The Ephemeral Experience of Objects
There are eightynine types of citta in all and these can be classified by way of four jåtis:
kusala 21 types of citta
akusala 12 types of citta
vipåka 36 types of citta
kiriya 20 types of citta
When we study the classification of citta by way of jåti we should know which types of citta arise for the ordinary person (putthujana) and which types for the ariyan, who has attained enlightenment.
The ordinary person has cittas of four jåtis: kusala, akusala, vipåka and kiriya.
The sotåpanna (streamwinner, who has attained the first stage of enlightenment) has cittas of the four jåtis.
The sakadågåmí (once-returner, who has attained the second stage of enlightenment) has cittas of the four jåtis.
The anågåmí (no-returner, who has attained the third stage of enlightenment) has cittas of the four jåtis.
The arahat (the perfected one, who has attained the fourth stage of enlightenment) has cittas of two jåtis: vipåka and kiriya.
We should not only know the jåti of a particular citta, we should also know the function of that citta. The rebirth-consciousness is vipåkacitta, the result of kamma. The citta which performs the function of rebirth in a happy plane is kusala vipåka, the result of kusala kamma. The citta which performs the function of rebirth in an unhappy plane, such as a hell plane, is akusala vipåka, the result of akusala kamma. Only the kusala vipåkacitta and the akusala vipåkacitta which perform the function of rebirth are called rebirth-consciousness.
Whichever kusala vipåkacitta or akusala vipåkacitta performs the function of bhavanga (life-continuum) is called bhavanga-citta.
Seeing-consciousness is a vipåkacitta which cannot perform the function of rebirth nor the function of bhavanga. It can only perform the function of seeing. It is called seeing-consciousness, because it is the citta which clearly knows visible object, it sees the object appearing through the eyes. Thus we can understand that cittas which clearly know an object through one of the different doorways are named after the function they perform.
Question : Why are there not five jåtis of citta instead of four, namely, kusala, akusala, kusala vipåka, akusala vipåka and kiriya?
Answer : You are wondering why there are not five jåtis. There are two jåtis of cittas which are cause: kusala and akusala, and therefore, you think that there should also be two jåtis of cittas which are result: kusala vipåka and akusala vipåka. In that case there would be five jåtis. However, there are only four jåtis, because vipåka is merely result, it cannot be called inferior, medium or superior, as is the case with kamma 1. Kusala citta and akusala citta, the cittas which are cause, have many varieties, they are of different shades and degrees, of which I shall give some examples.
Kusala citta and akusala citta are different when experiencing an object through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense and the mind-door. They are diverse as they perform different types of kamma, good deeds and bad deeds. There is kamma of the level of dåna, generosity, síla, morality, and mental development, bhåvana, which includes the development of calm, samatha, through which defilements are subdued, and the development of paññå. The development of paññå has many degrees, such as listening to the Dhamma, explaining the Dhamma or the development of satipaììhåna, which is the development of insight, vipassanå.
Kammas are different as they are performed through body, speech or mind. They are accompanied by different cetasikas and they have different predominant factors 2 .
Thus we see that the realities which are cause, kusala and akusala, are of a great diversity, that they have many shades and degrees, whereas vipåkacittas do not have such variety. Vipåka is only result of kamma which has been performed already. When kamma has ripened and there is the right opportunity, which conditions it to produce its result, vipåkacitta arises. Vipåkacitta can perform the functions of rebirth, bhavamga or other functions, it can experience different objects through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense or the mind-door.
Seeing at this moment is vipåkacitta, it has arisen because it is conditioned by kamma performed in the past, but the vipåkacitta which sees cannot be a cause producing, in its turn, vipåka.
When hearing-consciousness experiences sound, there is vipåkacitta, but hearing-consciousness cannot, in its turn, be a cause producing vipåka. Thus, vipåkacitta is not cause, it does not produce result. It is incapable of performing deeds through body or speech. It cannot be accompanied by the cetasikas which are the wholesome qualities of compassion, sympathetic joy or the three abstinences (virati cetasikas) of right speech, right action and right livelihood 3.
Vipåkacitta itself is not a dhamma which is inferior, medium or superior, but the kamma which is inferior, medium or superior produces its result accordingly and therefore, there are different degrees of vipåka. Since vipåka is not a cause, producing result, but only the result of a cause, of kusala kamma or of akusala kamma, there is only one jåti which is vipåka. As we have seen, vipåka does not have such diversity as the dhamma which is cause, kusala and akusala, classified as two different jåtis. This is the answer to your question.
All vipåkacittas are result of kamma which has been performed in the past.
Seeing-consciousness is vipåkacitta.
Receiving-consciousness is vipåkacitta.
Investigating-consciousness is vipåkacitta.
Registering-consciousness (retention, tadårammaùa) is vipåkacitta.
We should know when there is vipåkacitta, kusala citta, akusala citta or kiriyacitta.
When we see a pleasant visible object, seeing-consciousness is kusala vipåka. The receiving-consciousness, the investigating-consciousness and the registering-consciousness which follow are also kusala vipåka. After the visible object and the víthi-cittas of the eye-door process have fallen away, bhavanga-cittas are arising and falling away in succession, until víthi-cittas arise again and know another object which presents itself. We should remember, when seeing-consciousness sees visible object through the eyes, that seeing-consciousness and also the other vipåkacittas in that process are the result of a kamma which has been performed in the past.
When we hear a sound which may be pleasant or unpleasant, it is only one moment of vipåka víthi-citta which hears the sound and then falls away completely. However, there are conditions for a great number of akusala cittas which like or dislike the rúpas which are appearing through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue or the bodysense. Like and dislike are never lacking in our daily life, they arise time and again on account of what appears through the six doors.
Through theoretical understanding, acquired from listening to the Dhamma the Buddha taught, akusala cannot be eradicated. We may know that seeing is only vipåka, the result of kamma performed in the past, but just knowing this in theory is not sufficient. Through theoretical knowledge we cannot prevent the arising of attachment, lobha, as soon as we see something pleasant.
We should study realities so that right understanding can develop to the degree that it can see the true nature of realities, that it can see them as not a living being, not a person, not self. When we study the Dhamma and carefully consider it in all details, we shall more and more see the danger of akusala and we shall be inclined to develop all levels of kusala. We should know that if we do not develop kusala we shall become ever more entangled by defilements.
We may believe that everything belongs to us, but such a belief occurs only at the moments when víthi-cittas, cittas in processes, arise. When víthi-cittas do not arise, we do not see, hear, smell, taste or experience tangible object, we do not experience any object through the six doors. At the moments when we are fast asleep, even though we have not reached the end of our lifespan, there is no attachment, no longing or yearning, no infatuation with anything; there is no clinging to the khandhas we are used to taking for self. The reason is that at such moments víthi-cittas do not arise which know objects through the six doors. Thus, only at the moments of our life when we are fast asleep there is no attachment or involvement with the sense objects or with the matters we think about. Why then do we not develop paññå so that attachment and clinging to the objects which appear through the six doors will be eradicated and there will be less akusala?
Realities appear only at the moments víthi-cittas, cittas in processes arise. When a citta arises and then falls away it has disappeared completely. When a rúpa arises and then falls away it also has disappeared completely. The visible object which just a moment ago appeared through the eyes has completely fallen away, and also each of the cittas which arose just a few moments ago in the eye-door process have fallen away completely. All cittas and all rúpas arise and then fall away, they are gone forever. However, so long as the arising and falling away of nåma and rúpa have not been realized through direct understanding, through insight, we cannot grasp what falling away means. We have not realised through the development of vipassanå the falling away of any reality. We may say that at this moment seeing-consciousness falls away, that receiving-consciousness, investigating-consciousness, determining-consciousness, javana-cittas and registering-consciousness fall away, but the falling away of dhammas has not yet been penetrated by insight. Paññå should be developed so that it can penetrate the arising and falling away of nåma and rúpa. Even if paññå has not reached that degree yet, it is most beneficial to listen to the Dhamma and to consider it, so that right understanding can develop and become keener, more refined. Right understanding can be accumulated and then it can be a condition for satipaììhåna to arise and to be mindful of the characteristics of the dhammas which arise and fall away. In that way paññå can gradually develop and penetrate the characteristics of dhammas so that they will be realized as not a living being, not a person, not self.
The Atthasåliní (II, Book II, Part II, Discourse on the Chapter of the Summary, Ch I, The Triplets, 361) explains the meaning of past dhammas: ...past means having got beyond the three moments. These three moments are the moment of arising (uppåda khaùa), the moment of presence (tiììhi khaùa) and the moment of falling away (bhanga khaùa) 4.
Citta has only an extremely short duration: it arises, it is present and then it falls away immediately.
Its arising moment is not the moment of its presence nor of its falling away.
The moment of its presence is not its arising moment nor the moment of its falling away.
The moment of its falling away is not its arising moment nor the moment of its presence.
When citta has arisen it is present and the moment of its presence cannot be called past, but, its arising moment belongs already to the past.
When we study rúpa, we learn that rúpa which is originated by kamma (kammaja rúpa) arises at each of the three moments of citta. Thus, it arises at the arising moment of citta, at the moment of presence of citta and at the moment of the falling away of citta. Rúpa originated by kamma arises at the three moments of citta throughout our life. However, seventeen moments of citta before dying kamma does not produce rúpa any longer; rúpa originated by kamma comes to an end when the dying-consciousness falls away 5. Then there is the end of the five khandhas which constitute the life of a particular person.
The rúpa which originates from citta (cittaja rúpa) arises at the arising moment of citta. The rebirth-consciousness, the five pairs of sense-cognitions, the four arúpåvacara vipåkacittas 6 and the dying-consciousness of the arahat do not produce any rúpa.
The rúpa which originates from temperature (utuja rúpa, the Element of Heat which is of the right temperature), arises at the moment of presence of the temperature which originates it 7.
The rúpa which originates from nutrition (ahåraja rúpa) arises at the moment of presence of nutritive essence, oja rúpa, present in food which was taken. When the nutritive essence which is in food has been absorbed it can produce other rúpas.
Citta arises and falls away very rapidly, and thus all three moments of citta disappear immediately. As the Atthasåliní explains, any dhamma which is past has got beyond the three moments: the arising moment, the moment of presence and the moment of falling away; it has gone forever, there is nothing left of it.
The Atthasåliní, in the same section (361), explains synonyms of the word past. We read: Ceased, that is, has reached cessation. Past dhamma has ceased completely, just as fire which has been extinguished.
Dissolved, that is, gone to destruction, departed. There is nothing left, just as someone who has died, who is no more. That is the characteristic of falling away.
Changed, that is, transformed by abandoning the original nature. So long as a dhamma has its original, usual nature, it exists, but when it abandons its original nature, it does not exist anymore.
Terminated, this means gone to the term (end) called cessation. It cannot exist any longer, that is the meaning of cessation.
Exterminated... This word is stronger then the preceding term terminated, and the meaning is: It has disappeared completely, there is nothing left of it.
Dissolved after having arisen, that is, departed after having come to be. This does not mean that the dhamma did not exist. It was, because it had arisen, but after its arising it departed, it disappeared completely, and there is nothing left of it.
We then read: Which are past dhammas? Rúpa, feeling, perception, formations, consciousness. These are the five khandhas which are conditioned dhammas, sankhata dhammas.
The five khandhas comprise the following realities:
Rúpakkhandha: all rúpas which arise and fall away.
Vedanåkkhandha: all feelings, vedanå cetasika, which arise and fall away.
Saññåkkhandha: remembrance or perception, saññå cetasika, which arises and falls away.
Saòkhårakkhandha, fifty cetasikas which are formations, which form up conditions, such as attachment, aversion, jealousy, avarice, confidence, energy and wisdom; they arise and then fall away.
Viññåùakkhandha, each type of citta which arises and falls away.
Everything which arises is conditioned dhamma, it is one of the five khandhas, and thus it falls away again. For which of the khandhas are we then still longing, to which of them do we still cling? Each khandha arises and then falls away; it dissolves, disappears completely, there is nothing left of it, there is nothing worth clinging to.
Through knowledge acquired from reading and listening defilements cannot be eradicated, they are still bound to be present in full force. When we consider dhammas and have right understanding of them, conditions are being accumulated for the arising of right awareness. Then sati can be directly aware and notice the characteristics of the dhammas of which we formerly had theoretical understanding acquired through listening. In this way paññå can penetrate the characteristics of realities which appear and then fall away, and wrong view by which one takes realities for a living being, a person or self can be eliminated.
We are so used to being attached to what appears through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense and the mind-door, we take it for self, for mine, for my property. In reality everything which appears does so only at the moment when citta in a process, víthi-citta, arises. The dhammas which are vipåka are the results of kamma. We may have a house, many possessions, cloths and ornaments which are all very beautiful and attractive, but in reality there are only vipåkacittas, results of past kammas, which arise and experience such objects through the senses. Citta arises and experiences an object just for one moment and then it falls away; it is gone forever, it cannot last at all. Nobody knows which kamma will produce which result in the future. The reason is that we all have performed in the past both kusala kamma and akusala kamma. When there are the right conditions for kamma to produce result, vipåkacitta arises and experiences an object through one of the six doors.
When we learn about the truth of impermanence and ponder over it, we can be urged to persevere with awareness of the characteristics of dhammas which appear. If sati can be aware of the characteristics of dhammas and paññå investigates them, over and over again, they can be realized as they are: as not self, as only nåma and rúpa appearing one at a time through the six doors.
Through right understanding of the characteristics of dhammas there will be conditions for kusala javana víthi-cittas. If we do not listen to the Dhamma and do not investigate realities, we shall not know when there is vipåka, the result of past kamma, and when there are kusala javana víthi-cittas or akusala javana víthi-cittas which arise in their own series. If we do not know this, we shall not see the danger and disadvantage of akusala and we shall not be inclined to develop kusala. Then the cycle of birth and death will go on endlessly. Are there in a day more kusala cittas or more akusala cittas? In the future there will be the appropriate result of kamma, be it kusala vipåka or akusala vipåka. It is beneficial to consider and to be aware of the realities which naturally appear in our daily life.
Specification of Cittas and their Functions
There are fourteen different functions of citta in all:
1. The function of rebirth, paìisandhi, which follows upon the function of dying, cuti, of the previous life. The cittas which perform the function of rebirth are 19 types 8 of vipåkacittas:
kåmåvacara vipåkacittas (of the sense sphere) 10
rúpåvacara vipåkacittas (results of rúpa jhåna) 5
arúpåvacara vipåkacittas (results of arúpa jhåna) 9 4
2. The function of life-continuum, bhavanga, the preservation of continuity in a lifespan. The cittas which perform the function of bhavanga are also 19 types of vipåkacittas. Whatever type of citta performs the function of rebirth in a lifespan also performs the function of bhavanga, after the rebirth-consciousness has fallen away. The bhavanga-cittas which arise in succession during one lifespan are all of the same type as the rebirth-consciousness. They arise and fall away until víthi-citta arises and experiences an object through one of the six doors, and when the víthi-cittas of that process have fallen away, bhavanga-cittas of the same type as the rebirth-consciousness follow again. This happens all the time until the dying-consciousness arises at the end of our lifespan.
3. The function of adverting, åvajjana, the adverting to an object which impinges on one of the six doorways. Adverting-consciousness is the first víthi-citta which arises in a process and experiences an object through one of the six doorways. There are 2 types of kiriyacitta which perform the function of adverting:
the five-sense-door adverting-consciousness, pañca-dvåråvajjana-
the mind-door adverting-consciousness, mano-dvåråvajjana-citta
4. The function of seeing, dassana kicca.
There are 2 types of vipåkacitta which perform the function of
seeing-consciousness which is akusala vipåkacitta
seeing-consciousness which is kusala vipåkacitta
5. The function of hearing, savana kicca. There are 2 types of
vipåkacitta which perform the function of hearing:
hearing-consciousness which is akusala vipåkacitta
hearing-consciousness which is kusala vipåkacitta
6. The function of smelling, ghåyana kicca. There are 2 types of
vipåkacitta which perform the function of smelling:
smelling-consciousness which is akusala vipåkacitta
smelling-consciousness which is kusala vipåkacitta
7. The function of tasting, såyana kicca. There are 2 types of
vipåkacitta which perform the function of tasting:
tasting-consciousness which is akusala vipåkacitta
tasting-consciousness which is kusala vipåkacitta.
8. The function of experiencing tangible object through the
bodysense, phusana kicca. There are 2 types of vipåkacitta which
perform this function:
body-consciousness which is akusala vipåkacitta
body-consciousness which is kusala vipåkacitta
9. The function of receiving, sampaìicchana kicca, which is the
receiving of the object after one of the sense-cognitions has fallen
away. There are 2 types of citta which perform this function:
receiving-consciousness which is akusala vipåkacitta
receiving-consciousness which is kusala vipåkacitta
10. The function of investigation, santíraùa kicca, which is the
investigation of the object which appears through one of the five
sense-doors. There are 3 types of citta which perform this function:
investigation-consciousness accompanied by indifferent feeling
(upekkhå) which is akusala vipåkacitta
investigation-consciousness accompanied by indifferent feeling
which is kusala vipåkacitta
investigation-consciousness accompanied by pleasant feeling
(somanassa) which is kusala vipåkacitta
11. The function of determination, votthapana kicca, which is the
determination of the object so that such or such types of javana-cittas
follow in one of the five sense-door processes. There is 1 type of
kiriyacitta which performs this function:
the mind-door adverting-consciousness, mano-dvåråvajjana-citta
12. The function of javana, javana kicca, which is running through the object or partaking of the object. There are 55 types of citta which can perform the function of javana:
akusala cittas 12 cittas 10
ahetuka kiriyacitta (hasituppada citta of the arahat 11) 1 citta
kåmåvacara kusala cittas (of the sense sphere) 12 8 cittas
kåmåvacara kiriyacittas (of the arahat) 8 cittas
rúpåvacara kusala cittas (of rúpa-jhåna) 5 cittas
rúpåvacara kiriyacittas (of the arahat) 5 cittas
arúpåvacara kusala cittas (of arúpa-jhåna) 4 cittas
arúpåvacara kiriyacittas (of the arahat) 4 cittas
lokuttara cittas (experiencing nibbåna) 8 cittas
13. The function of registering or retention, tadålambana kicca, the
function of knowing the object after the javana-cittas have fallen
away. There are 11 types of vipåkacittas which can perform this
investigation-consciousness, santíraùa-citta 3 cittas
kåmåvacara sahetuka (accompanied by roots) kusala vipåka 8 cittas
14. The function of dying, cuti kicca, the function of departure from this lifespan. After the cuti-citta has arisen, performed this function and fallen away, there is the end of this lifespan and one is no longer this particular individual. There are 19 types of vipåkacittas which can perform the function of dying, and they are of the same types as those which perform the function of rebirth and the function of bhavanga. Whatever type performs in a lifespan the function of rebirth, performs in that lifespan also the function of bhavanga and the function of dying.
It is because of conditions that the rebirth-consciousness arises in a particular lifespan with different accompanying cetasikas and in combination with rúpas of different quality, depending on the strength and the nature of that type of rebirth-consciousness.
There are 10 types of kåmåvacara vipåkacittas which can perform the
function of rebirth in 11 planes of existence of the sense sphere
investigating-consciousness accompanied by indifferent feeling
which is akusala vipåka 1
investigating-consciousness accompanied by indifferent feeling
which is kusala vipåka 1
kåmåvacara sahetuka kusala vipåkacittas (mahå-vipåka) 8
Investigating-consciousness accompanied by indifferent feeling which is akusala vipåka is the result of akusala kamma and it can perform the function of rebirth in four classes of unhappy planes of existence: the hell planes, the ghost-realm (of petas), the demon-world (asura-kåya) and the animal world 13.
Investigating-consciousness accompanied by indifferent feeling which is kusala vipåka is the result of kusala kamma which is weak, and it can perform the function of rebirth in the human plane and in the lowest heavenly plane, the plane of the four Guardian Deities (Cåtummahåråjika). In that case akusala kamma has the opportunity to make that person suffer, and cause him to be handicapped from the time of his conception. He will be born mentally handicapped, mute, blind, cripple or with other kinds of weaknesses.
The eight types of mahå-vipåkacittas can perform the function of rebirth in the human plane and in six classes of heavenly planes, and their different qualities depend on the strength and the degree of excellence of the kusala kammas which condition them 14.
The five types of rúpåvacara vipåkacittas perform the function of rebirth in fifteen rúpa-brahma planes, and the different degrees of these kinds of rebirth depend on the rúpåvacara kusala citta which is the cause of them.
The four types of arúpåvacara vipåkacittas perform the funrtion of rebirth in four arúpa-brahma planes, and the different degrees of these kinds of rebirth depend on the arúpåvacara kusala citta which is the cause of them.
The eleven kinds of tadålambana-cittas which perform the function of retention or registering and which follow upon the javana-cittas do not arise in the rúpa-brahma planes and the arúpa-brahma planes 15.
There are two types of cittas performing five functions, which are the function of rebirth, bhavanga, santíraùa, tadålambana and dying, namely: investigating-consciousness accompanied by indifferent feeling which is akusala vipåka and investigating-consciousness accompanied by indifferent feeling which is kusala vipåka.
The eight types of mahå-vipåkacittas perform four functions, which are the function of rebirth, bhavanga, tadålambana and dying.
The five types of rúpåvacara vipåkacittas perform three functions and the four types of arúpåvacara vipåkacittas also perform three functions which are the function of rebirth, of bhavanga and of dying. There are two types of citta which can perform two functions, namely the mind-door adverting-consciousness 16 and the investigating-consciousness accompanied by pleasant feeling 17.
All the other types of cittas perform only one function, their own proper function.
1. Of which jåti is registering-consciousness, tadårammaùa-citta? By which kamma is it produced?
2. When does rúpa originating from kamma arise? And when does it not arise?
3. When does rúpa originating from citta arise? When does it not arise?
4. Which function is performed by akusala citta?
5. Of which jåtis are the cittas performing the function of javana?
6. Can kusala citta and kiriyacitta perform the function of retention (tadårammaùa)?
7. Which functions can be performed by investigating-consciousness accompanied by indifferent feeling?
8. Which functions can be performed by investigating-consciousness accompanied by pleasant feeling?
9. Of which jåtis are the cittas of the arahat?
10. Of which jåtis are the cittas of the non-arahat?
The Cycle of Birth and Death
As we have seen, the first aspect of citta given by the Atthasåliní is clearly knowing an object. Remembrance of this aspect can be a supporting condition for sati to arise and to be aware of the characteristic of citta when there is seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or the experience of tangible object. Such experiences can then be realized as citta, not self who experiences. Citta is the reality, the dhamma, which clearly knows the object which is appearing.
The second aspect of citta is the aspect of javana-citta which arranges itself in its own series of cittas of the same type. People have diverse inclinations because of different accumulations of kusala and akusala. Some people have accumulated a great deal of attachment, aversion and ignorance, whereas others have accumulated many wholesome qualities. Because of different accumulated inclinations people have different characters.
The third aspect of citta is the aspect of vipåka, of citta as result, conditioned by accumulated kamma and defilements 18 . If one has right understanding of víthi-citta, citta arising in a process, it will be clearer what the cycle of birth and death is. We are born and we revolve in a threefold cycle: the cycle of defilement, the cycle of kamma and the cycle of vipåka. This threefold cycle is summarized in the third aspect of citta, citta as vipåka, conditioned by accumulated kamma and defilements.
Kusala dhammas and akusala dhammas which arise at the moment of javana-citta fall away again, but they are not lost, they are accumulated and go on from one moment of citta to the next moment of citta. Although citta which arises falls away again, its falling away is a condition for the arising of the succeeding citta and all accumulations present in the preceding citta go on to the succeeding citta. That is the reason why akusala javana víthi-citta and kusala javana víthi-citta which arrange themselves in their own series can condition the arising of vipåka later on.
As we have seen, the cycle of birth and death is threefold: the cycle of defilement, the cycle of kamma and the cycle of vipåka. The cycle of defilement revolves when objects are experienced through the sense-doors and through the mind-door. Defilements which arise in the series or succession of javana, cause the committing of kamma. Then the cycle of kamma revolves, akusala kamma and kusala kamma, performed through body, speech and mind. The cycle of kamma conditions vipåka, and then the cycle of vipåka revolves. When vipåkacitta arises and experiences an object through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue or the bodysense, defilements are bound to arise on account of the object which is experienced, and then the cycle of defilement revolves again. Time and again the defilements of like or dislike arise because of what appears through the sense-doors or the mind-door. Defilements condition again the performing of kamma, kusala kamma and akusala kamma, and these produce kusala vipåka and akusala vipåka. Thus there is no end to the threefold cycle. So long as paññå has not been developed and is not powerful enough to reach the stage of being able to realize the four noble Truths, the threefold cycle of defilement, kamma and vipåka is bound to revolve all the time .
The Dependent Origination, Paticca Samuppåda, which is the teaching of the arising of phenomena in dependence upon each other, can be considered under the aspect of the threefold cycle. Ignorance, avijjå, is the condition for the arising of kamma-formation, saòkhåra; this means that the cycle of defilement conditions the cycle of kamma. Kamma-formation, saòkhåra, is the condition for the arising of consciousness, viññåùa (in this case vipåkacitta); this means that the cycle of kamma conditions the cycle of vipåka 19.
Ignorance, avijjå, is actually moha cetasika, the akusala dhamma which does not know realities as they are. It represents the cycle of defilement which conditions the arising of kamma-formations.
Kamma-formation, saòkhåra, which is the fruit of ignorance, is threefold:
meritorious kamma-formation (puññåbhisaòkhåra 20)
demeritorious kamma-formation (apuññåbhisaòkhåra 21)
imperturbable kamma-formation (åneñjåbhisaòkhåra)
Meritorious kamma-formation is volition, cetanå, performing kusala kamma which is dependent on rúpa, materiality, and this includes kåmåvacara kusala kamma (of the sense sphere) and rúpåvacara kusala kamma (rúpa-jhåna, of the fine-material sphere).
Demeritorious kamma-formation is the volition which performs akusala kamma.
Imperturbable kamma-formation is arúpåvacara kusala kamma, volition arising with the four types of arúpa-jhåna kusala citta (immaterial jhåna).
Meritorious kamma-formation, demeritorious kamma-formation and imperturbable kamma-formation are conditions for the arising of viññåùa. Viññåùa is a synonym of citta, consciousness, but in the context of the Dependent Origination it is vipåkacitta. The vipåkacitta which is rebirth-consciousness arises in different planes of existence, in accordance with the cause, kamma, which produces it.
The Buddha explained the Dhamma by different methods, for example, by way of the four paramattha dhammas, by way of the four noble Truths or by way of the Dependent Origination. These different methods concern the dhammas which occur at each moment, also now, at this very moment.
The third aspect of citta is citta as vipåka. Vipåka is conditioned by accumulated kamma and defilements. This shows us that in daily life there are at different moments defilements, kamma or vipåka. Right understanding of víthi-citta is a condition for mindfulness and investigation of different cittas arising in processes which experience visible object, sound, the other sense objects or mental object. Then paññå can come to know when there is defilement, when kamma and when vipåka.
For example, with regard to cittas arising in the eye-door process, some cittas are vipåka and some are not:
the five sense-door adverting-consciousness is not vipåkacitta
seeing-consciousness is vipåkacitta
receiving-consciousness is vipåkacitta
investigating-consciousness is vipåkacitta
determining-consciousness is not vipåkacitta
javana-cittas which are kusala, akusala
or kiriya are not vipåkacitta
registering-consciousness is vipåkacitta
We may wonder of what use it is to know in detail at which moment there is vipåka and at which moment there is not vipåka in the eye-door process. It is useful to know that the dhammas which are cause are different from the dhammas which are result. Akusala dhammas and kusala dhammas are cause, not vipåka. When there is vipåkacitta there is result originating from a cause; vipåka itself is not a cause. If we understand at which moment there is vipåka, result produced by past kamma, such seeing now, can we still believe that there is a self who can cause the arising of particular vipåkas? If we have right understanding of the citta which is cause and of the citta which is result, we shall know the meaning of anattå, non-self. We shall understand anattå when seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, experiencing tangible object or thinking. This understanding can be a supporting condition for sati to be aware of the realities which appear at such moments and thus there will be more understanding of the different characteristics of these realities which arise each because of their own conditions.
Some people fear that vipåka will not arise anymore, they are afraid that vipåka will come to an end at death. There is no reason to be afraid of this, we do not have to worry that vipåka will not arise anymore today, tomorrow, the next days, the coming months, years or lives. When someone is not yet an arahat, there are still conditions present for the continuation of vipåka, it will arise time and again. We should consider what kind of kamma is going to produce vipåka in the future. We can verify in this life, in the case of different individuals, to what extent there is vipåka produced by kusala kamma and to what extent vipåka produced by akusala kamma.
In the Commentary to the Gradual Sayings, the Manoratha púraùi, in the Commentary to the Nidåna Sutta (Book of the Threes, Ch IV, § 33, Causes) there is an explanation of this sutta according to the Abhidhamma method 22. Kamma has been classified as sixteen kinds: eight kinds of akusala kamma and eight kinds of kusala kamma. Akusala kamma as well as kusala kamma need other conditions to be able to produce their results. Four of these conditioning factors are favorable or advantageous (sampatti) and four are unfavorable or disadvantageous (vipatti). Some akusala kammas which have been performed can be prevented from producing result through the four favorable factors: favorable place of birth (gati), favorable bodily condition (upadhi), favorable time (kåla) and success in means or occupation (payoga) 23. Thus, when someone has a favorable place of birth, has a favorable bodily condition, lives in a favorable time and has success in his means or occupation, some akusala kammas do not have an opportunity to produce results.
Some akusala kammas have the opportunity to produce result because of four unfavorable factors: unfavorable place of birth, unfavorable bodily condition, unfavorable time and failure in ones means or occupation.
It is the same in the case of kusala kamma. If someone has the factors of unfavorable place of birth, unfavorable bodily condition, unfavorable time and failure in occupation, some kusala kammas do not have an opportunity to produce result.
The kusala kammas which will produce result are dependent on four favorable factors: favorable place of birth, favorable bodily condition, favorable time and success in occupation. Thus, when we take into account the four favorable factors and the four unfavorable factors in the case of kusala kamma and of akusala kamma, kamma can be classified as sixteen-fold.
Favorable place of birth (gati sampatti) is a happy plane of existence where one is born. Unfavorable place of birth (gati vipatti) is an unhappy plane of existence where one is born, such as a hell plane.
We all have to be reborn as soon as the dying-consciousness falls away, but nobody knows whether the place one will go to will be happy or unhappy. Some people wish to be reborn into a family where there is no addiction to alcohol or intoxicating drugs, but so long as the moment of dying has not come yet, one does not know what types of javana víthi-cittas which condition rebirth will arise before the dying-consciousness. One does not know which kamma will produce vipåka after the dying-consciousness, in the form of rebirth and in which plane there will be rebirth.
When kusala kamma produces result in the form of rebirth in a happy plane there is a favorable place of rebirth. There is not only the kusala kamma which produces rebirth in a happy plane, but there are also other kusala kammas performed in the cycle of birth and death. On account of a happy rebirth these kammas can have an opportunity to produce in the course of life kusala vipåkacittas which experience pleasant objects. However, one also committed akusala kamma in the past and thus one cannot experience only pleasant objects. When akusala kamma produces result there is the experience of unpleasant objects through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue or the bodysense. We all have performed both kusala kamma and akusala kamma but the opportunity for them to produce result depends on the factors of favorable or unfavorable place of birth and in addition also on other conditions.
Bodily condition (upadhi 24) is another factor which can be favorable or unfavorable. Dukkha, suffering, is inherent in bodily condition. Even when someone is born as a human being, thus, in a happy plane, akusala kamma which was committed in the past can be a condition that one has a body with defects or that one is handicapped. A defective body is an unfavorable bodily condition which contributes to it that akusala kamma more often than kusala kamma has an opportunity to produce result.
Apart from this factor there is the factor of time which can be favorable (kåla sampatti) or unfavorable (kåla vipatti). The factor of time which is favorable conditions kusala kamma which has been performed in the past to produce result. When one lives in a favorable time, there is an abundance of food, enough fish in the water and plenty of rice in the fields. Then it is not difficult to obtain food and food is not expensive. When the country where one lives is prosperous and there is peace, when one can live in comfort, with an abundance of all the things one needs, kusala kamma has the opportunity to condition the arising of kusala vipåkacitta. Then vipåkacitta experiences pleasant objects through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue and the bodysense. It may happen that one lives in an unfavorable time, when the country is in a state of unrest, when food is hard to obtain and expensive. Then kusala kamma does not have an opportunity to the same extent as when the time is favorable, to condition the arising of kusala vipåkacitta which experiences pleasant objects through the senses. Even upright people who do not cause trouble to anybody may still have unpleasant experiences, they may suffer from pain or sickness, or they may lose their lives, because they live in an unfavorable time. One may have accumulated kusala kamma, but if one lives in an unfavorable time, when ones country is in disorder and confusion, akusala kamma committed in the past has the opportunity to produce result in the form of akusala vipåkacitta, and this can happen also at this time.
Success or failure in ones means or occupation (payoga sampatti and vipatti) are also factors which condition kamma to produce result or which can prevent kamma from producing result. Someone is successful in his occupation when he is skillful, diligent and clever in the performing of his tasks. Each kind of occupation, even that of a thief, needs expertise and skill for the accomplishment of ones tasks. The ability to accomplish ones work is success in occupation, be it in the wholesome way or in the unwholesome way. No matter which profession or task one performs, one needs success in occupation, thus, skillfulness and competence in the accomplishment of ones work. Then akusala kamma which has been committed in the past has no opportunity to condition vipåkacitta. Someone may be upright, but he may lack expertise, knowledge and competence in his profession or task, and thus there is failure in occupation. This may prevent the arising of kusala vipåka.
The Buddha taught in detail about the causes which bring their appropriate results and he also explained about the different conditioning factors necessary for the arising of results. His teaching about this subject illustrates the truth of anattå. There is no self who can cause anything to arise at will. Each citta which arises is dependent on different conditions. As we have seen, the producing of result by kusala kamma or akusala kamma is also dependent on other conditioning factors, which are: favorable or unfavorable place of birth, favorable or unfavorable bodily condition, favorable or unfavorable time and success or failure in occupation.
Right understanding of cause and result, that is, of defilements, of kamma and of vipåka, can be a condition for a decrease of the suffering, dukkha, which is inherent in the cycle of birth and death. We should know with regard to the víthi-cittas, for example those of the eye-door process, what is vipåka and what is kamma, and we should know that vipåkacittas cannot perform kamma. The vipåkacittas in that process are, as explained before, seeing-consciousness, receiving-consciousness which receives the object after the seeing-consciousness, and investigating-consciousness which investigates the object after the receiving-consciousness. When one performs kusala kamma there is not vipåkacitta but kusala javana-citta.
When one hears a pleasant sound, the vipåkacitta which is hearing-consciousness arises and just hears, the receiving-consciousness receives that sound, the investigating-consciousness investigates it, examines it. These vipåkacittas cannot perform any akusala kamma or kusala kamma.
When one smells a fragrant odour which impinges on the nose, the vipåkacitta which is smelling-consciousness arises and experiences that odour. The receiving-consciousness receives that smell and the investigating-consciousness examines it. These vipåkacittas cannot perform kamma, they cannot cause the movement of any rúpa of the body for the performing of kamma.
When we speak, walk, lift our hands, or when the body moves for the performing of different functions, the citta at such moments is different from the vipåkacitta which sees, hears, tastes, smells or experiences tangible object. The javana víthi-cittas, be they kusala or akusala, can cause the movement of rúpas of the body. Thus we can understand that the cittas which perform kamma are altogether different from vipåkacittas.
While we are eating different types of citta arise. The citta which sees is vipåkacitta, the citta which likes the food that is seen is akusala citta rooted in attachment, the citta which dislikes the food that is seen is akusala citta rooted in aversion. The citta which tastes a sour or sweet flavour is vipåkacitta. The citta which, with desire, conditions the movement of the body when taking the food, when chewing and swallowing it, is akusala citta rooted in attachment. Sati can arise and be aware of the characteristics of the different kinds of cittas as they naturally appear, so that they can be known as they are. One should not try to flee from lobha, but one should know it as it is; and only thus can it be eventually eradicated. Since the time of our birth there were conditions for the arising of attachment, time and again, in daily life, and therefore attachment has become our nature. While we are doing our work there is most of the time attachment; thus, the moments of attachment which arise in a day are countless. However, if we see the benefit of kusala, there can also be conditions for the arising of kusala citta. While we are eating javana víthi-cittas with attachment are likely to arise and fall away, but the javana-cittas in a following process may be different. If sati can be mindful of the citta which enjoys the food, there are kusala javana-cittas. Or sati can be mindful of characteristics of rúpas, such as softness, hardness, cold, heat, motion, presure, or of the flavour which appears, which may be sour, sweet or salty.
When one develops satipaììhåna right understanding can come to know the nature of citta. Akusala can be known as it is, also before there is any action through body or speech. Sati can be aware of the citta which sees and then there can be right understanding of its characteristic, as being different from the citta with attachment to the object which appears.
As we have seen, the third aspect of citta is the aspect of citta as vipåka, conditioned by accumulated kamma and defilements. Defilement is the dhamma which is impure. When one desires something or wishes to obtain something for oneself, there is no contentment, no peace. Whereas if one does not want anything for oneself and attachment does not arise there is contentment. When one longs for something, when one is attached, there is ignorance which is unable to see that there are at such moments impure dhammas, that there is no inward peace but confusion caused by clinging. Whenever one is disturbed by selfish desire, by clinging, there are impure, akusala dhammas. People mistake sometimes attachment for confidence in kusala (saddhå) 25. If sati does not arise and paññå does not investigate realities, it will not be known when there is attachment which is akusala and when there is confidence in wholesomeness which is kusala.
Monks and laypeople who still have defilements are not free from attachment, it arises in daily life. So long as defilements have not been eradicated, be it in the case of layman or monk, attachment to what appears through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense or the mind-door will arise. The different defilements which arise time and again can be very strong, and then they are of the degree of akusala kamma committed through the body or through speech. If defilements would be eradicated akusala kamma could not arise. When one has performed kamma, the citta and cetasikas which arose together at that moment have fallen away, but kamma is never lost. It is accumulated and goes on from one citta to the next citta, since each citta which falls away is succeeded by the next citta, all the time. Because of this there can be kamma-condition (kamma-paccaya), that is, kamma which conditions the arising of result, vipåkacitta and its accompanying cetasikas. We should know when there is defilement, when kamma and when vipåka. The cittas which see, hear, smell, taste or experience tangible object are vipåkacittas, results of kamma. We all like to see only pleasant things and we never have enough of seeing them. We have eyesense, a rúpa which is conditioned by kamma, thus we have the ability to see, but we cannot be sure whether we shall see a pleasant object or an unpleasant object. It depends on kamma-condition whether a pleasant object or an unpleasant object will impinge on the eyesense and appear to seeing-consciousness. When kusala kamma is kamma-condition, it causes seeing-consciousness which is kusala vipåkacitta to arise and to experience a pleasant object. When akusala kamma is kamma-condition, it causes seeing-consciousness which is akusala vipåkacitta to arise and to experience an unpleasant object. When hearing-consciousness hears a pleasant sound, it is the result of kusala kamma. When hearing-consciousness hears an unpleasant sound, it is the result of akusala kamma. The arising of kusala vipåka or akusala vipåka at this moment or the next moments depends on kusala kamma or akusala kamma which is the condition for the vipåkacitta which experiences an object through one of the senses.
There are twentyfour principal conditions for all realities which arise 26 . Kamma-condition, kamma-paccaya, is one condition among them, being the condition for the arising of vipåka. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or the experience of tangible object are vipåkacittas accompanied by vipåkacetasikas which arise because of kamma-condition. Nobody can cause the arising of vipåka according to his wish. At this moment we have seen already, we have heard already. Who can prevent seeing or hearing when they have already arisen because of kamma-condition?
Citta and cetasikas which experience an object appearing through the senses are vipåkacitta and vipåka cetasikas which arise together. Vipåkacitta is a condition for vipåka cetasika and vipåka cetasika is a condition for vipåkacitta, by being together vipåka, thus, by way of vipåka-condition, vipåka-paccaya. They cannot be anything else but vipåka. The citta and cetasikas which arise together and are vipåka, condition one another; each of them, citta and each of the accompanying cetasikas, is vipåka-condition for the other conascent dhammas.
The rúpa which is conditioned by kamma is not vipåka, although it is the result of kamma. Rúpa is altogether different from nåma, it does not know anything, and thus it is not vipåka which is the mental result of kamma. Vipåka is nåma, the reality which experiences an object.
1. What is kamma-condition?
2. What is vipåka-condition?
3. Is the rúpa which originates from kamma vipåka? Explain your answer.
1 In the Dhammasaùgani (Book III, Ch I, Group of Triplets, 1025-1027) dhammas are classified as low, medium and exalted. The Atthasåliní (I, Book I, Part I, 45,) explains that mean is applied to akusala dhammas, that medium, existing midway between low and exalted, is applied to the remaining dhammas of the three planes of citta (of the sense sphere, rúpa-jhånacittas, arúpa-jhånacittas), and exalted to the lokuttara dhammas.
2 The cetasikas chanda, wish-to-do, viriya, effort, or vímaóså, investigation of the Dhamma, can be predominant factors and these can be of a lesser degree, medium or superior, see Visuddhimagga, I, 33.
3 The three abstinences are abstention from wrong speech, wrong action and wrong livelihood. Abstention from wrong livelihood is abstention from wrong speech and wrong action pertaining to ones livelihood.
4 See Ch 7.
5 Rúpa does not last longer than seventeen moments of citta. Rúpa originated by kamma could not survive after death.
6 The results of kusala cittas of the four stages of arúpa-jhåna, immaterial jhåna. These arise in planes where there is no rúpa.
7 Rúpa, in this case temperature, is too weak at its arising moment, it can only produce another rúpa at the moment of its presence.
8 These have been specified further on in this chapter.
9 There are five stages of rúpa jhåna, fine material jhåna, and thus there are five types of vipåkacittas which are results. There are four stages of arúpa jhåna and thus there are four types of vipåkacittas which are results.
10 There are 8 types of citta rooted in lobha, attachment, 2 types rooted in dosa, aversion and 2 types rooted in ignorance.
11 Smile-producing consciousness.
12 Four are accompanied by pleasant feeling, four by indifferent feeling; four are associated with wisdom, four are without wisdom; four are not induced and four are induced. The kåmåvacara kiriyacittas are classified in the same way. See Appendix to Citta.
13 Investigating-consciousness, santíraùa-citta, performs in a sense-door process the function of investigating, but this type of citta can also perform the function of rebirth-consciousness. In the latter case it is still called investigating-consciousness since it is the same type of citta as that arising in a sense-door process.
14 There are 8 types of mahå-vipåkacitta, which are results of the eight types of mahå-kusala citta; they are accompanied by pleasant feeling or indifferent feeling, accompanied by wisdom or unaccompanied by wisdom, arising without being induced, or being induced. These details will be explained further on.
15 Only in the planes where there are sense impressions there are, after the javana-cittas, conditions for kamma to produce vipåkacittas which hang on to the object experienced during that process.
16 It performs the function of adverting in the mind-door process and it performs the function of determining, votthapana, in the sense-door process.
17 This type of citta can only perform the function of investigation in a sense-door process when the object is very pleasant. It can also perform the function of retention or registering.
18 In this connection there is a word association between citta and cito, which means accumulated.
19 Santi Phantakeong explains in his Lexicon under the cycle of vipåka: kusala kamma and akusala kamma condition the revolving in the cycle of birth and death. They condition birth in a new existence; they condition seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and the experience of tangible object. These experiences (vipåka) are the condition again for the cycle of defilements....
20 Puññå is merit, kusala. Abhisaòkhåra stands for cetanå, volition or intention. Although at the moment of kusala citta there is no ignorance with the citta, ignorance can still condition kusala kamma. So long as ignorance has not been eradicated, one has to continue in the cycle of birth and death, performing both good deeds and evil deeds which bring results. Only the arahat who has eradicated ignorance is freed from the cycle. He does not perform kusala kamma nor akusala kamma, deeds which bring results.
21 Apuññå is demerit, akusala.
22 The teachings can be explained according to the Suttanta method or the Abhidhamma method. The Buddha preached the Suttas to people with different accumulations and he used conventional terms so that they could understand his teaching more easily. The explanation according to the Abhidhamma method is by way of paramattha dhammas, ultimate, non-conventional, realities.
23 These factors will be explained further on.
24 Upadhi means foundation or substratum.
25 One may with confidence in kusala perform good deeds. At another moment one may with attachment take delight in ones own good deed and take ones attachment for confidence. Or one may take attachment to a teacher for confidence which is wholesome.
26 The seventh Book of the Abhidhamma, the Paììhåna deals with all the conditions for the phenomena which arise.