BuddhaSasana Home Page
Abhidhamma in daily
Nina Van Gorkom
THE FUNCTIONS OF TADARAMMANA AND CUTI
which impinges on one of the senses can be visible object, sound, smell, taste or an
impression through the body-sense. Each one of these objects is rupa. They arise and fall
away, but they do not fall away as rapidly as nama. Rupa lasts as long as seventeen
moments of citta. When rupa impinges on one of the senses, the panca-dvaravajjana-citta
(five-sense-door-adverting-consciousness), does not arise immediately. First there have to
be bhavanga-cittas and they are: the atita-bhavanga (past bhavanga), the bhavanga-calana
(vibrating bhavanga) and the bhavangupaccheda (arrest-bhavanga or last bhavanga-citta
before the stream of
As we have seen, rupa lasts as long as seventeen moments of citta. If the rupa which has impinged on one of the senses arose at the same time as the atita-bhavanga, then that rupa will not have fallen away yet when the seventh javana-citta has fallen away; only fifteen moments of citta have passed since the atita-bhavanga arose. Thus there could be two more cittas in that process which directly experience the object. After the javana- cittas two vipaka-cittas may arise which experience the object and these are the tadarammana-cittas (or tadalambana-cittas) They perform the function of tadalambana or tadarammana, which is sometimes translated as 'registering' or 'retention'. Tadarammana literally means 'that object'; the citta 'hangs on' to that object. When the tadarammana-cittas have fallen away the sense-door process has run its full cruise. If the rupa which impinges on one of the senses has arisen before the atita-bhavanga, the process cannot run its full course, because the rupa falls away before the tadarammana-cittas can arise.
Only in the sense-door process kamma can, after the javana-cittas produce the tadarammana-cittas which 'hang on' to the object. For those who are born in rupa-brahma planes where there are less conditions for sense-impressions, and for those who are born in arupa-brahma planes where there are no sense- impressions, there are no tadarammana-cittas. [Birth in a rupo-brahma plane is the result of rupa vacarakusala citta (rupa-jhanacitta) and birth in an arupa-brahma plane is the result of arupavacara kusala citta (arupa- hanacitta).]
Summarizing the cittas which succeed one another when rupa impinges on one of the senses and becomes the object of cittas of a sense-door process:
The tadarammana-citta experiences an object not only through the five sense-doors, but also through the mind-door. In the sense-door process tadarammana-citta can arise only when the object has not fallen away yet. If tadarammana-cittas arise in the sense-door process they can arise also in the succeeding mind-door process.
The tadarammana-citta is a vipakacitta which can experience an object through six doors. If the object is visible object, which, in the eye-door process, is experienced by citta through the eye-door, then the tadarammana-cittas of that process also experience the object through the eye-door. The tadarammana-cittas of the mind-door process succeeding the eye-door process experience that object through the mind-door. If the object which contacts the sense-door is unpleasant, all vipakacittas of that process and thus also the tadarammana-cittas, if they arise, are akusala vipaka. The tadarammana-cittas of the mind-door process succeeding that sense-door process are also akusala vipaka. If the object which contacts the sense-door is pleasant, all vipakacittas of that process, tadarammana-cittas included, are kusala vipaka. It is the same with the tadarammana cittas of the subsequent mind-door process.
The function of tadarammana can be performed by eleven different kinds of citta: by three ahetuka vipakacittas (unaccompanied by roots or hetus) and by eight sahetuka vipakacittas (accompanied by sobhana hetus).
If the tadarammana-citta is ahetuka, the function of tadarammana is performed by santirana-citta. As we have seen, santirana-citta, which is always ahetuka vipaka, can perform more than one function. Santirana-citta performs the function of santirana (investigating) when it arises in the sense-door process and succeeds sampaticchana-citta. Apart from the function of, santirana, santirana-citta can perform the functions of patisandhi (rebirth), bhavanga, cuti (dying) and, moreover, it can perform the function of tadarammana.
As stated before, there are three kinds of santirana-citta:
Only the first and the second kind of santirana-citta (santirana-citta which is akusala vipaka, and santirana-citta which is kusala vipaka, accompanied by upekkha) can perform the functions of patisandhi, bhavanga and cuti. The function of santirana (investigating) can be performed by all three kinds of santirana-citta. As we have seen, santirana-citta accompanied by somanassa performs the function of santirana when the object is extraordinarily pleasant.
All the time cittas arise and fall away, performing different functions. The last function of citta in life is the function of cuti (dying). When we say in conventional language that a person has died, the cuti-citta (dying-consciousness), which is the last citta of that life, has fallen away. The cuti-citta is succeeded by the patisandhi-citta (rebirth-consciousness) of the following life.
Death is unavoidable. Everybody, no matter whether he is in one of the hell planes, in the human-being plane or in one of the heavenly planes has to have cuti-citta. We read in the teachings about birth, old age, sickness and death. Old age is mentioned immediately after birth, before sickness is mentioned. The reason is that as soon as we are born, we are already ageing, we are already on our way to death. We read in the 'Khuddaka Nikaya' ('sutta-Nipata', 'Woven Cadences';, Ch.lll, The Great Chapter, par. 8, The Dart, vs. 574-583, I use the translation by E.M. Hare.):
If one is not wise, one grieves, but for those who cultivate the Eightfold Path, there will be less sorrow. For him who has attained the stage of the arahat, there will be cuti-citta, but it will not be succeeded by patisandhi-citta. Then there is an end to birth, old age, sickness and death.
We read in the 'Gradual Sayings' (Book of the Threes, Ch. VII, par. 62, Terror, V and VI):
If one is not an arahat yet, there will be a patisandhi-citta succeeding the cuti-citta, Before the cuti-citta arises, there are only five javana-citta instead of seven and these are the last javana-cittas of that lifespan. If kusala kamma will produce the patisandhi-citta of the next life these last javana-cittas are kusala cittas and if akusala kamma will produce the patisandhi-citta of the next life they are akusala cittas. These javana-cittas can experience a pleasant or unpleasant object through one of the sense-doors or through the mind-door and this object is conditioned by the kamma which will produce the patisandhi-citta (See ch.10) . One may remember previous kamma, or one may experience a sign or symbol of it, or else one may experience a sign or symbol of the place of one's rebirth. These javana-cittas may or may not be followed by tadarammana-cittas. The cuti-citta has only the function of being the dying-moment of that life. The cuti-citta is vipakacitta produced by the kamma which produced the patisandhi-citta and the bhavanga-cittas of the life which is just ending; it is of the same type as these cittas and it experiences the same object.
When the cuti-citta has fallen away the patisandhi-citta of the following life arises, which citta may be of a different type, depending on the kamma which produces it. This patisandhi-citta experiences the same object as the last javana-cittas arising before the cuti-citta of the previous life. The patisandhi-citta, all bhavanga-cittas and the cuti-citta of the next life experience that object.
The same types of citta which can perform the functions of patisandhi and bhavanga, can perform the function of cuti. Since there are nineteen types of citta which can perform the function of patisandhi (See ch.ll) and the function of bhavanga, there are nineteen types of citta which can perform the function of cuti.
If someone suffers great pains before he dies because of an accident or sickness, the last javana-cittas arising before the cuti-citta will not necessarily be akusala cittas. There may be akusala cittas with aversion when he feels the pain, but the last javana-cittas may be kusala cittas. There may be 'wise attention' (yoniso manasikara) preceding the cuti-citta.
We read in the 'Gradual Sayings' (Book of the Sixes, Ch. VI, par. 2, Phagguna) that the Buddha visited the venerable Phagguna who was very ill. Phagguna had attained the second stage of enlightenment (the stage of the sakadagami; he was not yet completely freed from the 'five lower fetters';. We read in the sutta that the Buddha said to Phagguna:
The same is said with regard to the monk who has attained the third stage of enlightenment (the stage of the anagami), and who, has the opportunity to hear dhamma and consider dhamma while listening, can attain the stage of the arahat.
Summary of functions (kicca) of citta:
Source: Dhamma Study Group, http://www.dhammastudy.com
[Back to English Index]