BuddhaSasana Home Page
Abhidhamma in daily life
Nina Van Gorkom
THE AHETUKA CITTAS WHICH ARE UNKNOWN IN DAILY LIFE
There are eighteen types of ahetuka citta, or cittas arising without hetu (root). Fifteen types of ahetuka citta are vipaka. As we have seen, ten of these fifteen cittas are dvi-panca vinnanas. They are:
Seeing-consciousness is the result of kamma. When it is the result of an ill deed, seeing-consciousness is akusala vipakacitta which experiences an unpleasant object; when it is the result of a good deed, it is kusala vipakacitta which experiences a pleasant object. The function of seeing consciousness is to experience visible object.
Kamma which produces seeing-consciousness does not only produce the vipakacitta which is seeing-consciousness, it also produces two other kinds of vipakacitta, which succeed seeing-consciousness. Seeing-consciousness is succeeded by vipakacitta which receives the object. This citta, which is called sampaticchana-citta (receiving-consciousness). Visible object which is experienced by seeing-consciousness does not fall away when seeing-consciousness falls away, because it is rupa; rupa does not fall away as rapidly as nama. When an object is experienced through one of the six doors, there is not merely one citta experiencing that object, but there is a series of cittas succeeding one another, which share the same object.
If the seeing-consciousness is akusala vipaka, the sampaticchana-citta (receiving-consciousness) is also akusala vipaka; if the seeing-consciousness is kusala vipaka, the sampaticchana-citta is also kusala vipaka. Thus there are two types of sampaticchana-citta: one is akusala vipaka and one is kusala vipaka. Sampaticchana-citta: is ahetuka vipaka; there are no akusala hetus (unwholesome roots) or sobhana hetus (beautiful roots) arising with this type of citta. Sampaticchana-citta succeeds seeing-consciousness; seeing- consciousness is a condition for the arising of sampaticchana-citta. Likewise, when there is a process of cittas experiencing sound, sampaticchana-citta succeeds hearing-consciousness. It is the same with regard to nose, tongue, and body.
Sampaticchana-citta always arises with upekkha (indifferent feeling), no matter whether the sampaticchana- citta is akusala vipaka or kusala vipaka.
After the sampaticchana-citta has arisen and fallen away, the process of cittas is not yet over. The sampaticchana-citta is succeeded by another ahetuka vipakacitta which is still the result of kamma. This type of citta is called santirana-citta (investigating-consciousness). Santirana-citta investigates or considers the object which was 'received' by the sampaticchana-citta. Santirana-citta succeeds sampaticchana-citta through five sense-doors; sampaticchana-citta is a condition for the arising of santirana-citta. When seeing has arisen, sampaticchana-citta succeeds the seeing-consciousness, and santirana-citta succeeds the sampaticchana-citta in the process of cittas which experience visible object through eye-door. It is the same with the santirana- citta which arises in the process of cittas experiencing an object through ear-door, nose-door, tongue-door, body-door. It succeeds the sampaticchana-citta. We cannot choose whether santirana-citta should arise or not; cittas arise because of conditions, they are beyond control.
Santirana-citta is also an ahetuka vipakacitta. When the object is unpleasant (anittharammana), the santirana- citta is akusala vipaka and it is accompanied by upekkha (indifferent feeling). As regards santirana-citta which is kusala vipaka, there are two kinds. When the object is pleasant (ittharammana), but not extraordinarily pleasant, santirana-citta is accompanied by upekkha. When the object is extraordinarily pleasant (atittharammana), the santirana-citta is accompanied by somanassa. Thus, there are three kinds of santirana- citta in all. It depends on conditions which kind of santirana-citta arises.
Thus, there are fifteen (15) types of ahetuka citta which are vipaka. Summarizing them, they are:
Seven types of the ahetuka vipakacittas are akusala vipaka and eight types are kusala vipaka, since there are two types of santirana-citta which are kusala vipaka.
As we have seen, there are altogether eighteen ahetuka
cittas. Of these eighteen ahetuka cittas fifteen are vipakacittas and three are
kiriyacittas. Kiriyacittas are different from akusala cittas and kusala cittas and from
vipakacittas. Akusala cittas and kusala cittas are cittas which are cause; they can
motivate ill deeds and
One type of ahetuka kiriyacitta is the 'five-door-adverting-consciousness', in Pali: panca-dvaravajjana-citta. ('Panca' is five, 'dvara' is door, 'avajjana' is adverting or turning towards.';) When an object impinges on one of the five senses, there has to be a citta which adverts or turns towards the object through that sense-door. When visible object impinges on the eye-sense, there has to be the adverting-consciousness which adverts towards visible object through the eye-door, or cakkhu-dvaravajjana-citta (eye-door-adverting- consciousness), before there can be seeing-consciousness (cakkhu-vinnana). When sound impinges on the ear-sense, the ear-door-adverting-consciousness (sota-dvaravajjana-citta) has to advert to the sound through the ear-door before there can be hearing-consciousness (sota-vinnana). The panca-dvaravajjana-citta merely turns towards the object which impinges on one of the five sense-doors. But it does not see or hear. The panca-dvaravajjana-citta is an ahetuka kiriyacitta, it arises without hetu (root); there is not yet like or dislike. The panca-dvaravajjana-citta is succeeded by one of the dvi-panca-vinnanas (five pairs), which is vipakacitta.
Each citta which arises in the process of cittas experiencing an object has its own function.
The cittas which experience an object through one of the senses do not know anything else but that object. When one, for example, is reading, the citta which sees experience only visible object and it does not know the meaning of the letters. After the eye-door process has been completed visible object is experienced through the mind-door and then there can be other mind-door processes of cittas which know the meaning of what has been written and which think about it. Thus, there are processes of cittas which experience an object through one of the senses and processes of cittas which experience an object through the mind-door.
Another type of ahetuka kiriyacitta is the mano-dvaravajjana-citta (mind-door-adverting-consciousness), which arises both in the sense-door process and in the mind-door process but performs two different functions according as it arises in each of those two kinds of processes. When an object contacts one of the sense-doors, the panca-dvaravajjana-citta (five-door-adverting-consciousness) turns towards the object, one of the dvi-panca-vinananas experiences it, sampaticchana-citta receives the object and santirana-citta investigates it. The santirana-citta is succeeded by an ahetuka kiriyacitta which experiences the object through that sense-door and 'determines' (votthapana) the object. It is actually the same type of citta as the mano- dvara vajjana-citta, (mind-door-adverting-consciousness, the first citta of the mind-door process), but when it arises in the sense-door process it can be called votthapana-citta, since it performs the function of determining the object in the sense-door process. The votthapana-citta, after it has determined the object, is, on the case of non-arahats, followed by akusala cittas or by kusala cittas. It depends on one's accumulations of akusala and kusala whether the votthapana citta will be succeeded by akusala cittas or by kusala cittas.
After the cittas of the sense-door process have fallen away the object can be experienced through the mind-door. The mano-dvaravajjana-citta is the first citta of the mind-door process which experiences that object which has fallen away already. In the sense-door process the panca-dvara vajjana-citta adverts to the object which has not fallen away yet. For example, it adverts to visible object or sound which is still impinging on the appropriate sense-door. The mano-dvaravajjana-citta which arises in the mind-door process however, can experience an object which has fallen away already. After the mano-dvaravajjana-citta has adverted to the object it is succeeded by either kusala cittas or akusala cittas (in the case of non-arahats), which experience that same object. The mano-dvaravajjana-citta itself is neither akusala citta nor kusala citta; it is kiriyacitta.
Although the votthapana-citta in the sense-door process and the mano-dvaravajjana-citta in the mind-door process are the same type of citta, an ahetuka kiriyacitta, their functions are different. In the sense-door process this citta performs the function of votthapana (determining the object) and in the mind-door process it performs the function of avajjana (adverting). Thus, whenever we deal with the mano-dvaravajjana-citta we have to know what function it is performing.
When sound impinges on the earsense it can be experienced by cittas arising in the ear-door process and after that it is experienced by cittas arising in a mind-door process. Processes of cittas which experience in object through one of the five senses and through the mind-door succeed one another time and again.
How can there be akusala cittas or kusala cittas in the process of cittas which experience an object through one of the sense-doors, when one does not even know yet what it is that is experienced? There can be akusala cittas or kusala cittas before one knows what it is. One can compare this situation with the case of a child who likes a brightly coloured object such as a balloon before it knows that the object is a balloon. We can have like or dislike of an object before we know what it is.
Another ahetuka kiriyacitta is the hasituppada-citta
(smile-producing-consciousness). Only arahats have this kind of citta. Laughing and
smiling can be motivated by different kinds of cittas. When people who are
Thus, of the eighteen ahetuka cittas, fifteen are vipakacittas and three are kiriyacittas. The ahetuka kiriyacittas are:
Those who are not arahats can have only seventeen of the eighteen ahetuka cittas. These seventeen types of ahetuka citta arise in our daily life. When an object impinges on one of the five senses, panca-dvaravajjana- citta (five-door-adverting consciousness) turns towards the object through that sense-door. This citta is followed by panca-vinnana which experiences the object, by sampaticchana-citta which receives it, by santirana-citta which investigates it and by votthapana-citta which determines the object and then by akusala cittas or kusala cittas. When the cittas of the sense-door process have fallen away the object is experienced through the mind-door. The mano-dvaravajjana-citta adverts to the object through the mind-door and is then followed by akusala cittas or kusala cittas. There is 'unwise attention' (ayoniso manasikara) to the object which is experienced if akusala cittas arise, and there is 'wise attention' (yoniso manasikara) to the object if kusala cittas arise. For example, when we see insects there may be dosa-mula-cittas (cittas rooted in aversion). Thus, there is ayoniso manasikara (unwise attention). The dosa may be so strong that one wants to kill the insects; then there is akusala kamma. If one realizes that killing is akusala and one abstains from killing, there are kusala cittas and thus there is yoniso manasikara (wise attention). If one studies Dhamma and develops vipassana (insight) it is a condition for yoniso manasikara. When we are mindful of the nama or rupa which appears through one of the six doors, there is yoniso manasikara at that moment.
When there are two people in the same situation, one
person may have ayoniso manasikara and the other may have yoniso manasikara. This depends
on their accumulations. We read in the 'Kindred Sayings' (lV, Salayatanavagga, Kindred
Sayings on Sense, Fourth Fifty, Ch.V, par. 202, Lustful) about the monk who,
Source: Dhamma Study Group, http://www.dhammastudy.com
[Back to English Index]