Last week we studied one part of the thought processes, the thought processes belonging to the five-sense-doors or that arise through five-sense-doors. Today we will study the second part of the thought processes; that is the thought processes arising through mind-door.
You already know that there are six sense-doors in Abhidhamma, the five ordinary senses and the mind. Mind is called the sixth sense-door in Abhidhamma. When we see something, there is seeing consciousness arising in our minds. That seeing consciousness or that seeing consciousness thought process arises in our minds through eye-door. When we think of something, or when we think of something in the past or in the future, or when we concentrate on our thoughts or emotions, then the thought processes that arise in our minds are through the mind-door, not through seeing or hearing but through our mind. As I said the week before last, 'mind-door' mens the Bhavanga, the inactive thought moments.
The five-sense-door thought processes and mind-door thought processes arise one after the other, one following the other. Last week we studied what it is to see. First we see with the eye-door thought process. Then we need four more thought processes which arise through mind-door to be able to say, 'I see a man. I see a woman.' and so on.
There are many kinds of mind-door thought processes. Today we are going to study not all of them but most of them. I left out some kinds of thought processes because they need more familiarity with the details of Abhidhamma.
The first one is mind-door thought process belonging to sense-sphere. You know that sense-sphere is Kàmavacara. There are 54 Cittas that belong to sense-sphere. In this type of thought process the Cittas that arise all are one or more of the Cittas that belong to sense-sphere. This type of thought process arises when the object is experienced through mind-door and not through the five senses. It is said in our books that when a visible object strikes at your eye, it also strikes at your mind, both eye-door and mind-door. That is why there is the vibration of Bhavanga or life continuum. Here without striking at one of the five senses the object only strikes at the mind, at the Bhavanga consciousness.
Most thought processes during Vipassanà meditation are of this kind. When you practice meditation whether you keep your mind on the breath, or on your thoughts, or your emotions, the thought processes are mostly mind-door thought process types. This is because when you concentrate on the breath, you do not look at the breath with your eyes, but you ty to see it with your mind's eye. So these thught processes always come through the mind-door. When you concentrate on thoughts, it is through mind-door. And when you concentrate on emotions like anger, attachment, they all arise through mind-door.
For our convenience we will study only two kinds of these mind-door thought processes belonging to sense-sphere. Please look at the second page, the diagram of thought prcesses. The first one is found when we experience present material properties. We see with our mind present material properties. We experience with our mind present material properties. Like when we concentrate on the breath, we experience the breath through the mind-door.
Since the object here is present, we need one past Bhavanga. 'A' means Atita or past Bhavanga. Then there are two moments of vibrating. The one that is vibrating Bhavanga is called in Pàli Calana Bhavanga and the one that is the arrested Bhavanga or the end of Bhavanga is called in Pàli Upaccheda Bhavanga. After Upaccheda Bhavanga what do you see? Manodvàràvajjana. That is mind-door-adverting. Can you find mind-door-adverting on the chart? It is the Citta in the fourth column, the second dot. The fourth column has three dots. The first dot represents five-sense-door-adverting. The second dot is mind-door-adverting. In the thought process beginning with mind-door-adverting the inactive or passive mind will be turned into active mind or active thought moments. The Cittas turn toward the present object. Since the object is not seen, or heard or experienced through the five senses, you do not need receiving, investigating or determining Cittas. So they are not included here. Immediately after Manodvàràjjana there are seven moments of Javana. Then two moments of registering follow, two moments of Tadàrammana. After that the mind lapses into Bhavanga again.
Student: Why aren't there receiving and investigating consciousness?
Sayàdaw: Because this consciousness is not experienced through the five senses. The object is presented through or experienced through mind-door and not through the eye-door and so on. So they are not needed here. This first thought process is for material objects that are present.
The second one is for material objects that are past or future and also for the Cittas and Cetasikas whether they are past, present or future. Again the second type of thought process is for material properties belonging to past and future and for Cittas and Cetasikas belonging to past, present and future.
In this case we do not need a past Bhavanga because it is not a present object now or even if it is a present object, it is not a material property. It could be a present Citta or Cetasika, but we do not need a past Bhavanga for them. So we have one vibrating Bhavanga and one arrested Bhavanga. Then there is mind-door-adverting, seven Javanas and two registering moments. Then the mind lapses into Bhavanga again.
Mst of the time when we think of something, when we meditate, when we speculate about something, one of these two types of thought procsses are arising in our minds. These belong to the sense-sphere. On the chart 'M' represents manodvàràjjana and 'J' represents Javana. The Javanas may be Akusala (unwholesome), Kusala (wholesome) or Kiriya (functional). All the Cittas in these thought processes are among the 54 Kàmavacara (sense-sphere) types of consciousness.
The next kind of mind-door thought process is Jhàna thought process. All of you are familiar with Jhàna. In order to attain Jhàna you have to practice Samatha meditation. There are forty subjects of Samatha meditation mentioned in the ninth chapter of the manual and also they are mentioned in the Visuddhi Magga. You may go to any book you like. This book (the manual) is easier. Among the forty subjects of Samatha meditation thirty subjects lead to the attainment of Jhàna. Ten do not lead to attainment of Jhàna. Out of the forty subjects you can select from thirty and practice tranquility or Samatha meditation for Jhàna.
Let us say you practice earth Kasina meditation. You look at the earth disk and try to memorize it in your mind. You will reach a stage where you can conceptualize this image. the image becomes very fine, very pure, even devoid of blemishes that are on the real Kasina disk. Then a time will come when Jhàna is going to arise in your mind. When Jhàna is going to arise in your mind or when Jhàna arises in your mind, there is one thought process in your mind. That thought process is called Jhàna thought process. This thought process belongs to mind-door thought processes because the disk which is the object of the meditation or this Jhàna is not the physical disk but the image of the disk that you have grasped in your mind. It is concept (Paññatti). The meditation as well as the Jhàna take concept as object.
There are two kinds of Jhàna thought processes. One is at the first attainment of Jhàna. The other is later sustained attainment of Jhàna. On the second page there is a diagram of the first attainment of Jhàna. We have no past Bhavanga because it is through mind-door. When the objects are through miind-door and they are not present five-sense-door objects, we do not need past Bhavanga. So there is no past Bhavanga here. There is vibrating moment and arrested moment. Here also there is mind-door-adverting. After mind-door-adverting there come four moments of sense-sphere Kusala or Kiriya. The first of these moments is called preparation. The second is called approximation. The third is called adaptation. The fourth is called sublimation or change of lineage. The abbreviations are for Pàli. Each moment has a separate name. 'PR' is preparation or in Pàli Parikamma. 'UP' is approximation or in Pàli Upacàra. 'AN' is adaptation moment or Anuloma. 'G' is change of lineage moment or Gotrabhù. These four moments are represented by one of the eight sense-sphere Kusala or one of the eight sense-sphere Kiriya. After becoming an Arahant a person may want to attain Jhàna. That person will practice Samatha meditation. So these moments may be Kusala or Kiriya. After these four moments comes a Jhàna moment, only one Jhàna moment and then the mind lapses into Bhavanga again.
If it is the first Jhàna, then it may be the first Jhàna Kusala or first Jhàna Kiriya. If it is the second Jhàna, then it will be second Jhàna Kusala or second Jhàna Kiriya and so on. Jhàna moment only arises once at this time and then consciousness lapses into Bhavanga again. The object of this thought process in this particular case is the conceptualized sign or the mental image of the sign. It is not the disk itself but the mental image of the disk. That mental image in Pàli is called Paññatti (concept). The object of Manodvàràjjana, the Javanas and so on is the mental image of the disk.
Gotrabhù is change of lineage. 'Change of lineage' here means change of lineage from the sense-sphere to the lineage of form-sphere. Until Gotrabhù the lineage is Kàmavacara. It is Kàmavacara consciousness. The Cittas are one of the eight Kusala or eight Kiriya Cittas. Jhàna belongs to Rùpavacara (form-sphere) or Arùpavacara (formless-sphere). Change of lineage here begins after Gotrabhù. 'Gotra' means lineage and 'Bhu' means chaange or overpowering.
After getting the first attainment of Jhàna a person will want to get into it again. A person will want to have the Jhàna moments arise in him consecutively for one hour, two hours, or maybe one day or two days. In that case the person has to practice Samatha meditation again taking the conceptualized sign as the object . When Jhàna is about to arise again after mind-door-adverting no Kàmavacara moments will arise. The consciousness goes directly to the Jhàna moments. This is because that person has attained Jhàna before. Now these Kàmavacara moments are not needed. Immediately after Manodvàràjjana Jhàna moments arise. How many Jhàna moments arise we do not know. It may be only two moments, or three moments, or it may be millions of Jhàna moments.
Before entering into this attainment a person has to make a wish. It is something like 'May I be in this Jhàna for one hour. May I be in this Jhàna for two hours.' At the end of the intended time he will emerge from Jhàna. That means Bhavanga will arise then. The dots in the chart represent many moments of Jhàna, maybe millions.
With regard to Jhàna there are two varieties. One is first attainment of Jhàna and the other is later sustained attainment. If you get first Jhàna, then you cn get into first Jhàna again and have sustained attainment. If you get second Jhàna, you can enter into sustained attainment of second Jhàna and so on.
The next is what? Path. This Path thought process is the thought process at the moment of enlightenment. In studying the Path thought process we will also study what enlightenment is. People talk about enlightenment. There was one person who even said, 'I am one of the eight enlightened persons in the world.' Somebody said that. I don't know what he meant by enlightenment. He was on television. The host did not know how to question him. At least according to the teachings of Theravàda we will understand later.
In order to reach Path one has to practice Vipassanà meditation. We cannot avoid the practice of Vipassanà meditation if we want to get enlightenment. Let us suppose a person practices Vipassanà meditation and he progresses from one stage of Vipassanà knowledge to another. When his concentration and wisdom mature and when he is about to get enlightenment, then a certain thought process arises in him. There are four stages of enlightenment - Stream-Entrant, Once Returner, Non-Returner and Arahant. Let us say this is at the first stage. When a person reaches the first stage of enlightenment, this thought process arises in him.
In this thought process there is no past Bhavanga. There are vibrating Bhavanga and arrested Bhavanga. Again there is mind-door-adverting. There must always be mind-door-adverting in mind-door thought processes. After that as in the Jhàna thought process, there are four moments of Kàmavacara (sense-sphere) Kusala, not Kiriya because he is a worldling (Puthujjana) not an Arahant. If he is an Arahant, he has already reached the first stage. So here only Kusala will do. The four moments are given the sme names as in the Jhàna thought process. But heere 'lineage' means the change from the worldly lineage to in Pàli the Ariya lineage or Noble lineage. After the moment of Gotrabhù he becomes a Noble Person, an Ariya Puggala. Change of lineage actually begins with Magga (Path Consciousness). Immediately after Magga two Phala moments (two Fruition moments) follow. Sometimes there are two Phala moments and sometimes there are three Phala moments. Let us say there are just two for our convenience. This is the Path thought process.
Please look at the other charts, the third page. There is more detail. We need to understand this thought process in more detail than the other thought processes. A Path thought process contains Fruition also. The object of Bhavanga are always Kamma, or sign of Kamma or sign of destiny. The object of Manodvàràjjana (mind-door-adverting), Parikamma (preparation), Upacàra (approximation) and Anuloma (adaptation) is miscellaneous formations. It is a technical term. 'Miscellaneous formations' really means the objects of Vipassanà meditation. Vipassanà meditation must take the miscellaneous formations i.e. material properties and mundane Cittas and Cetasikas as objects. When you practice Vipassanà meditation, you cannot concentrate on Nibbàna. And you cannot concentrate on supramundane consciousness simply because you have not attained it yet. The objects of Vipassanà belong to mundane sphere, mundane world. So mundane Cittas, mundane Cetasikas and Rùpa are the objects of Vipassanà. Rùpa is always mundane. There is no supramundane Rùpa. These objects are called miscellaneous formations. What is the object of Gotrabhù? Nibbàna. It is strange. Gotrabhù takes Nibbàna as object. It is not like in the Jhàna thought process. In the Jhàna thought process Gotrabhù takes the same object as the preceding Javanas. Here since it is the last before enlightenment, something like in preparation, it takes Nibbàna as object. Then follows the Path moment (Magga). Then two Fruition moments (Phala) follow. These four Cittas take Nibbàna a object. After that there is Bhavanga again. So Kamma, sign of Kamma, or sign of destiny is the object once again.
When we look at this diagram, we see three moments preceding Gotrabhù belong to Vipassanà. -they are Vipassanà thought moments. That is why their object is miscellaneous formations. That is why I said that without Vipassanà there can be no enlightenment. You must practice Vipassanà before you become enlightened.
Now there is a question. What about some people meeting the Buddha for the first time. Buddha just preached to him or to her a short sermon and at the end of the sermon that person became enlightened, became a Sotàpanna or became an Arahant. So these people had something like instant realization. Although it seems instant, they must have this thought process. They may not be practicing as we do now, but they have these kind of thought moments preceding enlightenment.
They must see things as they are, as impermanent, as suffering and as soulless. Without seeing these common characteristics of things, there can be no enlightenment. Even though enlightenment seems to be instant for such peple, there is a kind of Vipassanà meditation preceding the moment of enlightenment. We may not call it meditation because they may not be meditating. Still these thought moments arise taking the miscellaneous formations as object and seeing them as impermanent, as suffering and as soulless.
Gotrabhù does not take miscellaneous formations.as object. It takes Nibbàna as object. From this moment on a person becomes an Ariya. 'Ariya' means Noble Person. Beginning with the Magga moment, beginning with the Path moment a person becomes an Ariya, a Noble Person.
Have you heard that there are eight Noble Persons, eight kinds of Noble Persons? It is said that there are eight kinds of Noble Persons. There is the person at the moment of first Magga and the person at the moment of first Phala. Later there is the person at the second stage at Magga moment and the person at the second stage at Phala moment. There is the person at the third stage Magga moment and the person at the third stage Phala moment. There is the person at the fourth stage Magga moment and the person at the fourth stage Phala moment. There are eight kinds of Noble Persons. In fact there are four kinds of Noble Persons because what we call a 'person' at Magga moment lasts for only one moment. Although we have to say strictly speaking there are eight persons, practically speaking there are only four persons.
It may not please some people because it is called a person for only that one moment. Then that person has another name or has changed into another person. At this moment he is called a Magga person and the next moment he is called a Phala person.
I think the analogy is that a person who breaks the record is one person. At the moment of breaking the record, he is breaking the record. So he is the breaker of the record. After that moment he has broken the record. It is something like that. There are eight types of Noble Persons and they are called four pairs.
What is the moment of enlightenment? Magga moment is the moment of enlightenment. What is enlightenment? What constitutes enlightenment? We have to see two things here. Magga takes Nibbàna as object. That is one thing. At the moment of Magga there is the destruction of defilements. These two things constitute enlightenment. At the moment of enlightenment a person must see Nibbàna. A person must realize Nibbàna. A person must see Nibbàna 'face to face'. And he must eradicate defilements at that moment. If a person says that he has gained enlightenment or that he is an enlightened person, he must have destroyed some of the defilements.
'Destruction of defilements' here means total destruction. 'Total destruction' means the defilements destroyed at that moment will not come to him again, will not arise in him again. So 'enlightenment' means seeing Nibbàna and the total destruction or eradication of defilements.
After the Path had destroyed the defilements, there are two moments of Fruition (Phala). The function of Phala is further tranquilization of defilements. The analogy given is that first you put the fire out and then you pour some pots of water on it so that it cannot burn again. Or perhaps somebody stops a person and you hold him down so that he cannot get up. The function of Fruition moment is called further tranquilization of the defilements. You may find this expression in the Suttas or in the Visuddhi Magga. Then Bhavanga follows.
We can learn many things from here. Buddha's teaching or Dhamma is said to be in Pàli 'Akàlika'. There are six attributes of the Dhamma. One of them is Akàlika. It is often translated as timeless. It is not timeless. It does not mean timeless although literally 'Akàlika' means no time. Here 'no time' means it does not need any intervening time to give results. It means it (Magga) gives immediate results. magga is the cause and Phala is the result. Here the result immediately follows the cause. Nothing intervenes between Magga and Phala. I want you to understand this because there are some people who say there may not be Phala after Magga. That is totally wrong. If we say that there may not be Phala after Magga, then we will have to go against many teachings in the Suttas. We will have to go against many teachers and against the tradition. We will have to go against the highest authority which is the seventh book of Abhidhamma.
Student: When you say further tranquilization, is that a sort of refinement?
Sayàdaw: It is something like that, yes. Actualy Magga is so powerful that it can kill or it can destroy the defilements altogether. They will never arise again. Phala - I don't know what to say. It is like a person doing something that has been done by some other person. Maybe refinement is OK. It is something like refinement. It keeps the defilements destroyed and doesn't let them arise again.
Oh, destruction of defilements, this is also importnt. You may read the details in the Visuddhi Magga. 'Destruction of defilements' or 'destroying defilements' really means destroying their potential to arise again. It is not the defilements themselves. If there are defilements, there can be no Magga, no Path Consciousness at all because Path Consciousness is Kusala and defilements are Akusala. Kusala and Akusala can never arise at the same moment. What the Path Consciousness eradicates or destroys is not the defilements but their potential to arise in the future.
It is like treating a tree with some chemicals so that it cannot bear fruit in the future. There may be fruit on the tree, so no one can do anything abut them. In order that this tree may not give any fruit in the future, one may treat it with some chemical. In that way it becomes barren.
In the same way 'eradication of defilements' means not letting them arise again, not letting them arise in the future. So their potential is what is destroyed by Path Consciousness. There is an interesting and also difficult to understand discussion of this in the Visuddhi Magga. There are questions: 'Is it the present defilements that are eradicated, or are the past defilements eradicated, or are the future defilements eradicated by Path Consciousness. If none of them, then what is the use of Path Consciousness?' The point to understand is that path Consciousness does not destroy the defilements themselves but it does destroy their potential to arise in the future.
After reaching first Path, you want to reach second path and so on. When you reach the second, third and fourth stages of Path, there will be the same thought process but with one small difference. do you see the difference in the diagram? Instead of gotrabhù there is Vodàna. The translation of this word is purification. After you reach the first stage your lineage has already changed. There can be no change of lineage again. You have become an Ariya. So the lineage has already changed. When you reach the second stage there is no change of lineage. Instead of change of lineage there is purification or further purification. After second stage you lessen some more defilements. Then when youreach the third stage, you eradicate some more defilements. When you reach the fourth stage, all the remaining defilements are destroyed or eradicated. For the second, third and fourth Path thought processes we have Vodàna (purification) instead of Gotrabhù. This is the first attainment of Path for first, second, third and fourth stages of enlightenment.
Later on after reaching let us say the stage of Sotàpanna (Stream-Entrant), you will want to have the Phala moments arise in you again and again because Phala takes Nibbàna as object and Nibbàna is the highest peace. When your mind takes Nibbàna as object, you are peaceful or you are happy. So you may want this consciousness to arise again and again. This is the attainment of Fruition. In order to have or get into that attainment, in order to have the Fruition moments arise in you again and again you practice Vipassanà again. You may not have to practice long but you must practice Vipassanà because the Vipassanà or Kàmavacara moments must precede Fruition moments.
In this case there is vibrating Bhavanga, arrested Bhavanga, mind-dor-adverting, and then four moments of adaptation. Here the four moments preceding Fruition are all collectivey called adaptation (Anuloma). They are represented by one of the eight Kàmavacara Kusala Cittas. They are Javanas so they repeat themselves. There are four moments of kàmavacara Cittas that are actually accompanied by knowledge or wisdom. Then there is no Magga, just Phala. Countless moments of Phala will follow. In this case too before entering into this attainment, a person has to make a wish. It is like an intention: 'May I be in this stae of Fruition for one hour, two hours, one day, two days' nd so on. Only Phala thought moments arise in such a person one after the other without interuption until the end of the intended time. This is the attainment of Fruition. Whe a person becomes enlightened, he must be able to enter into this attainment of Fruition.
In this thought process there is no Magga. There is no Path Consciousness, only the Fruition Consciousness arises. Path Consciousness can only arise once in erson. I mean the same Path Consciousness. So first Path Consciousness can only arise in a person once. It will not arise again in that person. So here only Phala thought moments arise. There may be millions of Phala thought moments.
The next thought process is the mind-door thought process of cessation. 'Cessation' means cessation of mental activity. It occurs when a Non-Returner or an Arahant (and of course that includes Buddhas and Pacceka Buddhas), enters into cesation or temporary suspension of mental activities to experience the bliss of peace. This cessation attainment is very refined, so it can be entered into only by the two highest Noble Persons, the Non-Returner and the Arahant. These Noble Ones must also have all the nine Jhànas in order to enter into this attainment. If they are dry Vipassanà Non-Returners and Arhants (That means they do not have Jhànas), then even these Noble Persons cannot go into the cessation attainment.
It is like the sustained attainment of Fruition. The difference is that in the sustained attainment of Fruition there is still mental actitivity going on. There is still the arising of Cittas. In this attainment no Cittas will arise. That is the difference.
In order to enter into this attainment the Non-Returner or the Arahant must have all nine Jhànas. This is so because before entering the cessation attainment, the person must enter into the first Jhàna and then emerge from first Jhàna and practice Vipassanà on that Jhàna. When we say Jhàna we mean the person practices Vipassanà on the Citta and the Cetasikas of that Jhàna. Then the person enters into the second Jhàna, emerges from it and practices Vipassanà on the second Jhàna. Then the yogi goes into the the third Jhàna, fourth Jhàna, fifth Jhàna. Then he goes into the first of the Arùpavacara Jhànas, the second Arùpavacara Jhàna. The person practices Vipassanà on each of these Jhànas. Then the yogi enters into the third Arùpavacara Jhàna. After the third formless Jhàna the yogi does not practice Vipassanà. He makes some preparation to enter this cessation attainment.Then he enters into the fourth Arùpavacara Jhàna (neither perception nor non-perception). After two moments of fourth Arùpavacara Jhàna the mental activity ceases altogether. So there is a blank space on the chart. At the end of the intended time if he is a Non-Returner the Fruition Consciousness of a Non-Returner will arise once. If he is an Arahant, thenFruition Consciousness of an Arahant will arise once. Then the mind lapses into Bhavanga again.
It is said in the books that a person can enter into cessation attainment, or Jhàna attainment, or Phala attainment for seven days at most. It was believed that food once eaten could only sustain the body for seven days. So if you don't eat for seven days you will die was the belief. Therefore the duration of these attainments for human beings is seven days.
A person must review his life before he enters this kind of cessation attainment. He must note whether he is going to live seven days or not. If he were only going to live two or three days and the attainment were to last seven days, there would be a clash,a clash of his intention to be in attainment for seven days and the time of death in two or three days. Actually if he knows he is not ging to live seven days, then he must not enter into it for seven days. A person cannot die during the attainment of Fruition or the attainment of cessation.
When beings are in their attainments, they cannot be killed. They cannot be wounded. Even their personal belongings cannot be damaged by fire or whatever. For this protection they make a determination or wish before they enter into cessation. 'May my personal belongings not be destroyed by fire, water, bitten by rats and so on.'
There is a story of a group of ladies going to a place in the forest. They were cold and so they made a fire. They did not know that there was an Arahant in the cessation attainment. They piled wood on that person and set fire to the wood to warm themselves. So they did not know. Later on they knew the monk was there. Since the monk was in the cessation attainment, no harm could be done to him. However they thought they had caused harm to him. In order to cover up their actions they put more wood and logs on the monk and set fire to them. Then they went away. So in the time of Gotama Buddha they all died by being burned as a result of that Akusala.
Student: Did the monk die?
Sayàdaw: No. He didn't die.
Student: did the people die of burning in that life?
Sayàdaw: No. The people in that life did not die of burning. They may have gone through many lives. During the life of Gotama Buddha they were born together as human beings. One of them became the queen of a king. As you know kings have many queens. One queen was jealous of another queen. So she set fire to the house wheere the one queen lived with her attendants and they all died.
Student: So this was the result of trying to cover up their actions?
Sayàdaw: That's right. If the women had gone away without knowing, there would have been no Akusala. The first action was innocent. The later action was Akusala, bad action.
Student: Why do they want to achieve cessation?
Sayàdaw: Buddhas and Arahants, even Ariyas, look at life as suffering. The aggregates are like burdens for them. There is a Sutta in the Samyutta Nikàya called 'burdens'. It is a great burden for them to carry this body of five aggregates. In order to get rid of as much of that burden as possible while they are living, they try to stop mental activities altogether.
Student: So it is like a vacation.
Sayàdaw: Yes, that's right. It is a vacation for Arahants, cessation from Dukkha. Maybe they feel better or more peaceful than in the ordinary Fruition attainment because in ordinary Fruition attainment there is still Citta and Cetasikas arising and disappearing in one moment of Phala after another. There is still Dukkha. In this cessation there is still Dukkha but much less. There is no Dukkha of Citta and Cetasikas. These are non-existent at that time.
Student: How are they at that time?
Sayàdaw: At that time they are like statues. They have no mind at that time. They don't know what is happening to them or to other people. It is like a real vacation. It is a gap in the flow of consciousness.
Student: You said earlier that the person must not enter the attainment if they know they are going to die in a few days, but if they are in the attainment they cannot die. So what could go wrong if they cannot die and they are supposed to die in a few days?
Sayàdaw: That's why it is said that if you know you are not going to live for seven days, you should not enter into cessation for seven days.
Student: But how do you know?
Sayàdaw: I don't know. Since they are Arahants and Non-Returners, I think they know when they are going to die in three or four days.
Student: But even if they know that, then what happens if they enter the cessation?
Sayàdaw: I don't know what would happen because a person cannot die during the cessation attainment. But his life faculty will not last to the end of seven days. There would be a clash there. I don't know actually what would happen if someone entered into cessation knowing he was not going to live for seven days. I don't know what would happen. The books say that they should not enter into the attainment if they know they are not going to live for seven days.
Sayàdaw: Those who have become Noble persons have understood thooroughly the nature of the aggregates. In one of the Suttas the Buddha said: 'Whatever is impermanent is suffering.' Whatever has a beginning and an end is impermanent. According to that definition everything in the world is suffering. I mean everything in living beings is suffering. Although we may be enjoying life in the normal sense, yet that itself is suffering according to that definition because enjoyment has a beginning and an end. So that is also impermanent. If it is impermanent, it is suffering. It is unsatisfactory.
The Noble Persons have seen the true nature of mind and body, always arising and disappearing. So they see this as a burden, as suffering. In order to get away from this suffering they want to stop the activities of mind or mental activities. In this way they get some respite from this ever-going suffering or ever-going process of becoming and disappearing.
Student: Isn't that attachment?
Sayàdaw: That is not called attachment or craving because there is nothing to crave for. This kind of peacefulness is not the object of craving. The bliss of Nibbàna and the bliss of cessation are beyond the range of clinging or craving.
Student: I undertood how you got into the sense-sphere Jhànas from concentrating on a mental image after concentrating on the actual object like a Kasina disk. In the second part you are sustained in your Jhàna. How does it change into the Path? Why is it a Jhàna in one moment and the Path the next moment?
Sayàdaw: It is your wish, your desire. When you want to get Jhàna, you practice one kind of meditation. When you get enlightenment, you practice another kind of meditation. The path or way going to them is different.
Student: Does that relate to the thirty objects and the ten objects?
Sayàdaw: Yes. The thirty objects lead to the attainment of Jhàna, but not to the attainment of Path.
Let's go to one more. It is more difficult and more interesting. It is the death and relinking thought process.
Student: Is the breath an object of Samatha meditation?
Sayàdaw: You can practice either Samatha or Vipassanà on the breath depending on how you practice it. If you want to get Jhàna and develop concentration, then you keep your mind on the breath only. You do not pay attention to other objects or other distractions. You keep on the breath only. If you practice Vipassanà on the breath, you keep on the breath, but you also pay attention to other objects when they become prominent at the present moment. That is the difference.
The death relinking process arises at the time of death. When a person is about to die, or is very close to death, or at the moment of death, this thought process arises. When a person is about to die, then Kamma, the sign of Kamma (Kammanimitta) or the sign of destiny (Gatinimitta), one of these three presents itself to that person's mind. Sometimes he will remember Kamma. Sometimes he will remember sign of Kamma or he may see in his mind's eye the sign of destiny. One of these three presents itself to the mind of a person who is going to die.
For our convenience we have taken only one of the many death and relinking thought processes. This particular thought process was chosen because I want to show you how death consciousness and relinking consciousness have the same object although one belongs to one life and one belngs to another life.
Please remember that the life-span of a present visible object is 17 thought moments. Suppoe a man is going to die and he sees something with his eyes. That can only beKammanimitta. If it were Gatinimitta, it must be taken through mind-door and not through eye-door. Here I want to showyou eye-door, so it cannot be sign of destiny. It is kammanimitta. Sign of Kamma is something that is instrumental in doing some Kamma. When something is given for example, the things given or the recipients are sign of Kamma. If it is killing, then guns, bows and arrows, the being that is killed are sign of Kamma. Suppose a person sees a sign of Kamma at his death. Since it is a present visible object, it must last for 17 thought moments.
First the object strikes at the eye-door. There is a past Bhavanga and then there are two vibrating moments that follow. Then there is five-sense-door-adverting because this is a thought pprocess of one of the five senses and not the mind. Then there is seeing consciousness. After that there are receiving, investigating and determining Cittas. Then there are five moments of Javana. At the time of death one is so weak that Javanas cannot repeat seven times. So there are only five Javana moments. Let us say that after the Javanas death arises, death consciousness arises. Immediately after death there is Patisandhi (relinking). That is conception. Sixteen moments of Bhavanga follow the relinking consciousness. Then there is another thought process. There is mind-door-adverting and seven moments of Javana. Then there is Bhavanga again.
In the first life the object of relinking Bhavanga and death consciousness are the same. In the first life if the object is Kamma, then the object of all the Bhavangas is Kamma. The object of death consciousness (Cuti) is also Kamma. If Kammanimitta were the object of relinking, then all the others would have Kammanimitta as object. Similarly the same would be true for sign of destiny (Gatinimitta).
In the first life relinking, Bhavangas and death consciousness all have the same object, the same identical object. The relinking consciousness in the second life takes present visible object as object. It is very strange. Although new life begins the object that is seen here is visible object which began in the immediately preceding life. Three moments are existing in the new life. Patisandhi (relinking) takes the present visible object in this case. Therefore the Bhavngas and death consciousness of the second life must take the present visible object as object. With the second Bhavanga 17 thought moments are completed. The present visible object disappears at this time. With the third Bhavanga it becomes a past visible object. This past visible object will be the object of all the Bhavangas in the second life and the death consciousness in the second life as well also takes it as object. In this way there is a change of object from life to life. The objects of relinking, Bhavangas and Cuti change from one existence to another, but they are identical in one life. They cannot be identical from one life to another. There are different objects in each life. There cannot be one object all through Samsàra. In this life perhaps it is Kamma. In next life it may be sign of Kamma or sign of destiny. They are all different from one life to another.
The other thing to understand here is about Patisandhi (relinking). Many people misunderstand that relinking is the result of death. Sometimes people say that death in this life conditions Patisandhi in next life. The word 'condition' means many things. Relinking is caused by Kamma, Kamma in the past life or past lives. So relinking is not caused by death. Relinking is not the result of death. If death conditions relinking at all, it conditions by giving place to relinking consciousness.
Let me give you an analogy. Let us say you are sitting on this chair. In order that other people may sit on the chair you disappear. In this way other people can take your place. In that way we can say death consciousness conditions relinking consciousness. However deth consciousness is not the producer or the cause of relinking consciousness. The producer of relinking consciousness is Kamma. According to a person's Kamma in the past, good or bad, which gets chance to give result, a person's relinking consciousness (Patisandhi) will bee good or bad. The quality of relinking consciousness depends upon the Kusala Kamma and Akusala Kamma of the past. It is not caused by death consciousness although it immediately follows deth consciousness.
In Theravàda Abhidhamma it is taught that there is no time intervening between death and relinking, death here and rebirth somewhere. The relinking may be thousands of miles away. There may be intervening distance, but with regard to time there are no intervening moments. Immediately after this moment there is next moment. So immediately after death there is relinking consciousness maybe millions of miles away.
Student: I have two questions. It sounds very much like I die here and am reborn in another body. One question is about people getting lost and kind of wandering. The other question is if it is so immediate from this body to the next, how does there come to be more people? If there are ten souls or ten beings on the planet and these ten die and are reborn, how does there get to be twenty people. How does consciousness enter twenty people?
Sayàdaw: OK. As to your first question, even in our country which is a predominently Theravàda Buddhist country, people still have some belief that after death a ghost or spirit stays for seven days before going to the next existence. That is rejected in the Kathàvatthu. It is not accepted in Theravàda Abhidhamma. However I think in Mahàyana Abhidharma it is taught. It is called Antarabhava. That is the existence between two existences. According to Theravàda teachings that intervening existence is a separate existence.
Let us suppose a person dies here. Then he becomes a ghost. Then he is eborn in another existence. So there are three lives according to the Theravàda explanation. Theravàda does not accept interim period between one life and the next life. So if a being becomes a ghost, that ghost is one life. Then if the ghost takes rebirth as a human being or whatever, that is another life.
Student: You have a subtle body instead of a gross body as a ghost?
Sayàdaw: Yes, if you are a ghost, you have a subtle body. What was your second question?
Student: How do there get to be more people?
Sayàdaw: I don't really know. We cannot look at human beings only. A being can be reborn as any being according to the Buddha's teachings. There are many insects for example. They may be reborn as human beings and the human beings may be reborn as insects.
Student: And on other planets?
Sayàdaw: Yes, there are beings on other planets.
Student: It is hard to imagine an animal being reborn as a human being.
Sayàdaw: It is difficult but not impossible. If a being is reborn as an animal, it will do more Akusala than Kusala. We have all gone a long, long time in this Samsàra. So we have done much good Kamma and bad Kamma in the past. This Kamma is all waiting for chance to give results. So when the circumstances are favorable for let us say Kusala Kamma to give results, then it gives results. When Akusala kamma gets chance, it also gives results. Since that kind of kamma is always there, then when it gets chance, an animal can be reborn as a human being.
Student: Do animals have awareness?
Sayàdaw: According to Abhidhamma animals have mind and matter like we do but there standard of mind and matter is lower than human beings. They don't have advanced thinking, but they still have awareness. They still have consciousness.
Student: If you are born with an animal body, you carry with you the weight of your Kamma.
Sayàdaw:We cannot say we crry with us all these things. We do not know where kamma is stored. It is somewhere in our continuity. We will talk about Kamma next week.
It is like the ability of a tree to give fruit. We do not know where this ability is stored or where fruits are stored in the tree. When the season comes, when there is moisture and sunshine and these things, the necessary conditions, then the tree will give fruit. In the same way we have accumulated Kusala and Akusala Kamma but nobody knows where this Kusala and Akusala Kamma is stored. There is this continuity although there is no permanence.
We have to understand this clearly so that we do not fall into the eternalist view or into the annihilationist view. Buddhism stands between these two, not accepting either of these two extremes.
In the Visuddhi magga it is said with regard to a person being reborn: 'It is a real material and inmaterial state arising when it has obtained its condition. That is when it is obtained, it comes into the next becoming. It is not a lasting being, not a soul. It has neither transmigrated from the past becoming nor yet is it manifested here without cause from that.' Nothing of this life goes to another life, but nothing which is reborn there which is not connected, not caused by something here.
'Here let the illustration of this consciousness be sustained as an echo, a light, a seal impression, a looking glass image.' For example you shout into a cave and the voice comes back. That voice is not your voice. The echo is not your real voice but without your voice there would be no echo. With the light of a candle, the impression of a seal it is the same thing.
'Here let the illustration of this consciousness be sustained as an echo, a light, a seal impression, a looking glass image. For the fact of its not becoming and not coming here from this previous becoming, and for the fact that it arises owing to causes that are included in the past becoming.' 'Becoming' means existences. 'For just as an echo, a light, a seal impression, an image, a shadow has respectively sound etc. as their cause and have come into being without going elsewhere, so also this consciousness (this relinking consciousness).'
We accept the formula 'neither he, nor another'. The person who is reborn here is neither the same identical person nor a totally new person, a totally disconnected person.
There are four methods to be applied to Dependent Origination. Two of them are the method of identity and the method of diversity. We have to understand according to these methods too. 'The non-interruption of the continuity in this way with ignorance as condition there are formations, with mental formations ad condition there is consciousness and so on, just like a seed reaching the state of a tree through the state of a shute etc. is called the method of identity.' There is some identity between one moment and another. 'One who sees this rightly abandons the annihilation view by understanding the unbrokeness of the continuity that occurs through the linking of cause and fruit. One who sees it wrongly inclines to the eternity view by apprehending identity in the non-interruption of the continuity that occurs through the linking of cause and fruit.' We have to see it correctly. If we see it wrongly, we will fall into one of the extremes, the eternity view or the annihilation view.
'The defining of the individual characteristic of ignorance etc. is called the method of diversity.' That means each moment is different from the other moment. One moment hs one function. The other moment has another function. So each one is different from the other. One who sees this rightly abandons the eternity view by seeing the arising of each new state. (End of Tape)
Sàdhu! Sàdhu! Sàdhu!