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Abhidhamma studies: Researches in Buddhist psychology (3rd by Nyanaponika Thera

By Nyanaponika Thera

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63. Intention (chanda) Decision (adhimokkha) Attention (manasikàra) Mental Equipoise (tatramajjhattatà) Compassion (karunà) Sympathetic Joy (mudità) Abstinence from wrong Bodily Action (kàyaduccaritavirati) " " " Speech (vaciduccarita-virati) 64. 65. " " " Livelihood (àjãvaduccaritavirati) The purpose of the first part of the Dhammasangaõã, the “Book of Consciousness” (cittuppàda kaõóa), is to give (1) a classification of all consciousness; (2) a detailed analysis of the single types of consciousness.

Whatever one may think about this tradition, whether, like the devout Eastern Buddhist does, one regards it as a historical account, or whether one takes it as a significant legend, one fact emerges fairly clearly from it: the originators of this very early tradition did not assume the Abhidhamma texts to have been expounded by the Buddha to human beings in the same way and as literally as the Sutta texts. If one wishes to give a psychological interpretation to that traditional account, one might say that the sojourn in the 31 world of gods may refer to periods of intense contemplation transcending the reaches of an earthbound mentality; and that from the heights of that contemplation its fundamental teachings were brought back to the world of normal human consciousness and handed over to philosophically gifted disciples like the Venerable Sàriputta.

The presence or absence, strength or weakness, of a certain mental factor (dhamma or cetasika) may decide the occurrence or non43 occurrence of a given external relation; for example, in a wholesome state of consciousness unassociated with knowledge, the presence and strength of Energy (viriya=sammà-vàyàma) may, by its belonging to the Path Factors (magganga), establish a relationship with a future state of consciousness where also the path factor “Right Understanding” is present. In other words, the tendency toward liberation which characterizes the path factors is, in our example, at first mainly expressed by the factor ‘energy’ that is, the active wish and endeavour directed to liberation.

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