citta arises and falls away faster than rúpa. The time one rúpa arises and falls away is equal to the time seventeen cittas arise and fall away. When a rúpa impinges on a sense-base there are, as we have seen, first some bhavanga-cittas arising and falling away. The first bhavanga-citta which arises when that rúpa impinges on the sense-base is called atíta-bhavanga, past bhavanga. This bhavanga-citta is of the same type as the bhavanga-cittas which arose before. The name atíta bhavanga is used with the purpose to point out how long the rúpa which impinges on the sense base will last so that it can be experienced by víthi-cittas. Counting from the atíta bhavanga, it cannot last longer than seventeen moments of citta. When the atíta bhavanga has fallen away it conditions the succeeding bhavanga-citta which vibrates, which is stirred by the object, and this is called bhavanga calana, vibrating bhavanga 3 . This citta is still bhavanga-citta, since víthi-citta cannot arise yet and the stream of bhavanga-cittas still continues. When the bhavanga calana has fallen away the succeeding bhavanga-citta arises, and this is the bhavangupaccheda, arrest bhavanga, which interrupts the stream of bhavanga-cittas, because it is the last bhavanga-citta before víthi-cittas arise. When the bhavangupaccheda has fallen away, víthi-cittas arise and experience the object which appears through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense or the mind-door.
All víthi-cittas which experience visible object through the eyes are eye-door process cittas, cakkhu-dvåra víthi-cittas, because they experience visible object which impinges on the eyesense and has not fallen away yet.
All víthi-cittas which experience sound through the ears are ear-door process cittas, sota-dvåra víthi-cittas, because they experience sound which impinges on the earsense and has not fallen away yet. It is the same in the case of the víthi-cittas which experience objects through the other doorways, they are named after the relevant doorway.
Víthi-cittas of the mind-door process, mano-dvåra víthi-cittas, can experience all kinds of objects. When the mind-door process follows upon a sense-door process, the víthi-cittas of the mind-door process experience visible object, sound, odour, flavour or tangible object which were experienced by the víthi-cittas of the five sense-door processes. The víthi-cittas of the mind-door process can also experience dhammårammaùa, mind-object, which are the objects which can be experienced only through the mind-door.
Functions of Citta
Citta can experience objects through six doors. All objects which can be experienced by citta can be classified as sixfold:
Visible object, rúpårammaùa, can be known by citta through the
eye-door and through the mind-door
Sound, saddårammaùa, can be known by citta through the ear-
door and through the mind-door
Odour, gandhårammaùa, can be known by citta through the nose-
door and through the mind-door
Flavour, rasårammaùa, can be known by citta through the tongue-
door and through the mind-door
Tangible object, phoììhabbårammaùa, can be known by citta
through the body-door and through the mind-door
Mental object, dhammårammaùa, can be known by citta only
through the mind-door
The cittas arising in the mind-door process, mano-dvåra víthi-cittas, can experience all six classes of objects. As regards mental object, dhammårammaùa, this can be known only by mind-door process cittas.
Each citta which arises performs a function and then it falls away. The rebirth-consciousness which succeeds the dying-consciousness of the previous life performs the function of rebirth only once. After that citta has fallen away, bhavanga-cittas arise and all bhavanga-cittas, including the past bhavanga, atíta bhavanga, the vibrating bhavanga, bhavanga calana, and the arrest bhavanga, bhavangupaccheda, perform the function of bhavanga; they preserve the continuity in a lifespan. The bhavangupaccheda is the last bhavanga-citta arising before the stream of bhavanga-cittas is arrested and a series of cittas arising in a process occurs. The bhavangupaccheda is succeeded by the first citta of a process, a víthi-citta. This citta performs the function of adverting, åvajjana, it pays attention to or adverts to the object which appears through one of the doorways. It does not take part of the succession of bhavanga-cittas, but it turns towards the object which impinges on one of the senses. If the object impinges on the eyesense, the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness, the pañcadvåråvajjana-citta, arises and performs the function of adverting through the eye-door. If the object impinges on one of the other senses, the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness performs the function of adverting to the object through the relevant doorway. It experiences the object which contacts one of the five sense-doors, but it does not see, hear, smell, taste yet, and there is no body-consciousness yet. If the object contacts the mind-door, thus, not one of the five senses, the mind-door adverting-consciousness, the manodvåråvajjana-citta, arises and this is another type of citta which is different from the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness. It performs the function of adverting to the object only through the mind-door.
During the arising and falling away of bhavanga-cittas, flavour, for example, may arise and impinge on the rúpa which is tastingsense (jivhåppasåda rúpa). The atíta bhavanga, past bhavanga, arises and falls away and is succeeded by the bhavanga calana, vibrating bhavanga, and this again is succeeded by the bhavangupaccheda, the arrest bhavanga. The bhavangupaccheda is succeeded by the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness. This citta attends to the object, it knows that the object impinges on the tongue-door but it cannot taste yet. It is as if one knows that a visitor has arrived at the door but one does not see him yet and does not know who he is. We all have guests who come to see us. When we think of guests we are likely to think of people, but in reality our guests are the different objects which appear through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense and the mind-door. When we see visible object which appears through the eyes, visible object is our visitor. When we hear sound, sound is our visitor. When we do not hear, sound does not appear, and thus, a visitor has not come yet through the ear-door. When flavour appears, flavour is like a visitor, it appears through the door of the tongue just for a moment, and then it disappears. Whenever an object appears through one of the doorways that object can be seen as a visitor which comes through that doorway. It is there just for an extremely short moment and then it disappears completely, it does not come back again in the cycle of birth and death.
Elderly people tend to feel lonely when they lack company. When they were younger they met many people, they enjoyed the company of relatives and friends. When they have become older the number of visitors, whom they see as people, has dwindled. When one asks elderly people what they like most of all, they will usually answer that they like most of all the company of people. They are happy when other people come to see them, they like to be engaged in conversation. However, in reality everybody has visitors, at each moment one sees, hears, smells, tastes or experiences tangible object. Usually when such visitors come, citta rooted in attachment arises and enjoys what appears through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue or the bodysense.
There are different kinds of visitors. Nobody would like a wicked person as visitor, but a dear relative or friend is most welcome. In reality the different objects which appear through the senses are only rúpas. Rúpa does not know anything and therefore it cannot have any evil intention towards anybody. When would a visitor be an enemy and when a dear relative or friend? Actually, when an object appears and one enjoys it and clings to it, there is an enemy, because enjoyment with clinging is akusala dhamma. Akusala dhamma is not a friend to anybody. Whereas kusala dhamma is like a close relative who is ready to help one, eager to give assistance at all times. Therefore, we should know the difference between the characteristic of kusala citta and of akusala citta. Akusala citta is evil, harmful, it is like an enemy, not a friend. When we think of an enemy we may be afraid, and we do not like his company. However, it is akusala citta which is wicked, and this citta is a condition that there will also be an enemy in the future. Whereas kusala citta, which is like a dear relative or friend, is a condition that there will also be a dear relative or friend in the future 4.
Rúpa is not a condition for foe or friend, because rúpa does not know anything, it has no evil or good intention. The sound which appears is a reality which does not experience anything, it has no wish that anybody hears it or does not hear it. Sound is rúpa which arises because there are conditions for its arising; which kind of sound will impinge on someones earsense is dependent on conditions. When we are fast sleep we do not even hear the deafening, frightening sound of thunder. Then the sound of thunder is not our visitor. However, it can be someone elses visitor when there are the accumulated conditions which cause the earsense to be impinged upon by that sound. It is dependent on conditions whether an object will be someones visitor through the doorway of eyes, ears, nose, tongue or bodysense. Kamma which has been accumulated causes the arising of vipåkacitta which experiences an object through one of the sense-doors.
Thus, the visitors which present themselves through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue and the bodysense are visible object, sound, odour, flavour and tangible object. They appear just for a moment and then they fall away, they disappear, not to return again. There is no living being, person, self or anything there. Nobody knows in a day which visitor will come through which doorway and at which moment.
Whenever citta experiences an object through the eyes, the other senses or the mind-door, it is víthi-citta, citta arising in a process. The five-sense-door adverting-consciousness which succeeds the bhavangupaccheda is the first víthi-citta in a sense-door process. This citta performs the function of adverting to the object. It merely knows that an object is impinging on one of the five sense-doors, thus, it is different from the citta which performs the function of seeing or from the other sense-cognitions. If the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness has not arisen and fallen away first, the other víthi-cittas of that sense-door process cannot arise, be it a process of the doorway of the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue or the bodysense. Thus, the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness is the first víthi-citta in a sense-door process and it adverts to the object through one of the five sense-doors. Therefore, it is called five-sense-door adverting-consciousness, pañca-dvåråvajjana-citta 5, and is named after the corresponding doorway, as the case may be. When it adverts to visible object through the eye-door, it is called eye-door adverting-consciousness, cakkhu-dvåråvajjana-citta. In the same way the adverting-consciousness which adverts to the object through each of the other sense-doors is called ear-door adverting-consciousness, nose-door adverting-consciousness, tongue-door adverting-consciousness and body-door adverting-consciousness. However, the collective name five-sense-door adverting-consciousness can also be used for this type of citta, since it performs the function of adverting through all five sense-doors.
There is also a type of citta which is the first víthi-citta of the mind-door process and this experiences different objects through the mind-door. Before kusala cittas or akusala cittas in a mind-door process arise which may think of different subjects, there must be a citta which performs the function of adverting to the object which contacts the mind-door. This citta which is the mind-door adverting-consciousness, mano-dvåråvajjana-citta, is the first víthi-citta of the mind-door process. If this citta does not arise the following víthi-cittas which experience an object through the mind-door cannot arise. The mind-door adverting-consciousness is a type of citta different from the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness. The five-sense-door adverting-consciousness can arise only in the five-sense-door processes, not in a mind-door process. The mind-door adverting-consciousness can perform the function of adverting only through the mind-door.
Thus, there are two types of víthi-citta which perform the function of adverting: the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness which performs the function of adverting through the five sense-doors, and the mind-door adverting-consciousness which performs the function of adverting only through the mind-door.
One may wonder whether at this moment a five-sense-door adverting-consciousness arises. There must be, otherwise there could not be seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or the experience of tangible object. There is also at this moment mind-door adverting-consciousness. Different víthi-cittas arise which experience an object through one of the five sense-doors and then they fall away. When the sense-door process is over there are many bhavanga-cittas arising in succession, and then víthi-cittas of a mind-door process arise which experience the same object again as the víthi-cittas of the preceding sense-door process. They experience this object through the mind-door, which is the citta preceding the mind-door adverting-consciousness, the bhavangupaccheda, arrest bhavanga 6.
When we are fast sleep we do not experience any object through one of the six doors. There cannot be the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness nor the mind-door adverting-consciousness. Also when we are not asleep there are moments that we do not experience any object through one of the six doors. At such moments the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness or the mind-door adverting-consciousness do not arise, but there are bhavanga-cittas arising in between the different processes of cittas.
In the five-sense-door process there are seven different types of víthi-cittas arising in a fixed order. When the first víthi-citta, the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness, has arisen, has performed the function of adverting to the object and has fallen away, it conditions the arising of the second víthi-citta. In the case of the eye-door process, seeing-consciousness (cakkhu-viññåùa) arises and performs the function of seeing (dassana kicca) just once and then it falls away. It is the same in the case of the other sense-door processes: hearing-consciousness, smelling-consciousness, tasting-consciousness and body-consciousness, which arise, perform their function just once and then fall away. Types of citta other than the five sense-cognitions cannot succeed the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness.
The five-sense-door adverting-consciousness is the first víthi-citta. Seeing-consciousness or one of the other sense-cognitions is the second víthi-citta in the process. When the second víthi-citta has fallen away it is succeeded by the third víthi-citta which is the receiving-consciousness, the sampaìicchana-citta. This citta performs the function of sampaìicchana, it receives the object from one of the sense-cognitions. When the sampaìicchana-citta has fallen away, the fourth víthi-citta arises, the investigating-consciousness, santíraùa-citta. This citta performs the function of investigating, it investigates the object just once and then it falls away. The fifth víthi-citta is the determining-consciousness, votthapana-citta. This is actually the type of citta which is the mind-door adverting-consciousness, mano-dvåråvajjana-citta, but in the five-sense-door process it performs the function of determining the object and it is then called after its function determining-consciousness, votthapana-citta. It determines whether kusala citta, akusala citta or mahå-kiriyacitta will succeed it. It prepares the way for these types of cittas.
When the determining-consciousness, the votthapana-citta, has fallen away the sixth type of víthi-citta arises, and this can be kusala citta, akusala citta or mahå-kiriyacitta. There are different types of kusala citta, of akusala citta and of mahå-kiriyacitta, and when the series of javana cittas occurs, these cittas are all of the same type of kusala citta, of akusala citta or of mahå-kiriyacitta. They perform the function of javana, impulsion 7, running through the object. As has been stated, this type of citta arranges itself in its own series or continuity by way of javana.
All the types of víthi-cittas which experience an object through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense or the mind-door arise in a fixed sequence. This fixed order of cittas (citta niyåma) takes its course according to conditions and nobody has any power or control over this fixed order.
It is because of the appropriate conditions that first the víthi-citta which is the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness arises, performs its function only once and falls away. The second type of víthi-citta of the sense-door process, which is in the case of the eye-door process seeing-consciousness, arises and performs the function of seeing only once and then it falls away. The third type of víthi-citta, the receiving-consciousness, sampaìicchana-citta, arises once and then falls away. The fourth type of víthi-citta, the investigating-consciousness, santíraùa-citta, arises only once. The fifth type of víthi-citta, the determining-consciousness, votthapana-citta, arises only once. The sixth type of víthi-citta, which may be kusala citta, akusala citta or mahå-kiriyacitta, performs the function of impulsion, javana, and this function is performed seven times by seven javana-cittas arising in succession. It is according to conditions that the javana víthi-citta arranges itself in its own series or continuity, that this type of víthi-citta arises and falls away seven times in succession. For those who are not arahats the citta which performs the function of javana is kusala citta or akusala citta. For the arahat there is no kusala citta or akusala citta but mahå-kiriyacitta which can perform the function of javana. For the arahat there are only cittas of the jåtis (classes) which are vipåka and kiriya. There are several types of kiriyacittas. After seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, the experience of tangible object and also while there is thinking, the javana-cittas of the arahat are mundane kiriyacittas. The citta experiences at such moments visible object, sound, odour, flavour and tangible object, objects which are the world.
After a single moment of seeing we enjoy what we have seen and then akusala citta rooted in attachment arises seven times. Thus, akusala citta arises seven times more often than seeing-consciousness which sees only once. In this way akusala is actually accumulated in daily life, and this concerns all of us. Because of the persistent accumulation of akusala the eradication of defilements is extremely difficult, it cannot be achieved without right understanding of realities. If someone believes that it is easy to eradicate defilements, he should learn the truth about the process of accumulation, the accumulation of ignorance, attachment, aversion and of all the other faults and vices. One should know that defilements arise seven times more often than seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and body-consciousness, which types of citta arise only once. If someone has expectations and if he is wondering when he will penetrate the four noble Truths, he does not take into account cause and effect as they really are, he does not consider the conditioning factors which have been accumulated in the cycle of birth and death. We should develop right understanding of the characteristics of all kinds of realities in order to know them as they are. Then we shall penetrate the four noble Truths and defilements can be eradicated stage by stage.
When we are listening to the Dhamma or studying the subject of citta, and sati of satipaììhåna can be aware of the realities as they are, we are following the right practice. This means that we are developing the way eventually leading to the realization of nibbåna, the reality which is the cessation of defilements. Whenever sati is not aware of the characteristics of realities as they appear, one does not develop the way leading to the eradication of defilements, even if kusala dhamma arises.
The Atthasåliní states (I, Book I, Part I, Ch I, Triplets in the Måtikå, 44) that akusala dhamma as well as kusala dhamma which are not of the eightfold Path 8 are leading to accumulation, to continuation of the cycle of birth and death. We read about akusala and kusala which are not of the Path:
... leading to accumulation (åcayagåmin) are those states which go about severally, arranging (births and deaths in) a round of destiny like a bricklayer who arranges bricks, layer by layer, in a wall.
Whenever we are not aware of the characteristics of realities when they appear and we do not understand them as they are, no matter whether akusala dhamma or kusala dhamma presents itself, we accumulate and build up life after life, just as the bricklayer who piles up the bricks one by one until it is a wall. However, when sati is aware of the characteristics of realities which appear as they really are, that is the Path, that is dispersion (apåcayagåmin 9), because one does not build up dhammas which lead to accumulation, just as a man who tears up the bricks which the bricklayer has piled up. Are we at this moment like the man who knocks down the bricks, or are we like the man who piles up the bricks?
The first víthi-citta, the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness, the second víthi-citta, one of the sense-cognitions (pañca-viññåùas), the third víthi-citta, receiving-consciousness, the fourth víthi-citta, investigating-consciousness, the fifth víthi-citta, determining-consciousness, these cittas do not arise in their own series, because of these types there is only one citta which arises and then falls away. Even though the determining-consciousness, votthapana-citta, can arise two or three times in the case when the rúpa which is the object falls away before the javana-citta arises 10 , it cannot be said that the votthapana-citta arises in its own series, like the javana-citta.
It is only the sixth type of víthi-citta, the javana-citta, which arranges itself in its own series or continuity, because there are usually seven cittas of this type arising and falling away in succession. When one loses consciousness the javana-cittas arise and fall away six times in succession, and just before dying they arise and fall away five times in succession. Since the javana-cittas arise and fall away up to seven times in succession, they arise more frequently than the other types of víthi-cittas. Therefore it is said that the javana víthi-citta arises in its own series or continuity.
1. What is contiguity-condition, anantara-paccaya?
2. How many jåtis are there of citta and cetasika, and which are these jåtis?
3. What is víthi-citta? Which citta is not víthi-citta?
4. What is past bhavanga, atíta bhavanga?
5. Can there be bhavanga-citta when one is not asleep?
6. Which objects are known by the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness and through which doorways?
7. Through which doorways does the mind-door adverting-consciousness know an object?
8. Through how many doorways does citta know dhammårammùa, mental object?
9. Which function is performed by the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness, and through which doorway?
10. Which functions are performed by the mind-door adverting-consciousness, and through how many doorways?
1 As will be explained, in a process of cittas there are, in the case of non-arahats, usually seven javana cittas which are kusala cittas or akusala cittas, arising and falling away in succession.
2 The arahat does not perform kamma which can produce result. He has reached the end of rebirth. He has no kusala cittas or akusala cittas.
3 That bhavanga-citta does not experience the rúpa which impinges on the sense-base, but it is affected or stirred by it, since within splitseconds víthi-cittas will arise.
4 Akusala citta and kusala citta arise and fall away, but the inclinations to akusala and kusala are accumulated; the accumulated inclinations are the condition for the arising again later on of akusala citta and kusala citta.
5 In Påli, pañca means five, dvåra means door and åvajjana means adverting.
6 The five sense-doors are rúpas, whereas the mind-door is nåma.
7 Javana, which means impulse is also translated in some places as apperception.
8 One may perform wholesome deeds without the development of the eightfold Path, without right understanding of nåma and rúpa. Then there will be no eradication of defilements, no end to the cycle of birth and death.
9 This is the opposite of acayagåmin, accumulation.
10 This is the case when the process does not run its full course, as will be explained later on.