Citta question

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    • #45425


      I understand that the answers may be somewhere or will come some time. But all this takes a lifetime perhaps. I am plagued by the following questions:

      1. Is there ABSOLUTELY one and one Citta operating in one moment (I understand that moment may be in nano seconds or similar). I understand that each citta has an unique function. But can there be several cittas “present” while one citta is acting currently? I understand that one citta passes away and another citta arises (conditioned by previous) but then if that is so the “weight” of citta becomes more ( as filled with more defilements)? 
      2. Are the hetus somewhere residing? IS hetu part of citta/cetasika as arising and going away? The “root” suggests something deep and I am not able to understand its part of something transient.

      Thank you for your patience with my questions.



    • #45426

      The following are some basics. Hopefully, it will help you get started in answering your questions. 

      1. The mind is in a “neutral state” (bhavanga) when not active, for example, while you sleep or doze off after a heavy meal. It comes to an “active state” when triggered by a sensory input (arammana.) 

      • That can be compared to a car in idle mode (neutral) and start moving when the gear is engaged. 

      2. When an arammana comes through one of the five physical senses, a series of cittas (citta vithi) with 17 cittas runs through the mind. If the mind “gets attached” to that sensory input, thousands of such citta vithi flow through the mind within a few minutes. 

      • The Buddha summarized what is “experienced.” into five main categories: rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana. Here “rupa” could be one of the five types (sights, sounds, smell, taste, touch). Vedana could be sukha, dukkha, or neutral. Sanna means the recognition of sensory input. Vinnana is the overall sensory experience (and any expectation arising from that experience.) 
      • We only feel the “collective effect” of many such citta vithi. That is why they are rupakkhandha, vedanakkhandha, sannakkhandha, sankharakkhandha, and vinnanakkhandha. Here “khandha” means a “pile” or an aggregate because it is based on thousands/millions of citta vithis.

      3. The type of vedana depends on the arammana and the person (asava,anusaya, gati). See “The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Āsavas)” and “Habits, Goals, and Character (Gati)

      • Then each person will act accordingly, generating different types of sankhara. That is “kamma formation.”

      4. If the arammana (sensory input) is strong, the mind may stay in that “mindset” for a while, not going back to the “natural bhavanga” until that event wears off. For example, upon hearing about the death of a close relative, the mind may stay in a temporary “sad bhavanga state” for even a few days.

      That is a very brief summary.

      The following section could also be helpful: “Essential Abhidhamma – The Basics.”

      • In the beginning, try to get the main ideas. Once getting started, it will become easier.
    • #45444

      Thank you very much. I did read those posts in Essential Abhidhamma Basics. Thanks for connecting with the 5 khandas. This requires more slower and deeper reflection. Ok sorry to ask this. Can one say that the “bhavanga” stream is like a flow of river, the river that continues from past lives that stores all past habits, impressions, deep-rooted vices (lobha etc) ? Perhaps these roots arise from the bhavanga stream (this helps me to visualize) and they have to arise from somewhere instead of cittas bearing the burden of past karmas and roots (otherwise the cittas will carry huge atomic weight like uranium!). Cittas arise from moment by moment and the bhavanga provides the “base” and raw material for each citta and eventually of course the goal being to eliminate the akusala aspects of consciousness….the cittas become more leaner…and the bhavanga stream can also become less dense….

      Let me know if I am making sense and sorry if I am being a little deviant from   the teachings. I am trying to connect the dots. 


    • #45446

      And thank you for your remaining points. I am going over them too.



    • #45449

      Glad to hear that you are making progress. Don’t worry. Once you get started, it will become easier. 

      Bhavanga is associated with one bhava, for example, as long as one’s rebirths are within the “human bhava” all rebirths within that human bhava (i.e., human jati) will have the same bhavanga.

      Please feel free to ask questions if the above two posts don’t have the answers to your questions. It is important to resolve these issues before proceeding further.

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