Akusala Citta and Akusala Vipāka Citta

Revised November 4, 2017; October 27, 2021

Twelve Types of Akusala Cittā

All ten akusala kamma are done with these 12 akusala cittā. There are eight greed-rooted, two hatred-rooted, and two delusion-rooted cittā. Of course, cittā (pronounced “chiththā”) are thoughts; any speech or bodily action starts with a thought.

Both greed-rooted and hatred-rooted also have delusion as a root.

Root Assoc. with Feeling Sasankhārika?
1 Greed Wrong view Pleasure No
2 Greed Wrong view Pleasure Yes
3 Greed Pleasure No
4 Greed Pleasure Yes
5 Greed Wrong view Equanimity No
6 Greed Wrong view Equanimity Yes
7 Greed Equanimity No
8 Greed Equanimity Yes
9 Dislike (paṭigha) Aversion Displeasure No
10 Dislike (paṭigha) Aversion Displeasure Yes
11 Delusion Vicikicca Equanimity
12 Delusion Uddacca Equanimity


1. The first citta is described as, ” a thought rooted in greed (and delusion), associated with wrong views, accompanied by pleasure”. The others can be stated the same way.

  • Those cittā associated with wrong views are the worst, even though wrong views are listed as #10 on the ten immoral actions, see “Ten Immoral Actions (Dasa Akusala).”
  • Cittā generated with pleasure means one is enthusiastic about an ārammaṇa because it matches one’s habits (gati.) For example, one who likes to go fishing has a bad habit; he gets pleasure by just thinking about it. That person would generate stronger kamma than another who just goes along fishing with others without enthusiasm (with equanimity.)
  • A hateful citta is always arises with displeasure, but that displeasure can arise with ignorance. For example, someone who has wrong views may generate displeasure towards a moral person merely because of one’s wrong views. I have encountered some people who got upset with me when I pointed out that rebirth has evidence for it.
  • Sasankhārika means with less javana power.
  • See, the notes at the end of the post “Conditions for the Four Stages of Nibbāna” for details.

2. Since vicikicca is also due to wrong views, those five cittā marked in red are the strongest akusala citta with “wrong views” or “diṭṭhi.” Those five cittā stop arising in the mind of a Sōtapanna.

They can condition one’s mind to a “gati” suitable for birth in the apāyā; see, “What is in a Thought? Why Gati are so Important?“. 

  • The vyāpada or the strong hate — that makes one eligible for birth in the apāyā –actually arises from the first four types of lōbha citta. It is also called “dvesa” or “dvesha” which means “second manifestation” or (“dvi +”vesa“) of lobha. When one is burdened with extreme greed, it can become the second manifestation of extreme hate for anyone in the way.
  • Upon attaining the Sōtapanna stage, such habits or “gati” are removed, and thus no adverse kamma vipāka comes to mind at the dying moment, as we point out below. The “pati+ichcha sama+uppāda” or what is born is similar to what is grasped, is at play at the dying moment. One automatically grasps things one has a habit of liking; they automatically come to the forefront of the mind at the dying moment.

3. The other seven akusala citta are stopped from arising in stages as a Sōtapanna cultivates the Path further.

  • The two dislike (paṭigha)-rooted cittā (together with some potency of the remaining four greed-based citta, i.e., kāma rāga) are reduced at the Sakadāgami stage.
  • Those two dislike-rooted cittā are stopped from arising at the Anāgāmi stage. Also, the potency of the remaining four greed-based citta, i.e., kāma rāga, is reduced to just kāma level.
  • Finally, the remaining four greed-based citta and the uddacca citta are removed at the Arahant stage. Thus an Arahant will never experience an akusala citta.
Seven Types of Akusala Vipaka Citta

4. These 12 types of citta lead to 7 types of vipāka (resultant) citta.

  • None of the vipāka citta has any unwholesome roots (greed, hate, delusion); of course, they also do not have wholesome roots. Thus they are called rootless (ahētuka) citta.

5. Five of these akusala vipāka cittā are the ones that lead to (undesirable) sense events through the five physical senses. Thus they are responsible for eye-consciousness (cakkhu viññāna), ear-consciousness (sota viññāna), nose consciousness (ghāna viññāna), taste consciousness (jivhā viññāna), and body consciousness (kāya viññāna).

6. The sixth akusala vipāka citta is called receiving consciousness accompanied by equanimity (upekkha-sahagata sampaṭicchana citta). This citta accepts the sensory input (we will discuss it in the Abhidhamma section).

7. The seventh akusala vipāka citta is called the investigating consciousness accompanied by equanimity (upekkha-sahagata santirana citta). This is the citta that is responsible for the birth in the apāyā (lowest four realms), i.e., it acts as the paṭisandhi citta for the birth in the apāyā.

8. One may wonder how a Sōtapanna avoids the apāyā because he/she is still capable of generating the seven cittā that are not associated with diṭṭhi (see the table above). Thus it is possible to generate this apāyagami-paṭisandhi citta.

  • The point is that after becoming a Sōtapanna, such vipāka thoughts do not come to the mind at the last thought processes; only the good kamma vipāka come to the forefront of the mind close to the dying moment because he/she no longer has the “gati” suitable for a birth in the apāyā.

9. It is hard to give up one’s bad habits (“gati“), mainly because one does not fully comprehend the true nature of the world, i.e., anicca, dukkha, anatta, and thus has wrong views about this world with 31 realms. One needs to comprehend that one’s actions have consequences not only in this life but (mainly) in future lives. Also, whatever one gains from such harmful actions are temporary AND would not leave one with a peaceful mind.

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