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A Manual of Abhidhamma
Edited in the original Pali
Text with English Translation and Explanatory Notes
Narada Maha Thera
CHAPTER VI -
[The first Edition comprised 2 Volumes. The first Volume contained Chapter I to V and the second Volume, Chapter VI to IX.]
The first five chapters of the Abhidhammattha Sangaha deal with the 89 and 121 types of consciousness, 52 mental states, various thought-processes in the course of one's lifetime and at rebirth, 31 planes of existence, and classification of Kamma. In one sense they form one complete book.
The remaining four chapters are devoted to rupa (matter), Nibbana, paticca-samuppada (the Law of Dependent Arising), patthana naya (Causal Relations), Categories of Good and Evil, Mental Culture, Path of Purity, and Great Attainments.
The sixth chapter is confined mainly to rupa and Nibbana.
Twenty-eight species of Rupa are enumerated. What they are, how they arise, persist, and perish, are also explained. Rupa is the third paramattha mentioned in the Abhidhamma, and is one of the two composite factors of this so-called being - the other being nama (mind). As nama, so rupa too has been microscopically analysed. But no logical definition of rupa is found either in the Text or in the Commentaries.
Rupa is derived from rup, to break up, to perish (nasa).
According to the Vibhavini Tika, rupa is that which transforms or assumes a different mode owing to the adverse physical conditions of cold heat, etc. (sitonhadi virodhippaccayehi vikaram apajjati).
From a Buddhist standpoint rupa not only changes but also perishes (khaya, vaya). It endures only for seventeen thought-moments. Rupa changes so rapidly that one cannot strike an identical place twice.
Rupa is also explained as that which manifests itself (rup - pakasane).
Scholars suggest various renderings for rupa. It is generally rendered by 'form', 'body', 'matter', 'corporeality', etc. meanings differ according to the context. One particular meaning is not universally applicable.
From a philosophical standpoint, 'matter' is the nearest equivalent for rupa, although scientists too find it difficult to define matter.
It should be noted that the atomic theory prevailed in India in the time of the Buddha. Paramanu was the ancient term for the modern atom. According to the ancient belief one ratharenu consists of 36 tajjaris; one tajjari, 36 anus; one anu, 36 paramanus. The minute particles of dust seen dancing in the sunbeam are called ratharenus. One paramanu is therefore, 1/46, 656th part of a ratharenu. This paramanu was considered indivisible.
With His supernormal knowledge the Buddha analysed this so-called paramanu and declared that it consists of paramatthas - ultimate entities which cannot further be subdivided.
The paramatthas are pathavi, apo, tejo, and vayo. One must not understand that these elements are earth, water, fire and air, as some Greek thinkers believed in the past.
Pathavi means the element of extension, the substratum of matter. Without it objects cannot occupy space. The qualities of hardness and softness which are purely relative are two conditions of this particular element. It may be stated that this element is present in earth, water, fire and air. For instance, the water above is supported by water below. It is this element of extension in conjunction with the element of motion, that produces the upward pressure. Heat or cold is the tejo element, while fluidity is the apo element
Apo is the element of cohesion. Unlike pathavi it is intangible. It is this element that makes scattered particles of matter cohere, and gives rise to the idea of 'body'. When solid bodies are melted, this element becomes more prominent in the resulting fluid. This element is found even in minute particles when solid bodies are reduced to powder. The elements of extension and cohesion are so closely interrelated that when cohesion ceases extension disappears.
Tejo is the element of heat. Cold is also a form of tejo. Both heat and cold are included in tejo because they possess the power of maturing bodies, Tejo, in other words, is the vitalizing energy. Preservation and decay are also due to this element. Unlike the other three essentials of matter, this element has the power to regenerate matter by itself.
Inseparably connected with heat is vayo, the element of motion. Movements are caused by this element. Motion is regarded as the force or the generator of heat. "Motion and heat in the material realm correspond respectively to consciousness and Kamma in the mental."
These four elements coexist and are inseparable, but one may preponderate over another as, for instance, pathavi in earth, apo in water, tejo in fire, and vayo in air.
They are also called Mahabhutas, or Great Essentials because they are invariably found in all material substances ranging from the infinitesimally small cell to the most massive object.
Dependent on them are the four subsidiary material qualities of colour (vanna), smell (gandha), taste (rasa), and nutritive essence (oja). These eight coexisting forces and qualities constitute one material group called 'suddhatthaka rupa kalapa - pure-octad material group'.
The remaining twenty kinds of rupa are equally important.
It should be noted that physical life-principle (rupa jivitindriya) and sex are also conditioned by Kamma. Life in inorganic matter should be differentiated from life in animate beings.
The fact that rupas arise in four ways such as Kamma, mind, seasonal phenomena, and food, will be a novel idea to modern thinkers. All these four sources can, to a great extent, be brought under one's control.
To some extent we are responsible for the creation of our own material phenomena, desirable or undesirable.
The accumulated Karmic tendencies created by persons in the course of their previous lives, play at times a greater role than the hereditary parental cells and genes, in the formation of physical characteristics.
The Buddha, for instance, inherited like every other person, the reproductive cells and genes from His parents. But physically there was none comparable to Him in His long line of honorable ancestors. In the Buddha's own words, He belonged not to the royal lineage, but to that of the Aryan Buddhas. He was certainly a superman, an extraordinary creation of His own Kamma.
According to the Lakkhana Sutta (D. 30) the Buddha inherited these exceptional features, such as the 32 major marks, as the result of his past meritorious deeds. The ethical reason for acquiring each physical feature is clearly explained in the Sutta.
In the sixth chapter only a few lines are devoted to the fourth paramattha - Nibbana - the summum bonum of Buddhism. But the path to Nibbana is described in detail in the ninth chapter.
The seventh chapter enumerates all ethical states and classifies them into various groups.
The two most profound philosophical teachings of Buddhism - namely, the Law of Dependent Arising (paticca-samuppada) and the twenty-four Causal Relations (Patthana) are described in the eighth chapter.
The last chapter is the most important and the most interesting, as it deals with Mental Culture (bhavana) and Emancipation, the quintessence of Buddhism.
To understand the intricacies of Abhidhamma one should critically read and reread the Abhidhammattha Sangaha patiently and carefully, pondering at the same time on the profound teachings embodied therein.
One who understands the Abhidhamma well can fully comprehend the Word of the Buddha and thereby realize one's ultimate goal.
Analysis of Matter
1. The first three chapters dealt with different types of consciousness and mental states, both concisely and descriptively.
2. The fourth chapter was confined to 7 thought-processes during lifetime, and the fifth chapter, to various planes and processes of rebirth consciousness.
3. Samuddesa - i.e., the brief exposition of rupa.
4. Vibhaga - i.e., the analysis of rupa.
5. Samutthana - i.e., the arising of different constituents of rupa such as eye-decad, etc., caused by Kamma, mind, seasonal phenomena, and food.
6. Kalapa - the group compositions of rupa, such as body-decad, sex-decad. etc.
7. Pavattikkama - i.e., how rupas take place in accordance with the states of existence, time, and classes of beings.
8. Mahabhutani - lit ., those that have grown great. The four Great Essentials are the fundamental material elements which are inseparable. Every material substance, ranging from the minutest particle to the most massive object, consists of these four elements which possess specific characteristics.
9. Upadaya-rupani - Derivative or secondary material properties dependent on the Great Essentials. Like the earth are the Essentials; the Derivatives are like trees that spring therefrom. The remaining 24 rupas are regarded as Derivatives.
10. Pathavi-dhatu - The Pali term dhatu means that which bears its own characteristic marks. Element is the closest equivalent for dhatu. Pathavi dhatu, literally, means the earth-element. It is so called because like the earth it serves as a support or foundation for the other coexisting rupas. Pathavi (Sanskrit: prthivi), also spelt pathavi, puthavi, puthuvi, puthuvi - is derived from puth, to expand, to extend. So far, though not very satisfactory, the closest equivalent for pathavi-dhatu is 'the element of extension'. Without it objects cannot occupy space. Both hardness and softness are characteristics of this element.
11. Apo-dhatu - lit., the fluid element . Apo is derived from ap, to arrive, or from a + pay, to grow, to increase. It is 'the element of cohesion . According to Buddhism it is this element that makes different particles of matter cohere, and thus prevents them from being scattered about. Both fluidity and contraction are the properties of this element. It should be understood that cold is not a characteristic of this element.
12. Tejo-dhatu - lit., the fire-element, is explained as 'the element of heat'. Tejo is derived from tij, to sharpen, to mature. Vivacity and maturity are due to the presence of this element. Both heat and cold are the properties of tejo. Intense tejo is heat, and mild tejo is cold. It should not be understood that cold is the characteristic of apo and heat is that of tejo; for, in that case, both heat and cold should be found together, as apo and tejo coexist.
13. Vayo-dhatu - lit., 'the air-element', is explained as the element of motion. Vayo is derived from vay, to move, to vibrate. Motion, vibration, oscillation, and pressure are caused by this element.
14. Pasada-rupa - They are the sensitive parts of the five organs - eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body. They tend to clarify the coexisting material qualities. The perceptible physical eye, for instance, is the sasambhara cakkhu or composite eye, which consists of the four bhuta-rupas, four upada-rupas (colour, odour, taste, and sap), and jivitindriya (vitality). The sensitive part which lies at the center of the retina and which enables one to see objects is, the cakkhu pasada. This is the basis of the eye-consciousness (cakkhu-vi˝˝ana) and becomes the instrument for the eye-door thought-process (cakkhu-dvaravithi). The desire to see tends to develop the sense of sight. The eye, therefore, consists of ten material qualities of which pasada is one.
The other pasada-rupas should be similarly understood.
The pasada-rupas of ear, nose, and tongue are in their respective centers; the kaya-pasada-rupa is diffused throughout the body except on hair, on the tips of nails, and in withered skin.
15. Gocararupa - The sense-fields which serve as supports for the sense-cognitions to arise.
16. Rupa - Both colour and shape are implied by this term.
17. Photthabba - owing to its subtlety, the element of cohesion (apo) cannot be felt by the sense of touch. Only the other three Fundamental Elements are regarded as tangible. In water, for instance, the cold felt is tejo, the softness is pathavi, and the pressure is vayo. One cannot touch apo as its property is cohesion.
See Compendium, p. 155, n. 6.
18. Itthattam purisattam - also termed itthindriyam, purisindriyam - are collectively called in the abbreviated form bhava-rupa, the state by means of which masculinity and femininity are distinguished.
19. Hadayavatthu - The seat of consciousness. Dhammasangani omits this rupa. In the Atthasalini hadayavatthu is explained as cittassa vatthu (basis of consciousness).
It is clear that the Buddha did not definitely assign a specific seat for consciousness, as He has done with the other senses. It was the cardiac theory (the view that heart is the seat of consciousness) that prevailed in His time, and this was evidently supported by the Upanishads. The Buddha could have accepted this popular theory, but He did not commit Himself. In the Patthana, the Book of Relations, the Buddha refers to the basis of consciousness in such indirect terms as "yam rupam nissaya'' "depending on that material thing", without positively asserting whether that rupa was either the heart (hadaya) or the brain. But, according to the views of commentators like Venerable Buddhaghosa and Anuruddha, the seat of consciousness is definitely the heart. It should be understood that the Buddha has neither accepted nor rejected this ancient popular cardiac theory. See Compendium p. 156, n. 1, and p. 277.
20. Jivitindriya - There is vitality both in mind and in matter. Psychic life, which is one of the fifty-two mental states (cetasikas), and physical life, which is one of the twenty-eight rupas, are essential characteristics of this so-called being. Psychic life is one of the seven universals and physical life is associated with almost every material group except in dead matter. Simultaneous with the arising of the rebirth-consciousness, physical life also springs up together with the initial material groups. Jivita is qualified by indriya because it has a dominating influence over other co-adjuncts in vivifying them.
21. Kabalikaro aharo - so called because gross food is taken in by making into morsels. Here ahara means nutritive essence (oja) which sustains the physical body. In the statement - sabbe satta aharatthitika, all beings live on food - ahara means a condition (paccaya).
22. Eighteen - 5+4 (tangibility excluded), 2+1+1+1 = 18.
23. Sabhava-rupa - With respect to their own peculiar characteristics such as hardness, fluidity, etc.
24. Salakkhanarupa - So called because they arise with the inherent general marks of impermanence (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and soullessness (anatta).
25. Nipphannarupa - i.e., produced by Kamma mind, etc.
26. Ruparupa - Here the first term rupa is used in its etymological sense, i.e., change-ableness, as in the Pali phrase - dukkha-dukkha.
27. Sammasanarupa - Because it enables one to employ them as objects fit for contemplation or insight.
28. Akasadhatu - Ceylon Commentators derive akasa from a + kas, to plough. Since there is no ploughing as on earth, space is called akasa. According to Sanskrit, akasa is derived from a + kas, to view, to recognize. In Ledi Sayadaw's opinion it is derived from a + kas, to shine, to appear. Akasa is space which in itself is nothingness. As such it is eternal. Akasa is a dhatu in the sense of a non-entity (nijjiva), not as an existing element like the four Essentials. By akasa, as one of the 28 rupas, is meant not so much the outside space as the intra-atomic space that 'limits' or separates material groups (rupakalapas). Hence in Abhidhamma it is regarded as a 'pariccheda-rupa'. Although akasa is not an objective reality, as it is invariably associated with all material units that arise in four ways, Abhidhamma teaches that it, too, is produced by the same four causes such as Kamma, mind, seasonal changes. and food. Simultaneous with the arising and perishing of the conditioned rupas, akasa rupa also arises and perishes. See Compendium p. 226.
29. Vi˝˝atti is that by means of which one communicates one's ideas to another and one understands another's intentions. It is done both by action and speech - kaya-vi˝˝atti and vaci-vi˝˝atti. The former is caused by the 'air-element' (vayo-dhatu) produced by mind (cittaja); the latter by the 'earth-element produced by the mind. The duration of vi˝˝atti is only one thought-moment.
30. Vikararupa - Change-ability of rupa.
31. Lahuta denotes physical health, and is comparable to an iron rod heated throughout the day.
32. Muduta is comparable to a well-beaten hide.
33. Kamma˝˝ata is opposed to the stiffness of the body, and is comparable to well-hammered gold.
34. Lakkhanarupa - So called because they assume distinguishable characteristics at different stages, such as arising (upada), static (thiti) and dissolution (bhanga).
Upacaya means the first heaping-up or the first arising. Here 'upa' is used in the sense of first. The arising of the first three decads - kaya, bhava, and vatthu - at the very moment of conception, is regarded as upacaya. The subsequent arising of the three decads from the static stage of rebirth-consciousness throughout lifetime is regarded as santati. Both upacaya and santati are sometimes treated as jati - birth. Then the number of rupas amounts to 27 instead of 28.
The life term of conditioned rupa is normally 17 thought-moments or 51 minor thought-instants (according to Commentators, during the time occupied by a flash of lightning, billions of thought-moments arise.)
The first thought-moment is like the upacaya, the last thought-moment is like the aniccata, the intermediate 15 are like the jarata. Aniccata is the dissolution of rupa.
Strictly speaking, there are only three lakkhanarupas, viz: birth, growth-decay, and death. Aniccata is synonymous with marana (death). The entire interval between birth and death constitutes development or decay.
With the exception of the five rupas - namely, two vi˝˝attis, jati, jara, and aniccata - all the remaining 23 rupas last for 17 thought-moments.
Classification of Matter
35. Ahetukam - Because they are not associated with the roots lobha, dosa, etc.
36. Sappaccayam - Because they are related to the causes - Kamma. citta, utu, and ahara.
37. Sasavam - Since they serve as objects for Defilements.
38. Sankhatam - Because they are conditioned by the four causes - Kamma, citta, etc.
39. Lokiyam - Because they are connected with the world of the Five Aggregates of Attachment (pa˝cupadanakkhandhaloka). There is no supramundane rupa.
40. Kamavacaram - Because they come within the range of sensual objects.
41. Anarammanam - As they themselves do not perceive objects. It is the mind that perceives objects through the senses. Rupas serve as sense-objects.
42. Appahatabbam - Because there is no gradual eradication of matter like passions. 'Indestructibility' of matter is not implied by this term.
43. Ajjhattikam - Belonging to the so-called self. The five sensitive organs are essential for living beings. Without them they are inanimate logs. They serve as doors to the mind.
44. i.e., they serve as seats of consciousness.
45. They serve as doors to moral and immoral actions, mind and mental states, deeds and speech.
46. They are so called because they possess a controlling power in their respective spheres. The physical eye, for instance, is composed of ten material qualities; but it is the sensitive eye (cakkhupasadarupa) that controls the remaining nine. The remaining pasadarupas should be similarly understood. The state of sex controls masculinity and femininity. Like the captain of a ship it is vitality that controls rupas.
47. Olarikam - Because of their importance both subjectively and objectively. They are regarded as santike (near) because of their receptivity. Owing to the grossness and nearness both sensitive organs and sense-objects mutually strike each other. Hence they are called sappatigha, lit., 'with striking against'.
See Compendium p. 159, n. 4.
48. Upadinnam - The first 18 kinds of rupa born of Kamma are grasped by craving and false view.
49. Gocaraggahikarupam - They are so called because they take external objects as pasture. According to the Abhidhammattha Sangaha, sight and sound are regarded as objects that do not approach the eye and ear respectively as in the case of bodily contacts, etc. Both eye and ear cognize distant objects without any direct approach. In the case of other objects they directly contact the sense-organs. For instance, taste must directly touch the tongue. So are the other two objects. This may be the reason, irrespective of the wave theory, why the author distinguishes between senses that reach, and do not reach, the objects.
See Compendium, p. 160.
50. Oja, as a rupa in itself, has the power of producing other rupas as well.
51. As a rule these eight rupas are bound together. The four Essentials are inseparable and so are the four Derivatives. Hence they are also termed 'suddhatthaka' ('pure octad') and 'ojatthaka' ('with oja as the eighth'). The growth of inanimate matter is also due to the presence of this universal oja.
The Arising of
Material Phenomena (52)
52. Rhupasamutthana - Buddhism does not attempt to solve the problem of the ultimate origin of matter. It takes for granted that matter exists and states that rupa develops in four ways.
53. Kammaja - Strictly speaking, by Kamma are meant past moral and immoral types of consciousness. It is only those classes of consciousness pertaining to the kama and rupa-spheres that tend to produce rupa. They are 12 types of immoral consciousness, 8 types of moral consciousness, and the 5 moral rupa jhanas. A moral or immoral birth-reproductive Kamma generated at the dying moment of a person, conditions the rebirth-consciousness (patisandhi-citta) in a subsequent birth. Simultaneous with the arising of the rebirth-consciousness, rupas conditioned by past Kamma spring up at every instant, like the flame of a lamp, up to the 17th thought-moment reckoned from the dying moment of the person.
At the very moment of conception there arise, as a result of the reproductive Karmic force, three dasakas or 'decads' - namely, the kaya, bhava, and vatthu - body, sex, and base decads. The body decad is composed of the four elements, four derivatives, vitality and the kayapasada. The sex-decad and the base-decad are similarly constituted.
54. Cittaja - Mind, the invisible but more powerful composite factor of the so-called being, has the potentiality to produce rupa. In other words, good and bad thoughts produce desirable and undesirable material phenomena. This is apparent from the physical changes that result from thoughts generated by a person. According to Abhidhamma, it is from the arising moment of the first bhavanga, that is, immediately after the rebirth-consciousness, that material phenomena arising from mind spring up. The rebirth-consciousness does not produce mind-born rupas, since Kamma does that function, and since it is a newcomer to the fresh existence. No mind-born rupas arise at the static and perishing thought-moments, as they are weak. The ten sense-cognitives lack the potentiality to produce rupa. The four arupa vipaka jhanas do not produce rupa, as they are developed through non-attachment to rupa.
It is stated that jhana factors are essential to produce mind-born rupa. One who possesses jhanas can therefore produce powerful rupas which would enable him to live even without edible food. The mentally alert do not lack vitality. One who experiences Nibbanic bliss could live without any food for a considerable period. For instance, the Buddha fasted 49 days immediately after His Enlightenment.
Of the 75 types of consciousness, 26 javanas (10 rupa kusala and kriya, 8 arupa kusala and kriya and 8 lokuttaras) could produce abnormal bodily movements such as passing through the air, diving into the earth, walking on water, etc.
Here the Determining consciousness is the mind-door consciousness (manodvaravajjana). 29 kama-javanas are the 12 akusalas, 1 hasituppada, and 16 sobhana kusala and kriya; and abhi˝˝a cittas are the two fifth jhana kusala and kriya, accompanied by equanimity and connected with knowledge.
13 pleasurable javanas are the 4 akusalas and 8 sobhana kusalas and kriyas, accompanied by pleasure, and one hasituppada.
Worldlings, when laughing or smiling, experience the four akusalas and four sobhanas; Sekhas, the same types of consciousness excluding the two akusalas accompanied by misbelief; Arahats, the four kriyas and one hasituppada. The Buddhas smile only with the four sobhana kriyas.
55. Utuja - It was stated earlier that Kamma produces, at the moment of rebirth, three decads kaya, bhava, and vatthu. The internal tejo element, found in these three groups, combined with the external tejo element, produces material phenomena caused by seasonal conditions at the static stage of the rebirth-consciousness. At the genetic stage Kamma-born tejo element takes the place of mind-born tejo element.
It is clear that the term utu has been used in the sense of tejo which constitutes both heat and cold. Strictly speaking, it is the internal and external tejo elements which produce rupa. It should be understood that rupas produced by climatic conditions are also included in the utuja class.
56. Aharaja - By Ahara are meant the nutritive essence present in physical food and the sap (oja) contained in the material groups born of Kamma, mind, and seasonal conditions. The internal oja, supported by the external nutritive essence, produces rupa at the static stage which endures for 49 minor thought-instants. Rupas arise when the oja diffuses the body. Internal sap is alone incapable of producing rupa without the aid of external nutritive essence.
Hadaya and 8 indriya rupas (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, masculinity, feminity, and vitality) are wholly produced by Kamma. Thus jivitindriya or the life-principle present in animate beings such as men and animals should be differentiated from the inanimate life of plants and inorganic substances as they are not the inevitable results of Kamma.
They do possess a certain kind of life different from human beings and animals.
Akasa - It is interesting to note that this inter-atomic space is caused by all the four causes.
Sadda - Articulate sounds are caused by mind; inarticulate sounds are caused by utu. Musical notes caused by men are produced by utu, conditioned by mind.
Kammaja = 18. They are: 8 inseparables + 1 Space + 1 Heart + 8 Controlling faculties .
Cittaja = 15. They are: 5 Mutables + 1 Sound + 8 Inseparables + 1 Space.
Utuja = 13. They are: 1 Sound + Lightness, etc. 3 + 8 Inseparables + 1 Space.
Aharaja = 12. They are: Lightness, etc. 3 + 8 Inseparables + 1 Space . The four lakkhana rupas are common to all as there is no rupa devoid of the three instants birth, decay, and death.
Material Qualities (57)
Material Phenomena (58)
57. Rupas do not arise singly but collectively in groups. There are 21 such material groups.
As all mental states possess four common characteristics, so rupas found in the aforesaid groups possess four salient characteristics. For instance, in the 'eye-decad' all the ten associated rupas arise and cease together (ekuppada-ekanirodha). The earth-element, which is one of the ten, acts as a basis for the remaining nine (ekanissaya). All these ten coexist (sahavutti). It should be understood that the earth-element of the 'eye-decad' does not serve as a basis for the associated rupas of the 'ear-decad'. These four characteristics apply only to the associated rupas of each particular group.
58. This section deals with the manner in which these material groups come into being and how they exist during lifetime, at the moment of conception, and in different states of birth.
According to Buddhism there are four kinds of birth - namely, egg-born beings (andaja), womb-born beings (jalabuja), moisture-born beings (samsedaja), and beings having spontaneous births (opapatika).
Embryos that take moisture as nidus for their growth, like certain lowly forms of animal life, belong to the third class.
Sometimes moisture-born beings lack certain senses and have no sex. They all must possess a consciousness as they are all endowed with the base-decad, that is, the seat of consciousness. Beings having a spontaneous birth are generally invisible to the physical eye. Conditioned by their past Kamma, they appear spontaneously, without passing through an embryonic stage. Petas and Devas normally, and Brahmas belong to this class.
Some of those who have spontaneous birth in the kama-sphere are asexual. But all beings who are Spontaneously born in the rupa-sphere are not only asexual but are also devoid of sensitive nose, tongue, and body, though they possess those physical organs. The sensitive material qualities (pasadarupas) of those particular organs are lost as they are not of any practical use to Brahmas.
Egg-born beings are also included among womb-born beings. At the moment of conception they all obtain the three decads of body, sex, and the seat of consciousness. At times some are devoid of both masculinity and femininity. From this it is seen that even eggs are constituted with a consciousness.
59. Nibbana, Sanskrit Nirvana, is composed of ni and vana. Ni + vana = Nivana = Nibana = Nibbana. Ni is a particle implying negation. Vana means weaving or craving. It is this craving which acts as a cord to connect the series of lives of any particular individual in the course of his wanderings in Samsara.
As long as one is entangled by craving or attachment, one accumulates fresh Karmic forces which must materialize in one form or other in the eternal cycle of birth and death. When all forms of craving are extirpated, Karmic forces cease to operate, and one, in conventional terms, attains Nibbana, escaping the cycle of birth and death. The Buddhist conception of Deliverance is this escape from the ever-recurring cycle of birth and death, and is not merely an escape from 'sin and hell'.
Etymologically, Nibbana, derived from ni + vu, to weave, means non-craving or non-attachment , or 'departure from craving'. Strictly speaking, Nibbana is that Dhamma which is gained by the complete destruction of all forms of craving.
Nibbana is also derived from ni + va, to blow. In that case Nibbana means the blowing out, the extinction, or the annihilation of the flames of lust, hatred, and ignorance. It should be understood that the mere destruction of passions is not Nibbana (khayamattam eva na nibbananti vattabbam). It is only the means to gain Nibbana, and is not an end in itself.
Nibbana is an ultimate reality (vatthu-dhamma) which is supramundane (lokuttara), that is, beyond the world of mind and body or the five 'aggregates'.
Nibbana is to be understood by intuitive knowledge and inferential knowledge (paccakkha or pativedha ˝ana and anumana or anubodha ˝ana). To express both ideas it is stated that Nibbana is to be realized by means of the wisdom pertaining to the four Paths of Sainthood and that it becomes an object to the Paths and Fruits.
Intrinsically (sabhavato) Nibbana is peaceful (santi). As such it is unique (kevala). This single Nibbana is viewed as twofold according to the way it is experienced before and after death. The text uses a simple but recondite Pali phrase - karanapariyayena. The Ceylon Commentary explains the cause for naming it as such with respect to its having or not having the aggregates as the remainder (sa-upadisesadivasena pa˝˝apane karanabhutassa upadisesabhavabhavassa lesena). Adding a note on this term S. Z. Aung writes: "The Ceylon Commentaries explain it by pa˝˝apane karanassa lesena - by way of device of the means (of knowing) in the matter of language." - Compendium, p. 168, n. 6.
Saupadisesa - Sa = with; upadi = aggregates (mind and body); sesa = remaining. Upadi, derived from upa + a + da, to take, means the five aggregates as they are firmly grasped by craving and false views. It also signifies passions (kilesas). According to the text and the Commentarial interpretations, Nibbana, experienced by Sotapannas, Sakadagamis, and Anagamis, is saupadisesa-nibbanadhatu as they have the body and some passions still remaining. Nibbana of the Arahats is also saupadisesa-nibbanadhatu as they have the body still remaining. It is only the Nibbana of the Arahats after their death that is termed anupadisesa-nibbanadhatu because the aggregates and the passions are discarded by them.
Itivuttaka refers to these two kinds of Nibbana, but mention is made only of Nibbana comprehended by Arahats. It states:
"These two Nibbana-states are shown by
60. Su˝˝ata - Devoid of lust, hatred, and ignorance or of all conditioned things. Void here does not mean that Nibbana is 'nothingness'.
61. Animitta - Free from the signs of lust, etc., or from the signs of all conditioned things.
62. Appanihita - Free from the hankerings of lust, etc., or because it is not longed for with any feelings of craving.
63. Padam - Here the term is used in the sense of an objective reality (vatthu-dhamma). 'State' does not exactly convey the meaning of the Pali term. It may be argued whether Nibbana could strictly be called either a state or a process. In Pali it is designated as a 'Dhamma'.
64. Asankhata - Nibbana is the only Dhamma which is not conditioned by any cause. Hence it is eternal and is neither a cause nor an effect.
Diagram XIII - How different types of consciousness produce various kinds of rupa
Source: Tipitaka -der Pali Kanon des Theravada-Buddhismus, http://www.palikanon.com
(See also: Vietnamese Translation by Pham Kim Khanh)