Abhidhamma Series no 9. The Experience of Objects through different doorways.
- Dear friends,
The Experience of Objects through different doorways.
Seeing is an ahetuka vipaakacitta that experiences visible object
through the eye-door. Hearing is an ahetuka vipaakacitta that
experiences sound through the ear-door. Each of the sense-cognitions
experiences an object through the appropriate doorway. There is not
only one citta that experiences visible object, or one citta that
experiences sound, but each of the sense-cognitions arises in a
series or process of cittas succeeding one another and sharing the
same object. They all cognize the same object, but they each perform
their own function.
Seeing is preceded by the eye-door adverting-consciousness, which
adverts to visible object. It does not see but it merely turns
towards the visible object that has just impinged on the eyesense.
This citta is an ahetuka kiriyacitta (inoperative citta), it is not
akusala citta, not kusala citta and not vipaakacitta. Seeing, which
is an ahetuka vipaakacitta, is succeeded by two more ahetuka
vipaakacittas which do not see but still cognize visible object that
has not fallen away yet. They perform a function different from
seeing while they cognize visible object. Visible object is ruupa and
it lasts longer than citta. These cittas are receiving-consciousness,
sampa.ticchana-citta, that receives visible object and investigating-
consciousness, santiira.na-citta, that investigates the object. The
investigating-consciousness is succeeded by the determining-
consciousness, votthapana-citta, which is an ahetuka kiriyacitta.
This citta is followed by seven javana-cittas that are, in the case
of non-arahats, kusala cittas or akusala cittas. There is a fixed
order in the cittas arising within a process and nobody can change
There is no self who can determine whether the votthapana-citta will
be succeeded by akusala cittas or kusala cittas. Cittas arise and
fall away succeeding one another extremely rapidly and nobody can
make kusala citta arise at will. Kusala performed in the past is a
condition for the arising of kusala at present.
When the sense-door process of cittas is finished, the sense object
experienced by those cittas has also fallen away. Very shortly after
the sense-door process is finished, a mind-door process of cittas
begins, which experience the sense object which has just fallen away.
Although it has fallen away, it can be object of cittas arising in a
mind-door process. The mano-dvaaraavajjana-citta is the first citta
of the mind-door process, it adverts through the mind-door to the
object which has just fallen away. The mano-dvaaraavajjana-citta is
neither akusala citta nor kusala citta; it is an ahetuka kiriyacitta.
After the mano-dvaaraavajjana-citta has adverted to the object it is
succeeded by either kusala cittas or akusala cittas (in the case of
non-arahats), which experience that same object.
When visible object is experienced through the mind-door the cittas
only know visible object, they do not pay attention to shape and form
or think of a person or a thing. But time and again there are also
other mind-door processes of cittas which think of people or things
and then the object is a concept, not visible object. The experience
of visible object conditions the thinking of concepts of people and
things which arises later on.
All the time sense objects impinge on the different doorways. They
appear just for a moment, and then they fall away. The Buddha pointed
out the dangers of being infatuated with the objects we experience
through the six doors. He taught people to develop the wisdom which
knows the realities experienced through the six doors as naama and
ruupa, phenomena which are impermanent and non-self. What is
impermanent is ``dukkha'', it cannot be happiness. When we come to
know things as they are, we will be less infatuated with objects.
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