17 - Breathing
18 - Sleep and Insomnia
19 - Auto-Suggestion
20 - Absent-mindedness
21 - Basic Good Conduct
22 - Self-Healing
Appendix I - Materiality
Appendix II - Cetasika
Appendix III - The Abhidhamma
INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA, BOOK III - Miscellaneous Papers
18 - SLEEP AND INSOMNIA
We are all brought up with the idea that both the body and the mind require some
rest during the 24 hour cycle period. Many doctors recommend 8 hours’ sleep.
However, for those whose minds are over-activated for some reason or other,
sleep does not come easily. The mental over activity may be due to fear or
worry or anxiety or even to excitement caused by extreme joy, mostly unexpected
joy. Some keep awake for hours, tossing right and left in bed. The more they
worry about their inability to sleep, the more awake they become. Eventually
when their minds have become somewhat weary and deadened, they pass into sleep.
Actually 8 hours of sleep are not necessary every night. Many people have stayed
awake for days without loss of efficiency in either mental or physical work.
Insufficient sleep for one night does not impair one’s efficiency in any way.
Professional golfers have been known to be able to woo sleep for just a few
hours and go on to play well the next day. What is worrisome is your worry that
if you don’t get a good night’s rest you will suffer some inefficiency the next
day. If has been proved over and over again that the mere fact of staying in
bed with your eyes fully closed though tossing about from side to side for
hours on end recuperates the body and also recuperates the mind to a very great
When you really want to sleep, you must be able by a conscious effort to prepare
your mind for sleep. After your mind has wandered here and there for minutes,
and may be for hours, on end, you must make a deliberate effort to go to sleep.
From that moment of decision, it will not be difficult to fall off to sleep.
"Make a big yawn by opening your mouth as wide as you can, and say to yourself a
few hundred times, "Want to sleep", "Want to sleep". This is on a par with the
gimmick of "counting sheep" followed by certain people.
The time is now ripe to make a suggestion to your subconscious that you are
feeling sleepy, that you are feeling drowsy. Make your mind weary by the
following rhythmic repetition:
I am feeling drowsier and drowsier,
With the following kind of rhythm: Lar, la-lar, la-lar, la-lar.
Keep on and on, uttering the words mentally with the above rhythm. And you will
find yourself dozing off.
Some people find that they want something longer than the above, and find the
following more suitable.
Moment by moment
And hour by hour,
And I am feeling,
Drowsier and drowsier
With the rhythm somewhat as follows:
You will soon be asleep. Keep it up, keep it up, till you are no more conscious.
In your own mind the above mentioned words may not suggest the above rhythm.
Establish your own rhythm, your own lilt.
Possibly at some time before or during the rhythmic repetition, you wish to
change the position of your body. Do so; turn over to your right or to your
left and assume a comfortable sleeping posture. You will soon find out what
posture is good for you, what posture you like. Keep up your rhythmic
repetition, and you will soon be asleep.
Block conceptual thought, block verbal thinking, and then you mentally utter the
rhythmic repetition with concentration, it will not be difficult to go off to
The above is for those not suffering from acute insomnia. If you suffer from
insomnia, you will not be able to get yourself to the stage of making the
suggestion to your subconscious, as stated above. You will have to be more
drastic and begin by preparing your body for sleep.
After making your decision to go to sleep, you must prepare your body for sleep
by relaxing. After your body has been relaxed, you prepare your emotions for
You are now in bed. The best position for a start is lying flat on your back
with your face facing the ceiling and your eyes closed. Let your hands be on
either side of your body and your legs uncrossed and stretched straight out.
Firstly do some deep breathing as explained in a previous chapter.
Now relax your body. Relaxing your body means to relax your muscles as much as
possible. This requires conscious effort. Relax each part of your body.
Relaxation is done first by stretching a muscle and then letting it go limp.
Start with your legs. Arch your feet upwards and let go into the limp position.
Then arch your feet downwards and let go into the limp position.
Proceed immediately thereafter with the relaxation of the next part of your
body. For example, after you have relaxed your feet, forget about it
immediately and go on to the next part of your body.
Relax your hands. You can relax one hand at a time or relax both simultaneously.
Stretch your hand upwards and let go. Then stretch your hand downwards and let
go. Then clench your hands and let go. Then go quickly to the next part of the
Relax your back by arching it upward and letting go and allowing it to fall back
on the bed.
Then relax your neck by moving it sideways from left to right, and right to
left, and then up and down, finally letting it fall back on the pillow.
Then relax your facial muscles, especially your eyebrows. Contract them and
relax. Frown and then relax.
Then relax your jaw. Open your mouth wide in a yawn, exhale the breath with a
yawning sound and snap it into a relaxation. Then clench your teeth and let go.
Finally relax your eyes. Close your eyes and visualise black; visualising black
is the best way to relax your eyes.
By this time, you may be ready to make your suggestion to your subconscious that
you are feeling sleepy, feeling drowsy, and to make the rhythmic repetitions as
However, you may still be in an emotional state. If so, you must relax your
emotions. The big emotions that affect a person are mostly worry, fear, lust,
hate and the kindred ones.
You must now talk and argue to yourself quietly and silently so that you can lay
aside; the emotions that are assailing you at that moment. Any excitement must
be allayed. You may be overjoyed at some sudden burst of good fortune. You must
argue to yourself that you must go to sleep and that it is time that the
excitement be allayed. You may be up against a second moment of decision to go
Once you have reached your final moment of decision, it will not be difficult to
go to sleep.
Now begin to make your suggestions to your subconscious that you are feeling
sleepy and drowsy.
Repeat the rhythmic repetitions as mentioned above and you should soon be
INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA
19 - AUTO-SUGGESTION
It is the Subconscious Mind, that sustains and builds and repairs and heals the
human body. You can aid and influence the activities by making suggestions to
your Subconscious Mind.
Your energy, your drive, your ambitions, are all based on your Subconscious. You
can ginger up your Subconscious by suitable suggestions.
Keep out your Willpower when making suggestions to your Subconscious. Do not
make any assertions, especially an assertion of something which is not true,
for your Subconscious Mind will reject an untrue suggestion. Make suggestions
only, suggestions for the future.
Your suggestions are to be based on deep concentration. It is better for your
suggestion to have a rhythm or lilt, so that your words do not interfere with
The best time is when you are about to sleep. Make only one kind of suggestion
on any one occasion. When you wake up during the course of the night, you can
make a suggestion different to the one you made earlier in the night. Of
course, you can also make a suggestion at any time of the day when your mind is
Keep repeating this suggestion with a concentrated mind:
by hour and day by day,
· I am
getting well in every way
For older people who want to feel younger:
by hour and day by day,
· I am
getting younger in every way".
If you want to feel younger and make the above suggestion, you should in your
every day activities act younger and think younger. Throw away your old
fashioned way of thinking and acting.
About your work
You may be getting stale in your work. You may think that you do not like your
work, or do not like it any more. However, think to yourself how by your work
you are giving help to others, how others are dependent on you and your work,
how they look up to you for help, the service you are rendering to others, etc.
Suggest to yourself;
by hour and day by day,
love my work better in every way"
Success in work
If you want success, or more success, in your work, do the requisite suggestion.
Not only will there be direct result but there will also be a reflex reaction
for you to be more keen on your work and to work harder.
by hour and day by day,
· I am
more and more successful in every way"
Relation with your Spouse
You may have some difficulty with your spouse. You may think that you do not
love him (her) any more, or that you love him (her) less than formerly.
The best cure is to talk it over openly about each other’s alleged faults. If
after you have talked it over with your spouse and he (she) will also make the
following suggestion, the trouble will soon be over. In any cases if you do not
talk it over with your spouse, at least on your part make the suggestion:
by hour and day by day,
love my husband (wife) better in every way".
You may make suitable variations in the wording to meet your case.
When Doing Breathing Exercises
When doing breathing exercises, you may be doing some concentration exercise at
the same time. Otherwise, you can make the following suggestion:
"I am breathing in health".
You may have difficulties for which the suggestions mentioned above are not
suitable. Then make the following suggestion:
by hour and day by day,
difficulties are being overcome in every way".
It has been proved that pain can be made to subside and disappear by
concentrated suggestion to your subconscious. The suggestion may have to be
somewhat sustained and prolonged. It can be performed at any time when
necessary. Concentrate on the spot where the pain is, and make a suggestion
that the pain is disappearing.
INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA
20 - ABSENT-MINDEDNESS
Absent-mindedness can be cured only by being mindful of everything from moment
to moment. You must "live in the present". You must be aware of the happenings,
you must be conscious of the happenings, at every moment. In due course of
time, you will be conscious of each happening from the time of your awakening
in the morning till the moment you fall asleep.
This awareness of every moment can be cultivated gradually till you are no more
ever absent-minded. Try it for 5 minutes at first and then gradually extend the
time. You will be living every moment for the first time in your life, and you
will discover how interesting it really is.
Here are a few exercises:
Exercise 1. Basic Awareness
Be aware of your breathing in, and breathing out. Be conscious of your breathing
through the nostrils, through the nose, "In" and "Out". Let your breathing be
natural. Do not force the breathing.
This is to be your basic awareness throughout your waking hours. You must go
back to this basic awareness of breathing in and breathing out as soon as you
have finished being aware of whatever particular thing you have been doing,
i.e. your daily chores or your daily work.
Exercise 2. Walking
Be aware of every movement of your legs. Let us say that you start walking with
your left foot. First be aware of your intention to walk. Next, be aware that
you move your left leg forward, then be aware that you move your right leg
forward, and so on. You are aware of your walking, left, right, left, right.
Now walking more slowly, be aware of your movement of each leg in two sections
or parts. Be aware of your left leg going forward and your putting it on the
ground. Then be aware of the right leg going forward and your putting it on the
As you improve in course of time, be aware of the movements of each leg in 3
sections or parts. Be aware of the leg being lifted from the ground, then
moving forward, and then your putting it on the ground.
In any spare moment between the awareness of the movements of your legs, go back
to the basic awareness of breathing in and breathing out.
Exercise 3. When you want to sit down on a chair
Be aware of your intention to sit down; think very quickly, "I want to sit
down". Be aware of your first movement towards sitting down. When you have sat
down, think very quickly, "have sat down".
Then go back to your basic awareness of breathing in and breathing out, till you
want to do something else.
Exercise 4. When you want to get up
Be aware of your intention to get up; think very quickly, "Want to get up". Be
aware of each movement towards getting up. When you are up, think very quickly,
"I am up".
Before you intend doing something else go back to your basic awareness of
breathing in and breathing out.
Exercise 5. When you want to drink
Be aware of your intention to drink. Then be aware of your extending your hand
towards the cup, be aware of pouring the water in the cup, be aware of lifting
the cup towards your lips, be aware of each successive step right up to
swallowing the water, be aware of putting down the cup, etc., till the act of
drinking is over.
Then go back to your basic awareness of breathing in and breathing out.
Exercise 6. Eating
Be aware at every moment of every movement towards eating, be aware of using the
fork and the knife or the spoon, of every successive movement of drinking your
soup, of each successive movement of cutting your meat and putting it in your
mouth and chewing and swallowing and the return movements of your hands towards
your plate, and so on.
In-between, go back to your basic awareness of in and out breaths.
Exercise 7. Lying down
You must always be aware of your intention to do anything: in this instance,
lying down. Think very quickly, "want to lie down". Then be aware of every
Exercise 8. The Sensations
Whatever be your physical posture, whether sitting or standing or lying down,
try to be aware of your various sensations. Say you are sitting. As you sit,
you will want to move your position. Think quickly "want to move". Then be
aware of your movement whatever it be.
You may feel itchy. Be aware of your itchiness. Think to yourself- "I am feeling
itchy". Concentrate your mind on the itchiness. Usually, the sensation will
gradually disappear as you concentrate and improve your concentration. If the
sensation gets worse, you may wish to scratch: If so, think to your self, "I am
going to scratch".
Then be aware of moving your hand towards the spot, be aware of your scratching
and be aware of the disappearance of the itchiness, and be aware that you have
stopped scratching and that you have withdrawn your hand.
You may feel a pain. Be aware of the sensation of pain. Think to yourself, "I
feel a sensation of pain. Then concentrate on the pain and make a suggestion to
yourself that it is disappearing and usually it will disappear. If the pain
gets worse, you may prefer to change your posture to get rid of the pain. Think
to yourself, "I want to change my posture". Then change it and be aware of it.
You may feel tired. One of your limbs may feel numb. There are all sorts of
other sensations of your physical body. Be aware of the sensation, be aware of
your intention to do something to overcome or change the sensation, and be
aware of what you do.
And always in the meantime, go back to the basic awareness of breathing in and
Exercise 9. The five senses
When you see, be aware and think to yourself, "I see". Then go back to your
basic awareness of breathing in and breathing out. Or you may wish to go on to
see something else. Just be aware of whatever you are doing.
When you hear, when you taste, when you touch, when you smell, be aware and
think to yourself of whatever the sensation is. Be aware, be conscious of
whatever it is.
Later go back to your basic awareness of the in- and out-breaths.
Exercise 10. Your thoughts
Be aware of your thoughts. As your mind wanders, think to yourself, "wandering".
As your mind dwells at a certain spot, think to yourself, "dwelling". If you
meet a friend in your thoughts, in your imagination, think to yourself,
"meeting". And so on. Then you let your imagination run riot. Be aware of every
successive run of your mind. Later consciously bring your mind back and be
aware of it. Be aware of every successive movement. Then bring it back to your
basic in and out breathing.
Exercise 11. On reading
Be aware of your intention to read. Be aware of the opening of the book, your
starting to read, and in the marginal zone of your consciousness, be aware that
you are reading.
Be aware, Be aware. Be aware when you are feeling tired of reading. Be aware
when you wish to stop reading. Be aware of your stoppage of the reading.
Exercise 12. On awakening
As soon as you awake, you should be conscious immediately that you are awake.
This will not be easy at first. Before you go to sleep at night, suggest to
yourself that you will be aware of the fact of your awakening as soon as you
awake. Suggest to yourself every night before you fall asleep.
After your first moment of awareness, continue being aware of every other
happening, of your movements in getting up, of your ablutions, of your walking
here and there, to and fro, of your sitting down, etc. In other words, be aware
of every consequential act, of taking your meals, of going to work, of your
work itself and the 101 things connected with your work and your movements in
their connection, etc.
Always, in the meantime, be aware of your basic breathing in and breathing out.
The above are a few exercises to show you the way. You can realise the immensity
of the subject. Be industrious.
Try for 5 minutes at first. Then extend the time. In the end you will be aware
of everything from the time you wake up till the time you fall off to sleep.
Day by day and week by week and month by month, you will improve. There will
come a time when you can never ever be absent-minded again.
INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA
21 - BASIC GOOD CONDUCT
Basic good conduct is a matter of common sense for the good of the community at
large. The point is brought home by the following illustration.
To ensure harmonious relations between all the members of a community, a meeting
was called and everybody attended.
A few elders of the community explained that the purpose of the meeting was to
find ways and means of ensuring harmonious relations within the community and
that, after due discussion, the meeting should decide what were the rules of
good conduct by which all the members of the community should abide.
However, one of those present declared that he was willing to abide by every
rule made by the community but unfortunately, if ever he were in a bad mood, he
had a great urge, a great desire, to kill people, male or female, big or small,
and that he must not be blamed if he were to kill anybody.
Another person got up and said that he had a terrific urge at time to rape women
and children, and he took an inordinate delight in seducing young girls and
married women. So he must be excused if he sometimes raped women and children
and had sexual misconduct with young girls and married women.
Another person got up and said that he had a great urge to steal and that he
must be excused if he stole other people’s property, directly or by way of
cheating, embezzlement, etc.
Another person said that he had a leaning for telling lies, especially with a
view to harming the reputation of others.
Another person said that he must be excused if he got drunk off and on, and if
he committed some excesses whilst he was drunk, such as assaulting people or
raping women or taking property forcibly.
The meeting considered the statements of these people. Many speeches were made
to the effect that everybody in the community must conform.
Eventually the following rules were made:
1. Nobody must drink to
excess or take narcotics in any form.
2. Nobody must steal the
property, of another by whatsoever means.
3. Nobody must tell lies
especially, with a view to character assassination, etc.
4. Nobody must kill.
5. Nobody must commit
adultery or indulge in illicit sexual intercourse.
The meeting considered that drunkenness could lead to other offences. A person
in a drunken state could kill or assault another, and commit all sorts of other
excesses. Therefore, if a person must drink, he must be temperate so that no
excesses were committed.
As for the taking of narcotics, a person could go even to the extent of killing
a person, and therefore all narcotics are banned from the point of view of mind
development, it must be realized that a few drinks can deaden or put to sleep a
Nobody wants to have his property stolen, and so everybody must respect the
rights of another in respect of his property, both moveable and immovable You
should not cheat nor embezzle nor misappropriate nor otherwise obtain the
property of another illegally or illegitimately. You should avoid all dishonest
Do not lie, for lies always in the long run lead to the injury of another. You
should also avoid backbiting and any other form of bringing disharmony within
the community and causing enmity and hatred.
Everybody is afraid of pain; everybody is afraid of death. All animals are also
afraid of pain and all animals are afraid of death; you will come to realise
this if ever you hear the cries of animals that are being led to the
slaughter-house. It is this common experience of suffering that unites the
human and the animal kingdom. The concept of universal brotherhood emanates
from this experience of common suffering. In the spirit of compassion for all
sentient things, you shou1d not kill.
Adultery has been the cause of so much trouble since the beginning of mankind,
and you should nip in the bud any adulterous ideas that may start inside you.
Adultery begins with the mind and has even led to wars between tribes and
These rules of good conduct lead to peace and harmony in the community, but
subjectively they also avoid or eliminate remorse; the benefit of non-remorse
is incalculable. In the same way you should not break any of the penal laws of
your country. Breaking them can lead to punishment, but most of all it leads to
In cultured societies, good conduct is based upon what "is done" and what "is
not done". If you have any shame in wrong doing and fear the consequences of
wrong doing, all is well with you. The difficulty is that many people in the
community have no pangs of shame in wrong doing nor do they have any fear of
the consequence of wrong doing.
You should cultivate a spirit of loving-kindness and a spirit of charitableness,
especially charitableness towards the feelings of others.
If you do any Transcendental Concentration at the end of each period of
concentration you should orally offer loving kindness to all beings in general,
as mentioned in the Chapter on Loving-Kindness (p. 107). This has a reflex
action on your own mind, and day by day builds up a snowball action.
Moreover you can, if you want, name specifically these persons, relatives or
non-relatives, to whom you particularly want to extend your loving-kindness. If
you were sincerely to include the names; of those whom you think are inimical
to you or to your interest, you will be surprised how in course of time they
will veer around to your side, because you yourself will react and act
differently towards them.
Those without basic good conduct can still achieve good concentration but not so
easily as those with basic good conduct. For those without basic good conduct,
there may be a tendency to use their psychic powers for their selfish ends, and
it is the common experience all over the world that such persons soon lose
their psychic powers and are even led to their physical and mental
The Superconscious Mind blossoms best in a person who lives by correct ethical
The aim of most human beings is to achieve happiness. However, the real basis of
happiness is the elimination of selfish desire. Try and reduce your selfish
desires as much as possible.
Let us study the following fraction:
If for example the denominator, namely, the sum of total of desires, is 100. and
the numerator, namely the desires fulfilled, is 40, you have the fraction:
or 40 percent fulfilled. You will still be unhappy because of desires that are
not yet fulfilled.
If however you reduce the quantum of desires, if you reduce the denominator to
50, you get the fraction 40/50=80%
which represents the fulfillment of 80 percent of your desires.
If you reduce your desires to 40, you get:
or complete happiness.
So your aim should be to reduce your selfish desires as much as possible.
INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA
22 - SELF-HEALING
The technique is to actively suggest to your subconscious with a concentrated
When you feel that you may be catching a cold, sit down and do some hard
rhythmic chest-breathing for some 20 minutes or more. Do this breathing for 3
or 4 times during the day and the onset of the cold should have abated and the
cold will have disappeared.
For respiratory diseases and high blood pressure, hard or medium rhythmic
chest-breathing should be resorted to. Every session should last at least 20
minutes. As you breathe you may rock your body in a to-and-fro motion. Instead
of concentrating on the nose area, keep suggesting to your subconscious that
your malady is disappearing. Your malady may be bronchitis, or sinus, or high
blood pressure or tuberculosis or any other respiratory disease. Have two or
more sessions a day; keep at it. Others have been cured, and so can you. Do not
give up, even if it takes weeks and weeks, according to the nature and
intensity of the infirmity. But you will be cured.
When you are concentrating while doing rhythmic chest-breathing, you may develop
aches and pain in some part of your body. After a bout of deep concentration
for 20 minutes or so, transfer your concentration to your biggest ache or
biggest pain and suggest to your subconscious that the ache or pain is
After a sufficient period of concentrated suggestion, all of a sudden the ache
or pain will disappear and the body and mind will feel very light. This
experience should lead you to further efforts at concentration.
For the cure of other diseases much as arthritis, paralysis, gout, etc.; the
technique is similar to that mentioned above regarding the cessation of aches
and pains. Unless you have developed very good concentration by other means,
the best method is the acquisition of concentration by the chest-breathing
techniques. Obtain deep concentration for 20 minutes or more, and then transfer
the concentration to your infirmity, to that part of your body which is the
subject of the disease and make firm suggestions to your subconscious that the
disease is disappearing.
You must keep at it for days and days and weeks and weeks. Have 2 or 3 sessions
a day. The cure of your infirmity will take time; it is not to be a sudden cure
but a gradual natural cure. The time taken to cure will depend naturally on the
intensity of your infirmity. But the cure will really come about.
If there is a particular organ of your body or a particular part of your body
that you want healed, concentrate on it as you make the suggestion to your
subconscious. Otherwise concentrate on your heart as you make the suggestions
to your subconscious.
INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA
APPENDIX I - Materiality
The 28 Properties or Material qualities of Matter or Materiality
1. The 4 Mahā-Būtas or 4 Primaries or 4 Great Essential Elements
1. The element of
solidity or extension
2. The element of
fluidity or cohesion
3. The element of heat
4. The element of motion
2. The 6 bases of sensitive material qualities
5. The eye basis
6. The ear basis
7. The nose basis
8. The tongue basis
9. The body basis
10. The heart basis
3. The 2 sexes
11. The male sex
12. The female sex
4. Material quality of life
13. The vital force
5. Material quality of nutrition
14. Edible Food
6. The 4 sense fields
15. Visible form
7. Material quality of limitation
19. The element of Space
8. Communicating material quality
20. Bodily Intimation
21. Vocal Intimation
9. The 3 Plasticities
10. The 4 Salient features or characteristics of material qualities
INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA
APPENDIX II - Cetasika
FIFTY-TWO KINDS OF CETASIKA
Mental properties are of 52 kinds:
(a) the Seven Common Properties (sabbacitta), so called on account of being
common to all classes of consciousness, viz.:
1. phassa (contact)
2. vedanā (feeling)
3. saññā (perception)
4. cetanā (volition)
5. ekaggatā (concentration of mind)
6. jīvita (psychic life)
7. manasikāra (attention).
(b) The six Particulars (pakinnakā), so called because they invariably enter
into composition with consciousness, viz.:
1. vitakka (initial application)
2. vicāra (sustained application)
3. viriya (effort)
4. pīti (pleasurable interest)
5. chanda (desire-to-do)
6. adhimokka (deciding).
The above thirteen kinds (a) and (b) are called Mixtures (vimissaka), or better,
as rendered by Shwe Zan Aung "Un-morals", as they are common to both moral and
immoral consciousness in composition.
(c) the fourteen Immorals (papajāti), viz.:
l. lobha (greed)
2. dosa (hate)
3. moha (dullness)
4. ditthi (error)
5. māna (conceit)
6. issā (envy)
7. macchariya (selfishness)
8. kukkucca (worry)
9. ahirika (shamelessness)
10. anottappa (recklessness)
11. uddhacca (distraction)
12. thīna (sloth)
13. middha (torpor)
14. vicikicchā (scepticism)
(d) The twenty-five Morals (kalayanajatika) viz.:
1. alobha (generous)
2. adosa (amity)
3. amoha (reason)
4. saddhā (faith)
5. sati (mindfulness)
6. hiri (modesty)
7. ottappa (discretion)
8. tatramajjihattatā (balance of mind)
9. kāya-passaddhi (composure of mental properties)
10. citta-passaddhi (composure of mind)
11. kāya-lahutā (buoyancy of mental properties)
12. citta-lahutā (buoyancy of mind)
13. kāya-mudutā (pliancy of mental properties)
14. citta-mudutā (pliancy of mind)
15. kāya-kammaññatā (adaptability of mental properties)
16. citta-kammaññatā (adaptability of mind)
17. kāya-pāguññatā (proficiency of mental properties)
18. citta-pāguññatā (proficiency of mind)
19. kāya’ujukatā (rectitude of mental properties)
20. citta’ujukatā (rectitude of mind)
The following three are called the Three Abstinences (viratiyo)
21. sammāvācā (right speech)
22. sammākammanto (right action)
23. samma-ājīvo (right livelihood)
The last two are called the two Illimitables or appamaññā.
24. karunā (pity)
25. muditā (appreciation)
1. Phassa means contact, and contact means the faculty of pressing the object
(arammana), so as to cause the agreeable or disagreeable sap (so to speak) to
come out. So it is the main principle or prime mover of the mental properties
in the uprising. If the sap cannot be squeezed out, then all objects (arammana)
will be of no use.
2. Vedanā means feeling, or the faculty of tasting the sapid flavour thus
squeezed out by the phassa. All creatures are sunk in this vedanā.
3. Saññā means perception, or the act of perceiving. All creatures become wise
through this perception, if they perceive things with sufficient clearness in
accordance with their own-ways, custom, creed, and so forth.
4. Cetanā means volition or the faculty of determining the activities of the
mental concomitants so as to bring them into harmony. In the common speech of
the world we are accustomed to say of one who supervises a piece of work that
he is the performer or author of the work. We usually say: "Oh, this work was
done by so-and-so", or "This is such and such a person’s great work". It is
somewhat the same in connection with the ethical aspects of things. The
volition (cetana) is called the doer (kamma), as it determines the activities
of the mental concomitant, or supervises all the actions of body, of speech,
and of mind. As every kind of prosperity in this life is the outcome of the
exertions put forth in work performed with body, with speech and with mind, so
also the issues of new life or existence are the results of the volition
(asynchronous volition is the name given to it in the Patthana, and it is known
by the name of Kamma in the actions of body, speech and mind) performed in
previous existences. Earth, water, mountains, trees, grass and so forth, are
all born of Utu, the element of warmth and they may quite properly be called
the children or the issue of the warmth element. So also all living creatures
may be called the children or the issue of volition, or what is called
kamma-dhatu, as they are all born through Kamma.
5. Ekaggatā means concentration of mind. It is also called Right Concentration
(samādhi). It becomes prominent in the jhāna-samapatti the attainment of the
supernormal modes of mind called Jhāna.
6. Jīvita means the life of mental phenomena. It is pre-eminent in preserving
the continuance of mental phenomena.
7. Manasikāra means attention. Its function is to bring the desired object into
view of consciousness.
These seven factors are called sabbacitta, Universal Properties, as they always
enter into the composition of all consciousness.
8. Vitakka means the initial application of mind. Its function is to direct the
mind towards the object of research. It is also called Sankappa (aspiration),
which is of two kinds, viz., Sammāsankappa or Right Aspiration, Micchasankappa
or Wrong Aspiration.
9. Vicāra means sustained application. Its function is to concentrate upon
10. Viriya means effort of mind in actions. It is of two kinds, right effort and
11. Pīti means pleasurable interest of mind or buoyancy of mind or the bulkiness
12. Chanda mean desire to do, such as desire to go, desire to say, desire to
speak, and so forth.
13. Adhimokkha means decisions, or literally, apartness of mind for the object,
that is, it is intended to connote the freedom of mind from the wavering state
between the two courses: "Is it?" or "Is it not?".
These last six mental properties are not common to all classes of consciousness,
but severally enter into their composition. Hence they are called Pakinnaka or
Particulars. They make thirteen if they are added to the Common Properties, and
both, taken together are called vimissaka (mixtures) as they enter into
composition both with moral and immoral consciousness.
14. Lobha ethically means greed, but psychically it means agglutination of mind
with objects. It is sometimes called Tanhā (craving), sometimes Abhijjhā
(covetousness) sometimes Kāma (lust) and sometimes Raga (sensual passion).
15. Dosa in its ethical sense is hate, but psychically it means the violent
striking of mind at the object. It has two other names, i.e. patigha
(repugnance, anger), and vyāpāda (ill-will).
16. Moha means dullness or lack of understanding in philosophical matters. It is
also called avijjhā (ignorance), annana (not knowing) and adassana
The above three just mentioned are called the three akusala-mula, or the three
main immoral roots, as they are the sources of all immoralities.
17. Ditthi means error or wrong seeing in matters of philosophy. It takes
impermanence for permanence, and non-soul for soul, and moral activities for
immoral ones; or it denies that there are any results of action, and so forth.
18. Māna means Conceit or wrong estimation. It wrongly imagines the
name-and-form (nāma-rūpa) to be an "I", and estimates it as noble or ignoble
according to the caste, creed, or family, and so on, to which the person
19. Issā means envy, or disapprobation, or lack of appreciation, or absence of
inclination to congratulate others upon their success in life. It also means a
disposition to find fault with others.
20. Macchariya means selfishness, illiberality, or unwillingness to share with
21. Kukkucca means worry, anxiety, or undue anxiousness for what has been done
wrongly, or for right actions that have been left undone. There are two wrongs
in the world, namely, doing sinful deeds and failing to do meritorious deeds.
There are also two ways of representing thus "I have done sinful acts", or "I
have left undone meritorious acts, such as charity, virtue, and so forth." "A
fool always invents plans after all is over", runs the saying. So worry is of
two kinds, with regard to forgetfulness and with regard to viciousness, to sins
of omission and sins of commission.
22. Ahirika means shamelessness. When a sinful a is about to be committed, no
feeling of shame, such as "I will be corrupted if I do this", or "Some people
and Devas may know this of me", arise in him who is shameless.
23. Anottappa means utter recklessness as regards such consequences, as
Attan-uvadabhaya (fear of self-accusations like: "I have been foolish; I have
done wrong", and so forth,) Paranuvadabhaya (fear of accusations by others):
Dandabhaya (fear of punishments in the present life inflicted by the rulers:)
Apayabhaya (fear of punishments to be suffered in the realms of misery).
24. Udhacca means distraction as regards an object.
25. Thīna means slothfulness of mind, that is, the dullness of the mind’s
consciousness of an object.
26. Middha means slothfulness of mental properties, that is, the dimness of the
faculties of each of the mental properties, such as contact, feeling and so
27. Vicikicchā means perplexity, that is, not believing what ought to be
The above fourteen kinds are called papajāti or akusala-dhamma; in fact, they
are real immoralities.
28. Alobha means disinterestedness of mind as regards an object. It is also
called nekkhamadhatu (element of abnegation or renunciation) and anabhijha
29. Adosa, or amity in its ethical sense means inclination of mind in the
direction of its object, or purity of mind. It is also called avyāpāda (peace
of mind), and mettā (loving-kindness).
30. Amoha means knowing things as they are. It is also called ñāna (wisdom),
paññā (insight), vijjha (knowledge), sammā-ditthi (right view), paññindriya
These three are called the three kalaya-mulas or the three Main Moral Roots as
they are the sources of all moralities.
31. Saddhā means faith in what ought to be believed. This is also called pasada
32. Sati means constant mindfulness in good things so as not to forget them. It
is also called dharana (Retention), and utthana (readiness).
33. Hiri means modesty which can notes hesitation in doing sinful acts through
shame of being known to do them.
34. Ottappa means discretion which can notes hesitation in doing sinful deeds
through fear of self accusation, of accusation by others, or of punishments in
spheres of misery (apayabhaya).
35. Tatramaijhattatā is balance of mind, that is to say, that mode of mind which
neither cleaves to an object nor repulses it. This is called
upekkha-brahma-vihara (equanimity of the Sublime Abode) in the category of
brahma-vihara; and upekkhasambojjhanga (equanimity that pertains to the factors
of Enlightenment) in the bojjhanga.
36. Kāya-passaddhi means composure of mental properties.
37. Citta-passaddhi means composure of mind. By composure it is meant that the
mental properties are set at rest and become cool, as they are free from the
three Immoral (papadhamma) which cause annoyance in doing good deeds.
38. Kāya-lahutā means buoyancy of mental properties.
39. Citta-lahutā means buoyancy of mind. By buoyancy it is meant that the mental
properties become light, as they are free from the Immoral which weigh against
them in the doing of good deeds. It should be explained in the same manner as
40 Kāya mudutā means pliancy of mental properties.
41. Citta-mudutā means pliancy of mind.
42. Kāya-kammaññatā means fitness of work of mental properties.
43. Citta-kammaññatā means the fitness of the mind for work.
44. Kāya-pāguññatā means proficiency of mental properties.
45. Citta-pāguññatā means proficiency of mind. Proficiency here means
46. Kāya’ujukatā means rectitude of mental properties.
47. Citta-’ujukatā means rectitude of mind.
48. Sammā-vācā means Right Speech, that is abstinence from the fourfold sinful
modes of speech i.e. lying, slandering, abusive language and idle talk.
49. Sammā-kammanto means Right Action, that is abstinence from the threefold
sinful acts, i.e. killing, stealing, and unchastity.
50. Sammā-ājīva means Right Livelihood.
These three sammā-vācā, samm-kammanto and sammā-ājīvo are called the Triple
51. Karunā means pity, sympathy, compassion or wishing to help those who are in
52. Muditā means appreciation of, or congratulation upon or delight in, the
success of others.
These two are respectively called karuna-brahma-vihara and mudita-brahma-vihara.
They are also called appamaññā (Illimitables) according to the definition
"Appamanesu sattesu bhava ti appa-maññā," that is: "appamaññā is so called
because it exists without limit among living beings."
Nibbāna may be classified into three kinds, viz.: First Nibbāna, Second Nibbāna
and Third Nibbāna.
Freeing or deliverance from the plane of misery is the first Nibbāna.
Freeing or deliverance from the plane of kamaloka is the second Nibbāna.
Freeing or deliverance from the planes of Rūpaloka and Arūpa-loka is the Third
Consciousness one, Mental properties fifty-two, Nibbāna one, altogether make up
fifty-four Mental Phenomena. Thus the twenty eight material phenomena and 54
mental phenomena make up 82 ultimate things which are called Ultimate Facts. On
the other hand, Self, Soul, Creature, Person and so forth, are Conventional
See the Table II. Mental-States (sankhāra kkhandha)
INTRODUCING BUDDHIST ABHIDHAMMA
APPENDIX III - THE ABHIDHAMMA
The Abhidhamma Pitaka consists of seven treatises, namely, Dhamma Sanganī,
Vibhanga, Dhātu Kathā, Puggala Paññatti, Kathā Vatthu, Yamaka and Patthana.
1. Dhamma Sanganī "Classification of Dhammas"
This book has four chapters, dealing with:
(I) (Citta), Consciousness
(II) (Rūpa), Matter,
(III) (Nikkhepa), Summary,
(IV) (Atthuddhara), Elucidation.
The 22 Triplets and the 100 Couplets, which comprise the quintessence of the
Abhidhamma, are explained in this book.
Three quarters of the book is devoted to discussion of the 22 Triplets. In
extent, it exceeds 104,000 letters.
The English translation, by Mrs. Rhys. Davids is called, "Buddhist Psychological
Ethics". The main body of the book deals with the enumeration and definition of
the various methods in groups of three and groups of two, by which the whole
analytical teaching of the Buddha may be expressed in accordance with his
different modes of analysis.
A Commentary, something like a Vade Mecum was written by Anuruddha Thera of
Ceylon about the 8th Century, called the Abhidhammattha Sangaha. This was
translated by U Shwe Zan Aung under the title Compendium of Philosophy, and
first published in 1910.
2. Vibhanga - The Book of Analysis.
There are eighteen Analyses in this book. The first three Analyses, which deal
with Khandha (Aggregates), Ayatana (Sense-Bases) and Dhatu (Elements), are the
Most of these Analyses consist of three parts:
Suttanta explanation, Abhidhamma explanation, and a Catechism (Panhapucchaka).
In this treatise there are thirty-five Bhanavaras (280,000 letters).
The English translation is by U Thittila, with an Introduction by
3. Dhātu Kathā - "Discourse on Elements".
This book discusses whether Dhammas are included or not included in, associated
with, or dissociated from Aggregates (Khandha), Bases (Ayatana), and Elements
There are fourteen chapters in this work. In extent it exceeds six Bhanavaras
The English translation is by U Narada, Mula Patthana Sayadaw (Thera) of Burma,
assisted by U Thein Nyun.
4. Puggala Paññatti - "Designation of Individuals".
In the method of exposition this book resembles the Anguttara Nikāya of the
Sutta Pitaka. Instead of dealing with various Dhammas, it deals with various
type of individuals. There are ten chapters in this book. In extent it exceeds
five Bhanavaras (40,000 letters).
5. Kathā Vatthu - "Points of Controversy".
The authorship of this treatise is ascribed to Venerable Meggalliputta Tissa
Thera, who flourished in the time of King Dhammaseka. It was he who presided at
the third Conference held at Pataliputra (Patna) in the 3rd century B.C. This
work of his was included in the Abhidhamma Pitaka at that Conference.
This book deals with 216 controversies and is divided into 23 chapters.
6. Yamaka - "The Book of Pairs".
It is so called owing to its method of treatment. Throughout the book a question
and its converse are found grouped together. For instance, the first pair of
the first chapter, of the book, which deals with roots, runs as follows: Are
all wholesome Dhammas wholesome roots? And are all wholesome roots wholesome
This book is divided into ten chapters. In extent it contains 120 Bhanavaras
7. Patthana - "The Book of Causal Relations".
This is the most important and the most voluminous book of the Abhidhamma
The term Patthana is composed of the prefix "Pa", various, and "Thana", relation
or condition (Paccayā). It is so called because it deals with the 24 modes of
causal relations and the Triplets (Tika) and Couplets (Duka), already mentioned
in the Dhamma Sanganī, and which comprise the essence of the Abhidhamma Pitaka.
The importance attached to this treatise, also known as "Mahā Pakarana", the
Great Book, could be gauged by the words of the Atthasalini which states: "And
while he contemplated the contents of the Dhamma Sanganī, his body did not emit
rays, and similarly with the contemplation of the next five books, but when
coming to the Great Book, he began to contemplate the 24 universal causal
relations of condition, of presentation, and so on, His Omniscience certainly
found its opportunity therein".
The English translation is by U Narada, Mula Patthana Sayādaw (Thera), assisted
by U Thein Nyun.
bhavanga-sota and bhavanga-citta: The first term may tentatively be rendered as
the ’undercurrent forming the condition of being, or existence’, and the second
as ’subconsciousness’, though, as will be evident from the following, it
differs in several respects from the usage of that term in Western psychology.
Bhavanga (bhava-anga), which, in the canonical works, is mentioned twice or
thrice in the Patthāna, is explained in the Abhidhamma commentaries as the
foundation or condition (kārana) of existence (bhava), as the sine qua non of
life, having the nature of a process, lit. a flux or stream (sota). Herein,
since time immemorial, all impressions and experiences are, as it were, stored
up, or better said, are functioning, but concealed as such to full
consciousness, from where however they occasionally emerge as subconscious
phenomena and approach the threshold of full consciousness, or crossing it
become fully conscious. This so-called ’subconscious life-stream’ or
undercurrent of life is that by which might be explained the faculty of memory,
paranormal psychic phenomena, mental and physical growth, karma and rebirth.
etc. An alternative rendering is ’life-continuum’.
It should be noted that bhavanga-citta is a karma-resultant state of
consciousness (vipāka), and that, in birth as a human or in higher forms of
existence, it is always the result of good, or wholesome karma
(kusala-kamma-vipāka), though in varying degrees of strength. The same holds
true for rebirth consciousness (patisandhi) and death consciousness (cuti),
which are only particular manifestations of subconsciousness. In Visuddhi Magga
XIV it is said:
"As soon as rebirth-consciousness (in the embryo at the time of conception) has
ceased, there arises a similar subconsciousness with exactly the same object,
following immediately upon rebirth-consciousness and being the result of this
or that karma (volitional action done in a former birth and remembered there at
the moment before death). And again a further similar state of subconsciousness
arises. Now, as long as no other consciousness arises to interrupt the
continuity of the life-stream, so long the life-stream, like the flow of a
river, rises in the same way again and again, even during dreamless sleep and
at other times. In this way one has to understand the continuous arising of
those states of consciousness in the life-stream."