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Abhidhamma in Daily life
 Chapter 11

DIFFERENT TYPES OF PATISANDHI-CITTA 

We see many different beings in this world, men and animals, all with
different appearances and different characters. They must have been different
from the first moment of their lives, from the moment of the patisandhi-citta or
rebirth-consciousness. One may wonder how many different types of
patisandhi-citta there are. On the other hand, beings who are born in this world
also have things in common. We share the same world and we receive
impressions through the senses, no matter whether we are rich or poor. On
account of the objects which we experience through the six doors, kusala cittas
and akusala cittas arise. All these cittas, arising in our daily life, are kamavacara
cittas or cittas of the 'sense-sphere’. 

One could divide human beings as regards their birth into two classes: 

                 1.  Those who are born with a patisandhi-citta which 
                      is ahetuka kusala vipaka (which means that the 
                      kusala vipakacitta is not accompanied by beautiful 
                      roots: by alobha or generosity, by adosa or kindness, 
                      or by panna or wisdom) 
                 2.  Those who are born with a patisandhi-citta 
                      which is sahetuka kusala vipaka (kusala vipaka 
                      accompanied by beautiful roots)

When a human being is born with a patisandhi-citta which is ahetuka, his birth is the result of kamavacara kusala kamma, but the degree of the kusala kamma is less than the kusala kamma which produces a sahetuka patisandhi-citta. People who are born with an ahetuka patisandhi-citta are handicapped from the first moment of life. Eye-sense or ear-sense does not develop or they have other
defects. However, when we see someone who is handicapped we cannot tell
whether there was at the first moment of his life an ahetuka patisandhi-citta or a
sahetuka patisandhi-citta. We cannot tell whether someone was handicapped
from the first moment of his life or whether he became handicapped later on,
even while he was still in his mother's womb and thus we do not know which type of patisandhi-citta he was born with. The fact that a person is handicapped has not happened by chance; it is due to one's kamma. 

There is only one type of patisandhi-citta which is ahetuka kusala vipaka, but
there are many degrees of this vipaka. The kamma which produces this
vipakacitta can cause birth in different kinds of surroundings: in unpleasant
surroundings, though not in woeful planes, and in pleasant surroundings. It can
even cause birth in the lowest heavenly plane. 

There is also an ahetuka patisandhi-citta which is akusala vipaka. This type of
citta does not arise in the human plane, but in a woeful plane. Only one type of
patisandhi-citta is akusala vipaka, but it is of many degrees. There are many
varieties of akusala kamma and thus there must be many varieties of unhappy
rebirth. The unhappy rebirth we can see in this world is birth as an animal. There
are three more classes of woeful planes, which we cannot see; they are the world
of the 'petas' (ghosts), the world of 'asuras' (demons), and the hell planes. 

The function of patisandhi can be performed by different types of vipakacittas
produced by different kammas. It depends on kamma as to which type of
vipakacitta performs the function of patisandhi-citta in the case of such and such
a being. Two ahetuka vipakacittas which perform the function of patisandhi are
santirana akusala vipakacitta and santirana kusala vipakacitta. 

When santirana-citta arises in a process of cittas experiencing an object through
one of the five senses, the santirana-citta performs the function of investigating
(santirana) the object. As we have seen, santirana-citta is an ahetuka vipakacitta.
The same type of citta can perform more than one function, but at different
moments. Santirana-citta can also perform the function of patisandhi. When the
santirana-citta performs the function of patisandhi it does not arise in a
sense-door process and it does not investigate an object. 

As we have seen (Ch.9), there are three kinds of santirana-citta: 

                 1.  Santirana-citta which is akusala vipaka, accompanied 
                      by upekkha (indifferent feeling) 
                 2.  Santirana-citta which is kusala vipaka, accompanied 
                      by upekkha 
                 3. Santirana-citta which is kusala vipaka, accompanied 
                      by somanassa (pleasant feeling) 

The santirana-citta which is akusala vipaka, accompanied by upekkha, can
perform the function of patisandhi in woeful planes. This means that the type of
patisandhi-citta arising in woeful planes is of the same type as the akusala
vipakacitta which is santirana-citta performing the function of investigating in a
sense-door process of cittas. 

The santirana-citta which is kusala vipaka accompanied by upekkha, can, apart
from the function of investigating in a sense-door process, also perform the
function of patisandhi in human and heavenly planes. 

The Santirana-citta which is kusala vipaka accompanied by somanassa does not
perform the function of patisandhi. 
 

Akusala  kamma and kusala kamma of different beings can produce nineteen
different types of patisandhi-citta in all, arising in different planes of existence.
One of these types is akusala vipaka and eighteen types are kusala vipaka. Of the
types of citta which are kusala vipaka, one type is ahetuka kusala vipaka and
seventeen types are sahetuka kusala vipaka (accompanied by beautiful roots).
There are many degrees of each of these nineteen types of patisandhi-citta
because kamma can be of many degrees. It is due to kamma that people are born
ugly or beautiful and that they are born in unpleasant or in pleasant
surroundings. The fact that one is born into miserable circumstances does not
mean that one's next birth will also be in miserable circumstances. It all depends
on the kamma one has accumulated. As regards people who are born into happy
circumstances, if akusala kamma produce results, their next birth may be an
unhappy one. 

We read in the 'Gradual Sayings' (Book of the Fours, Ch. IX, pal. 5, Darkness): 

                 'Monks, these four persons are found existing in the 
                 world. What four? 

                 He who is in darkness and bound for darkness; he who 
                 is in darkness but bound for light; he who is in light but 
                 bound for darkness; he who is in light and bound for light. 

                 And how, monks, is a person in darkness bound 
                 for darkness? 

                 In this case a certain person is born in a low family, 
                 the family of a scavenger or a hunter or a basket-weaver 
                 or wheel-wright or sweeper, or in the family of some 
                 wretched man hard put to it to find a meal or earn a living, 
                 where food and clothes are hard to get. Moreover, he 
                 is ill-favoured, ugly, dwarfish, sickly, purblind, crooked, 
                 lame or paralysed, with never a bite or sup, without 
                 clothes, vehicle, without perfumes or flower-garlands, 
                 bed, dwelling or lights. He lives in the practice of evil with 
                 body, speech and thought; and so doing, when body 
                 breaks up, after death, he is reborn in the waste, the way 
                 of woe, the downfall, in hell. Thus, monks, is the person 
                 who is in darkness and bound for darkness. 

                 And how, monks, is a person in darkness but bound 
                 for light? 

                 In this case a certain person is born in a low family... 
                 without bed, dwelling or lights. He lives in the practice 
                 of good with body, speech and thought...and so doing, 
                 when body breaks up, after death he is reborn in the 
                 happy bourn, in the heaven-world. 

                 And how, monks, is a person in light but bound for 
                 darkness? 

                 In this case a certain person is born in a high family... 
                 And that man is well-built, comely and charming, 
                 possessed of supreme beauty of form. He is one able to 
                 get clothes, vehicle, perfumes and flower-garlands, bed, 
                 dwelling and lights. But he lives in the practice of evil with 
                 body, speech and thought. So doing, when body breaks 
                 up, after death he is reborn in the waste, the way of woe, 
                 the downfall, in hell. Thus, monks, is the person who is 
                 in light but bound for darkness. 

                 And how, monks, is a person who is in light and bound 
                 for light? 

                 In this case a person is born in a high family...able to 
                 get clothes...bed, dwelling and lights. He lives in the . 
                 practice of good with body, speech and thought. So 
                 doing, when body breaks up after death, he is reborn in 
                 the happy bourn, in the heaven-world. Thus, monks, is 
                 one who is in light and bound for light. 

                 These, monks, are the four persons found existing in 
                 the world.’
 

The patisandhi-citta which is sahetuka vipaka (with beautiful roots) is the result
of kusala kamma which is of a higher degree than the kusala kamma producing an ahetuka patisandhi-citta. There are eight different types of sahetuka vipakacittas which can perform the function of patisandhi. 

People are born with characters which are different; they are born with different
degrees of wisdom or without wisdom. The patisandhi-cittas of people are
different. When the patisandhi-citta is sahetuka, it is always accompanied by
alobha (non-greed or generosity) and adosa (non-aversion or kindness), but not always by wisdom. It can be accompanied by wisdom or it can be without wisdom, depending on the kamma which produces it. 

Apart from the difference in the number of roots (two hetus or three hetus) which accompany the sahetuka patisandhi-citta there are other differences. Kusala kamma which produces the patisandhi-citta can be kamma performed by kusala citta with somanassa or with upekkha, by kusala citta which is asankharika (unprompted) or sasankharika (prompted). Thus we see that several factors determine the degree of kusala kamma which produces its result accordingly. 

Thus the sahetuka patisandhi-cittas which are the results of kamavacara kusala
kammas (kusala kammas of the 'sense-sphere') can be classified as eight different types in all. Summing them up, they are: 

                 1. Accompanied by pleasant feeling, with wisdom, 
                     unprompted (Somanassa-sahagatam, nana- 
                     sampayuttam, asankharikam ekam) 
                     [Nana is wisdom (panna)] 

                 2. Accompanied by pleasant feeling, with wisdom, 
                     prompted (Somanassa-sahagatam, nana- 
                     sampayuttam, sasankharikam ekam) 

                 3. Accompanied by pleasant feeling, without wisdom, 
                     unprompted (Somanassa-sahagatam-nana-vip- 
                     payuttam, asankharikam ekam) 

                 4. Accompanied by pleasant feeling, without wisdom, 
                     prompted (Somanassa-sahagatam, nana-vip- 
                     payuttam, sasankharikam ekam) 

                 5. Accompanied by indifferent feeling, with wisdom, 
                     unprompted (Upekkha-sahagatam, nana-sam- 
                     payuttam, asankharikam ekam) 

                 6. Accompanied by indifferent feeling, with wisdom, 
                     prompted (Upekkha-sahagatam,nana-sampayut- 
                     tam, sasankharikam ekam) 

                 7. Accompanied by indifferent feeling, without wisdom, 
                     unprompted (Upekkha-sahagatam, nana-vippayut- 
                     tam, asarikharikam ekam) 

                 8. Accompanied by indifferent feeling, without wisdom, 
                     prompted (Upekkha-sahagatam, nana-vippayut- 
                     tam, sasarikharikam ekam)

It is useful to know more details about patisandhi-citta, because it can help us to
understand why people are so different. 

The eight types of sahetuka patisandhi-citta which are the results of kamavacara
kusala kammas do not arise only in the human plane, but they also arise in those heavenly planes of existence which are kama-bhumi or 'sensuous' planes of existence. 

There are thirty-one classes of planes of existence in all. Eleven planes are
kama-bhumis (or kama-lokas), of which one is the plane of human beings, six are heavenly planes and four are woeful planes. Beings born in one of the kama-bhumis have kamavacara cittas; they receive sense impressions. There are
also other heavenly planes which are not kama-bhumi. 

If one is born in one of the kama-bhumis and cultivates jhana (absorption) one
can, besides kamavacara cittas, also have rupa-jhanacittas and arupa-jhanacittas. (For the difference between rupa-jhana and arupa-jhana see Ch XXII.) If one cultivates the Eightfold Path one can have lokuttara cittas (cittas which directly experience nibbana). 

When one attains jhana, the kusala kamma one performs at that moment is not
kamavacara kusala kamma; at the moment of jhana there are no
sense-impressions. The kusala kamma which is jhana does not produce result in
the same lifespan one attains it, but it can produce result in the form of the
patisandhi-citta of the next life. In that case there are jhanacittas arising shortly
before death and the patisandhi-citta of the next life experiences the same object
as those jhanacittas. 

The result of a rupavacara kusala citta (kusala citta which Is rupa-jhanacitta) is
birth in a heavenly plane which is not kamabhumi but a rupa-brahma-plane
(fine-material world). The result of an arupavacara kusala citta (kusala citta which is arupa-jhanacitta) is birth in a heavenly plane which is an arupa-brahma plane (immaterial world). There are different rupa-brahma planes and arupa-brahma planes. 

There are five stages of rupa-jhana and thus there are five types of rupavacara
kusala citta which can produce five types of rupavacara  vipakacitta. There are four stages of arupa-jhana and thus there are four types of arupavacara kusala citta which can produce four types cf arupavacara vipakacitta. Altogether there are nine types of patisandhi-citta which are the results of the different types of jhanacittas. They are sahetuka vipakacittas (accompanied  by  beautiful  roots) and they are always accompanied by panna.

Summarizing the nineteen types of patisandhi-citta, they are : 
                      1  akusala vipaka santirana-citta (ahetuka,  result of 
                          akusala kamma) 
                      1  kusala vipaka santirana-citta (ahetuka,  result of 
                          kamavacara kusala kamma) 
                      8  maha-vipakacittas (sahetuka, results of kamavacara 
                          kusala kamma) 
                      5  rupavacara vipakacittas (sahetuka, results of 
                          rupa-jhanacittas) 
                      4  arupavacara vipakacittas (sahetuka, results of 
                          arupa-jhanacittas) 

We do not know which of our deeds will produce the patisandhi-citta of our next
life. We do both good deeds and bad deeds; any one of these deeds or even a deed performed in a former life can produce the patisandhi-citta of the next life. The Buddha encouraged people to perform many kinds of kusala kamma. Each good deed is very valuable; it is certain to bear its fruit sooner or later. 

We read in the 'Itivuttaka' ('As it was said', the Ones, Ch. III, par. 6, 'Khuddaka
Nikaya') that the Buddha said to the monks: 

                 'Monks, if beings knew, as I know, the ripening of 
                 sharing gifts they would not enjoy their use without 
                 sharing them, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the 
                 heart and stay there. Even if it were their last bit, their 
                 last morsel of food, they would not enjoy its use without 
                 sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it....' 

Kusala kamma can cause a happy rebirth, but the end of birth is to be preferred to any kind of rebirth. If one cultivates the Eightfold Path and attains arahatship
there will be no more rebirth. The dying-consciousness (cuti-citta) of the arahat is not succeeded by a patisandhi-citta. The Buddha often reminded people of the
dangers of birth and encouraged them to be mindful, in order to attain the
'deathless' which is nibbana. We read in the 'Gradual Savings' (Book of the Eights, Ch -VIII, par. 4) that the Buddha, when he was staying at Nadika, in the Brick Hall, said to the monks: 

                 'Mindfulness of death, monks, when made become, 
                 when developed is very fruitful, of great advantage, 
                 merging and ending in the deathless. 

                 And how, monks, is it so.... 
                 Take the case of a monk who, when the day declines 
                 and night sets in, reflects thus: 'Many indeed are the 
                 chances of death for me. A snake or scorpion or a 
                 centipede might bite me and might cause my death; that 
                 would be a hindrance to me. I might stumble and fall; 
                 the food I have eaten might make me ill; bile might 
                 convulse me; phlegm choke me; winds (within me) with 
                 their scissorlike cuts give me ache; or men or non-humans 
                 might attack me and might cause my death. That would 
                 be a hindrance to me.’ 

                 Monks, that monk must reflect thus: 'Are there any evil 
                 and wrong states within me that have not been put away 
                 and that would be a hindrance to me were I to die 
                 tonight? If, monks, on consideration he realize that there 
                 are such states... then to put away just those evil and 
                 wrong states, an intense resolution, effort, endeavour, 
                 exertion, struggle, mindfulness and self-possession must 
                 be made by that monk. Monks, just as a man whose 
                 turban is on fire, or whose hair is burning would make 
                 an intense resolution, effort, endeavour, exertion, 
                 struggle, mindfulness and self-possession to put out his 
                 (burning) turban or hair; even so, monks, an intense 
                 resolution, effort, endeavour, exertion, struggle, 
                 mindfulness and self-possession must be made by that 
                 monk to put away just those evil and wrong states. 

                 But if that monk, on review, realize that there are no 
                 such states within him that have not been put away 
                 which would be a hindrance to him, were he to die that 
                 night--then let that monk live verily in joy and gladness, 
                 training himself day and night in the ways of 
                 righteousness. 

                 Take the case, monks, of a monk who reflects 
                 likewise…  when the night is spent and day breaks. He 
                 must reflect in the same way... 

                 Monks, mindfulness of death when so made become 
                 so developed is very fruitful, of great advantage, merging 
                 and ending in the deathless.' 

 

  Questions

1.  Can the patisandhi-citta be ahetuka? 
2.  How many types of patisandhi-citta are there? 
3.  How many types of patisandhi-citta are akusala vipaka? 
4.  When the patisandhi-citta is accompanied by wisdom by which factor is this
conditioned? 
 

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