Reply To: Paccaya


Yes. “Paccaya” is a bit hard to put into words. I hope the following comments can help.

1. Dosakkhayo’s statement, ” For example, avijja paccaya sankhara does not mean one always acts foolishly, but when in a certain condition(like seeing a wallet on the street) he/she does some immoral things with avijja” conveys the right idea.

  • Let me give another example. Suppose a weak person (X) is being harrassed/hit by a strong person (Y.) X could be thinking, “If I had a gun, I would shoot him right now.” But since X did not have a gun, he could not kill Y. The “avijja” mindset was there, but he did not have the necessary condition (a gun) to carry out what he wanted to do.
  • Of course, X would accumulate kammic energy via “vaci kamma” (vitakka/vicara or “defiled thoughts with the intention to kill” running through his mind.) But that is not as strong as a “kaya kamma” (shooting and killing Y.)


2. Now, let us look at the second part:

“But I still have a second problem: I can not see the paccaya of ‘phassa paccaya vedana.’

Let me explain this problem a little bit more.

In the ‘sankhara paccaya vinnana’ step, the paccaya is the situation where abhisankhara seems to have solved the problem. In that situation, stealing and eating bread (abhisankhara) can lead to the expectation (kamma vinnana) that ‘stealing bread solves hunger’ or ‘It is okay to think that stealing bread is a good solution’.

Such situations include that he was putting his hunger first before anything else, that he was praised by others for stealing bread, or that he decided to think it was okay for himself so as not to feel guilty. So the paccaya in the ‘phassa paccaya vedana’ step is also a situation.

But if samphassa ja vedana has no choice but to come right after samphassa in the citta vithi, why does vedana need extra paccaya?

Or doesn’t ‘A paccaya B’ mean that ‘B needs an additional paccaya besides A to happen’?

  • There are two types of “vedanā” involved. He felt huger, and that is one vedanā. That vedanā arose first with the sensation of hunger where only the “phassacetasika was involved.
  • When the idea of “stealing bread” is established in the mind, that is a “samphassa” (contact with “san“) and NOT “phassa.” With “samphassa” a second type of vedanā arises: “samphassa-jā-vedanā.” 
  • Note that in Paticca Samuppada, “phassa paccayā vēdanā” ALWAYS means “samphassa paccayā samphassa-jā-vedanā.”
  • I have made a few revisions to the post “What Does “Paccayā” Mean in Paṭicca Samuppada?