ABHIDHAMMA IN A NUTSHELL - XXX:
‘MIND is a phenomenon which is highly explored in the doctrine of Buddhism. Mano phubban gama dhamma which means ‘mind is the forerunner’ is a well heard verse from ‘Dhamma Padaya’. The ultimate objective in Buddhism is attained by purifying and improving mind. However, understanding ‘mind’ is a quite complicated act for any person. This is a barrier for someone who is interested in learning Buddhism in depth. One of the teachings in Buddhism which provides a comprehensive analysis on mind is ‘Abhidhamma’.
The series ‘Abhidhamma in a Nutshell’ was started to full that void. ‘Abhidhamma’ is one of the most intricate branches of doctrine in Buddhism and the objective of this series was an effort to present it in an ‘Easy to Understand’ manner. Comparative to the entire teaching of Buddha, what has been described through 30 episodes is very little. But it wouldn’t be insufficient for one who is interested to lay themselves a foundation to learn more advanced nature of the Doctrine and deal with some intricate questions raised on Buddhism.
In this Final Episode the entire series will be reviewed in short.
The Four Realities
Out of the two realities of Apparent Reality (Sammuthi Deshana) and Ultimate Reality (Paramaththa Deshana) preached by the Buddha, falling under Abstract or Ultimate reality, Abhidhamma consists of paramaththas. ‘paramo uththamo aviparitho aththa paramaththa which means ‘the most noble and immutable thing is paramaththa’.
There are four paramaththas, namely the reality of;
1. Consciousness (Chittha Paramaththa)
2. Mental States (Chetasika Paramaththa)
3. Matter (Rupa Paramaththa)
4. Nibbana (Nirwana Paramaththa)
Reality of Consciousness - Chiththa Paramaththa
Chiththa Paramaththa explained various aspects and types of mind.
There are 89 or 121 types of Chiththas and they are categorized and subcategorized as below based on the places they arise and their types;
1. Kamavachara - 54
a. Akusala - 12
i. Lobhamulika - 8
ii. Dweshamulika - 2
iii. Mohamulika - 2
b. Ahethuka - 18
i. Akusala Vipaka - 7
ii. Akusala Vipaka - 8
iii. Kriya - 3
c. Sobhana Chiththas - 24
d. Kusala - 8
e. Vipaka - 8
f. Kriya - 8
2. Rupavachara Chiththa - 15
a. Kusala - 5
b. Vipaka - 5
c. Kriya - 5
3. Arupavachara Chiththa - 12
a. Kusala - 4
b. Vipaka - 4
c. Kriaya - 4
4. Lochuththara Chiththa - 8 or 40
a. Marga - 4 or 20
b. Pala - 4 or 20
Reality of Mental States - Chethasika Paramaththa
Chethasikas are containments, features or behaviors of mind and they have four main characteristics of Ekuppada - arise together with consciousness, Ekanirodha - perish together with consciousness, Ekarammana - has the common object with consciousness and Ekavaththuka - has the common basis with consciousness.
52 types of Chethasikas are categorized as below;
1. Annasamana - 13
a. Sabbachiththsadharana - 7
b. Pakinnaka - 6
2. Akusala - 14
3. Sobana - 25
a. Sobhanasadharana Chethasika - 19
b. Virathi Chethasika - 3
c. Appamanna Chethasika - 2
d. Panna Chethasika - 1
Thought Process - Chiththa Viththi
After describing consciousness and mental states it was described the sequence and nature in which these Chiththas arise. It was mentioned that there are 17 thought moments in a usual thought process.
Reality of Matter - Rupa Paramaththa
Having described what Mind is the Reality of Matter was dedicated to illustrate what is Matter. 28 types of matters were described there as below;
* Mahabhutha Rupas - 4
* Pasada Rupa - 5
* Gochara Rupa/Visaya Rupa - 4
* Bhava Rupa - 2
19) Akasa Dhathu
* Vikara Rupa - 5
20) Kaya Vinnaththi
21) Vachi Vinnaththi
* Lakkhana Rupa - 4
Reality of Matter - Nibbana Paramaththa
In this reality 10 types of Fetters or Dasa Samyojana of Sakkhayaditti, Vichikichcha, Seelabbathaparamasa, Kamaraga, Patiga, Ruparaga, Aruparaga, Mana, Uddachcha, Avijja, which are eradicated in the stages of attaining Nibbana was described. Further two types of Nibbana, Sopadhisesa Nibbana Dhathu and Anupadhisesa Nibbana Dhathu were mentioned.
Thus concludes Abhidhamma in a Nutshell.
A few weeks back I had to undergo a situation where my state of mind became very week due to a sudden sensitive issue. With this mentality I was to drive a considerably long distance in Colombo. When I touched the clutch and the accelerator, I felt my legs were shivering. Two of my friends asked whether they would join but I refused. When I was putting the vehicle to the main road I got a call from another friend (co-worker) with whom I sometimes engage in various discussions. He has never read my Abhidhamma articles but he knows I am writing this column. What he told me over the phone was;
‘You are writing to the paper on Abhidhamma and it is now you should make use of it. Act wisely’. This hit my mind which was in a panic state at that time. I first give my acknowledgments to that friend who put my effort into a practicable frame at a desperate time. It’s not that I recalled what I have written but I realized ‘there is no use of writing about mind if I cannot control my mind in a situation like this’ and it really worked.
I started learning Abhidhamma from my Sunday School. Thereafter I learnt a lot by teaching Abhidhamma and I give acknowledgements to my teachers and students. To write this series I used ‘A Manual of Abhidhamma by Narada Maha Thera’ especially to find English terms. I gathered much of knowledge from the two books of Ven. Renukane Chandawimala Thera.
I also acknowledge my wife for encouraging me and many who emailed commenting and questioning.
As mentioned many times, it is very little which has been presented in this series. More articles will follow on Buddhism based on the ‘Abhidhamma in a Nutshell’ series.