It will not be apparent from BB’s English translation, but take a look at the Pali, especially where the locative absolute are employed in red. Contrast that to the rest of the passage where that construction is not used. Now, if punabbhava is to be understood metaphorically as denoting mere psychological states attendant with consciousness, instead of renewed bhava in the traditional sense (see AN 3.76 later), why bother with the locative absolute, when the genitive absolute would have been more useful and conclusive in indicating contemporaneity?What one intends, and what one plans, and whatever one has a tendency towards: this becomes a basis for the maintenance of consciousness. When there is a basis there is a support for the establishing of consciousness. When consciousness is established and has come to growth, there is the production of future renewed existence. When there is the production of future renewed existence, future birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.
Yañca, bhikkhave, ceteti yañca pakappeti yañca anuseti, ārammaṇametaṃ hoti viññāṇassa ṭhitiyā. Ārammaṇe sati patiṭṭhā viññāṇassa hoti. Tasmiṃ patiṭṭhite viññāṇe virūḷhe āyatiṃ punabbhavābhinibbatti hoti. Āyatiṃ punabbhavābhinibbattiyā sati āyatiṃ jāti jarāmaraṇaṃ sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā sambhavanti. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.
Iddapaccayata is famous for its locative absolute construction, and there is nothing in iddapaccayata to indicate contemporaneity in each and every of DO’s nidanas. It may be so for vinnana-namarupa (per SN 12.67) and phassa-vedana (per MN 43). But this is one of the unfortunate side-effects of the modern interpretation of DO – if every paccaya is interpreted as being contemporaneous with its consequence, logically one must conclude that birth is simultaneous with death. It must follow that salayatana and phassa must always co-exist, contradicting MN 28’s allowance for it to be otherwise. In fact, every dhamma in the chain would be contemporaneous with its paccaya and its consequence, leaving no time for states to be recognized.
Skipping the middle passage, we come to the final passage –
Now, if (i) punabbhava were interpreted to be a metaphor for mere psychological states, andWhen one does not intend, and one does not plan, and one does not have a tendency towards anything, no basis exists for the maintenance of consciousness. When there is no basis, there is no support for the establishing of consciousness. When consciousness is unestablished and does not come to growth, there is no production of future renewed existence. …
Yato ca kho, bhikkhave, no ceva ceteti no ca pakappeti no ca anuseti, ārammaṇametaṃ na hoti viññāṇassa ṭhitiyā. Ārammaṇe asati patiṭṭhā viññāṇassa na hoti. Tadappatiṭṭhite viññāṇe avirūḷhe āyatiṃ punabbhavābhinibbatti na hoti.
(ii) “establishment”/patittham were interpreted to be “contacting” in the cognitive series, instead of rebirth consciousness, does this mean that an Arahant free of the anusayas (obliquely referenced by ‘anuseti’) will be unconscious 24/7?
Clearly, “establishment” wrt consciousness is not the event of phassa where consciousness phusati/touches the indriya and ayatana. If phassa or phusati were meant, it is odd that the text speaks of maintenance of consciousness. “ṭhitiyā” is just so far removed from contact.