How Many Citta Can Arise in a Second?

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    • #18093
      Lal
      Keymaster

      We all have seen the phrase, “billions of citta arise in a second” or “billions of citta arise in a blink of an eye”. I have used these phrases too, without thinking too much about it.

      But I would like to see a reference in the Tipitaka. Does anyone have a reference in the Sutta Pitaka or the Abhidhamma Pitaka)? I would not trust any late commentaries like Visuddhimagga.

    • #18094
      y not
      Participant

      ???

      How then has the idea been presented as a fact…….. and, moreover, in Buddhadhamma ?

    • #18095
      SengKiat
      Moderator

      There may not be any mention in the Tipitaka, but look at what was written 3 years ago:
      Download a copy for keeping…
      The Human Brain vs. Supercomputers… Which One Wins?

      or view at the webpage…
      The Human Brain vs. Supercomputers… Which One Wins?

      In the above webpage, it is mentioned that:
      In contrast, our miraculous brains operate on the next order higher. Although it is impossible to precisely calculate, it is postulated that the human brain operates at 1 exaFLOP, which is equivalent to a billion billion calculations per second.”

      Much metta.

    • #18099
      y not
      Participant

      SengKiat,

      I see. ( I am not going to the two links you provide just yet).

      Thank you.

      much Metta.

    • #18100
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I may have given a wrong impression.

      I have no doubts that a mind is much faster than any computer. In fact, it is entirely possible that when fully in the “monodvara“, there can indeed be billions of citta flowing in the mind. This happens when one is in a jhana samapatti (where the jhana citta flows without interruption) or phala samapatti (where the phala citta flows without interruption).

      However, when a sense input comes through one of the five PHYSICAL sense faculties (eyes,ears,nose, tongue, and the body), that signal has to be first processed by the brain, as I discussed : “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body“.

      According to the scientists, it takes times of the order of milliseconds (thousandth of a second) to process such signals. In the recent post, “Amazingly Fast Time Evolution of a Thought (Citta)“, I in fact showed that the process in the “monodvara” must be very fast (matching with billions of citta per second).

      So, basically I would like to see some reference in the Tipitaka about how fast these pancdvara citta vithi can be.
      – To put it in another way, is there a mention in the Tipitaka how many manodvara EVENTS can take place per second? The 17 citta within that citta vithi is likely to flow at the rate of billions of citta per second.

      There is no way that any single person can read and understand the whole Tipitaka. I have no problem of having faith in what Waharaka Thero taught, because it is all self-consistent. I started reading the suttas only in 2017, after the Parinibbana of the Waharaka Thero, and I have not seen a single piece of contradiction yet.

      It is just that when an intriguing point like this comes up, it is good to find out more details from the Tipitaka if possible.

      It is also possible that there is no specific mention of these processes in detail in the Tipitaka. It is impossible to describe all the details, especially since the Tipitaka was designed to be transmitted orally and was transmitted orally for several hundred years, before it was written down.

      One more point: It is also not necessary to learn all these details about how the mind works, in order to attain any magga phala. If one can grasp the anicca, dukkha, anatta nature, that is all that is needed.
      – But another goal that I have is to get a complete description of these “mind processes” as much as possible. It is fascinating, and it shows how deep Buddha Dhamma can go. It will help generating true faith in some people, who are not “saddhanusari“.
      – All these descriptions probably are boring for “saddhanusari“.

    • #18102
      y not
      Participant

      Thank you for the explanation Lal,

      “I have no problem of having faith in what Waharaka Thero taught”

      …and I have no problem having faith in the teaching you are spreading Lal. It is not flattery. That goes too for anyone who has attained any stage of magga phala. You have corrected yourself on several occasions, and in most cases it was only a question of a modification to or a refinement of what you had stated originally, and sometimes even of an obvious slip in spelling or format.

      “It is also not necessary to learn all these details about how the mind works, in order to attain any magga phala. If one can grasp the anicca, dukkha, anatta nature, that is all that is needed.” THIS, as always, above all. Thank you for ever reminding us of it.

      Ever so grateful

    • #18294
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I found a sutta where the Buddha says it is hard to find any phenomena in this world that changes faster than the mind: “Aṅguttara Nikāya (1.48)“.

      The short sutta says: “Nāhaṃ, bhikkhave, aññaṃ ekadhammampi samanupassāmi yaṃ evaṃ lahuparivattaṃ yathayidaṃ cittaṃ. Yāvañcidaṃ, bhikkhave, upamāpi na sukarā yāva lahuparivattaṃ cittan”ti.”

      Translated: “I consider, bhikkhus, that there is no phenomenon that comes and goes so quickly as citta. It is not easy to find an analogy (a simile) to show how quickly citta can change.”

      Modern science says there are many things that occur in the femto-second time scale. That is million billion times per second. So, citta could change faster than that, and therefore those quotations are correct regarding how fast citta can arise.

    • #19184
      Dr. J Chakma
      Participant

      With my limited understanding of Abhidhamma, I would like to say few things:
      1) There can be approximately 600 citta vithi per second if all six senses are actively working, followed by 1800 manodvara citta vithi (3 mind door citta vithi follows every sense door citta vithi). Because human brain takes approximately 10 millisecond to process a sense input. And once brain send the signal (sanna) to mind (hadaya vattu), mind receives and instruct brain practically within billionth of a second or we can say that min do not need any time for processing a signal sent by brain.
      2) While brain processes the sense input, mind is in bhavanga state and bhavanga citta arise at that time (i.e. bhavanga citta arise in the tune of billions per second).
      So, we can say that per second (when mind is very active) 600 pancadvara citta vithi, 1800 manodvara citta vithi and billions of bhavanga citta flows. OR something close to this.

    • #19186
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Dr.J Chakma said: “1) There can be approximately 600 citta vithi per second if all six senses are actively working, followed by 1800 manodvara citta vithi (3 mind door citta vithi follows every sense door citta vithi). Because human brain takes approximately 10 millisecond to process a sense input. ”

      That is true in the case of pancadvara citta vithi. The “time lag” of approximately 10 milliseconds takes for the brain to process a signal coming though the five physical senses. However, the time lag could be smaller, since the brain may be able to process signals coming from the five physical senses in parallel. So, the time lag could be smaller by a factor of two. In any case, these are estimates based on current scientific findings. The actual numbers could change.

      Regarding #2: While the brain is processing those external signals, the mind could be in a bhavanga state or in an active manodvara state. It is a complex situation.

      The only thing we can say with certainty is that the mind — at a given time instant — will be in just one of the following states: processing a pancadvara citta vithi, processing a manodvara citta vithi, or in a bhavanga state.

      Jhana (or phala) samapatti is a special case, where a single manodvara citta vithi can run uninterrupted for hours.

    • #25568
      sumbodhi
      Spectator

      To add some more science, as of now, the “shortest time” is the Plank time which is the time it takes light to travel one Plank distance. It’s unimaginably shorter than a femtosecond. Of course Plank time would be the upper limit as far as science is concerned. If dhammā are all ruled by physical law (the broader definition of “physical laws”) then that would be the speed of cittā arising.

      However, as far as “matter” is concerned, the shortest lifetime of an elementary particle would be the lifetime of certain bosons which is in the yoctosecond scale, which is a septillionth of a second (a quadrillion billionth of a second).

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