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Foundation Issues

Foundation Issues

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Published by Alan Weller

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Alan Weller on Apr 06, 2009
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#Foundation BulletinDhamma IssuesPrefaceIn the Board Meetings of the Dhamma Study and Support Foundation different subjects ofDhamma are discussed. The sources which are used are the Tipiìaka, the Commentariesand Subcommentaries. These discussions are profound and also Pali experts contribute tothem. The conclusions are published in booklets.Since I find this material important I like to make it available to a wider public. ThereforeI have selected these topics of discussion and translated them from Thai into English.I have added in footnotes some explanations of the subjects under discussion for the sakeof those who are not familiar with the terms used.Nina van Gorkom
Chapter 1The ÅyatanasIntroduction
The åyatanas, sometimes translated as bases or sense-fields are:
six internal bases
: the physical bases of the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, thebodysense and the mind-base or consciousness (manåyatana),
six external bases
: which are six classes of objects: visible object, sound, odour, taste,tactile object and mind-object (dhammåyatana), comprising: cetasikas, subtle rúpas andnibbåna.****
Issues of analysis
:1: Is the eyesense (the cakkhu pasåda rúpa) åyatana at each moment of citta in the eye-door process
or only at the moment when seeing (cakkhuviññåùa) arises? And the samefor the other sense-organs.2. Is cetasika an internal åyatana or an external åyatana?3. Is the cetasika which is the object, årammaùa, of citta, dhammårammaùa ordhammåyatana?
Conclusion regarding the first issue
: In the five sense-door processes the eye-sense(cakkhu pasåda rúpa) etc. is åyatana at each moment of citta in the eye-door process, notonly at the moment seeing (cakkhuviññåùa) arises.
The sources which support this conclusion
:1. The ìDispeller of Delusionî, Sammohavinodaní, the Commentary to the Book ofAnalysis, Ch 2, Classification of the Bases (åyatanas), Suttanta Division.2. Visuddhimagga, Ch XV, Description of the Bases and Elements.The reason for this conclusion is given by the ìDispeller of Delusionî, Classification of theBases (åyatanas), and the Visuddhimagga (XV, 10). We read in the ìVisuddhimaggaî: ìForonly the åyatana of the eye-base is the door of arising, and only the åyatana of visibleobject is the object of the consciousness group (viññåùa kåya) comprised in a cognitiveseries containing eye-consciousness.î 
This shows that the rúpa of eyesense (cakkhuppasåda rúpa) is the eye-door and the åyatanaof the eye (cakkhåyatana) at each moment of citta in the eye-door process and that evensovisible object is the åyatana of visible object (rúpåyatana) at each moment of citta in theeye-door process. The reason is that both the eye-sense and the visible object are realitieswhich have not fallen away yet and that they are ìassociatingî at each moment of citta ofthe eye-door process
Conclusion regarding the second issue
: Cetasika must be an external åyatana and itcannot be an internal åyatana.The reason: Citta is an internal åyatana (manåyatana or mind-base), whereas cetasikas aredifferent from citta. They are accompanying citta, and thus, they are external åyatanas
Conclusion regarding the third issue
: the cetasikas which have fallen away and are theobject (årammaùa) of citta are dhammårammaùa (mental object)
.The reason: the cetasika which has fallen away is only dhammårammaùa, it is notdhammåyatana. Since it has fallen away it cannot be associating with another reality. Withregard to those who have ìpenetrating knowledge of the mind of othersî (ceto-pariya-ñåùa,one of the supranatural powers), when the cetasika of someone else is the object, it is atthat moment dhammårammaùa.****Footnotes1. I have added this explanation of the åyatanas, which is sometimes translated as base.However, åyatana has several meanings: dwelling place, birthplace or meeting place forcitta and cetasikas; ìmineî (åkara) or place of production, and cause or reason (karaùa).Åyatana implies association of dhammas.2. When visible object impinges on the eyesense there is not only seeing whichexperiences it, but also other cittas arising in a process which experience visible objectthrough the eye-door while they perform their own function. It is the same in the case ofthe other other sense-door processes.3. The ìVisuddhimaggaî ( XV, 9) gives the reason why there are as many as twelveåyatanas. It states: ìIt is for the sake of defining door-cum-object for the arising of the sixconsciousness groups. And here they are stated as twelve since this is how they are classedwhen so defined.î That is why the wordîonlyî is used in ìfor only the åyatana of the eye is the door of arising,and only the åyatana of visible object is the objectî, namely, for the cognitive seriescontaining eye-consciousness. It is the same in the case of the other processes, thus, thereare twelve åyatanas.The ìDispeller of Delusionî, 46, uses a similar wording.4. Rúpa lasts as long as seventeen moments of citta, thus, the sense-organ and the objecton which sense-door process cittas depend are still present during that process.5. Citta has as function clearly to know an object, it is the leader in knowing an object. Thecetasikas which arise and accompany citta each perform their own function, they areentirely different from citta.5. There are six classes of objects: five classes of the five sense objects and the sixth classwhich is dhammårammaùa. Dhammårammaùa can be experienced only through the mind-door; it includes: the five sense-organs, the subtle rúpas, citta, cetasika, nibbåna andconcepts.*****

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