Discussions of the Patthana (3): Predominance-Condition

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Discussions of the Patthana (3): Predominance-Condition

Postby Virgo » Sun May 29, 2011 2:05 am

This thread will be for the discussion of 3'rd of the 24 paccaya or conditions listed in the Great Book (The Patthana, or Book of Conditional Relations). For reference I will post the chapter on Predominance-Condition from Ajahn Sujin's book The Conditionality of Life here. Any points that any one wishes to raise and discuss about Predominance-Condition can be made here, using either the text provided here or another one related to Predominance-Condition. At another time I will open threads about the other conditions, posting material from this book for the purpose of learning and discussion.

4 Predominance-Condition

We read in the”Paṭṭhāna” (II, Analytical Exposition, 3) about two kinds of predominance-condition:

conascent-predominance-condition (sahajātādhipati-paccaya)
object-predominance-condition (ārammaṇādhipati-paccaya)

As to conascent-predominance-condition, the conditioning factor (paccaya) which has a dominating influence over the realities it conditions (paccayupanna dhammas) is conascent with these, that is, it arises together with them. Phenomena never arise alone, they arise simultaneously with other phenomena. Citta does not arise alone, it is accompanied by cetasikas; citta and cetasikas arise together and fall away together.

There are four factors which condition the dhammas they arise together with by way of conascent-predominance-condition, and these are:

chanda (desire-to-do) 41
viriya (energy or effort)
vima.msa (investigation of Dhamma, paññā cetasika)

Three of these factors, namely, chanda, viriya and vima.msa are cetasikas and one is citta, but not every citta can be a predominant factor as we shall see. It is due to these four factors that great and difficult enterprises can be accomplished. Whenever we wish to accomplish a task, one of these four factors can be the leader, the predominance-condition for the realities they arise together with and also for the rūpa which is produced at that moment by citta 42. Only one of these four factors at a time can be predominant. For example, when chanda is foremost, the other three factors cannot be predominant at the same time. Chanda, viriya and citta can be predominant in the accomplishment of an enterprise or task both in a wholesome way and in an unwholesome way, whereas vima.msa, investigation of Dhamma, which is paññā, a sobhana cetasika, can only be predominant in a wholesome way.

The conascent predominant factors can operate at the moments of javana-cittas (kusala cittas or akusala cittas in the case of non-arahats) 43. Kusala cittas are always accompanied by the two beautiful roots (sobhana hetus) of non-attachment (alobha) and non-aversion (adosa) and, in addition, they can be accompanied by paññā. Akusala cittas can be accompanied by two akusala roots: by ignorance (moha) and attachment (lobha) or by ignorance and aversion (dosa), or they may have ignorance as their only root. There are two types of akusala cittas which have moha, ignorance, as their only root: moha-mūla-citta (rooted in moha) accompanied by uddhacca (rest- lessness) and moha-mūla-citta accompanied by doubt (vicikicchā) and these cittas are weak compared to the akusala cittas that have two akusala hetus.

The conascent predominant factors do not operate in the case of these two moha-mūlacittas, they only operate in the case of javana-cittas that are accompanied by two or three roots.

When one undertakes a work of art, such as painting, or when one applies oneself to music, one is bound to do so with lobha-mūla-citta (citta rooted in attachment). Lobha is attached to the object it experiences, but it cannot accomplish anything, it is not a predominant factor. Chanda, zeal or wish-to-do, which accompanies lobha-mūla-citta can be a predominant factor in the accomplishment of one's undertakings, it conditions the citta and the other cetasikas it accompanies by way of conascent-predominance. When we are generous and like to give something away, chanda, which is kusala in this case, may be predominant. The kusala citta is also accompanied by alobha, non-attachment, and adosa, non-aversion or kindness, but these wholesome roots cannot be predominant in the accomplishment of a generous deed. It is chanda which can be predominant in the accomplishment of the generous deed, for example, when one chooses the gift and hands it to someone else.

Viriya can be a predominant factor in the accomplishment of our tasks. Preparing food may be part of our daily chores, and sometimes, when we like to do this, chanda may be predominant. At other times we may find it an effort but we may still want to cook. Then we may prepare food with viriya as predominant factor. At such moments there is likely to be lobha, but viriya is foremost in the accomplishment of cooking.

Citta can be a predominance-condition for the accompanying cetasikas, but not all cittas can be predominance-condition. As we have seen, predominance-condition can operate only in the case of javana-cittas accompanied by at least two roots. Moha-mūla-citta, which has moha as its only root cannot be predominance-condition, it has no strength to accomplish any task. Lobha-mūla-citta and dosa-mūla-citta which each have two roots (respectively moha and lobha, and moha and dosa), can be predominance-condition: they have a dominating influence over the accompanying cetasikas in the fulfilling of a task or enterprise in an unwholesome way. All mahā-kusala cittas (kusala cittas of the sense-sphere) and all mahā-kiriyacittas (of the arahat), have the two roots of alobha, non-attachment, and adosa, non- aversion, and, in addition, they can have the root which is paññā, thus, they have two or three roots and, therefore, they can be predominance-condition for the accompanying dhammas. When we accomplish a task with cittas which are resolute, firmly established in kusala, the citta can be the predominance-condition for the accompanying dhammas.

Jhānacittas (kusala jhānacitta and kiriya jhānacitta of the arahat), accompanied by the three roots of alobha, adosa and paññā, cannot arise without predominance-condition. The lokuttara cittas, the maggacittas and the phalacittas (lokuttara vipākacittas), accompanied by three roots, perform the function of javana; the phalacittas which immediately succeed the maggacittas are the only vipākacittas that perform the function of javana. Lokuttara cittas cannot arise without predominance-condition 44.

Lobha cetasika is not a predominant factor, but lobha-mūla-citta, citta rooted in attachment, can be predominance-condition, as we have seen. For example, when there is wrong view and wrong practice, the citta arising at that moment is firm and steady in this way of akusala, and then that citta is predominance-condition for the accompanying dhammas. That type of citta is rooted in moha and lobha and thus it is conditioned by these two roots by way of root-condition. When we abstain from slandering, the citta which is firm in kusala can be predominant, and in that case chanda, wish-to-do, and viriya, effort, are not predominant.

With regard to investigation of the Dhamma, vima.msa, this is paññā cetasika. When we listen to the Dhamma, consider it and are mindful of realities, vima.msa can condition the accompanying citta and cetasikas by way of predominance-condition.

The rūpas produced by citta can also be conditioned by way of predominance-condition. Body intimation (kāya-viññatti) and speech intimation (vacī-viññatti ) are rūpas produced by citta 45. When we present food to the monks, citta which is firm in kusala can be the predominant factor. While we, at such an occasion, show by our gestures our intention to give, there are rūpas which are body intimation, and these are conditioned by kusala citta by way of predominance-condition. When we slander, the citta which is firm in akusala may be predominance-condition, and the rūpa which is speech intimation is conditioned by the akusala citta by way of predominance-condition.

For the attainment of jhāna the predominant factors are necessary conditions, and in that case they have to be sobhana. It is extremely difficult to develop samatha to the degree of jhāna, and without the conditioning force of one of the four predominant factors one would not be able to attain jhāna. We read in the “Visuddhimagga” (III,24):

“...If a bhikkhu obtains concentration, obtains unification of mind, by making zeal (chanda) predominant, this is called concentration due to zeal. If... by making energy predominant, this is called concentration due to energy. If... by making (natural purity of) citta predominant, this is called concentration due to citta. If... by making inquiry (vima.msa) predominant, this is called concentration due to inquiry (Vibhanga 216-219)...”

Predominant factors can be of different degrees. When the four factors mentioned above have been developed to a high degree, they have become “bases of success”, iddhipādas, and then they can lead to the acquisition of supernatural powers (Visuddhimagga, Ch XII, 50-53) 46. The rūpas produced by citta which exercises such powers are also conditioned by way of predominance-condition.

In the development of vipassanā, right understanding of nāma and rūpa, one also needs the “four bases of success” for the realisation of the stages of insight wisdom and for the attainment of enlightenment. The arising of awareness and understanding of realities is beyond control, it is due to conditions. We need patience and courage to persevere studying and considering nāma and rūpa, and to be aware of them in daily life. For the accomplishment of our task, the development of right understanding, the factors which are predominance-condition are indispensable. The study of the predomi-nance-condition can be a reminder that right understanding is dependent on different kinds of conditions, that it does not depend on a “self”. We read in the “Kindred Sayings” (V, Mahā-vagga, Book VII, Kindred Sayings on the Bases of Psychic Power (Iddhipādas, Bases of Success), Ch I, 2, Neglected):

“By whomsoever, monks, the four bases of psychic power are neglected, by them also is neglected the ariyan way that goes on to the utter destruction of dukkha. By whomsoever, monks, the four bases of psychic power are undertaken, by them also is undertaken the ariyan way that goes on to the utter destruction of dukkha...”

It is then explained what the four bases of psychic power (iddhipādas) are. They arise together with right concentration and with right effort. Right effort in vipassanā is right effort to be aware of whatever reality appears at this moment.

As we have seen, there are two kinds of predominance-condition: conascent-predominance-condition and object-predominance-condition. In the case of conascent-predominance-condition the conditioning factor arises simultaneously with the conditioned dhammas, but this is not so with object-predominance-condition. As regards object-predominance-condition (ārammaṇādhipati-paccaya), not every object citta experiences is object-predominance-condition. An object which is predominance-condition is highly regarded by citta and the accompanying cetasikas so that they give preponderance to it. The predominant object is the conditioning factor (paccaya), and the citta and cetasikas which experience that object are the conditioned dhammas (paccayupanna dhammas). Object-predominance-condition is different from object-condition. For example, when we like the colour of a certain cloth, but we do not particularly want to possess it, that object conditions the lobha-mūla-citta by way of object-condition. When we like that cloth very much and want to possess it, that object conditions the lobha-mūla-citta by way of object-predominance-condition. We then give preponderance to that object.

Certain objects cannot be object-predominance-condition, because they are undesirable. Among them is the type of body-consciousness which is akusala vipāka, accompanied by painful feeling 47. The two types of dosa-mūla-citta (one type unprompted and one type prompted, c.f. Appendix 2) cannot be object-predominance-condition. They are accompanied by unpleasant feeling and thus they are not desirable. The two types of moha-mūla-citta, one associated with doubt and one associated with restlessness, cannot be object-predominance-condition, they are not desirable. The akusala cetasikas which accompany dosa-mūla-citta and moha-mūla-citta are not desirable either, thus, they cannot be object-predominance-condition. One could not esteem regret, jealousy or stinginess, akusala cetasikas which may accompany dosa-mūla-citta.

We read in the “Paṭṭhāna” (Faultless Triplet, VII, Investigation Chapter, Conditions: Positive, 1, Classification Chapter, Predominance, 10, paragraph 413):

“... After having offered the offering, having undertaken the precept, having fulfilled the duty of observance, (one) esteems and reviews it. (One) esteems and reviews (such acts) formerly well done...”

Wholesomeness can be object-predominance-condition for kusala citta which esteems and considers the wholesome deed which was done. In this case one gives preponderance to that object. When we have been generous we can recollect our generosity and this is a condition for the arising of other kusala cittas.

We read in the same section (paragraph 414) that dāna, sīla and jhāna can be object-predominance-condition also for akusala citta. When we have performed generous deeds with kusala citta we may find that citta highly desirable, we may be pleased with our own generosity. There may be attachment and wrong view on account of our good deeds. If we do not know the different conditions for kusala citta and akusala citta we may take for kusala what is actually akusala. Thus, kusala can be object of clinging, it can even be object-predominance-condition for clinging. Anything can be object of clinging, except nibbāna and the eight lokuttara cittas which experience it. As we have seen (in Ch 2), lokuttara dhammas cannot be object-condition for lobha-mūla-citta; neither can they be object-predominance-condition for lobha-mūla-citta.

Nibbāna is object-predominance-condition for the eight lokuttara cittas that experience it 48. Nibbāna is object-predominance-condition for the “change-of lineage”, gotrabhū, arising in the process when enlightenment is attained, preceding the magga-citta of the sotāpanna, and for the “purification” (vodāna) preceding the magga-cittas of the three higher stages of enlightenment 49.

Nibbāna and lokuttara cittas are object-predominance-condition for the mahā-kusala cittas and mahā-kiriyacittas (of the arahat) which arise after the attainment of enlightenment and which review, consider with paññā, nibbāna and the lokuttara cittas which arose.

Akusala can condition akusala citta by way of object-predominance-condition. We read in the “Paṭṭhāna”, in the same section, paragraph 415:

“(One) esteems, enjoys and delights in lust. Taking it as estimable object, arises lust, arises wrong views. (One) esteems, enjoys and delights in wrong views. Taking it as estimable object, arises lust, arise wrong views.”

If someone does not see the danger of lobha, he considers it the goal of his life to have as much enjoyment as possible. We like to enjoy nature, to buy beautiful clothes, to eat delicious food, to hear nice music. We like to enjoy all the pleasant things of life. It is natural that we enjoy pleasant things, but we can also develop right understanding of the different cittas which arise in daily life.

Pleasant sense objects are desirable and they can condition lobha-mūla-citta by way of object-predominance-condition. It may happen that we have many duties to do but that we are so carried away by the sound of music that we leave our duties and play the piano or go to a concert. Then we give preponderance to sound and this is object-predominance-condition for lobha-mūla-citta. This happens time and again in our daily life. We should not pretend that we do not have lobha, we should come to know our inclinations as they are. When lobha has arisen already because of its own conditions, we should not ignore it, but we can develop right understanding of it. When there is mindfulness of lobha when it appears, it can be known as a conditioned nāma, not self.

We read in the “Paṭṭhāna” (in the same section, paragraph 416):

“(One) esteems, enjoys and delights in the eye... ear... nose... tongue... body... visible object... sound... smell... taste... tangible object... (heart-)base... Taking it as estimable object, arises lust, arises wrong views...”

The rūpas which have their own distinct nature 50 can be object-predominance-condition. Rūpa which is a desirable object can be object-predominance-condition only for lobha-mūla-citta. Rūpa cannot condition kusala citta by way of object-predominance-condition, only by way of object-condition. For example, if we want to give beautiful flowers to someone else, rūpa, such as colour or odour, can condition kusala citta by way of object-condition; rūpa is the object experienced by kusala citta. That rūpa cannot be object-predominance-condition for kusala citta. If one gives preponderance to it and wants to have it again and again it is object-predominance-condition for lobha-mūlacitta, but not for kusala citta. Kusala citta is accompanied by detachment, alobha, it is intent on letting go of objects.

The kusala one has performed before, such as generosity, may be object-predominance-condition for kusala citta, it can be a condition for kusala cittas to arise again. The development of kusala is conditioned by kusala accumulated in the past, and also by the factors of chanda (wish-to-do), viriya (effort), citta and vima.msa (investigation of the Dhamma), which are conascent-predominance-conditions.

We should find out to which objects we give preponderance. We should know whether they condition kusala citta or lobha-mūla-citta. It is important to realize in which way objects can condition different cittas. When lobha-mūla-citta arises the object it experiences may condition that citta only by way of object-condition or it may condition it by way of object-predominance as well. At different moments different conditions play their part in our life. Kusala can condition wrong view or conceit by way of object-predominance-condition: we may attach great importance to the notion of “my kusala” with wrong view. Or we may have a high esteem of our good deeds with conceit, while we compare ourselves with others.

When we are attached to colourful pictures our attachment may be object-predominance-condition for lobha-mūla-cittas; we may be quite absorbed in our enjoyment and forgetful of the development of right understanding. At other moments we may devote time to the study and the consideration of the Dhamma so that right understanding can develop. The Dhamma we hear may condition mahā-kusala citta accompanied by paññā by way of object-predominance-condition. We read in the “Lesser Discourse on the Destruction of Craving”(Middle Length Sayings I, no. 37) that Sakka, lord of the devas, had inclinations to mental development, but when there were conditions to enjoy sense-pleasures, he was absorbed in those. We read that Sakka asked the Buddha, who was staying near Savatthī in the Eastern Monastery, to what extent a monk comes to be completely freed by the destruction of craving. The Buddha answered:

“As to this, lord of devas, a monk comes to hear: ‘It is not fitting that there should be inclination towards any (mental-physical) conditions' 51. If, lord of devas, a monk comes to hear this, that ‘It is not fitting that there should be any inclination towards any (mental-physical) conditions', he knows all the conditions thoroughly, he knows all the conditions accurately; by knowing all the conditions accurately, whatever feeling he feels, pleasant or painful or neither painful nor pleasant, he abides viewing impermanence, he abides viewing dispassion, he abides viewing stopping, he abides viewing renunciation in regard to those feelings.”

We then read that when he is so abiding he grasps after nothing in the world and attains arahatship. Sakka rejoiced in what the Buddha had said and after having given thanks he vanished. Moggallāna wanted to find out whether Sakka had grasped the meaning of the Buddha's words and to this end he appeared among the “devas of the Thirtythree”. Sakka, who was equipped and provided with five hundred deva-like musical instruments, was amusing himself. When he saw Moggallāna coming he stopped those instruments and welcomed Moggallāna. Moggallāna then asked Sakka to repeat the Buddha's words about freedom by the destruction of craving. Sakka answered:

“I, my good Moggallāna, am very busy, there is much to be done by me; both on my own account there are things to be done, and there are also (still more) things to be done for the devas of the Thirtythree. Further, my good Moggallāna, it was properly heard, properly learnt, properly attended to, properly reflected upon, so that it cannot vanish quickly...”

Sakka invited Moggallāna to come and see the delights of his splendid palace. Moggallāna thought that Sakka lived much too indolently and wanted to agitate him. By his supernatural power he made the palace tremble, shake and quake. Moggallāna asked Sakka again to repeat the Buddha's words and then Sakka did repeat them.

We may recognize ourselves in Sakka when he tries to find excuses not to consider the Dhamma. We also are inclined to think at times that we are too busy to develop right understanding of realities, to be aware of nāma and rūpa over and over again, until they are thoroughly understood. When Moggallāna agitated Sakka there were conditions for him to give preponderance to the development of right understanding. Our life is likewise. When we listen to the Dhamma or read the scriptures there can be conditions to give preponderance to the consideration of the Dhamma and the development of right understanding. When there is mindfulness of nāma and rūpa as they appear one at a time, they can eventually be known as they are: elements which are non-self.


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