Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries
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Abhidhamma View : The Five-Door Process
[Presented by Dr.Tep Sastri @ SariputtaDhamma/JTN/Mult]The concept of "mind-moment" during which a sense object is presented to a citta seems to have an application in concentration development, for example:
[AN 4.41. Samaadhibhaavanaa Sutta:] "There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. "
-----------CMA IV, p. 156-157 (excerpt):
The life-span of a citta is termed, in the Abhidhamma, a mind-moment(cittakkha.na). This is a temporal unit of such brief duration that, according to the commentators, in the time that it takes for a lightening to flash or the eyes to blink, billions of mind-moment 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.Many commentators take the presence moment to be implied by the Buddha's statement: There are three conditioned characteristics of the conditioned: arising, passing away, and the alteration of that which stands" (A.3:47/i,152). Here the presence moment is identified with "the alteration of that which stands" (thitassa a~n~nathatta).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 the mental phenomena. The five sense objects --visible forms, etc. -- are material phenomena and thus endure for seventeen mind-moments. Since the sense object is still weak at the sub-moment of arising, it can enter the avenue of sense only when it reaches the stage of presence.When no active cognitive process is taking place, the bhavanga flows on as a series of cittas all of the same type, hanging on to a single object --either a kamma, a sign of kamma, or a sign of destiny-- the same as the object of the last javana process in the immediately preceding existence. At the very moment a sense object enters a sense door, one bhavanga citta passes, known as atiita bhavanga, the past-life continuum. Then another two bhavanga cittas vibrate owing to the impact of the object, the second interrupting the stream of the bhavanga. In the sub-commentaries these are distinguished as bhavanga-calana, vibrational life-continuum, and bhavang'-uppaccheda, arrest life-continuum. Thereafter, after the arising of the five-door adverting citta, the stream of consciousness emerges from the "process-freed" state and launches into a cognitive process(viithipaata).
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