Abhidhamma in Daily life
THE FUNCTION OF JAVANA
we see, hear, smell, taste, experience an object through the body-sense
or through the mind-door, there is not only one citta experiencing the
object through the appropriate doorway, but a series or process of cittas.
A rupa which impinges on one of the senses is experienced by a series of
cittas. When that sense-door process is over, the object is experienced
by cittas through the mind-door. Sense-door processes and mind-door processes
arise and fall away continuously.
We may not know that both in a sense-door
process and in a mind-door process there are akusala cittas or kusala cittas
arising. Because of our accumulated ignorance we do not clearly know our
akusala cittas and kusala cittas and we do not recognize our more subtle
In a sense-door process the object
is experienced first by cittas which are not kusala cittas or akusala cittas
; it is experienced by kiriyacittas and by vipakacittas. The sense-door-adverting-consciousness
(panca-dvaravajjana-citta) is an ahetuka kiriyacitta (a kiriya-citta without
beautiful roots or unwholesome roots). It is succeeded by one of the dvi-panca-vinnanas
(the five pairs, which are : seeing-consciousness, hearing-consciousness
etc.) and this citta is ahetuka vipaka. Then there are two more ahetuka
vipakacittas : the sampatic-chana-citta which receives the object and the
santirana-citta which investigates the object. The santirana-citta is succeeded
by the votthapana-citta (determining-consciousness) which is an ahetuka
kiriyacitta. The votthapana-citta determines the object and is then succeeded
by kusala cittas or by akusala cittas. In the case of those who are arahats
there are no kusala cittas or akusala cittas succeeding the votthapana-citta
but kiriyacittas. When the cittas of the sense-door process have fallen
away, cittas of the mind-door process experience the object. First there
are bhavanga-cittas and then the mano-dvaravajjana-citta arises which has
the function of adverting to the object through the mind-door. The mano-dvaravajjana-citta
is succeeded by kusala cittas or by akusala cittas in the case of those
who are not arahats. The mano-dvaravajjana-citta is not kusala or akusala,
it is an ahetuka kiriyacitta.
Since cittas arise and fall away
very rapidly it is hard to know the different cittas which arise. Often
we might not even know when we have kusala cittas or akusala cittas. For
example, after there has been seeing we may not realize when there is attachment
to the object, when there is aversion towards it, or when there is ignorance
of realities. If we study the Dhamma we will learn about our more subtle
defilements. Ignorance of our akusala cittas is dangerous. If we do not
realize when we have akusala cittas we will continue accumulating akusala.
The kusala cittas or akusala cittas
which arise perform a function ; they perform the function of javana or
'running through the object'. In the sense-door process the votthapana-citta
has determined the object already when the javana-cittas arise and in the
mind-door process the mano-dvaravajjana-citta has adverted to the object
already when the javana-cittas arise. Thus, the kusala cittas or akusala
cittas which follow have as their only function to 'run through' the object.
Usually there are seven cittas in succession which perform the function
of javana. If the first javana-citta is kusala, the succeeding six cittas
are also kusala cittas ; if the first javana-citta is akusala, the succeeding
six cittas are also akusala cittas. Do we realize it when javana-cittas
are cittas rooted in lobha, dosa or moha, or when they are kusala cittas?
We are ignorant most of the time, even of javana-cittas.
There are fifty-five kinds of citta
which can perform the function of javana. Twelve akusala cittas (eight
lobha-mula-cittas, two dosa-mula-cittas and two moha-mula-cittas), eight
kamavacara kusala cittas, which are called maha-kusala cittas (Kamavacara
cittas are cittas which are of the sensuous plane of consciousness, not
jhanacittas or lokuttara cittas.), eight maha-kiriyacittas of the arahat
(kiriyacittas which are not ahetuka, but accompanied by sobhana hetus).
The arahat has maha-kiriyacittas instead of maha-kusala cittas since he
does not accumulate any more kamma. Maha-kiriyacittas are of the sensuous
plane of consciousness; they are not jhanacittas or lokuttara cittas.
Arahats also have kamavacara citta ; they see, hear or think
of objects experienced through the senses. However, on account of what
is experienced no kusala cittas or akusala cittas arise.
For the arahat there is also an ahetuka
kiriyacitta performing the function of javana, which may arise when he
smiles : the hasituppada-citta
Those who attain rupa-jhana (fine
material jhana) can have five types of rupavacara kusala cittas performing
the function of javana, since there are five stages of rupa-jhana. Arahats
who attain rupa-jhana can have five types of rupavacara kiriyacittas which
perform the function of javana.
For those who attain arupa-jhana
(immaterial jhana) there can be four types of arupavacara kusala cittas
performing the function of javana, since there are four stages of arupa-jhana
Arahats who attain arupa-jhana can have four types of Arupavacara
kiriyacittas performing the function of javana.
Those who directly experience nibbana
have lokuttara cittas. There are eight lokuttara cittas, four of
which are magga-cittas ('path-consciousness', 'magga' means path) and four
of which are lokuttara vipakacittas, called phala-cittas (‘fruit-consciousness',
'phala' means fruit. There are four pairs of lokuttara cittas since there
are four stages of enlightenment). Vipakacittas of other of consciousness
cannot perform the function of javana, the function of javana. Thus, all
eight lokuttara cittas perform the function of javana. Summarising the
fifty-five cittas which can perform the function of javana.
8 lobha-mula-cittas (cittas
rooted in attachment)
2 dosa-mula-cittas (cittas
rooted in aversion)
}12 akusala cittas
2 moha-mula-citta (citta
rooted in ignorance)
8 maha-kusala cittas (kamavacara
1 hasituppada-citta (ahetuka
kiriyacitta which may arise
when the arahat
5 rupavacara kusala cittas
5 rupavacara kiriyacittas
(rupa-jhanacittas of the arahat)
4 arupavacara kusala cittas
4 arupavacara kiriyacittas (arupa-jhanacittas
of the arahat)
4 magga-cittas (lokuttara kusala
}8 lokuttara cittas
4 phala-cittas (lokuttara vipakacittas)
It is useful to know that when akusala
cittas arise on account of an object, there arise not just one, but seven
akusala cittas in one process and this process of cittas can be followed
by other processes with akusala javana-cittas. Each time we dislike something
there are processes of cittas which experience the object, and in each
of these processes there are seven akusala javana-cittas. Many akusala
cittas may arise on account of something we dislike or are attached to.
There is no self who can prevent
akusala cittas from arising ; when they arise in the sense-door process
the votthapana-citta has determined the object already, and when they arise
in the mind-door process the mano-dvaravajjana-citta has adverted to the
object already. When the first javana-citta has arisen it has to be succeeded
by the following javana-cittas. The first javana-citta conditions the second
one and this again the following one ; the third, the fourth, the fifth,
the sixth javana-cittas are the same.
Processes with kusala javana-cittas
and processes with akusala javana-cittas can arise shortly one after the
other. For instance, people have the intention to offer food to the monks.
However, when one has bought the ingredients for the food one is
going to offer, one may find the cost rather high. At that moment there
may be cittas with stinginess and then the javana-cittas are akusala cittas.
Thus we see that accumulated defilement can appear at any time when there
are conditions, even if one has the intention to do a good deed.
It is during the time of the javana-cittas
that we accumulate wholesomeness or unwholesomeness. It is not possible
to control javana-cittas, but knowing the conditions for wholesomeness
will help us to have fewer akusala cittas.
The Buddha, out of compassion, taught
people the way to have less akusala. He encouraged them to perform all
kinds of kusala, no matter whether it is dana (generosity) sila (morality)
or bhavana (mental development). He taught the development of the wisdom
which can eradicate all kinds of akusala. There are different degrees of
panna. If panna merely knows what is kusala and what is akusala, it is
not of the degree that it can eradicate akusala. When panna has not been
developed to the degree of 'insight-wisdom', there is still a concept of
self who cultivates wholesomeness and abstains from ill deeds. When there
is the concept of self, defilements cannot be eradicated.
The person who is not an ariyan may
be able to observe the five precepts, but there is a difference between
him and the ariyan who observes them. The non-ariyan may transgress them
when there are conditions for it while for the ariyan there aren't any
more conditions for transgressing them. Moreover, the ariyan who observes
sila does not take the observing of sila for self any more, since he has
eradicated the latent tendency towards wrong view. Thus his sila is purer.
He is on the way leading to the eradication of all defilements.
When we are not mindful of realities,
we take the objects we experience for self. When panna realizes the objects
which are experienced as nama and rupa, elements which do not last, there
is less opportunity for akusala javana-cittas.
In the 'Visuddhimagga' (I, 55) we
read about the 'Elder'
...It seems that as the
Elder was on his way
Cetiya-pabbata to Anuradhapura for
alms, a certain
daughter-in-law of a clan, who had
quarrelled with her
husband and had set out early from
dressed up and tricked out like
a celestial nymph to go
to her relatives' home, saw him
on the road, and being
low-minded, she laughed a loud laugh.
'What is that?", the Elder looked
up, and finding in the
bones of her teeth the perception
of foulness, he reached
Arahantship. Hence it was said :
'He saw the bones that were her teeth,
And kept in mind his first perception
And standing on that very spot,
The Elder became an Arahant.'
But her husband who was going after
her saw the Elder
and asked 'Venerable sir, did you
by any chance see
a woman?' The Elder told him :
'Whether it was a man or woman
That went by I noticed not ;
But only that on this high road
There goes a group of bones.'
Maha-Tissa was not absorbed in
the object he experience, nor entranced by the details. He realized when
he perceived the woman's teeth the 'foulness of the body' and he did not
take what he perceived for 'self'. The perception of the 'foulness of the
body' reminds us not to see the self in the body, but to realize bodily
phenomena as rupas which do not stay. Maha-Tissa saw things as they are
; the panna arising at that moment was to the degree that it could eradicate
There are countless javana-cittas
in a day with lobha, dosa and moha, and therefore we should not be heedless,
but we should be as mindful as we are able to. We read in the 'Kindred
Sayings' (IV, Salayatana-vagga, Kindred Sayings on Sense, Second Fifty,
par. 97, Dwelling heedless) :
At Savatthi was the occasion
(of this discourse)...
'I will teach you, monks, of the
one who dwells heedless,
and of the one who dwells earnest.
Do you listen to it.
And how, monks, does one dwell
In him, monks, who dwells with the
sight uncontrolled, the heart is
corrupted by objects
cognizable by the eye. In him whose
heart is corrupted
there is no delight. Without delight
there is no joy.
Where joy is not, there is no calm.
one dwells in sorrow. The sorrowful
man's heart is
not composed. When the heart is
one has not clear ideas. Through
not having clear ideas
he is reckoned as one who dwells
(And it is the same with regard
to the faculties of taste,
touch and mind).
And how, monks, does one dwell in
In him, monks, who dwells with the
faculty of sight
controlled the heart is not corrupted
by objects cognizable
by the eye. In him whose heart is
not corrupted delight
is born. In one delighted joy is
born. When one is joyful
the body is calmed. He whose body
is calmed feels
at ease. Composed is the heart of
him who is at ease.
When the heart is composed one's
ideas are clear.
Through having clear ideas one is
reckoned as one
who dwells earnest. (And it is the
same with regard
to the faculty of taste, touch and
Thus, monks, is one a dweller in
1. Are there for the arahat
only lokuttara cittas performing the
function of javana, or can he also
have kamavacara cittas (cittas of the sensuous plane) performing the function
2. Are there vipakacittas
which can perform the function of javana?