Pañcaskandhaprakaraṇa (A DISCUSSION OF THE FIVE AGGREGATES) by Vasubandhu

Pañcaskandhaprakaraṇa (A DISCUSSION OF THE FIVE AGGREGATES) by Vasubandhu

Pañcaskandhaprakaraṇa (T. phung po lnga’i rab tu byed pa, ཕུང་པོ་ལྔའི་རབ་ཏུ་བྱེད་པ་; C. 大乘五蕴论(大乘五蘊論) Dàshèng wǔ yùn lùn), or Summary of the Five Heaps, is a commentary by the Indian scholar Vasubandhu. Commentaries on this work by Sthiramati, Gunaprabha and Pṛthivībandhu are preserved in the Tibetan Tengyur.

A DISCUSSION OF THE FIVE AGGREGATES

Homage to Manjusri-kumära-bhüta

1. The five aggregates are the aggregate of materialities, the aggregate of feelings, the aggregate of cognitions, the aggregate of motivational dispositions, and the aggregate of consciousnesses.

What is materiality?’ Materiality is whatever has dimensionality, and consists of all of the four great elements, and everything that is derived from the four; great elements.

And what are the four great elements? The earth-element, water-element, fire-element, and wind-element.
Among these, what is the earth-element ? It is solidity.
What is the water-element ? It is liquidity.
What is the fire-element? It is heat.
What is the wind-element? It is gaseousness.2

What is derived from them ? The sense-organ of the eye, the sense-organ of the ear, the sense-organ of the nose, the sense-organ of the tongue, the sense-organ of the body, visibles, sounds, smells, tastes, everything that can be subsumed under tactile sensations, and unmanifest action.3
And among these, what is the senseorgan of the eye ? It is sentient materiality which has color as its sense-object. What is the sense-organ of the ear? It is sentient materiality which has sounds as its sense-object.

What is the sense-organ of the nose ? It is sentient materiality which has smells as its sense-object.
What is the sense-organ of the tongue ? It is sentient materiality which has tastes as its sense-object. What is the sense-organ of the body ? It is sentient materiality which has tactile sensations as its sense-object.

And what are visibles ? They are the sense-objects of the eye : color, configuration, and manifest action.4
And what are sounds? They are the sense-objects of the ear, having as their causes great elements appropriated by the body, or great elements unappropriated.
And what are smells? They are the sense-objects of the nose : pleasant smells, unpleasant smells, and those which are neither.
And what are tastes ? They are the sense-objects of the tongue : sweet, sour, salty, sharp, bitter, and astringent.
What is everything that can be subsumed under tactile sensations? They are the sense-objects of the body : the great elements themselves, softness, hardness, heaviness, lightness, coldness, hunger, and thirst.
What is unmanifest action? It is materiality which has arisen from manifest action or meditational concentration: it is invisible and exercises no resistance.5

2. And what are feelings? They are experiences, and are of three kinds: pleasure, suffering, and that which is neither pleasure nor suffering. Pleasure is whatever there arises a desire to be connected with again, once it has stopped. Suffering is whatever there arises a desire to be separated from, once it has arisen. That which is neither pleasure nor suffering is whatever towards which neither desire arises, once it has arisen.

3. And what are cognitions? They are the grasping of signs in a sense-object.6 They are of three kinds : indefinite, definite, and immeasurable. Gunaprabhain his Pancaskandha-vivaranaexplains “immeasurable cognitions” as follows: one can have a cognition of immeasurability, of space, of the ocean, etc.

4. And what are motivational dispositions ? They are events associated with cittas,7 other than feelings and cognitions, and those that are disassociated from cittas.

Among these, what are the events associated with cittas ? They are whatever events are associated with cittas.
And what are they ? They are contact, mental attention, feelings, cognitions, volitions, zest, confidence, memory or mindfulness, meditational concentration, insight, faith, inner shame, dread of blame, the rootof-the-beneficial of lack of greed, the root-of-the-beneficial of lack of hostility, the root-of-the-beneficial of lack of confusion, vigor, tranquility, carefulness, equanimity, attitude of nonharming, attachment, aversion, pride, ignorance, views, doubt, anger, malice, hypocrisy, maliciousness, envy, selfishness, deceitfulness, guile, mischievous exuberance, desire to harm, lack of shame, lack of dread of blame, mental fogginess, excitedness, lack of faith, sloth, carelessness, loss of mindfulness, distractedness, lack of recognition, regret, torpor, initial mental application, and subsequent discursive thought.

Among these, the first five occur in every citta. The next five are certain only with specific objects-of-sense. The next eleven are beneficial. The next six are afflictions. The rest are secondary afflictions. The last four also become different (i.e. they are capable of being either afflictions or beneficial).

And what is contact ? It is the distinguishing which comes after the three (sense-organ, object-of-sense, and corresponding consciousness) have met together.
And what is mental attention ? It is the entering into done by a citta.
What is volition ? It is mental action, which impels a citta towards good qualities, flaws, and that which is neither.
And what is zest ? It is desire towards a range of events of which there is consciousness.
And what is confidence ? It is holding to certainty in regard to a range of events of which there is certainty.

What is memory? It is the non-forgetting of a range of events towards which there is acquaintance, and is a certain kind of discourse of citta.
What is meditational concentration ? It is one-pointedness of citta towards an examined range of events.8
What is insight. ? It is discernments as regards the same, and is either understanding, that which has arisen from not having understood, or that which is different from these two.
What is faith ? It is firm conviction, desire, and serenity of citta towards action, its results, the beneficial,, and the Gems.9

What is inner shame? It is a shame coming about through a committed offense, in which the self, or rather the (psychological) event responsible, is predominant.
And what is dread of blame ? It is that shame towards others that comes about through a committed offense, in which the outer world is predominant.
What is lack of greed ? It is the antidote to greed, a non-attachment to that which is arising in manas.10
What is lack of hostility 1 It is the antidote to hostility, and is loving kindness. What is lack of confusion ? It is the antidote to confusion, and is right recognition.
And what is vigor? It is the antidote to sloth, and is enthusiasm of citta towards the beneficial. And what is tranquility ? It is the antidote to a situation of susceptibility to harm, and is a skill in bodily and mental action.

And what is carefulness? It is the antidote to carelessness, a cultivation of those beneficial events which are antidotes, and abandoning unbeneficial events through continuing in those beneficial factors : lack of greed, up to vigor. What is equanimity? It is whatever evenness of citta, remaining in a tranquil state of citta, total tranquility in citta continuing in those factors-lack of greed up to vigor, through which there is continuity in a state without afflictions through the clearing away of afflicted events.

And what is an attitude of non-harming ? It is the antidote to an attitude of harming, and is compassion. And what is attachment! It is adherence to any fixed intent in appropriating aggregates.11

And what is aversion ? It is z tormented volition towards sentient beings.
And what is pride! There are seven kinds of pride :basic pride, greater pride, the pride that is more than pride, the pride of thinking “I am”, conceit, the pride of thinking deficiency, and false pride. Basic pride is any inflation of citta which considers, through a smallness, either “I am greater”, or “I am equal”.
What is greater pride ? Greater pride is any inflation of citta which considers, through an equality, that “I am greater” or “I am endowed with greatness.”
And what is pride that is more than pride? It is any inflation of citta which considers, through a greatness, that “I am great”.

And what is the pride of thinking “I am”? It is any inflation of citta which is connected with the view of either “I am” or “mine” in regard to appropriating aggergates.
And what is conceit ? It is any inflation of citta which considers, in regard to an excellence which was previously obtained in another moment, but is no longer, “I’ve attained it.”

And what is the pride of thinking deficiency? It is any inflation of citta which considers, “I am only a little bit inferior to those of greatly excellent qualities.”
And what is false pride? It is any inflation of citta which considers “I am endowed with good qualities” when good qualities have not been acquired.

And what is ignorance ? It is lack of knowledge regarding action, results of action, the Truths, and the Gems, and also the mentally constructed that rises together with it. In the realm of desires12, there are three roots-of-the-unbeneficial: attachment, aversion, and ignorance, and these are the same as the roots-of-theunbeneficial greed, hostility, and confusion.

And what are views ? These views are generally of five kinds : the view of a fixed self in the body, views regarding the permanence or impermanence of the elements constituting personality, false views, adherence to particular views, and adherence to mere rule and ritual.
And what is the view of a fixed self in the body? It is an afflicted udgment viewing either an ” I ” or “mine” in the appropriating aggregates.

And what are views regarding the permanence or the impermanence of the elements constituting personality? They relate to these same elements (the appropriating aggregates), and are afflicted judgments viewing them as either lasting or discontinuous.
And what are false views? They are any afflicted judgments which involve fear towards the elements of existence, and which cast aspersions on the efficacy of cause and effect. What is adherence to particular views? It is any afflicted judgment viewing these same three views, and the aggregates which continue in them, as being the best, the most excellent, attained, and most exalted.

And what is attachment to mere rules and rituals? It is any afflicted judgment seeing in rules and rituals, and in the aggregates continuing in them, purity, liberation, and a leading to Nirvana. And what is doubt1 It is any two-mindedness as regards the Truths, etc. The latter three of those afflicted views mentioned above, and doubt, are the basic mentally constructed. The rest of these views are the mentally constructed that often arise together with those.13

What is anger! It is any tormented volition of citta which all of a sudden becomes intent on doing harm.
What is malice! It is taking hold of a hostility. What is hypocrisy! It is unwillingness to recognize one’s/own faults. What is maliciousness. It is being enslaved by unpleasant speech. What is envy! It is an agitation of citta at the attainments of another.
What is selfishness! It is a holding fast to a citta which is not in accord with giving.
What is deceitfulness! It is attempting to show forth to another an unreal object through an action of decoying.

What is guile! It is a deceitfulness of citta which seizes an opportunity for making secret one’s own flaws.
What is mischievous exuberance! It is holding fast to a delighted citta unconnected with internal good qualities.
What is an attitude of harming! It is an intention unbeneficial towards sentient beings.

And what is lack of shame! It is a lack of internal shame at offences one has committed.
And what is lack of dread of blame! It is a lack of dread towards others at offences one has committed.

What is mental fogginess! It is a lack of skill in mental action, and is thickheadedness^
What is excitedness! It is lack of calm in citta.
What is lack of faith! It is a lack of trust in a citta, which is not in accord wfth faith, towards action and its results, the Truths and the Gems.
What is sloth! It is a lack of enthusiasm towards the beneficial in a citta, and is that which is not in accord with vigor.

What is carelessness! It is any non-guarding of citta from afflictions, and non-cultivation of the beneficial, which comes about by being linked with greed, hostility, confusion, or sloth. What is loss of mindfulness! It is an afflicted mindfulness, an unclarity as to the beneficial.

What is distractednessl It is any diffusion of citta, which partakes of greed, hostility, or confusion on the five sense-qualities of the realm of desires.
What is lack of recognition*} It is a judgment connected with afflictions, by which there is entry into not knowing what has been done by body, voice, or manas.

What is regret*! It is remorse, a piercing sensation in manas. What is torpor”! It is a contraction of citta which is without capacity for entering down into anything.
What is initial mental application’! A discourse of inquiry by manas, a certain kind of volition and discernment, which can be characterized as an indistinct state of citta.
What is {subsequent) discursive thought! A discourse of examination by manas, which in the same way can be characterized as a more precise state of citta.14

And what are the motivating dispositions disassociated from cittas! These are pure designations for situations in materialities, cittas, and events associated with cittas, and are designations only for these, and not for anything else.15

And what are they? Präpti, the attainment without cognitions, the attainment of the cessation of cognitions and feelings, any non-meditative state without cognitions, life-force, taking part in an organism, birth, decrepitude, continuity, lack of duration, the collection of words, the collection of phrases, the collection of syllables, the state of being separate from Dharma, and other factors like these.

Among these, what is präpti! It is becoming connected with something attained.16 Actually, it is a “seed”17, a capacity, an approachment, and an adjustment to circumstances.18
And what is an attainment free from cognitions’! It is any cessation of non-stable events: cittas and events associated with cittas, which is totally clear and separate from attainments, and which comes about through a mental attention dispensing with cognitions about to arise, where former cognitions do not exist.

And what is the attainment of the cessation of cognitions and feelings’! It is any cessation of non-stable and more stable events, cittas and events associated with cittas, which comes about through a mental attention dispensing with cognitions, continuing in which comes after the summits of existence have been practised, and which is separate even from those attainments present in the stage-of-nothing-whatever.19

And what is a non-meditative state without cognitions! It is the cessation of non-stable events: cittas and events associated with cittas, which- takes place, for instance, within those groups of gods which are sentient, but do not have cognitions.

What is life-force! It is, as regards any events taking part in an organism, any continuity, for a certain time, of motivating dispositions which have been projected by past action.
And what is taking part in an organism! It is any close interrelationship of bodily parts as regards sentient beings.20

What is birth! It is any arising of a stream of motivating dispositions which has not already arisen, as regards any collection of events taking part in an orgnism.
And what is decrepitude! It is an alteration in the stream of those like that (i.e. events taking part in an organism).

What is continuity! It is the serial propagation in the stream of those like that. What is lack of duration! It is the discontinuity in the stream of those like that. What is the collection of words! It is denotations for the own-beings of events. What is the collection of phrases ! It is denotations for the particularities of events.21

What is the collection of syllables ! They are the syllables of actual sound through which the other two are disclosed. Though these all refer to speech, meanings are communicated dependent on words and phrases. For the same syllable does not arise with another synonym.22
And what is the state of being separate from Dharma ! It is the non-attainment of noble psychological events.

These all are called “the aggregate of motivational dispositions”.

5. And what is consciousness ! It is awareness of an objectof-consciousness, visibles, etc. “Citta” and “manas” are the same as consciousness. They are so designated because of their variety, and because of their providing a mental basis, respectively.23 Actually, the store consciousness is also citta, as it accumulates the seeds for all motivating dispositions.24

Its objects-of-consciousness and aspects are undiscerned.25 It joins an assemblage pertaining to an organism into a felt relationship, and continues as a series of moment-events. Thus,
though there is awareness of a sense-object immediately upon emerging from the attainment of cessation of cognitions and feelings, the attainment free from cognitions, or a non-meditative state without cognitions, it arises as the consciousness of the attainments themselves; it is the state of evolvement into another aspect once there has been perception dependent upon any object-of-consciousness; it is the state of citta’s arising again even after the consciousness-stream has been severed; it is entry into Samsära* and transmigration in it.26

This same store-consciousness is the support of all the seeds, the basis and causality for the body, and the state of continuance in a body. It is also called “the appropriating consciousness”, because it appropriates a body. Used in the sense of a specific entity, manas is an object-of-consciousness, within the store-consciousness, a consciousness always connected with confusion of self, the view of a self, pride of self, love of self, etc. It also joins an assemblage pertaining to an organism into a felt relationship, and continues as a series of moment-events, but does not exist in a saint, the Noble Path, or at the time of the attainment of cessation.

Why are the aggregates thus designated ? It is through their collectivity, i.e. various kinds of materialities, etc., being heaped up together that “times”, “series”, “aspects”, “developments”, and “sense-objects” seem to occur.27

The twelve sense-fields are the sense-field of the eye and the sense-field of visibles, the sense-field of the ear and the sensefield of sounds, the sense-field of the nose and the sense-field of smells, the sense-field of the tongue and the sense-field of tastes, the sense-field of the body and the sense-field of tactile sensations, the sense-field of manas and the sense-field of mentally cognizables. The eye, visibles, the ear, sounds, the nose, smells, the tongue, tastes have all been discussed previously.

The sense-field of the tactile is the four great elements and everything (all the incredibly numerous various sensations) which can be subsumed under tactile sensations. The sense-field-of
manas is any aggregate of consciousness. The sense-field of mentally cognizables is feelings, cognitions, motivating dispositions, unmanifest action, and the uncompounded.

And what is the uncompounded ? Space, the cessation not through contemplation, the cessation through contemplation, and Such-ness.
Among these, what is space ? It is any interval separating materialities.28 What is a cessation not through contemplation ? It is any non-separation from cessation without antidotes to afflictions figuring in.29

And what is cessation through contemlation ? It is any non-separation from cessation, any constant non-arising of aggregates through antidotes to afflictions.
What is Suchness ? It is the “inherent nature (dharmata) of any event”, and is the selflessness of events.30

Why are these called “sense-fields” ? Because they are the doors to the rising of consciousness. The eighteen sensory domains are the domain of the eye, the domain of the visible, the domain of the visual consciousness; the domain of the ear, the domain of sounds, the domain of audial consciousness; the domain of the nose, the domain of smells, the domain of olfactory consciousness; the domain of the tongue, the domain of tastes, the domain of gustatory consciousness; the domain of the body, the domain of the tactile, the domain of tactile consciousness, the domain of the manas, the domain of mentally cognizables, and the domain of the mental consciousness.

The domains of the eye, etc., and the domains of visibles, etc., are the same as the sense-fields. The domains of the six consciousnesses are awarenesses with objects-of-consciousness in visibles, etc., and which are dependent on the eye, etc. The domain of manas is any of these consciousness-moments which are past immediately afterwards, because of the continuity of the sixth consciousness.31 In this way, the sensory domains have been determined as eighteen.

Ten of those sense-fields and domains ^the sensory organs and their objects) and that, part of the sense-field of mentally cognizables which may be subsumed under it (unmanifest action) constitute whatever is the aggregate of materiality. The sense-field of manas and the seven domains of citta (the visual, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, and mental consciousnesses, and the domain of mentally cognizables) constitute whatever is the aggregate of consciousness.

The sense-fields and domains of mentally cognizables also constitute whatever are the other three aggregates (feelings, cognitions, and motivating dispositions), one part of the aggregate of materiality which may be subsumed under it (unmanifest action), and the uncompounded.

Why are these called “domains” ? Because they grasp an “own-characteristic”, though without a “doer”.32
As to why they are called “aggregates”, etc., this serves as an antidote to the three kinds of grasping after self, in order. The three kinds, of grasping after self are grasping for one central entity, grasping for an “enjoyer”, and grasping for a “doer”.

Among these eighteen sensory domains, which contain materiality ? Whatever has the own-being of the aggregate of materiality. Which do not contain materiality ? The rest of them. Which can be seen ? Only the sensory domain of visibles is an object-of-sense which can be seen.33
Which are invisible ? The rest of them. Which exercise resistance ? The ten which contain materiality, which exercise resistance on each other.
Which do not exercise resistance ? The rest of them.

Which are liable to be connected with afflictions ?34^ Fifteen (i.e. the sensory domains of the eye to tactile consciousness), and part of the last three (manas, mentally cognizables, and mental consciousness).
Which are unliable to be connected with afflictions ? Part of the last three. Those because of having a scope allowing for the direct perception of the arising of afflictions.35
Which are without afflicitions ? Part of the last three. Which occur, in the realm of desires ? All of them.

Which occur in the realm of simple images ? Fourteen : allof them except smells, tastes, olfactory-consciousness, and gustatory-consciousness.
Which occur in the imagele,ss sphere?” Part of the last three.
Which are included within the aggregates ? All of them except the uncompounded.
Which areincluded within the appropriating aggregates ? Those constituting a “personality”.

Which are beneficial, which unbeneficial, and which indeterminate ? Ten may belong terany of the three categories : the seven sensory domains of citta, and the sensory domains353 of visibles, sounds and mentally cognizables. The rest of them are all indeterminate.

Which are “internal” ? Twelve of them : all of them except visibles, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations and mentally cognizables. Which are “external” ? Six of them : those not included in the preceding.

Which have an object-of-consciousness ? The seven sensory domains of citta, and one part of the sensory domain of mentally cognizables, namely, whatever events are associated with cittas. Which are without an objectof-consciousness ? The ten others and most of the sensory domains of mentally cognizables.

Which contain discrimination ? The sensory domains of manas, mental consciousness, and mentally cognizables.
Which do not contain discrimination ? The rest of them* Which are appropriated ? Five of the “internal” (organs I-V) and part of the “external” (i.e. part of visibles, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations).

Which are unappropriated ? Part of the four (all visibles, smells, tastes and tactile sensations not integral parts of the sensory organism)36 which are functional (sabhäga)! The five internal material ones (organs I-V) because there is a correspondence between the specific consciousness and its sensory domain. Which are non-functional (tat-sabhägä)l The same when they are empty in relation to their specific consciousness, because of a conformity of each to its own knowledge. 37

 

NOTES
*This seemsincontradiction with note 14,but Yasomitra explains:Though the sensory consciousnesses do have basic discrimination, they lack the discrimination of definition (abhinirüpana-vikalpa), i.e. “This is this, that is that”, and hence are called non-discriminatory. (Abhidharmakosavyäkhyä, ad 133).

1. On the Bodhisattva ManjusrI “who has become a prince”, see Introduction to this text, p 58.

2. The great elements. The great material elements accepted by the Vibhäsä are earth, water, fireand wind. It has been held (cf. Jaini, Abhidharma-dipa, Introduction, p 90) that the theory of these elements may have been inspired by the Vaisesikas, who enumerate earth, water, fire, wind, space, time, place, soul and manas as dravyas (Kanada, Vaisesika-sütra I, I, 5). But their adoption in Buddhism may actually antedate Kanada, as it is in evidence in the Dhamniasangani (648). It is possible that both Buddhist Abhidharma and Vaisesika may derive their elements via the Upanisads (cf. Prasna-Upanisad IV, 8) from the cosmogenic categories of the Brähmanas.TheSatapatha-Brahmana, XI, I, 6, 16-24, states that water, breath (wind), speech, and fire were created at the first full-moon and new-moon rites performed by Prajäpati and Paramesthin; at the second rite, the sky (space), earth and water were created.

Already in the Prakaranapäda of Vasumitra (Chinese translations Taisho 1541 and 1542), a text held in canonical esteem by the Vibhäsä^ -these elements are not the common things usually designated by the names “earth’*, etc., but rather represent more abstract principles to be found in materiality. Earth is the solid principle that holds things in place, water the wet principle which has cohesion as its special quality, fire the hot principle that cooks and transforms, and wind the mobile principle that expands and displaces {Prakaranapäda 13 a, quoted La Vallee Poussin, Kosa I, p 22).Vasumitra says further that these elements are directly perceptible only by the fifth,or tactile, consciousness.

3. A detailed discussion of the Vaibhäsika concept of “unmanifest action” occurs in A Discussion for the Demonstration of Action, 14 and in note 3.

4. A discussion of these divisions of the visible (all of which except color are rejected by Vasubandhu) is given in A Discussion for the Demonstration of Action, 1-5. On “configuration”, see note 5 to that text.

5. Though an “unmanifest action” is a residual force which has as its locus the material elements of the body, it does not share the usual characteristics of materiality, since it is not directly perceptible, and exercises no resistance. This latter phrase means that the locus of one materiality can not be occupied by another, so that if two instances of materiality collide, one will displace the other.

6. A cognition is a particularization of perception, and may accompany any type of consciousness-moment. Certain “signs” or salient features are taken hold of : thus there may be “the cognition of the smell of a jasmine flower”, “the cognition of the taste of rice”, or “the cognition that everything is impermanent” accompanying instances of smell-consciousness, taste-consciousness, and mental consciousness, respectively.

7. On cittas, see introduction to this text, p 59-60.

8. “One-pointedness” is a metaphor for complete concentration. Any ränge of events may serve as a focus for meditational concentration. See introduction, p 63. A totally formless meditation is still “one-pointedness of citta towards an examined range of events”, since formless experiences are still included in a definite range of events.

9. This is a Buddhistic definition of “faith”, which focuses on those few “articles of faith” accepted by Buddhism : that actions all have retributory effects for their “performers”, that there is a beneficial course of action which is not conducive to the arising of suffering, and that the “Gems” (the Buddha, the Dharma and the Buddhist community) are worthy of respect because they indicate beneficial courses of action.

10. On manas, see introduction, pp 60-61. This definition of “greed” suggests that greed (or attachment, which is seen to be the same) can arise only in regard to mentally constructed events.

11. “The appropriating aggregates” are those collections of aggregates that constitute a definite life-stream : they “appropriate” their interrelationship.

12. The three realms of experience are “the realm of desires”, “the realm of simple images” and “the imageless realm”. Any state where all the sense-consciousnesses are operative, and where all passions and aversions have their full opportunity to develop, is subsumed under “the realm of desires”. Thus, all non-meditationally concentrated states are included there.
“The realm of simple images” comprises the four first meditational stages, where certain senses, such as smell and taste,are not operative. “The imageless realm” comprises any state where all senses except the mental consciousness are suspended. It is “imageless”, then, in the sense that thefirst five consciousnesses no longer perceive their objects. These states are the exreme meditational concentrations, the four “imageless attainments”, which culminate in the attainment of the cessation of all cognitions and feelings. The conception of these “realms” in Buddhism shows an amalgamation of cosmological needs with the result of meditational experimentation.

In the earliest Buddhist conception, there were apparently only two “realms”: a “realm of images” and an “imageless realm”, (cf. Sutta-nipäta 755- 756, Itivuttaka51, 73.) Przyluski noted that the contrast between the ‘realm of desires” and the “realm of images” was added later (“Bouddhisme et Upanishad”, Bulletinde VEcole Frangaise de VExtremeOrient, 1932).- Falk supplies an explanation for this when she says that the assumption of a three-“realm” division was made necessary by increasing experimentation with the imageless attainments (Nämarüpa, p 98). Originally, these meditations were not very important in Buddhism, though they were practised and held central by several religious orders, including that of Udraka, the second religious teacher of the Buddha. In Digha III, 131,ff,it is stated that the four simpler meditations are all that are needed to attain the fruits of sainthood, and it is also significant that directly before his death, the Buddha went into those meditational concentrations only (Digha II, 156)» Increasing experimentation with the sense-suspending attainments made it necessary to distinguish “realm-wise” between them and the simpler meditational stages.

13. It is primarily doubt as regards the clearly perceived, false views, adherence to any particular view, and adherence to mere rule and ritual, that gives rise to mental constructions—those focuses of mental consciousness that have no reality outside of the constructions of that consciousness. Other particular views which have an unbeneficial effect rest on those four types of confusion.

14. “Initial mental application” and “subsequent discursive thought” are two kinds of flows of discrimination—in fact the first of them is to Vasubandhu svabhäva-vikalpa, “basic discrimination””, the kind that makes all other kinds possible. Both of these are regarded as existing together within the sensory consciousnesses by the Vibhäsä, and by orthodox Vaibhäsikas such as Sanghabhadra and the Dipakära. But in the face of Vasubandhu’s attacks, which state that these two are not genetically different, but only different stages in the same “series”, and thus can’t be situated together within one moment of consciousness, both Sanghabhadra and the Dipakära are forced to admit that the second of these can be present in the first five types of consciousness only “in an unmanifest state”, cf. Abhidharmadipa ad II, 123, p 83; Yasomitra’s citation of Sanghabhadra’s Abhidharmanyä- yänusära, ad II 33, Law ed II, p 57. (See also Jaini’s discussion, Abhidharmadipa, introduction, pp 83-88.) To Vasubandhu, “initial mental application” is not really a separate event, but represents a certain kind of volition and constructing discernment existing, as he says, even in sensory consciousnesses, as long as these are not meditationally concentrated, (cf. Yasomitra’s discussion, Vyäkhyä, ad I 33, Law I, p 74) whereas according to older definitions, such as the Vibhäsä’s and Asanga’s, it and discursive thought rest on volition and discernment, rather than being strictly identifiable with them (Abhidharmasamuccaya, p 10; Yasomitra Vyäkhyä, ad II 33, Law II, p 57).

Following Vasubandhu initial mental application is volition or discernment inasmuch as it does or does not involve deduction (cf. Yasomitra, ad I 33, Law I, p 74 : “Anabhyühävasthäyäm cetanä abhyühä-vasthäyäm prajneti vyavasthäpyate)”. The discussion of Schmidthausen in his article “Sauträntika-Voraussetzungen in Virrisatikä und Triifisikä” which attempts to uphold some kind of afundamental distinction between sensory and non-sensory consciousnesses in Vasubandhu’s psychology, is confused to some extent by a misquotation from Yasomitra in Jaini’s edition of the Abhidharmadipa. Initial mental application is certainly not for Vasubandhu “only an impulse”, as Schmidthausen claims. Jaini’s quotation from Yasomitra is “Cetanävisesa eva vitarka iti” (p 19, n 4), “He says that initial mental application is only a certain kind of volition”, but the text clearly reads “Cetanä/?ra/7?dvisesa”, *’a certain kind of volition or discernment” (Yasomitra, ad I 33, Law I, p 74). Vasubandhu does not place too much emphasis on the distinctness aspects of these mental streams, as he considers such descriptions quite relative (cf. Kosa II, ad 33a-b, La Vallee Poussin, pp 173-174). Sthiramati explains that the “indistinctness” of initial mental application when compared to subsequent discursive thought consists in the fact that initial mental application considers only the object of sense or understanding, without further connections being made. These are made by subsequent discursive thought. (Trimsikavijnaptibhäsya, p 32). (See also Dhammasangarii 7-8, and Carolyn Rhys-Davids’ comments on Buddhaghosa’s Atthasälini 114, 115, where “initial mental application” is described as “a distinctively mental procedure at the inception of a train of thought, a deliberate movement of voluntary attention” and “subsequent discursive thought” as “the movement and maintenance of a voluntary thought-continuum, as distinguished from the initial grappling with the subject of reflection.”, Dhammasangani translation, p 10, note 1; p 11, note 2.).

It is interesting that Vasubandhu will characterize these mental flows which make for discriminations as being potentially afflictions. These flows tend to result in holding fast to views,etc., and thus give rise to afflictions. They are both eliminated fairly early in meditational concentration streams.

15. Vasubandhu is here eliminating the entire category of “motivating dispositions disassociated from citta”, and proceeds to explain how each of these “moment-events” thus categorized really represents a particular condition in materialities, cittas, and events associated with cittas.

16. “Attained” is here being used in its most bland scientific sense, to mean “becoming intimately associated for a time”.

17. See Introduction, pp 61-62. Here, what the Vaibhäsika and Mahisäsaka accept as a special entity präpti is equated to residues in consciousness, effected by latent impressions.

18. When one says, conventionally, that “X has Y”, the Mahisäsaka and Vaibhäsika explain this as moment-event A subsumed in “series X” connected by a präptito moment-event B subsumed in “series Y”. A präpti is recognized by them as a special kind of entity that links diverse but related elements. As such it plays a role not unlike the inherence-category (samaväya-padärthd) of the Vaisesikas, except that the latter, at least in the earlier theory, is single, whereas there is a präpti for each connecting relationship between two events. Vasubandhu regards the concept of präpti as bogus. What is thus designated may be a “seed”, as when one says “X has such and such a view”. This means that, within the aggregate-series designated as “X”, there are consciousness-moments accompanied by latent impressions from past moments (“seeds”), making for a view.

It may be a capacity, as when one says, “X has great bodily strength.” This means that, within the aggregate-series designated as “X”, there is the capacity for doing heavy bodily actions. It may be an “approachment”, a growing physical proximity of two events, as when one says “X is eating food”. It may be simply an “adjustment according to circumstances”, as when one says, “X has a feeling of pain” (explained by the Mahisäsakas and Vaibhäsikas as a consciousness-series designated “X” linked to an aggregate of suffering-feeling by a präpti). According to Vasubandhu, this is simply an alteration from one citta to the next because of a circumstance of pain in the feeling-aggregate interrelated to the consciousness-aggregate.

19. The attainment of^the cessation of feelings and cognitions, last of the “imageless meditations”, is reached only after the consciousness-sertes has passed through the other four imageless attainments, which are also designated as “the summits of existence”. These latter are the meditational attainments focused on infinite space, on infinite consciousness, on nothing whatever, and the state which is neither cognitional nor non-cognitional. For the attainment of cessation of feelings and cognitions to be reached, even those events present in the stage which is neither cognitional nor noneognitional must no longer be present. Vasubandhu says that the attainment of cessation of feelings and cognitions must be separate from the subtle attachments present even in the stage of nothing whatever, but actually he “should” say in addition that this attainment is separate even from the dim cognitions of the stage which is neither cognitional nor non-cognitional, as well.

20. The factor here translated as “taking part in an organism” has usually been rendered “generic similarity”. This however is clearly not what is involved, as can be seen from Vasubandhu’s definition.

21. A word may indicate the “own-being” or “nature” of a momentevent, e.g. “blue”, but a complete,meaning dealing with particulars of events can only be expressed by a phrase.

22. Syllables themselves are not the conveyors of meaning, otherwise each synonym would consist of the same syllables.

23. “Cittas” are so called because of their variety (citratva), and all instances of “manas”are so called becasue of providing a mental basis (manä-ysraya). The first of these etymological explanations is used by Vasubandhu again in A Discussion for the Demonstration of Action, 31, and in The Teaching of the Three Own-Beings, 7.

24. This is the second etymological explanation of “citta”, by the root ci, cinotf, “to accumulate”. This again occurs in KSP 31 and TSN 7. The six consciousnesses are variegated, thus fit with the first etymology; the storeconsciousness accumulates “seeds”, thus fits with the second.

25. According to Mahisäsaka and Vaibhäsika theory, each consciousness must have an object-of-consciousness and also an aspect, that is, some special characteristic by which it can be recognized. Since the store-consciousness underlies the six discerning consciousnesses which have definite objects-of-consciousness and aspects, it cannot be discerned by any of them. Thus its object-of-consciousness and aspect must be undiscerned. It is known only by inference, asSumatisila says inKarmasiddhitikä, ad 36.Though this may be an embarrassing admission to make in the face of Vaibhäsika charges that a consciousness should be directly experienced, it at least has the value of consistency. Vasubandhu’s admission that the objectof-consciousness and aspect of the store-consciousness are undiscerned is better than the approach of Occidental “depth-psychologists”, who posit a “subconscious” and then try to fix its contents, which is tantamount to saying that the “subconscious” can be consciously discerned.

26. Here, Vasubandhu has compactly given the inferential justifications for assuming a store-consciousness within his definition of it. The meditational attainment of the cessation of cognitions and feelings must itself be accompanied by consciousness-moments, otherwise the consciousnessseries could never resume once the attainment ceases. This is one of the main arguments for the existence of the store-consciousness in A Discussionfor the Demonstration of Action. A consciousness-series changes permanently after it has been impressed by an object-of-consciousness : again this is impossible without some substratum. Entry into Samsära, i.e. consciousness’ becoming linked with an organism, is again impossible without
some consciousness preceding temporally the six discerning consciousnesses, as these do not yet exist at the inception of an embryo’s existence. Transmigration in Samsära, or, more properly, the residue of the aggregate-complex from one life to the next, is again impossible unless there is a substratum where the residue exists. Some of these arguments were already used by Asanga. (The argument of a consciousness’ being necessary in the attainment of the cessation of feelings and cognitions is raised by Asanga in Mahä-
yänasangraha, I, 31., the change in aspects in consciousness implying a substratum in I, 32., no possibility of the carry-over of impressions from one moment to the next without an underlying consciousness, in I, 33-34., and the impossibility of there being a residue of one consciousness-complex from one moment to the next without a store-consciousness in I, 38.)

27. The aggregates are first of all so designated because they are not simple moment-events, but are moment-events “heaped together”. For instance, “materiality”, though one kind of aggregate, consists in one moment “in one organism” of a huge number of moment-events, in fact all the events which twentieth century physiological chemistry is attempting to define. Furthermore, they are not only “aggregated” in one moment, but the events in one aggregation-moment help give rise to the next. Time, a real category to ancient and modern Vaisesikas, is recognized already in the Vibhäsä as being only a name for theflowof compounded events (see Vibhäsä selections translated by La Vallee Poussin, Melanges 1936-37, p. 8). Thus “time” exists only because moment-events are followed by subsequent moment-events. A “series”, similarly, is only a metaphor for the phenomenon of oneaggregate-moment’s arising whentheother has ceased,and being causally linked to the previous one. An “aspect”, defined as adistinguishing characteristicfor a moment-event, is really not anything of thesort, either, since “it” is abstracted from the many events arising in one moment. A “development”, again, does not really occur, since there is not anything which can undergo change : rather each moment is distinct from the previous one. It is conventionally said that “A visible is a sense-object of an eye”, but this statement comes only from the visual consciousness-aggregate arising in a compounded and cognitional form.

28. “Space”, recognized as a definite kind of entity in Vaisesika philosophy, is also accepted by many Abhidharmika systems, including that of the Mahlsäsakas (Bareau, Mahisäsaka thesis no. 19, Les sectes, p. 185), If it is accepted, it must clearly be uncompounded, i.e. not consisting of conditioned moment-events. Vasubandhu however denies that space is an entity at all. He says that it is simply an interval between materialities, and is thus an absence of impinging materiality.

29. “Cessation not through contemplation” is the Abhidharmika term for a cessation of the psychophysical complex which has not come about through the specifically Buddhist contemplations of the truth of suffering, the truth of the arising of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the truth of a path leading to the cessation of suffering. Passages which in detail discuss “cessation not through contemplation” indicate that any cessation of “an aggregate-series” can be designated in this way, as long as the cessation has not come from a contemplation of the Four Noble Truths, nor by the inherent destruction of each moment-event. (This latter type of cessation, which refers to moment-events rather than to “series”, is called by the Vibhäsä “cessation due to non-eternality” (Vibhäsä, 31, translated by La Vallee Poussin, BEFEO XXX, p. 1ff).

Thus, a non-Buddhist yogi who through meditations is able to annihilate factors of suffering, has achieved this through “a cessation not through contemplation”, because the knowledge of the Noble Truths was not involved. A series of blue visual consciousnesses ceases when the stimulus giving rise to blue visual consciousnesses ceases: this would also be, and far more obviously so, “a cessation not through contemplation”. The nature of this cessation was however the subject of much dispute among Abhidharmikas (cf. Vibhäsä 31,32, translated by La Vallee Poussin, BEFEO XXX,pp. 1-28; Vasubandhu, KosaI, ad 5-6; Sanghabhadra, Nyäyänusära, I, 32, translated by La Vallee Poussin, BEFEO XXX, pp 259-60, cf. pp 263-298). “Cessation through contemplation” is essentially an Abhidharmika synonym for “Nirvana” (Vibhäsä 31, synonym no. 1, La Vallee Poussin, p. 10). It is interesting that Vasubandhu here reduces the cause of “cessation through contemplation” from a realization of the Four Noble Truths to antidotes to afflictions. Presumably, for him, a non-Buddhist not recognizing the Four Noble Truths could still give rise to cessation through contemplation, if antidotes to afflictions were applied.

30. In other words, the only inherent nature in all events is that they, have none! Suchness is the equivalent of Emptiness, by which all events have no graspable nature. Vasubandhu has thus eliminated the entire Mahisäsaka list of uncompounded events, for all of them, by his definitions, are mere absences.

31. The sixth consciousness, or mental consciousness, includes in its “domain” residues of consciousnesses of all six varieties. For example, an audial consciousness may arise in one moment, the mental consciousness “That note was flat”, referring to the previous audial consciousness, may arise in the next moment. The domain of manas, i.e. any of the consciousnesses preceding a sixth-consciousness-moment, is itself “past immediately afterwards”, i.e. it is momentary. But a reflection on this manas by a succeeding sixth-consciousness-moment, is possible. Thus, a kind of continuity in succeeding sixth-consciousness-moments is possible, because previous consciousness-moments of all six varieties affect succeeding sixth consciousness-moments. In the example above, the sound itself is an audial consciousness, and lasts for a moment. The mental-consciousness moment “That note was flat”, which depended on the previous secondconsciousness-moment can itself give rise to a “series” of new sixth-consciousness-moments, such as “The singer might have teen under some strain at that moment”, “This composition requires great skill in executing musical ornaments,” etc., etc., all of which are continuous upon one another and derive in part from the audial consciousness-moment which has long passed.

32. There are only the efficacies of these particular domains, without there being any central “doer”. This is of course a necessary recognition in realizing “the selflessness of personalities”.

33. This should seem obvious, but the implications of this statement may not be. Thus, wherever visual “models” are made in regard to that which isn’t visible, what is being made is a distortion. It is as futile as attempting to explain the visible in terms of smell.

34. See A Discussion for the Demonstration of Action, note 43. The term “connected with distress” (säsravä) has been rendered by “liable to be connected with afflictions”, which is what the prior term really means.

35. The mental-consciousness-aggregates have the possibility of recognizing the arising of afflictions; for instance, when they are meditationally concentrated in certain ways. Thus they may be either liable to be connected with afflictions, or not.

35a. The sensory domain of visibles can be beneficial or unbeneficial only because of manifest action (yijnapti-karma), which is assumed to be part of the sense-field of visibles. (See, in this book, A Discussion for the Demonstrationof Action, 1-4). The sensory domain of sounds is beneficial or unbeneficial only if it is verbal action.

36. “Unappropriated” from the point of view of a particular aggregate “series”, see note 11.

37. An object of consciousness is functional when the consciousness proper to it has arisen or will arise. A non-functional object of consciousness is when it has not, for one reason or another, become “conscious” (cf. Kosa I, Pradhan. p. 106; LVP, p. 75).

 

 

 

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