Javana of a Citta – The Root of Mental Power

1. The power of the human mind has been discussed in several posts starting with “Power of the Human Mind – Introduction”. There different kinds of citta and the powerful ones are called javana citta (“javana” means an arrow in flight; it can be highly potent).

  • Such javana citta are responsible for abhisankhara: sankhara that are potent and will lead to (good or bad) consequences. Punnabhisankhara are the meritorious abhisankhara that will lead to good consequences and apunnabhisankhara are the immoral abhisankhara that lead to bad consequences.
  • Javana citta arise in both pancadvara citta vithi and manodvara citta vithi when the object is very clear and strong; see, “Citta Vithi – Processing of Sense Inputs“.

2. Out of the 54 types of citta in the kama loka (the 11 lower realms including the human realm), 29 are javana citta: 12 akusala citta, 8 maha kusala citta, 8 maha kiriya citta, and the functional smile-producing citta (the latter 9 cittas only for an Arahant).

  • A kusala citta generates power for rebirth in human or above realms, AND also helps with progressing towards Nibbana or “cooling down”.
  • When one does an akusala citta, one is generating power to form kammic energy for rebirth in the apayas (lowest 4 realms).
  • Thus for normal human beings, there are only 20 cittas out of 54 that are javana citta: 12 for doing bad deeds and 8 for good deeds (here deeds means thought, speech or bodily action).
  • To re-emphasize, vipaka citta vithi do not have javana citta. Thus in the detection of any sense input (seeing, hearing, etc), javana citta are absent; they are called prittarammana (slight) and atiparittarammana (very slight) citta vithi. However, based on these vipaka citta vithi, we MAY instantly initiate potent atimahattarammana (very great) and mahattarammana (great) citta vithi that will have javana citta in them.
  • Thus if we start making plans (buy that picture, re-listen to that song, etc) based on those visuals, sounds, etc, then those subsequent citta vithi will have javana citta in them, and lead to abhisankhara (GENERATE kammic power).

3. Not all akusala javana citta have same power. Also see, “How to Evaluate Weights of Different Kamma” and “12. Key Factors to be Considered when “Meditating” for the Sotapanna Stage“.

  • Out of the 8 greed-rooted citta, those 4 done with pleasure (somanassa-sahagata) are stronger than the  done with neutral feeling.
  • Next those associated with micca ditthi (or ditthi-sahagata) are more powerful than the 4 generated without wrong vision (or ditthi-vippayutta).
  • Finally, those greed-rooted citta are sorted according to whether they arose spontaneously (sometimes erroneously labelled as asankharika) or with the intention of receiving something in return, i.e., sasankharika.
  • The two hate-rooted akusala citta are always done with displeasure and are associated with aversion (dislike), and the one that is spontaneous (unprompted) is stronger than the prompted.
  • The two ignorance-rooted akusala citta are always done with neutral feeling and the one that is based on vicikicca is stronger than the based on uddhacca.

4. The above list gives order of strength of the akusala citta and they are listed in that order in “Conditions for the Four Stages of Nibbana”.

  • Thus the first lobha citta that is “connected with wrong view, accompanied by pleasure” or in Pali, “somanassa-sahagata, ditthi-sampayutta citta” is the strongest akusala javana citta.
  • The last of the 12 akusala citta is “one accompanied by equanimity and associated with high-mindedness” or in Pali, “upekkha-sahagata uddhacca-sampayutta citta“.

5. The power of the human mind can be directed both ways: for the good or the bad. Now let us see how the 8 maha kusala (wholesome) citta are sorted according to the javana power.

  • Here again, there are 4 done with joyous heart (somanassa-sahagata) that take precedence over those done with neutral feeling.
  • Next, those done with knowledge (understanding of anicca, dukkha, anatta) called “nana-sampayutta” have higher power compared to those done without knowledge (nana-vippayutta).
  • Finally, they are sorted by whether spontaneous (higher) compared to prompted.

6. Thus the most potent kusala citta is “one accompanied by joy, associated with knowledge” or in Pali, “somanassa-sahagata, nana-sampayutta citta”.

Here one does a good deed with full understanding of its benefits, and thus with a joyous heart, and without any prompting. It is done spontaneously and joyfully, BECAUSE one is fully aware of its benefit. Since it is spontaneous the knowledge must be there in one’s mind.

  • The weakest kusala citta is, “one accompanied by neutral mind, dissociated with knowledge, and for one’s advantage” or in Pali, “upekkha-sahagata, nana-vippayutta, sasankharika citta”. Here one may do a good deed without knowledge either on the prompting by others or after some deliberation. Such deeds will bring benefits, but since the javana power is reduced, the benefits are less.

7. Let us take some examples for clarification.

  • Some people are so deep in the wrong path, that they actually enjoy committing bad deeds. Or, they get into a mindset where such deeds become enjoyable. We have heard of instances where a person was killed by multiple stabbings or even where the body was mutilated; such an act is worst of the worst.
  • It should be easy to imagine why the javana for citta associated with such “passionate” killings are very intense. The killer is absorbed in that act, and is generating potent mental power to carry out the physical act; by the way any physical act is done with citta; see, “Neuroscience says there is no Free Will? – That is a Misinterpretation”.
  • This is also why a kamma becomes a “kamma patha” or a “strong kamma” when a bodily act is committed; one needs strong javana to carry out that task. If one is aware of the consequences of such acts (i.e., do not have micca ditthi or wrong vision), then even if one started stabbing, it is likely that one may catch oneself and stop.

8. On the other hand, even the smallest act of kindness can bring much benefits if it was done with full understanding and a joyous heart. Here the “mental power” or the javana comes from knowledge or understanding. We see these kinds of ‘small acts of kindness” all the time, and we can even share in those merits when our hearts become joyful too.

  • For a well-off person, it is easy to write a check for a lot of money, but if it was done just to get publicity, or due to “outside pressure”, it will not bring much benefit. If someone who is poor sees another person that is in even worse condition, and shares what he/she can with that person with joy, that will bring much more benefit.

9. The javana power of a mind is also described by the term “sanvega” (san + vega, where “vega” means fast; see, “What is “San”? – Meaning of Sansara” for the meaning of “san“). Therefore, “sanvega” (sometimes called “samvega“) depicts a potent emotional condition. If it is to the “good” one will be doing punnabhi abhisankhara (meritorious acts), and a bad act done with “sanvega” will be a potent apunnabhi abhisankhara (immoral acts).

  • In the literature “sanvega” is commonly written as “samvega”; as with many other such words, replacing “san” with “sam” leads to distortion of the meaning of the word. Other such misspelled words are samsara, samvedana, samyoga, samvara; see, “What is “San”? – Meaning of Sansara“.
  • However, some word like “samma” (“san” + “ma“) are correct, because that is phonetically correct.
  • In Sinhala language, “sanvega” is commonly used to describe emotionally  intense situations but mostly for sad situations. However, we can see that it should be applicable for all “potent” emotional situations.

10. The mind and the heart are in close contact. Even that person who derived pleasure by stabbing someone many times, will have a heavy heart until death, no matter how bad a person he/she is. It is in the human nature. Of course, when we do a meritorious act too, we feel the joy in our hearts.

11. Getting back to the issue of mental power, it is clear that it makes a big difference on “how much engaged we are” in our thoughts. Potency of a good or a bad citta is critically dependent on our desire to get it done. Three out of four bases of mental power, chanda, citta, viriya, originate due to this; see, “The Four Bases of Mental Power (Satara Iddhipada)“.

  • And the fourth factor of vimansa (reasoning/investigation) is important because that is how one gains the all-important nana (wisdom); see #5,#6 above. When one truly comprehends anicca, dukkha, anatta, that is leads to the cultivation/growing of the panna cetasika reducing ignorance (avijja).

12. Another thing that comes out of this analysis is that it is good to contemplate on the past good deeds and “re-live” that experience to gain citta pasäda or a joyful mind.

  • Similarly, it is NOT good to do that for past bad deeds; better to forget them and get a new start. If something like that comes to the mind, think of an opposite good deed and focus the mind on the good deed.
  • This is part of “Anapana“. We need to keep and cultivate “good things” and “discard” bad things; see, “What is Änapäna?“.
  • Our thoughts are what ultimately matter, and they arise due to our character (gathi); the more we do “Anapana” correctly, the more our “gathi” will change for the better.
  1. Finally, These javana citta have the power to produce suddhashtaka, the fundamental building blocks of rupa; see, “The Origin of Matter – Suddhashtaka“.

Next, “Cuti-Patisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description“, …………

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