Abhidhamma Study: Abhidhamma Practice in the Nutshell
[Presented by Dr.Tep Sastri @ SariputtaDhamma/JTN/Mult]
Allow me to extract the most important part of the e-book 'The Abhidhamma in Practice' by Dr. Mendis and present it to you below.
As a simple-minded man I sincerely think this extract is the main Abhidhamma practice in the nutshell. [Please advise me in case you disagree or think there is more to say. Thanks.]
This is the key idea: If we clearly understand the main points (i) and (ii) below, and diligently train ourselves to be mindfully aware of the arising of any causative cittas (and feelings) associated with either aversion or attachment and successfully abandon aversion or attachment, or let them go, then we will be able to avoid these unwholesome cittas that would otherwise lead to future suffering.
And just that is a great deal of lay-Buddhist's success, in my simple & sincere opinion.
When we see a form, hear a sound, smell, taste, or touch, it is a vipaaka citta,
a resultant consciousness, that functions as the actual sense-consciousness.
This citta is the result of some previous kamma. This is a "bare phenomenon"
that is taking place and there is no power that can stop the arising of this
resultant citta. However, this resultant citta, having arisen, perishes in a
moment.To be aware of the momentariness of this vipaaka citta is of great practical
importance. If one does not recognize the disappearance of this citta — and this
can be done only by the practice of mindfulness — then subsequent cognitive
processes having the same object as the vipaaka citta (which has already passed)
can occur in the mind-door, bringing defilements into play. If the vipaaka citta
had an unpleasant object, aversion can arise; and if the vipaaka citta had a
pleasant object, attachment can arise. To make spiritual progress one should try
to avoid the arising of those causative cittas associated with either aversion
or attachment, which are both unwholesome mental factors building up further
unwholesome kamma.On the other hand, if mindfulness is absent there can be unwholesome mental
activity, such as longing for things of the past, worry, remorse, regret,
grudge, and doubt.
i) There are six roots. Three are kammically unwholesome (akusala); the other
three may be either kammically wholesome (kusala) or indeterminate (abyaa-kata),
depending on the type of consciousness they arise in.
For spiritual progress it is important to be aware of the roots associated with
the citta that we are experiencing at any particular moment. This is possible
only by the practice of mindfulness as expounded in the Mahaa Satipa.t.thaana
Sutta. This awareness helps us get rid of the unwholesome roots and cultivate
the wholesome roots. This practice will enable one to purify moral virtue, to
develop concentration, and to achieve insight.
ii) It is important to recognize the feeling that accompanies each citta, for
feelings serve as a condition for defilements to arise. The mind's natural
tendency is to develop attachment to a pleasant feeling and aversion to an
unpleasant one. Any attachment will eventually cause suffering; for everything
within and around us is impermanent, so when inevitable separation takes place,
if there is attachment the result will be sorrow, lamentation, and despair.
I am thankful for your attention and will appreciate comments/ suggestions.
Love Buddha's dhamma,