Speed of processes


As Khun Shin has mentioned, studying this process most likely will remain an intellectual understanding at best, as the citta and cetasikas arise and fall so incredibly fast that only few can experience it as taught by the Buddha, but it enhances our understandings of how things work, and hopefully, can improve our faith in anatta.

As taught by Tan A. Sujin (http://www.dhammastu…om/paramat2ch1- 8.html, Chapter 4), the namas can experience objects through the six dvaras, via the process of panja-dvara-javana-vithi (1), and mano- dvara-javana-vithi (2). When an object is experienced as poramatha aramana by the cittas in the panja-dvara-javana-vithi process, it is also experienced, also as poramatha aramana, in the mano-dvara-javana- vithi process.

It is only some vithis later that the mano-dvara-javana-vithi (3) cittas start experiencing pannati (concepts) as conditioned by the earlier cittas experiencing the poratha aramana. The aramana for the cittas at this point is no longer poramatha: it is not real—-it does not rise, it does not fall, it does not exist, has not existed, and will never exist.

According to Porichet VI, which discusses the citta vithi processes, before a process (3) can arise, there must be “thousands” of (1), and (2) processes already taken place repeatedly. By this description, we can deduce that, it is not enough for a single rupa (17 moments of cittas) to condition the cittas to start experiencing pannati. It must take “thousands” of panja-dvara-javana-vithi and mano-dvara-javana vithi, which actually experience poramatha aramana, for the citta to start “organizing” and “arranging” the sense objects into a concept.

The concepts also change as the mano-dvara-javana vithi (3), experiencing the concept, repeats. For seeing, in the beginning we may just see an unidentified shape, and then it becomes a familiar shape, and then we may attach a name to the shape. At this point, the process of taking poramatha object all the way to a memorable, identifiable, namable concept is complete: a perfect aramana for upadana to hold on to.

Hence, to add to my original comments, the poramatha aramana doesn’t become sharper. How can it becomes sharper when it rises and falls away virtually immediately? Only pannati becomes “sharper”: the cittas process the aramana object so it become identifiable and namable, and hence, the pannati aramana becomes successively “clearer” in “our” mind.

The other points that I was attempting to add before is that, seeing without satipathana glues us very steadfastly to the concepts of people, animal, and self. If our eyes are open, it appears that an object that we see doesn’t rise or fall away. It is there: constant and unchanging. It is so hard to understand that what we are seeing is no longer there. By the time we see a shape, the object that we actually saw is no longer there. By the time we remember the name, the object is no longer there.

The other senses are not so indiscriminate. If we can’t see, we need to do more work to conceptualize “things”. If we just feel something hard, we need to feel all over to make a thing out of the rupa aggregate (shape, name, etc) whereas if we see, this conceptualization is instantaneous. This is true with what I observe about myself anyway.

The concepts are what we take as people, animal, and self. Seeing makes it very easy to conceptualize about things. I hope this adds some value to the discussion.


Dear Alex and others,

“The life-span of a citta is termed, in the
Abhidhamma, a mind-moment (cittakkhana). This is a
temporal unit of such brief duration that, according
to the commentators, in the time that it takes for
lightning to flash or the eyes to blink, billions of
mind-moments can elapse. Nevertheless, though
seemingly infinitesimal, each mind-moment in turn
consists of three sub-moments – arising (uppaada),
presence (thiti), and dissolution (bhanga). Within the
breadth of a mind-moment, a citta arises, performs its
momentary function, and then dissolves, conditioning
the next citta in immediate succession. Thus, through
the sequence of mind-moments, the flow of
consciousness continues uninterrupted like the waters
in a stream.” [page 156 of CMA]

“Material phenomena as well pass through the same
three stages of arising, presence, and dissolution,
but for them the time required for these three stages
to elapse is equal to the time it takes for seventeen
cittas to arise and perish. The stages of arising and
dissolution are equal in duration for both material
and mental phenomena, but in the case of material
phenomena the stage of presence is equal to forty-nine
sub-moments of mental phenomena,” [pp. 156-157 0f CMA]

“The cetasikas are mental phenomena that occur in
immediate conjunction with citta or consciousness, and
assist citta by performing more specific tasks in the
total act of cognition. The mental factors cannot
arise without citta, nor can citta arise completely
segregated from the mental factors. But though the two
are functionally interdependent, citta is regarded as
primary because the mental factors assist in the
cognition of the object depending upon citta., which
is the principal cognitive element. The relationship
between citta and the cetasikas is compared to that
between a king and his retinue. Although one says “the
king is coming”, the king does not come alone, but he
always comes accompanied by his attendants. Similarly,
whenever a citta arises, it never arises alone but
always accompanied by its retinue of cetatsikas.”
[page 76 of CMA]

The four characteristics that delineate the
relationship between the citta and its concomitant
cetasikas are as follows:
(1) arising together with consciousness (ekuppaada),
(2) ceasing together with consciousness (ekanirodha),
(3) having the same object as consciousness
(4) having the same base as consciousness
[page 77 of CMA]


In the Book of Causation (Nidaanavagga) VII The Great Subchapter 61
(1) Uninstructed (1) p. 595 Samyutta Nikaya Vol 1 (translated by Bodhi)

But that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘mentality’ and consciousness’
arises as one thing and ceases as another by day and by night. Just
as a monkey roaming through a forest grabs hold of one branch, lets
that go and grabs another, then lets that go and grabs still
another, so too that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘mentality’
and ‘consciousness’ arises as one thing and ceases as another by day
and by night. [note 157]

[note 157: Spk: ‘By day and by night (rattiyaa ca divasassa ca):
This is a genitive in the locative sense, i.e., during the night and
during the day. Arises as one thing and ceases as another (annadeva
uppajjati, anna.m nirujjhati): The meaning is that (the mind) that
arises and ceases during the day is other than (the mind) that
arises and ceases during the night. The statement should not be
taken to mean that one thing arises and some thing altogether
different, which had not arisen, ceases. “Day and night” is said by
way of continuity, taking a continuity of lesser duration than the
previous one (i.e. the one stated for the body). But one citta is
not able to endure for a whole day or a whole night. Even in the
time of a fingersnap many hundred thousand kotis of cittas arise and
cease (1 koti=10 million).

“Faster than the speed of that man, monks, is the speed of the sun & moon. Faster than the speed of that man, faster than the speed of the sun & moon, is the speed of the devas who rush ahead of the sun & moon. Faster than the speed of that man, faster than the speed of the sun & moon, faster than the speed of the devas who rush ahead of the sun & moon, the force of one’s life span comes to an end. Thus you should train yourselves: ‘We will live heedfully.’ That’s how you should train yourselves

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