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3rd Class Notes: Abhidharma 2 Dharmas continued & Key Attributes OUTLINE: Studying the dharmas I.

. SKANDHAS, YATANAS, DHTUS continuedand Development of Five Groups II. KEY ATTRIBUTES A. Conditioned/unconditioned, Pure/impure, and the Four Noble Truths B. Pure/impure, Good/bad/neutral the relationship of karma and liberation I. SKANDHAS, YATANAS, DHTUS continued A. Significance of skandhas, yatanas and dhtus - As teaching formulations, skandhas, yatanas and dhtus arose and came to be interpreted in specific teaching contexts. i. Skandhas Analysis of the person / experience into 5 aggregates or heaps, specifically to un-do the way in which the view of self arises from a tendency to gather together the psycho-physical organism and conceive that as being, as possessing, or as being possessed by, a substantial self existing on its own. ii. yatanas Emphasizing an epistemological division of organ and object, and collectively referred to as all (sarvam, everything). The 12 (or 6) yatanas are the entrances or gates for the arising of consciousness and point to an important emphasis in Buddhist analysis of mind: on HOW rather than WHAT (how we know and experience vs. what we essentially and substantially are). Note: the mind organ is distinct from the sense organs which are material form. The mind organ is immaterial and defined as the just deceased consciousness. The just deceased consciousness is actually a condition for the arising of any consciousness, called the equal and immediately antecedent condition (which we will discuss next week). In the case of mind consciousness, this condition is also the organ. With the sense consciousnesses, the organ separates and is positioned between the consciousness and the data. The mind essentially uses itself to look at mind objects. Sometimes it is simply stated that the mind-organ is designated as such just to continue the analogy of the other senses. From this perspective, an interceding mind-organ is unnecessary. Mental objects are immediately available to the mind consciousness without the mediation of a mind organ, unlike the sense consciousnesses. iii. Dhtus While the 18 dhtus overlap with the 12 yatanas, they also hold a different perspective. In name, the 12 yatanas are identical to the first 12 dhtus, but in analysis, the 12th yatana, mano-yatana, also includes the 6 consciousnesses (dhtus 13.-18.). The basic triadic structure of the dhtus expresses the Buddhist analysis of the arising of consciousness, but additionally, the dhtus are also referred to as lineages (gotra). In the Abhidharma context of conceiving of the person as a series (santna) which is a kind of continuity or contiguity, the criticism of tman (self or soul) is a criticism of interpreting this series as being, possessing, or being possessed by, a substantially existing self. The analysis of the 18 dhtus emphasizes that instead of a unitary continuity, experience is actually composed of 18 distinct lineages (gotra), the 18 dhtus. Moreover, none of these lineages consists of, or includes, any unchanging element. Another important point regarding the 18 dhtus is that in this analysis, consciousness is distinguished into 6 types, which in turn is pertinent to the exposition of consciousness in the higher realms of existence and meditation. In the realm of subtle form (Rpadhtu), there is no consciousness of smell or taste, and in the formless realm (rpyadhtu), there is only mind consciousness (5 senses are completely absent - more on this next week). - The Abhidharmakoa (AKB) discusses the significance or meditative import of the skandhas, yatanas and dhtus in terms of three aspects of living beings: a. error/delusion, b. faculties/capacities, & c. joy/predilection: Instruction by the category: 1 2 3 Skandha (heap, aggregate) yatana (gate of entry, access-door) Dhtu (lineage, species, source) a. Error/Delusion (moha) finding a self (tman) in: Caitta (thought concomitants)

b. Faculties (indriya) are Sharp Medium Dull

c. Joy/Predilections (ruci) of one predisposed to a teaching that is: Condensed (5 skandhas) Medium-length (12 yatanas) Extensive (18 dhtus)

Rpa (material Form)


Rpa-citta (form & thought)


B. Interrelationships of skandhas, yatanas and dhtus - The chart on the last page of last weeks notes illustrates the relationships between the teachings of the 5 skandhas, 12 yatanas & 18 dhtus (Sutra teachings) as well as between those and the 5 groups (paca-vastuka) & 75 dharmas (Abhidharma teachings). The chart thus connects the early taxonomies to the later, more developed analysis of the dharmas. [Also note for reference, I uploaded a small study of the 75 dharmas & an Abhidharma glossary on Moodle.]

C. The development of the 5 groups (paca-vastuka) - As dharma theory developed, Abhidharma texts continued to employ the traditional schema of skandhas, yatanas and dhtus for classifying the dharmas. However, as new developments were incorporated and expressed through dharma theory, the traditional pragmatic categories tended to obscure what were becoming extremely important distinctions. A new classificatory scheme arises from, or as, dharma theory: the five groups (vastuka). - Cox: The previous taxonomic systems begin from specific circumstances of praxis, perception, and so forth, and present detailed descriptions of the significant activities or events (dharma) that interact cooperatively in those particular circumstances. The fivefold taxonomy, by contrast, takes the perspective of the dharmas themselves and sets out a delimited number of abstract genera that are intended to encompass every experienced event or phenomenon, or in other words every possible individual instance of a dharma. 1. Rpa (material form) [11 dharmas] This group is identical to the 1st skandha, rpa-skandha. In dharma theory, rpa is defined as that which is capable of being struck, or that which offers resistance. Note: there is some question about whether nma-rpa (name and form, the 4 mental skandhas and the 1 material form skandha) should be interpreted as a kind of mind-matter division. Guenther: Our merest sense-experience is a process of Gestaltung or formulation. The translation of rpa by Gestalt, which I offer here, avoids the dualism of mind and matter, which does not exist in experience, and experience is the keynote of Buddhism. 2. Citta (mind) [1 dharma] This group is identical to the 5th skandha, vijna-skandha (consciousness-aggregate). The AKB states: The names mind (citta), spirit (manas), and consciousness (vijna) designate the same thing. The mind is termed citta because it accumulates (cinoti); it is termed manas because it knows (manute) and it is termed vijna because it distinguishes its object (lambanam vijnati). Cox notes the delineation of citta (mind) from the caitta (mental states) reflects an emphasis upon perception as the central sentient experience and a newly recognized need to isolate thought as an identifiable hub that connects the various activities constituting one sentient being In the Abhidharma context, there can only be one citta (mind) with one object in each moment (& one moral valence). 3. Caita-sika (mental factors, concomitants of mind) [46 dharmas] This group, also referred to as cittasaprayukta-saskr (formations associated with mind), and the 4th group below sub-divide the 4th skandha, saskr-skandha (formations-aggregate), into two groups. Citta is the basic awareness of an object, the caita represent a set of specific functions which operate in the arising of that awareness or in relation to that awareness. - The mind (citta) and the mental factors or mental states (caita-sika) are associated (samprayoga) in 5 ways: i. Identity of support (raya) that is, they arise with the same organ or sense/mind-faculty. ii. Identity of object (lambana) they share the same object iii. Identity of aspect (kra) they share the same mode of understanding (praj) in relation to the object iv. Identity of time (kla) they are simultaneous v. Equality in number of substantial entities (dravya) in any given moment, there can be only one mind produced, associated with one sensation, etcone mental state of each type. [only one mind, one object, in each moment] Additionally, the mind and its mental factors also share the same moral valence: good, bad or neutral. - This group of dharmas is subdivided into 6 groups in terms of moral valence reflecting the fact that it is the overall pattern (cetan, intention) of the mental states (caitta) that determine the karmic quality of a mind (and thus represent evaluative distinctions within the primarily descriptive 5 groups as a whole): i. Mah-bhmikas (Great Grounds, Universals) [10 dharmas]: Dharmas present in all states of mind. AKB: How do we know that these ten mental states, distinct in nature, coexist in one and the same mind? Subtle, unquestionably, are the specific characteristics of the mind and its mental states. One discerns them, only with difficulty even when one is content to consider each of the mental states as developing in a homogeneous series; how much more so when one envisions them in the (psychological) moment (kana) in which they all exist. If the differences of the taste of vegetables, tastes that we know through a material organ, are difficult to distinguish, how much more so is this true with non-material dharmas that are perceived through the mental consciousness. ii. Kuala-mah-bhmikas (Skillful Universals) [10 dharmas]: Dharmas only and always found in good minds. iii. Klea-mah-bhmikas (Defiled Universals) [6 dharmas]: Dharmas found in all defiled minds. Note: defiled minds in this context can be akuala (bad or unskillful) or avykrta (morally neutral or indeterminate). iv. Akuala-mah-bhmikas (Unskillful universals) [2 dharmas]: Dharmas found in all bad or unskillful minds. Respect (or modesty) and fear of wrongdoing (or shame), the opposite of these 2 dharmas (disrespect and absence of fear), are referred to in the early discourses as the two guardians of the world. v. Partta-klea-bhmikas (Defilements of Restricted Scope) [10 dharmas]: Dharmas found in some defiled minds. Note that three of these categories are dedicated to the analysis of the defilements, an expression of the central role of the defilements in the process of suffering and liberation. vi. Aniyata (Indeterminates) [8 dharmas]: Dharmas sometimes associated with good, bad or neutral minds. Some of these dharmas are associated with all minds not in high-level concentration states.

4. Viprayukta-saskr (disassociated formations) [14 dharmas] These dharmas are not of the nature of rpa (material form), and thus resemble mind, but they are disjoined from mind in that these dharmas are not associated with mind in the 5 ways outlined above they do not share the same support, object, etc. This group or category encompasses a miscellaneous collection of dharmas. - These dharmas were for one reason or another necessary to hold the system together, giving a coherent account of the diachronic soteriology of the accumulation of karma and the latent defilements, as well as states and forms of being in which there is a complete absence of perception and conception, in terms of the synchronic dharma-theory. These dharmas are associated with the series but not with the mind in a karmically determinate matter they are undefiled and karmically indeterminate (or neutral). In terms of the skandhas, these dharmas had been lumped in somewhat uncomfortably under the saskrs. 5. Asaskta (unconditioned) [3 dharmas] These dharmas are not conditioned or constructed. Although The unconditioned has neither cause nor result, these dharmas do have functions which in turn are the basis for determining the unique sva-lakaas (own-characteristics) and thus establishing the own-being (sva-bhva) of these dharmas. See below for more on conditioned vs. unconditioned. - The unconditioned dharmas are not traditionally subsumed under the 5 skandhas, as they do not correspond to the concept of the skandhas, or heaps (beyond space and time, they cannot be piled up). In terms of the yatanas and dhtus, the unconditioned dharmas are subsumed (as objects of mind) under dharma-yatana and dharma-dhtu with the scriptural support that the yatanas and dhtus subsume everything, the all (sarvam). The importance of nirva, embodied in the unconditioned dharma, pratisakhy-nirodha (extinction acquired through deliberation), was a driving force in the development of a separate category or group of dharmas that are unconditioned (an importance perhaps obscured in subsuming the unconditioned dharmas under objects of mind in terms of the yatanas and dhtus). - Strictly speaking, using dharma-dhtu (mind-objects) to classify dharmas is weak in that the dharma-dhtu should thus include all dharmas as they can all be objects of mind. Moreover, many dharmas thus subsumed (as objects of mind) cannot be the object of mind in the moment they are active (e.g. mental factors) thus, as a classification, it tends to obscure, rather than embody, important functional differences between the groups of dharmas and the basic reality-view (the co-existence of dharmas in a single moment) of dharma theory. II. KEY ATTRIBUTES - There are a number of key categorizations, typically dyads or triads, into which dharmas are analyzed, an approach in terms of smnya-lakaa (common characteristics) that is both descriptive and evaluative. - The analysis in terms of attributes also starts to demonstrate how the dharmas function and work together in terms of the path of liberation in Abhidharma Buddhism. A. Pure/impure, Conditioned/unconditioned, and the Four Noble Truths 1. The first categorization introduced in the Abhidharmakosa is the distinction between pure and impure: Ssrava With-outflow, impure, stained, conducive to the growth of the defilements, influenced by ignorance. All conditioned dharmas, with the exception of the Path, are impure. They are impure because the defilements adhere to them. The defilements cannot grow concordantly in relation to the path and nirva. Impure dharmas, whether they are agreeable, disagreeable or neutral, are suffering (dukha), by reason of 3 types of suffering: i. Disagreeable dharmas are suffering by reason of the suffering which is suffering itself (dukha-dukhata) ii. Agreeable dharmas are suffering by reason of the suffering which is change (parinma-dukhata) iii. Neutral dharmas are suffering by reason of the suffering conditioned existence (saskr-dukhata) Ansrava Outflow-free, pure, unstained, tending toward appeasement of the defilements under the influence of wisdom. Only the pure path and the three unconditioned dharmas are pure, or outflow-free. 2. The second categorization in the Abhidharmakosa is the distinction between conditioned & unconditioned: Saskta Conditioned, compounded, made, constructed. With the exception of the path, impure (ssrava). MVS: A dharma is said to be conditioned if it has arising and ceasing, cause and effect, and acquires the characteristics of the conditioned. Conditioned dharmas are momentary. Explained etymologically as that which has been created (krta) by causes in union and combination. Asaskta Unconditioned, uncompounded, unmade, unconstructed. Always pure (ansrava). MVS: A dharma is said to be unconditioned if it has no arising and ceasing, no cause and effect, and acquires the characteristics of the unconditioned. Unconditioned dharmas have no activity, are beyond temporal process, but do have a function. The most important unconditioned dharma is pratisakhy-nirodha (extinction acquired through deliberation), which corresponds to the 3rd Noble Truth of Extinction and nirva.

- The Abhidharmakosa unfolds these two categories (pure/impure and conditioned/unconditioned) in terms of the 4 Noble Truths as follows (and also in relation to the skandhas, yatanas and dhtus): All Dharmas (sarva-dharma) Conditioned (saskta) Unconditioned (asaskta) Temporal, arising depending on causes. 72 dharmas. Space & two types of cessation Impure (ssrava) [the defilements adhere to them] Pure (ansrava) Pure (ansrava) 1st and 2nd Noble Truths 4th Noble 3rd Noble of Suffering (dukha-satya) & Truth of the Path Truth of Cessation Origination (samudaya-satya) (mrga-satya) (nirodha-satya) Aggregates of Clinging (Updna-skandha) Five Aggregates (paca-skandha) = All conditioned dharmas 12 yatanas = 18 Dhtus = All dharmas (sarva-dharma) - This basic mapping of the dharmas illustrates an important point: nirva as unconditioned actually poses some problems for the Abhidharma tradition if nirva is unconditioned and pure, how is it realized? How can any assemblage of conditioned dharmas lead to the unconditioned and in what sense can the unconditioned by acquired? The resolution posited here is that the pure path, though a pattern of conditioned dharmas, is pure. The path leads to the unconditioned because it brings about definitive liberation from the defilements. At the elimination of a defilement through a pure path, one acquires a prapti (acquisition) dharma by which one is endowed (samanvgama) with a (unconditioned) nirodha (extinction or cessation) of this particular defilement. Note: the path that is pure refers to the high-level attainment of the Path of Seeing (darana-mrga) and the subsequent pure Path of Cultivation (bhvana-mrga) [to be discussed in the 6th class]. B. Pure/impure, Good/bad/neutral the relationship of karma and liberation - Another key attribute is the distinction of good, bad, neutral, which pertains to karma: Kuala Skillful, beneficial, good, wholesome. Has a desirable result - typically agreeable sensation. Akuala Unskillful, detrimental, evil, bad, unwholesome. Has an undesirable result - typically disagreeable sensation. Avykrta (Morally) non-defined, neutral, indeterminate, of indistinct nature. Has no karmic result. Two sub-types: i. Nivta (veiled, hindered, obstructed) Karmically indefinite but obstructive to liberation (e.g. belief in self (satkya-di)). ii. Anivta (Non-veiled, unhindered, unobstructed) Karmically indefinite and not obstructive to liberation (includes various dharmas and phenomena). - This classification concerns the moral causal order in terms of karma (action) of body, speech and mind. In as much as karma as defined as cetan (intention) and cetan is in turn the overall shape or pattern of mental factors, this classification also applies to the mental factors present in a moment of consciousness: a) A good or skillful (kuala) mind in Kmadhtu consists of 22 mental states: the 10 universals, the 10 good universals, along with vitarka (reasoning) and vicra (investigation). With the potential addition of regret (kaukrtya), a good mind can also consist of 23 mental states. b) There are two types of bad or unskillful (akuala) minds: i. Independent (veika) that is, associated only with ignorance which consists of 20 mental states: 10 universals, 6 defiled universals, 2 bad universals, and vitarka (reasoning) and vicra (investigation). ii. Associated (saprayukta) that is, associated with ignorance (the root of all the defilements) and one of the other defilements which consists of 21 mental states: The 20 above plus one defilement of limited scope (partta-klea-bhmika) or indeterminate (aniyata) dharma. c) There are also two types of neutral or undefined (avykrta) minds: i. Defiled (ssrava) which consists of 18 mental states: 10 universals, 6 defiled universals, vitarka and vicra. ii. Undefiled (ansrava) which consists of 12 mental states: 10 universals, vitarka and vicra. d) Further, apathy (middha) can be good, bad or neutral - it can be added to any of the above minds. e) Meditation states can be good, defiled-neutral, or undefiled-neutral, but certain mental factors are progressively absent in the higher states (regret, apathy and the unskillful universals are absent in all dhyna states, vitarka and vicra are absent in the 2nd dhyna upwards, etc.)

- Kuala/akuala/avykrta (skillful/unskillful/undefined) pertain to karma, whereas ssrava/ansrava (pure/impure) pertain to the defilements the cause and condition for sasra (cyclic suffering). As good and neutral karma can be defiled, ssrava (impure) has a wider scope than akuala (unskillful). Akuala (unskillful) Avykrta (undefined) Kuala (skillful) Ssrava (impure tending to defilement) Leads to bondage and lower birth Leads to bondage, karmically indefinite Leads to higher birth, conducive to liberation Ansrava (pure abandons the defilements) N/A Does not obstruct liberation Leads to liberation

- Good or skillful but impure karma constitutes a kind of pivot point on one hand, it is impure karma which maintains the cycle of rebirth (sasra), and on the other hand, it is conducive to practices which realize liberation from sasra (i.e., nirva). - Skillful/unskillful and pure/impure tie-in to a set of inter-related underlying tensions running through Indian Buddhism, expressed in competing values and approaches (as well as attempts at reconciliation and integration):
[worldly-convention-centered] [emotion-centered] [intellect-centered]

Basic Problem: Basic Practice:

Basic Goal:

Unskillful Action (karma) Ethics (la) Emphasizing Skillful (good) Action Good rebirth (Sasra) / maintaining the social order

Grasping, attachment Meditation (samdhi) Culminating in Cessation of thought & feeling Nirva (as ultimate quiescence)

Ignorance, misapprehension Insight (praj) Leading to Seeing the Four Noble Truths Nirva (as complete illumination)

- Abhidharma texts analyze a categorization of the dharmas such as the dhtus in terms of the attributes above and many others as well:
16. tongue-consciousness 17. touch-consciousness 18. mind-consciousness 15. nose-consciousness 13. eye-consciousness

Ssrava (impure) or ansrava (pure)



14. ear-consciousness

11. tangible-objects

12. mind-objects

8. sound-objects

10. taste-objects

4. tongue-organ

9. smell-objects

7. sight-objects

5. touch-organ

6. mind-organ

3. nose-organ

1. eye-organ

2. ear-organ


Ssrava (impure) Saskta Asaskta Avykrta (morally undefined) Kuala, akuala or avykrta Rpadhtu Arupyadhtu Abandoned through meditation Abandoned through seeing or meditation or not abandoned





- Such analysis demonstrates for example that as it is the three mind dhtus (mind-organ, mind-objects and mindconsciousness) where liberating transformation takes place they are the only three dhtus that can be pure. While all of the remaining dhtus are always impure, morally, the 5 sense-organs, and 3 of the sense-objects, are always morally indeterminate. Sense-experience, and bodily existence in general, positive or negative, is not the fundamental problem. The same three mind-dhtus which can be pure are also the locus of basic problem ignorance and grasping/attachment.