Part III
Understanding (Paññā)
Chapter 14
Chapter 14
431
CHAPTER XIV
THE AGGREGATES
(Khandha-niddesa)
[A. UNDERSTANDING]
1. [436] Now, concentration was described under the heading of consciousness
in the stanza:
When a wise man, established well in virtue,
Develops consciousness and understanding (I.1).
And that has been developed in all its aspects by the bhikkhu who is thus
possessed of the more advanced development of concentration that has acquired
with direct-knowledge the benefits [described in Chs. XII and XIII]. But
understanding comes next and that has still to be developed. Now, that is not easy,
firstly even to know about, let alone to develop, when it is taught very briefly. In
order, therefore, to deal with the detailed method of its development there is the
following set of questions:
(i)
What is understanding?
(ii)
In what sense is it understanding?
(iii)
What  are its characteristic, function, manifestation, and
proximate cause?
(iv)
How  many kinds of understanding are there?
(v)
How is it developed?
(vi)
What  are the benefits of developing understanding?
2. Here are the answers:
(i) WHAT IS UNDERSTANDING? Understanding (paññā) is of many sorts and has various
aspects. An answer that attempted to explain it all would accomplish neither its
intention nor its purpose, and would, besides, lead to distraction; so we shall confine
ourselves to the kind intended here, which is understanding consisting in insight
knowledge associated with profitable consciousness.
3. (ii) IN WHAT SENSE IS IT UNDERSTANDING? It is understanding (paññā) in the sense
of act of understanding (pajānana).1 What is this act of understanding? It is
1.
Cf. Paṭis I 42, etc.; Abhidhamma definitions very commonly make use of the Pali
forms of verbal nouns, here instanced by paññā  (understanding = state of under-
standing) and pajānana (understanding = act of understanding), both from the verb
Chapter 14
432
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
knowing (jānana) in a particular mode separate from the modes of perceiving
(sañjānana) and cognizing (vijānana). [437] For though the state of knowing
(jānana-bhāva) is equally present in perception (saññā), in consciousness
(viññāṇa), and in understanding (paññā), nevertheless perception is only the
mere perceiving of an object as, say, blue or yellow; it cannot bring about the
penetration of its characteristics as impermanent, painful, and not-self.
Consciousness knows the objects as blue or yellow, and it brings about the
penetration of its characteristics, but it cannot bring about, by endeavouring, the
manifestation of the [supramundane] path. Understanding knows the object in
the way already stated, it brings about the penetration of the characteristics, and
it brings about, by endeavouring, the manifestation of the path.
4. Suppose there were three people, a child without discretion, a villager, and a
money-changer, who saw a heap of coins lying on a money-changer’s counter. The
child without discretion knows merely that the coins are figured and ornamented,
long, square or round; he does not know that they are reckoned as valuable for
human use and enjoyment. And the villager knows that they are figured and
ornamented, etc., and that they are reckoned as valuable for human use and
enjoyment; but he does not know such distinctions as, “This one is genuine, this is
false, this is half-value.” The money-changer knows all those kinds, and he does so
by looking at the coin, and by listening to the sound of it when struck, and by
smelling its smell, tasting its taste, and weighing it in his hand, and he knows that
it was made in a certain village or town or city or on a certain mountain or by a
certain master. And this may be understood as an illustration.
5.
Perception is like the child without discretion seeing the coin, because it
apprehends the mere mode of appearance of the object as blue and so on.
Consciousness is like the villager seeing the coin, because it apprehends the
mode of the object as blue, etc., and because it extends further, reaching the
penetration of its characteristics. Understanding is like the money-changer
seeing the coin, because, after apprehending the mode of the object as blue, etc.,
and extending to the penetration of the characteristics, it extends still further,
reaching the manifestation of the path.
That is why this act of understanding should be understood as “knowing in a
particular mode separate from the modes of perceiving and cognizing.” For that is
what the words “it is understanding in the sense of act of understanding” refer to.
6. However, it is not always to be found where perception and consciousness are.2
[438] But when it is, it is not disconnected from those states. And because it cannot
be taken as disconnected thus: “This is perception, this is consciousness, this is
understanding,” its difference is consequently subtle and hard to see. Hence the
venerable Nāgasena said: “A difficult thing, O King, has been done by the Blessed
One.”—“What, venerable Nāgasena, is the difficult thing that has been done by the
Blessed One?”—“The difficult thing, O King, done by the Blessed One was the
pajānāti (he understands). English does not always, as in this case, distinguish between
the two. Similarly, for example, from the verb socati (he sorrows) we find soka (sorrow,
state of  sorrowing) and socana  (sorrowing, act of sorrowing), and here the English
differentiates. Cf. parallel treatment of paññā at M-a II 343f.
Chapter 14
433
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
defining of the immaterial states of consciousness and its concomitants, which
occur with a single object, and which he declared thus: ‘This is contact, this is
feeling, this is perception, this is volition, this is consciousness’” (Mil 87).
7. (iii) WHAT  ARE  ITS  CHARACTERISTIC, FUNCTION,  MANIFESTATION  AND  PROXIMATE  CAUSE?
Understanding has the characteristic of penetrating the individual essences of
states.3 Its function is to abolish the darkness of delusion, which conceals the
individual essences of states. It is manifested as non-delusion. Because of the
words, “One who is concentrated knows and sees correctly” (A V 3), its proximate
cause is concentration.
8. (iv)  HOW  MANY  KINDS  OF  UNDERSTANDING  ARE  THERE?
1.
Firstly, as having the characteristic of penetrating the individual
essences of states, it is of one kind.
2.
As mundane and supramundane it is of two kinds.
3.
Likewise as subject to cankers and free from cankers, and so on,
4.
As the defining of mentality and of materiality,
5.
As accompanied by joy or by equanimity,
6.
As the planes of seeing and of development.
7.
It is of three kinds as consisting in what is reasoned, consisting
in what is learnt (heard), and consisting in development.
8.
Likewise as having a limited, exalted, or measureless object,
9.
As skill in improvement, detriment, and means,
10.
As interpreting the internal, and so on.
11.
It is of four kinds as knowledge of the four truths,
12.
And as the four discriminations.4
9. 1. Herein, the singlefold section is obvious in meaning.
2. As regards the twofold section, the mundane is that associated with the
mundane path and the supramundane is that associated with the supramundane
path. So it is of two kinds as mundane and supramundane.
2.
“In arisings of consciousness with two root-causes [i.e. with non-greed and non-
hate but without non-delusion], or without root-cause, understanding does not occur”
(Vism-mhṭ 432). “Just as pleasure is not invariably inseparable from happiness, so
perception and consciousness are not invariably inseparable from understanding.
But just as happiness is invariably inseparable from pleasure, so understanding is
invariably inseparable from perception and consciousness” (Vism-mhṭ 432).
3.
“A phenomenon’s own essence (sako bhāvo) or existing essence (samāno vā bhāva)
is its individual essence (sabhāva)” (Vism-mhṭ 433). Cf. Ch. VIII, note 68, where Vism-
mhṭ gives the definition from saha-bhāva (with essence).
4.
Paṭisambhidā  is usually rendered by “analysis” (see e.g. Points of Controversy—
Kathāvatthu translation—pp. 377ff). But the Tipiṭaka explanations of the four paṭisambhidā
suggest no emphasis on analysis rather than synthesis. Vism-mhṭ gives the following
definition of the term: “Knowledge that is classified (pabheda-gata = put into a division)
under meaning (attha) as capable of effecting the explanation and definition of specific
Chapter 14
434
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
10.
3. In the second dyad, that subject to cankers is that which is the object of
cankers. That free from cankers is not their object. This dyad is the same in meaning
as the mundane and supramundane. The same method applies to the dyads
subject to cankers and free from cankers, associated with cankers and dissociated
from cankers (Dhs 3), and so on. So it is of two kinds as subject to cankers and
free from cankers, and so on.
11.
4. In the third dyad, when a man wants to begin insight, his understanding
of the defining of the four immaterial aggregates is understanding as defining of
mentality
, [439] and his understanding of the defining of the material aggregate
is understanding as defining of materiality. So it is of two kinds as the defining of
mentality and of materiality.
12.
5. In the fourth dyad, understanding belonging to two of the kinds of
sense-sphere profitable consciousness, and belonging to sixteen5 of the kinds of
path consciousness with four of the jhānas in the fivefold method, is accompanied
by joy
. Understanding belonging to two of the kinds of sense-sphere profitable
consciousness, and belonging to (the remaining) four kinds of path
consciousness with the fifth jhānas is accompanied by equanimity. So it is of two
kinds as accompanied by joy or by equanimity.
13.
6. In the fifth dyad, understanding belonging to the first path is the plane of
seeing. Understanding belonging to the remaining three paths is the plane of
development
 (see XXII.127). So it is of two kinds as the planes of seeing and of
development.
14.
7. As regards the triads, understanding acquired without hearing from
another is that consisting in what is reasoned because it is produced by one’s own
reasoning. Understanding acquired by hearing from another is that consisting
in what is heard
, because it is produced by hearing. Understanding that has
reached absorption, having been somehow produced by (meditative)
development, is that consisting in development. And this is said: Herein, what
is understanding consisting in what is reasoned? In the spheres of work invented
by ingenuity, or in the spheres of craft invented by ingenuity, or in the sorts of
science invented by ingenuity, any preference, view, choice, opinion, judgment,
liking for pondering over things, that concerns ownership of deeds (kamma) or is
in conformity with truth or is of such kind as to conform with (the axioms)
‘Materiality is impermanent’ or ‘Feeling … perception … formations …
characteristics of the meaning class (meaning division) is called attha-paṭisambhidā;
and so with the other three” (Vism-mhṭ 436). “Discrimination” has been chosen for
paṭisambhidā because, while it has the sense of “division,” it does not imply an opposite
process as “analysis” does. Also it may be questioned whether the four are well
described as “entirely logical”: “entirely epistemological” might perhaps be both less
rigid and nearer; for they seem to cover four interlocking fields, namely: meanings of
statements and effects of causes (etc.), statements of meanings and causes of effects
(etc.), language as restricted to etymological rules of verbal expression, and clarity (or
perspicuous inspiration) in marshalling the other three.
5.
I.e. the four paths with the first jhāna and those with the second, third, and fourth,
out of the five (Vism-mh 434).
Chapter 14
435
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
consciousness is impermanent’ that one acquires without hearing it from
another—that is called understanding consisting in what is reasoned.
(In the spheres ) that one acquires by hearing it from another—that is called
understanding consisting in what is learnt (heard).
And all understanding in anyone who has attained (an attainment) is
understanding consisting in development (Vibh 324–25).
So it is of three kinds as consisting in what is thought out, in what is heard,
and in development.
15.
8.  In the second triad, the understanding that occurs contingent upon
sense-sphere states has a limited object. That which occurs contingent upon
fine-material-sphere states or immaterial-sphere states has an exalted object. That
is mundane insight. That which occurs contingent upon Nibbāna has a
measureless object. That is supramundane insight. So it is of three kinds as having
a limited, an exalted, or a measureless object.
16.
9. In the third triad, it is increase that is called improvement. That is twofold
as the elimination of harm and the arousing of good. Skill in improvement is
skill in these, according as it is said: Herein, what is skill in improvement? When
a man brings these things to mind both unarisen unprofitable things do not
arise and arisen unprofitable things are abandoned in him; or when he brings
these things to mind [440] both unarisen profitable things arise and arisen
profitable things advance to growth, increase, development, and perfection in
him. Whatever here is understanding, act of understanding  [for words elided
see Dhs 16]  non-delusion, investigation of states, right view, is called skill in
improvement (Vibh 325–26).
17.
Non-increase is what is called detriment. That also is twofold as the
diminution of good and the arousing of harm. Skill in detriment is skill in these,
according as it is said: “Herein, what is skill in detriment? When a man brings
these things to mind, both unarisen profitable things do not arise …” (Vibh
326), and so on.
18. But in either of these cases any skill in means to cause the production of
such and such things, which skill occurs at that moment and is aroused on that
occasion, is what is called skill in means, according as it is said: “And all
understanding of means thereto is skill in means” (Vibh 326).
So it is of three kinds as skill in improvement, in detriment, and in means.
19.
10. In the fourth triad, insight-understanding initiated by apprehending
one’s own aggregates is interpreting the internal.6 That initiated by apprehending
another’s aggregates or external materiality not bound up with the faculties,
[that is, inanimate matter], is interpreting the external. That initiated by
apprehending both is interpreting the internal and external. So it is of three kinds
as interpreting the internal, and so on.
6.
The word abhinivisati with its noun abhinivesa means literally “to dwell on,” and so
“to adhere,” or “insist.” In the Tipiṭaka it always appears in a bad sense and always
Chapter 14
436
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
20.
11. As regards the tetrads, in the first tetrad, knowledge that occurs
contingent upon the truth of suffering is knowledge of suffering; knowledge that
occurs contingent upon the origin of suffering is knowledge of the origin of
suffering
; knowledge that occurs contingent upon the cessation of suffering is
knowledge of the cessation of suffering; and knowledge that occurs contingent upon
the way leading to the cessation of suffering is knowledge of the way leading to the
cessation of suffering
. So it is of four kinds as knowledge of the four truths.
21.
12. In the second tetrad, the four kinds of knowledge classed as that
concerned with meaning, etc., are called the four discriminations. For this is said:
“Knowledge about meaning is the discrimination of meaning (attha-
paṭisambhidā
). Knowledge about law is the discrimination of law (dhamma-
paṭisambhidā
). Knowledge about enunciation of language dealing with meaning
and law is the discrimination of language (nirutti-paṭisambhidā). Knowledge
about kinds of knowledge is discrimination of perspicuity (paṭibhāna-
paṭisambhidā
)” (Vibh 293).
22.
Herein, meaning (attha) is briefly a term for the fruit of a cause (hetu). For in
accordance with the cause it is served7 arrived at, reached, therefore it is called
“meaning” (or “purpose”). But in particular the five things, namely, (i) anything
conditionally produced, [441] (ii) Nibbāna, (iii) the meaning of what is spoken,
(iv) (kamma-) result, and (v) functional (consciousness), should be understood
as  meaning. When anyone reviews that meaning, any knowledge of his, falling
within the category (pabheda) concerned with meaning, is the discrimination of
meaning
.
23. Law (dhamma) is briefly a term for a condition (paccaya). For since a condition
necessitates (dahati) whatever it may be, makes it occur or allows it to happen, it
is therefore called “law” (dhamma). But in particular the five things, namely, (i)
any cause that produces fruit, (ii) the noble path, (iii) what is spoken, (iv) what is
profitable, and (v) what is unprofitable, should be understood as law. When
anyone reviews that law, any knowledge of his, falling within the category
concerned with law, is the discrimination of law.
appears in contexts with wrong view and clinging (see e.g. M III 30–31, Nidd I 436,
and also Vism-mhṭ quoted above at I. 140). However, in the Commentaries, the word
appears also in a good sense as at XIV.130, XXI.73 and 83f., and at M-a I 250 (cf.
saddhaṃ nivisati, M II 173). In this good sense it is synonymous with right interpretation
of experience. All the bare experience of perception is interpreted by the mind either
in the sense of permanence, pleasure, self, which is wrong because it is not confirmed
by experience, or in the sense of impermanence, etc., which is right because it is
confirmed by experience (see XIV. 130). There is no not interpreting experience, and it
is a function of the mind that the interpretation adopted is “dwelt upon,” i.e. insisted
upon. And so it is this insistence or interpretation in accordance with reality as
confirmed by experience that is the abhinivesa of the Commentaries in the good sense.
For these reasons the words interpretation, misinterpretation and  insistence  have been
chosen here as renderings.
7.
Arīyati—“to honour, to serve.” Not in PED. Cf. ger. araṇīya (M-a I 21,173), also not
in PED, explained by the Majjhima Nidāya ṭīkā as “to be honoured” (payirūpasitabba).
Chapter 14
437
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
24. This same meaning is shown in the Abhidhamma by the following analysis:
(a) “Knowledge about suffering is the discrimination of meaning. Knowledge
about the origin of suffering is the discrimination of law. [Knowledge about
the cessation of suffering is the discrimination of meaning. Knowledge about
the way leading to the cessation of suffering is the discrimination of law] …
(b) “Knowledge about cause is the discrimination of law. Knowledge about the
fruit of a cause is the discrimination of meaning …
(c) “Knowledge about whatever things are born, become, brought to birth,
produced, completed, made manifest, is the discrimination of meaning.
Knowledge about the things from which those things were born, became,
were brought to birth, produced, completed, made manifest, is the
discrimination of law  …
(d) “Knowledge about ageing and death is the discrimination of meaning.
Knowledge about the origin of ageing and death is the discrimination of law.
[Knowledge about the cessation of ageing and death is the discrimination of
meaning
. Knowledge about the way leading to the cessation of ageing and
death is the discrimination of law. Knowledge about birth … becoming …
clinging … craving … feeling … contact … the sixfold base … mentality-
materiality … consciousness … knowledge about formations is the
discrimination of meaning. Knowledge about the origin of formations is the
discrimination of law.] Knowledge about the cessation of formations is the
discrimination of meaning. Knowledge about the way leading to the cessation
of formations is the discrimination of law  …
(e) “Here a bhikkhu knows the Dhamma (Law)—the Discourses, Songs,
[Expositions, Stanzas, Exclamations, Sayings, Birth Stories, Marvels, and]
Answers to Questions—this is called the discrimination of law. He knows the
meaning of whatever is said thus: ‘This is the meaning of this that was said;
this is the meaning of this that was said’—this is called the discrimination of
meaning
 …
(f) “What states are profitable? On an occasion when profitable
consciousness of the sense sphere has arisen [that is accompanied by joy
and associated with knowledge, having a visible datum as its object … or a
mental datum as its object, or contingent upon whatever it may be, on that
occasion there is contact … (for elision see Dhs §1) … there is non-wavering]—
these things are profitable. Knowledge about these things is the discrimination
of law. Knowledge about their result is the discrimination of meaning” …
(Vibh 293–95).8
25. Knowledge about enunciation of language dealing with meaning and law (§21):
there is the language that is individual essence, the usage that has no exceptions,9
and deals with that meaning and that law. Any knowledge falling within the
category concerned with the enunciation of that, with the speaking, with the
utterance of that, concerned with the root-speech of all beings, the Magadhan
8.
This quotation has been filled out from the Vibhaṅga text for clarity.
Chapter 14
438
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
language that is individual essence, in other words, the language of law
(dhamma), [any knowledge that] as soon as it hears it spoken, pronounced, uttered,
knows, “This is the individual-essence language; this is not the individual-
essence language”—[such knowledge] is discrimination of language.10 [442] One
who has reached the discrimination of language knows, on hearing the words
phasso, vedanā,” etc., that that is the individual-essence language, and on hearing
phassā, vedano,” etc., he knows that that is not the individual-essence language.
26. Knowledge about kinds of knowledge (§21): when a man is reviewing and makes
any of the foregoing kinds of knowledge the object [of his knowledge], then any
knowledge in him that has knowledge as its object is discrimination of perspicuity,
and so is any knowledge about these aforesaid kinds of knowledge, which is
concerned with details of their individual domains, functions, and so on.
27. And these four kinds of discrimination can be placed in two categories: the
plane of the trainer and the plane of the non-trainer. Herein, those of the chief
disciples and great disciples come into the category of the non-trainer’s plane.
Those of the Elder Ánanda, the householder Citta, the layman Dhammika, the
householder Upāli, the laywoman Khujjuttarā, etc., come into the category of the
trainer’s plane.
28. And though they come into the categories of the two planes thus, they are
nevertheless distinguishable in five aspects, that is to say, as achievement, mastery
of scriptures, hearing, questioning, and prior effort. Herein, achievement is the
reaching of Arahantship. Mastery of scriptures is mastery of the Buddha’s word.
Hearing is learning the Dhamma carefully and attentively. Questioning is
discussion of knotty passages and explanatory passages in the texts,
commentaries, and so on. Prior effort is devotion to insight in the dispensation of
former Buddhas, up to the vicinity of [the stages of] conformity and change-of-
lineage by one who has practiced [the duty of] going [with the meditation subject
on alms round] and coming back [with it].11
29.
Others have said:
A prior effort, and great knowledge,
[Knowledge of] dialects, of scriptures,
And questioning, and then achievement,
And likewise waiting on a teacher,
Success in friends—these are conditions
Productive of discriminations.
9.
Byabhicāra (vyabhicāra): not in PED; normal grammarian’s term for an “exception.”
10. The idea behind the term “individual-essence language” (sabhāvanirutti)that is
to say, that there is a real name for each thing that is part of that thing’s individual
essence, is dealt with at Dhs-a 391–92. Magadhan as “the root speech of all beings”
and the “individual-essence language” is dealt with in greater detail at Vibh-a 387.
11.
The expression garapaccāgatikabhāva  refers to the practice of “carrying the
meditation subject to and from the alms round,” which is described at M-a I 257 in
detail. The same expression is also used of a certain kind of refuse-rag (see II. 17).
Chapter 14
439
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
30.
Herein, prior effort is the same as that already stated. Great learning is skill
in some science or sphere of craft. Dialects means skill in the hundred-and-one
tongues, particularly in that of Magadha. Scriptures means mastery of the
Buddha’s word, even if only of the Chapter of Similes.12 Questioning is questioning
about defining the meaning of even a single stanza. Achievement is stream-entry
… or Arahantship. Waiting on a teacher is living with very learned intelligent
teachers. Success in friends is acquisition of friends such as that. [443]
31.
Herein, Buddhas and Paccekabuddhas reach the discriminations through
prior effort and through achievement. Disciples do so through all these means.
And there is no special way of developing a meditation subject in order to attain
discriminations. But in trainers the attaining of the discriminations comes about
next upon the liberation consisting in trainers’ fruition, and in non-trainers it
does so next upon the liberation consisting in non-trainers’ fruition. For the
discriminations come to success in Noble Ones only through the noble fruition
as the ten powers do in Perfect Ones.
So these were the discriminations referred to when it was said above: “It is of
four kinds … as the four discriminations” (§8).
32.
(v)  HOW  IS  IT  DEVELOPED? Now, tHE  THINGS  CLASSed as aggregates, bases,
elements, faculties, truths, dependent origination, etc., are the soil of this
understanding, and the [first] two purifications, namely, purification of virtue
and purification of consciousness, are its roots, while the five purifications,
namely, purification of view, purification by overcoming doubt, purification by
knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path, purification
by knowledge and vision of the way, and purification by knowledge and vision,
are the trunk. Consequently, one who is perfecting these should first fortify his
knowledge by learning and questioning about those things that are the “soil”
after he has perfected the two purifications that are the “roots,” then he can
develop the five purifications that are the “trunk.” This is in brief. The detail is as
follows.
[B. DESCRIPTION OF THE FIVE AGGREGATES]
33. When it was said above “the things classed as aggregates, bases, elements,
faculties, truths, dependent origination, etc., are the soil,” the aggregates here
are the five aggregates, that is to say, the materiality aggregate, the feeling
aggregate, the perception aggregate, the formations aggregate, and the
consciousness aggregate.
[THE  MATERIALITY  AGGREGATE]
34. Herein, all kinds of states whatsoever that have the characteristic of “being
molested” (ruppana) by cold, etc., taken all together should be understood as the
materiality (rūpa) aggregate.
12.
“The ‘Chapter of Similes’ is the Chapter of Twin Verses in the Dhammapada
(Dhp 1–20), they say. Others say that it is the Book of Pairs in the First Fifty (MN 31–
40)” (Vism-mhṭ 436).
Chapter 14
440
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
1. That is of one kind with the characteristic of “being molested.”
2. It is also of two kinds when classed as (a) primary entity (bhūta) and (b)
derived [by clinging] (upādāya).
35. Herein (a) primary materiality is of four kinds as the earth element, water
element, fire element, and air element. Their characteristic, function, and
manifestation have been given under the definition of the four elements (XI.87,
93); but as to the proximate cause, each has the other three as its proximate
cause. [444]
36. (b) Derived materiality is of twenty-four kinds as eye, ear, nose, tongue, body,
visible datum, sound, odour, flavour;13 femininity faculty, masculinity faculty, life
faculty, heart-basis; bodily intimation, verbal intimation; space element; lightness of
matter, malleability of matter, wieldiness of matter, growth of matter, continuity of
matter, ageing of matter, impermanence of matter, and physical nutriment.
37.
1. Herein, the eye’s characteristic is sensitivity of primary elements that is
ready for the impact of visible data; or its characteristic is sensitivity of primary
elements originated by kamma sourcing from desire to see.14 Its function is to
13. “Tangible data are omitted from this list because, not being derived matter, they
are included in the primaries” (Vism-mhṭ 442). They are described as consisting of
three of the four primaries, excluding the water (cohesion) element. “What is the
materiality of the great primaries? It is the tangible-data base and the water-element”
(Dhs 663). For the whole list see Dhs 596, in which (N.B.) the heart-basis does not
appear. See also note 32 and Ch. XV, n. 15.
14. “Here the first-mentioned characteristic of the eye is described according to the
kamma that produces a selfhood, and is common to all of it, and this without touching
on differentiation is the cause. The second is according to the specialized kamma
generated thus, “Let my eye be thus.” This is what they say. But it can be taken that the
first-mentioned characteristic is stated as sensitivity’s interest in lighting up its own
objective fields, the five senses’ state of sensitivity being taken as a generality; and
that the second is stated as the seeing that is due to the particular division of its own
cause, the sensitivities’ cause as the state of kamma being taken as a generality or as
a unity. The same method applies to the ear and so on.
“Here it may be asked, ‘Is the arising of the faculties of the eye, etc., due to kamma
that is one or to kamma that is different?’ Now, the Ancients say, “In both ways.”
Herein, firstly, in the case of the arising of an eye, etc., due to kamma that is different
there is nothing to be explained since the cause is divided up. But when their arising
is due to kamma that is one, how does there come to be differentiation among them?
It is due to dividedness in the cause too. For it is craving, in the form of longing for this
or that kind of becoming that, itself having specific forms owing to hankering after the
sense-bases included in some kind of becoming or other, contrives, acting as decisive-
support, the specific divisions in the kamma that generates such a kind of becoming.
As soon as the kamma has acquired the differentiation induced by that [hankering] it
generates through effort consisting in appropriate ability a multiple fruit with
differentiated individual essences, as though it had itself taken on a multiple form.
And the ability here need not be understood as anything other than the able state; for
it is simply the effort of producing fruit that is differentiated by the differentiation due
to the differentiation in its cause. And the fact of this differentiating effort on the part
Chapter 14
441
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
pick up [an object]15 among visible data. It is manifested as the footing of eye-
consciousness. Its proximate cause is primary elements born of kamma sourcing
from desire to see.
38. 2. The ear’s characteristic is sensitivity of primary elements that is ready for the
impact of sounds; or its characteristic is sensitivity of primary elements originated
by kamma sourcing from desire to hear. Its function is to pick up [an object] among
sounds. It is manifested as the footing of ear-consciousness. Its proximate cause is
primary elements born of kamma sourcing from desire to hear.
39. 3.  The  nose’s characteristic is sensitivity of primary elements that is ready
for the impact of odours; or its characteristic is sensitivity of primary elements
originated by kamma sourcing from desire to smell. Its function is to pick up [an
object] among odours. It is manifested as the footing of nose-consciousness. Its
proximate cause is primary elements born of kamma sourcing from desire to smell.
40. 4. The tongue’s characteristic is sensitivity of primary elements that is ready
for the impact of flavours; or its characteristic is sensitivity of primary elements
originated by kamma sourcing from desire to taste. Its function is to pick up [an
object] among flavours. It is manifested as the footing of tongue-consciousness. Its
proximate cause is primary elements born of kamma sourcing from desire to taste.
41. 5. The body’s characteristic is sensitivity of primary elements that is ready
for the impact of tangible data; or its characteristic is sensitivity of primary
elements originated by kamma sourcing from desire to touch. Its function is to
pick up [an object] among tangible data. It is manifested as the footing of body-
consciousness. Its proximate cause is primary elements born of kamma sourcing
from desire to touch.
42. Some,16  however, say that the eye is sensitivity of primary elements that have
fire in excess, and that the ear, nose, and tongue are sensitivity of primary elements
that have [respectively] air, earth, and water in excess, and that the body is that of
all [four equally]. Others say that the eye is sensitivity of those that have fire in
excess, and that the ear, nose, tongue, and body are [sensitivity] of those that
have [respectively] aperture, air, water, and earth in excess. They should be asked
to quote a sutta. They will certainly not find one.
43. But some give as their reason that it is because these [several sensitivities]
are [respectively] aided by visible data, etc., as qualities of fire, and so on.17 They
of kamma that is one being the cause of the multiple faculties will be dealt with below
as to logic and texts (note 21). Besides, it is told how one kind of consciousness only
is the cause of the generation of the sixteen kinds of resultant consciousness and so
on; and in the world it is also found that a single paddy seed is the cause of the
generation of the ripe, the unripe, the husked, and the unhusked fruit. But what is the
use of logical thinking? For the eye, etc., are the fruit of kamma; and kamma-result is
exclusively the province of a Buddha’s knowledge” (Vism-mhṭ 444).
15. Áviñjana—“picking up”: see āvijjhati in PED.
16. “‘Some’ are certain Mahāsaṅghikas; for among these Vasudhamma says this: ‘In
the eye fire is in excess; in the ear, air; in the nose, earth; in the tongue, water; in the
body all are equal’” (Vism-mhṭ 444).
Chapter 14
442
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
should be asked, “But who has said that visible data, etc., are qualities of fire and so
on? [445] For it is not possible to say of primary elements, which remain always
inseparable,18 that ‘This is a quality of this one, that is a quality of that one.’”
44.
Then they may say: “Just as you assume, from excess of some primary
element in such and such material things, the [respective] functions of upholding
(sandhāraṇa), etc., for earth, etc., so from finding visibility, etc., [respectively] in a
state of excess19 in material things that have fire in excess, one may assume that
visible data, etc., are [respectively] qualities of these.” They should be told: “We
might assume it if there were more odour in cotton, which has earth in excess,
than in fermented liquor, which has water in excess, and if the colour of cold
water were weaker than the colour of hot water, which has heat in excess.
45. “But since neither of these is a fact, you should therefore give up conjecturing
the difference to be in the supporting primary elements. Just as the natures of visible
objects, etc., are dissimilar from each other though there is no difference in the
primaries that form a single group, so too are eye-sensitivity, etc., though no other
cause of their difference exists.”20 This is how it should be taken.
17. “‘As qualities of fire, and so on’: [aided] by visible data as the illuminating [quality] of
heat, which is called lighting up; by sound [as a quality] of air, by odour [as a quality] of
earth, by flavour [as a quality] of the water called spittle—so according to the first theory
[that of ‘some’]; and it can be suitably adjusted to accord with the second [that of ‘others’]
because they need to be assisted by such and such qualities of primaries what is meant is
that they have to be helped in apprehending visible data and so on. This theory holds that
the quality is the ability of the eye, etc., to light up [respectively] visible data, etc., only when
associated with the reasons that are their accessories consisting of light, etc., and aperture’s
state of decisive support for ear-consciousness. Aperture is taken in due order, as are fire,
etc., since it is absence of primaries. Or alternatively, when others intend that aperture is a
quality of primaries, as visible data, etc., are, then the qualities of primaries are construable
in their order thus: [aided] by visible data and light [as a quality] of fire, by sound [as a
quality] of aperture called space, by odour [as a quality] of air, by flavour [as a quality] of
water, by tangible data [as a quality] of earth” (Vism-mhṭ 445).
18. The four primaries are held to be inseparable and not to exist separate from each
other; cf. quotation from the “Ancients” in §45. Vism-mhṭ says: “Excess is in capability,
not in quantity, otherwise their inseparability would be illogical” (Vism-mhṭ 451).
19. “‘From finding visibility, etc., [respectively] in a state of excess’: from finding them
associated with these differences, namely, the bright visible datum in fire, sound
audible through its individual essence in air, the odour beginning with surabhi perfume
in earth, and the sweet taste in water, thus ‘visible data, etc., are the [respective] qualities
of these.’ 
This is according to the first theory, and he has stated the conclusion (uttara)
that follows, beginning with ‘we might assume’ in terms of that. The second is confuted
in the same way. Or alternatively, ‘Then they may say,’ etc., can be taken as said
emphasizing, in order to confute it, the theory of Kaṇāda, which asserts that the eye,
etc., are respectively made by fire, space, earth, water, and air, that have visible data,
etc., as their respective qualities” (Vism-mhṭ 445).
20. In the P.T.S. text and Sinhalese Hewavitarne text the word ekakalāpe, “that form a
single group,” occurs in this sentence but is not in the Harvard text.
Chapter 14
443
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
But what is it that is not common to them all?21 It is the kamma itself that is the
reason for their difference. Therefore their difference is due to difference of kamma,
not to difference of primary elements; for if there were difference of primary
elements, sensitivity itself would not arise, since the Ancients have said:
“Sensitivity is of those that are equal, not of those that are unequal.”
46. Now, among these [sensitivities thus] possessed of difference due to differ-
ence of kamma, the eye and the ear apprehend non-contiguous objective fields,
since consciousness is caused even if the supporting [primaries] of the objective
fields do not adhere to the [faculties’] own supporting primaries.22 The nose,
21. “If there is no differentiation according to primaries, what then is the reason for
the differentiation of the eye, and so on? Though the kamma that is produced by the
longing for a selfhood (individual personality) with five sense-bases is one only, still
it should be taken as called ‘not common to them all’ and ‘difference of kamma’ because it is
the cause of the differentiation of the eye, and so on. For it is not a condition for the ear
through the same particular difference through which it is a condition for the eye,
since, if it were, it would then follow that there was no distinction between the faculties.
Because of the words, ‘At the moment of rebirth-linking, exalted volition is a condition,
as kamma condition, for the kinds of materiality due to kamma performed’ (Paṭṭh) it
must be recognized that a single volition is kamma condition for all the kinds of
materiality due to kamma performed that come into existence at the moment of
rebirth-linking. For if the volition were different, then, when there came to be the
arising of the faculties, it would follow that the materiality due to kamma performed
was generated by limited and exalted kamma. And rebirth-linking that is one is not
generated by a plurality of kinds of kamma. Thus it is established that the arising of
the plurality of the faculties is due to a single kamma” (Vism-mhṭ 446).
22. See also §134 and notes 60, 61. The amplification in this paragraph is from Vism-
mhṭ, which continues: “There is another method: the eye and the ear have
non-contiguous objective fields because arising of consciousness is caused while
their objective fields are separated by an interval and apart (adhika). Some say that the
ear has a contiguous objective field. If it did, then sound born of consciousness would
not be the object of ear-consciousness, for there is no arising externally of what is
consciousness-originated. And in the texts sound as object is spoken of as being the
object of ear-consciousness without making any distinction. Besides, there would be
no defining the direction and position of the sound because it would then have to be
apprehended in the place occupied by the possessor of the objective field, as happens
in the case of an odour. Consequently it remains in the same place where it arose, if it
comes into focus in the ear avenue (so the Burmese ed.). Are not the sounds of
washermen [beating their washing on stones] heard later by those who stand at a
distance? No; because there is a difference in the way of apprehending a sound
according to the ways in which it becomes evident to one nearby and to one at a
distance. For just as, because of difference in the way of apprehending the sound of
words according to the ways in which it becomes evident to one at a distance and to
one nearby, there comes to be [respectively] not apprehending, and apprehending of
the differences in the syllables, so also, when the sound of washermen (a) becomes
[an occurrence] that is evident throughout from beginning to end to one who is
nearby, and (b) becomes an occurrence that is evident in compressed form in the end
or in the middle to one who is at a distance, it is because there is a difference in the
Chapter 14
444
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
tongue and body apprehend contiguous objective fields, because consciousness
is caused only if their objective fields’ [primaries] adhere to their own supporting
[primaries], [that is to say, if the objective fields’ primaries adhere] as support [in
the case of odours and flavours], and themselves [directly in the case of tangible
data, which are identical with the three primaries excluding water].
47.
1. There is what is called the “eye” in the world. That looks like a blue lotus
petal and is surrounded by black eyelashes and varied with dark and light
circles. The eye [sensitivity as meant] here is to be found in the place in the
middle of the black circle surrounded by the white circle in that [feature of the]
eye with its accessories where there appears the image of the bodies of those
who stand in front of it. It pervades the eye’s seven layers like oil sprinkled on
seven layers of cotton. It is assisted by the four primary elements whose
[respective] functions are upholding, cohering, maturing, and moving, as a
warrior prince is by four nurses whose functions are holding, bathing, dressing,
and fanning. It is consolidated by temperature, consciousness, and nutriment; it
is maintained by life; it is fu rnished with colour, odour, flavour, etc. (see Ch.
XVIII, §5); it is the size of a mere louse’s head; and it duly serves both as physical
basis and as door for eye-consciousness, and the rest [of the consciousness of
the cognitive series]. [446]
48. And this is said by the General of the Dhamma:
“The sensitivity with which he sees a visible object
Is small and it is subtle, too, no bigger, than a louse’s head.”(?)
49. 2. The ear [sensitivity] is to be found inside the [feature of the] ear-hole with
its accessories in the place that is shaped like a finger-stall and surrounded by
fine brown hairs. It is assisted by the elements in the way aforesaid. It is
consolidated by temperature, consciousness, and nutriment; it is maintained by
life; it is equipped with colour, etc.; and it duly serves both as physical basis and
as door for ear-consciousness, and the rest.
50.
3. The nose [sensitivity] is to be found inside the [feature of the] nose-hole
with its accessories in the place shaped like a goat’s hoof. It has assistance,
consolidation and maintenance in the way aforesaid; and it duly serves both as
physical basis and as door for nose-consciousness, and the rest.
51. 4. The tongue [sensitivity] is to be found in the middle of the [feature of the]
tongue with its accessories in the place shaped like a lotus petal tip. It has assistance,
consolidation and maintenance in the way aforesaid; and it duly serves both as
physical basis and as door for tongue-consciousness, and the rest.
apprehending and definition, which occur later in the cognitive series of ear-
consciousness, that there comes to be the assumption (abhimāna)  ‘Heard faintly is
heard later.’ But that sound comes into the ear’s focus at the moment of its own
existence and in dependence on the place where it arises (see XIII. 112; Dhs-a 313). If
there is absolutely no successive becoming of sound, how does an echo arise? The
sound, though it remains at a distance, is a condition for the arising of an echo and for
the vibration of vessels, etc., elsewhere as a magnet (ayo-kanta) is for the movement of
iron” (Vism-mhṭ 446–47).
Chapter 14
445
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
52.
5. The body [sensitivity] is to be found everywhere, like a liquid that soaks a
layer of cotton, in this physical body where there is matter that is clung to.23 It has
assistance, consolidation and maintenance in the way aforesaid too; and it duly
serves both as physical basis and as door for body-consciousness, and the rest.
53. Like snakes, crocodiles, birds, dogs, and jackals that gravitate to their own
respective resorts, that is to say, termite-mounds, water, space, villages, and charnel
grounds, so the eye, etc., should be regarded as gravitating to their own respective
resorts, that is to say, visible data, and so on (cf. Dhs-a 314).
54.
6.  As regards visible data, etc., which come next, a visible datum has the
characteristic of impinging on the eye. Its function is to be the objective field of
eye-consciousness. It is manifested as the resort of that too. Its proximate cause is
the four great primaries. And all the [following] kinds of derived materiality are
the same as this. Where there is a difference we shall mention it. This [visible
datum] is of various kinds as “blue, yellow” (Dhs §617) and so on.
55.
7. Sound has the characteristic of impinging on the ear. Its function is to be
the object of ear-consciousness. It is manifested as the resort of that too. It is of
various kinds as “drum sound, tabour sound” (Dhs §621) and so on. [447]
56.
8. Odour has the characteristic of impinging on the nose. Its function is to
be the object of nose-consciousness. It is manifested as the resort of that too. It is
of various kinds as “root odour, heartwood odour” (Dhs §625) and so on.
57.
9. Flavour has the characteristic of impinging on the tongue. Its function is
to be the object of tongue-consciousness. It is manifested as the resort of that too.
It is of various kinds as “root flavour, trunk flavour” (Dhs §629) and so on.
58. 10. The femininity faculty has the female sex as its characteristic. Its function
is to show that “this is a female.” It is manifested as the reason for the mark,
sign, work, and ways of the female (cf. Dhs §633).
11. The masculinity faculty has the male sex as its characteristic. Its function is
to show that “this is a male.” It is manifested as the reason for the mark, sign,
work, and ways of the male (cf. Dhs §634).
Both these last are coextensive with the whole body, as body-sensitivity is. But
it does not follow that they have to be called either “located in the space where
body-sensitivity is located” or “located in the space where that is not located.”
Like the natures of visible data, etc., these are not confoundable one with the
other.24
23. Upādiṇṇa  (also upādiṇṇaka)  is pp. of upādiyati  (he clings), from which the noun
upādāna  (clinging)  also comes. Upādiṇṇa-(ka-)rūpa  (clung-to matter) = kammaja-rūpa
(kamma-born matter): see Dhs §653. It is vaguely renderable by “organic or sentient
or living matter”; technically, it is matter of the four primaries that is “clung to”
(upādiṇṇa) or “derived” (upādāya) by kamma. Generally taken as a purely Abhidhamma
term (Dhs 1), it nevertheless occurs in the Suttas at M I 185 in the same sense.
24. Ee reads añnamaññaṃ saṅkaro natthi. Ae omits saṅkaro natthi. The word saṅkara in
the sense of “confounding” or “error” is not in PED; see Vism concluding verses, PTS
ed., p.711:
Chapter 14
446
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
59. 12. The life faculty has the characteristic of maintaining conascent kinds of
matter. Its function is to make them occur. It is manifested in the establishing of
their presence. Its proximate cause is primary elements that are to be sustained.
And although it has the capacity consisting in the characteristic of maintaining,
etc., yet it only maintains conascent kinds of matter at the moment of presence, as
water does lotuses and so on. Though states (dhamma) arise due to their own
conditions, it maintains them, as a wet-nurse does a prince. And it occurs itself
only through its connection with the states that occur, like a pilot; it does not
cause occurrence after dissolution, because of its own absence and that of what
has to be made to occur. It does not prolong presence at the moment of dissolution
because it is itself dissolving, like the flame of a lamp when the wick and the oil
are getting used up. But it must not be regarded as destitute of power to maintain,
make occur, and make present, because it does accomplish each of these functions
at the moment stated (cf. Dhs §635).25
“Though these things, that is to say, the ‘mark … of the female,’ etc., arise each due
to its own condition consisting in kamma, etc., they mostly only do so as modes in a
continuity accompanied by the femininity faculty. And so ‘it is manifested as the
reason for the mark,’ etc., is said making the femininity faculty their cause.
“As regards the ‘mark of the female,’ etc., too, its ‘facultiness’ is stated as
predominance, in other words, as a state of cause, because the conditions for the
modal matter (ākāra-rūpa) consisting of the mark of the female, etc., in a continuity
accompanied by faculties do not arise otherwise, and because these kinds of materiality
are a condition for apprehending the female. But because the femininity faculty does
not generate even the material instances in its own group or maintain or consolidate
them, and because it does not so act for the material instances of other groups, it is
therefore not called in the text faculty, presence, and non-disappearance conditions, as
the life faculty is for the material instances of its group, and as nutriment is for the material
instances in succeeding groups. And it is because the mark, etc., are dependent on other
conditions that wherever they have predominance its shape is encountered, even in dead
and sculptured matter that resembles it. And so too with the masculinity faculty.
“And since these two do not occur together in a single continuity, because of the
words, ‘Does the masculinity faculty arise in one in whom the femininity faculty
arises?—No’ (Yamaka), etc., therefore even in a hermaphrodite there is only one of
them at a given moment (see also Dhs-a 323)” (Vism-mhṭ 448).
25. “Since the life faculty is itself entirely kamma-born it is established, by taking
them as conascent, that the things to be protected by it are kamma-born too; this is
why there is no inclusion of the term ‘kamma-born.’ It maintains as if it were its own
that kamma-born matter by being the cause of its occurrence even though only lasting
for a moment; that is why it has the characteristic of maintaining conascent kinds of
matter. For kamma alone is not competent to be the cause of kamma-born things”
presence, as nutriment, etc., are of the nutriment-born. Why? Because it is no longer
existent at that moment.
“‘Because it does accomplish each of those functions’: it does so because it is a
condition for distinguishing what is living. For it is the life faculty that distinguishes
matter that is bound up with faculties from dead matter, and kamma-born matter and
what is bound up with that from matter that is temperature originated, and so on.
Chapter 14
447
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
60. 13. The heart-basis has the characteristic of being the (material) support for the
mind-element and for the mind-consciousness-element. Its function is to observe
them. It is manifested as the carrying of them. It is to be found in dependence on the
blood, of the kind described in the treatise on mindfulness of the body (VIII.111),
inside the heart. It is assisted by the primaries with their functions of upholding,
etc.; it is consolidated by temperature, consciousness, and nutriment; it is maintained
by life; and it serves as physical basis for the mind-element and mind-consciousness-
element, and for the states associated with them.26
“And the life faculty must be regarded as the reason not only for presence during
a moment but also for non-interruption of connection; otherwise death as the
termination of a life span would be illogical” (Vism-mhṭ 448).
26.
“‘The heart-basis … the support for the mind-element and for the mind-
consciousness-element’: how is that to be known? (i) From scriptures and (ii) from
logical reasoning.
“The scripture is this: ‘The materiality dependent on which the mind-element and
mind-consciousness-element occur is a condition, as a support condition, for the
mind-element and the mind-consciousness-element and what is associated therewith’
(Paṭṭh I.4). If that is so, why is it not mentioned in the Rūpakaṇḍa of the
Dhammasaṅgaṇi? (Dhs §583ff.). Its not being mentioned there is for another reason.
What is that? Non-inconsistency of the teaching. For while eye consciousness, etc.,
have the eye, etc., as their respective supports absolutely, mind-consciousness does
not in the same way have the heart-basis as its support absolutely. And the teaching
in the physical-basis dyad (vatthu-duka) is given by way of the material support thus,
‘There is matter that is the physical basis of eye-consciousness, there is matter that is
not the physical basis of eye-consciousness’ (Dhs §585) and so on; and if the dyads
were stated by way of what had the heart-basis absolutely as its support thus, ‘There
is matter that is the physical basis of mind-consciousness’ and so on, then the object
dyads (ārammaṇa-duka) do not fall into line: for one cannot say: ‘There is matter that is
the object of mind-consciousness, there is matter that is not the object of mind-
consciousness.’ So the physical-basis dyads and object dyads being thus made
inconsistent, the teaching would lack unity, and the Master’s wish was to give the
teaching here in a form that has unity. That is why the heart-basis is not mentioned,
not because it is unapprehendable.
“(ii) But the logical reasoning should be understood in this way. In the five constituent
becoming, [that is, in the sense sphere and fine-material sphere,] these two elements
have as their support produced (nipphanna) derived matter. Herein, since the visible-
data base, etc., and nutritive essence, are found to occur apart from what is bound up
with faculties, to make them the support would be illogical. And since these two
elements are found in a continuity that is devoid of the femininity and masculinity
faculties [i.e. in the Brahmā-world], to make them the support would be illogical too.
And in the case of the life faculty that would have to have another function, so to make
it the support would be illogical too. So it is the heart-basis that remains to be recognized
as their support. For it is possible to say that these two elements have as their support
produced derived matter, since existence is bound up with matter in the five-constituent
becoming. Whatever has its existence bound up with matter is found to have as its
support produced derived matter, as the eye-consciousness-element does. And the
distinction ‘in the five-constituent becoming’ is made on account of the mind-
consciousness-element; in the four-constituent becoming, [that is, the immaterial
Chapter 14
448
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
sphere,] there is no mind-element. Does there not follow contradiction of the middle
term  (hetu)  because of establishing faculties as their support? No; because that is
disproved by what is seen. For these two elements are not, as in the case of eye-
consciousness, controlled by the slackness and keenness, etc., of their physical basis;
and accordingly it is not said in the texts that they have the faculties as their condition.
Hence their having faculties as their support, in other words, their being controlled by
them, is disproved.
“Granted that these two elements have as their support the derived matter consisting
of the heart-basis, how is it to be known that it is kamma-originated, has an invariable
function, and is to be found located in the heart? It may be said to be kamma-originated
because, like the eye, it is the materiality of a physical basis; and because of that it has
an invariable function; because it is the materiality of a physical basis and because it is
a support for consciousness, is the meaning. It is known that its location is there
because of the heart’s exhaustion (khijjana) in one who thinks of anything, bringing it
to mind intently and directing his whole mind to it” (Vism-mhṭ 449–50).
The word hadaya (heart), used in a purely mental and not physical sense, occurs in
the definitions of the mind-element and mind-consciousness-element in the Vibhaṅga
(Vibh 88–89). The brain (matthaluṅga),  which seems to have been first added as the
32nd part of the body in the Paṭisambhidā (Paṭis I 7), was ignored, and the Visuddhimagga
is hard put to it to find a use for it. The Piṭakas (e.g. Paṭṭh 1,4 quoted above) connect the
mind with the matter of the body without specifying.
27. “It is the mode and the alteration of what? Of consciousness-originated primary
elements that have the air-element in excess of capability. What is that capability? It is
the state of being consciousness-born and the state of being derived matter. Or
alternatively, it can be taken as the mode alteration of the air element. If that is so, then
intimation is illogical as derived matter, for there is no derived matter with a single
primary as its support, since ‘matter derived from the four great primaries’ (M I 53) is
said. That is not wrong. Alteration of one of the four is that of all four, as with wealth
shared among four. And excess of air element in a material group (kalāpa) does not
contradict the words ‘of the air element’; and excess is in capability, not in quantity,
otherwise their inseparability would be illogical. According to some it is that of the air
element only. In their opinion the state of derived matter is inapplicable (durupapāda)
to intimation, since the alteration of one is not that of all. But this [air element] is
apprehended by mind-door impulsion that is next to the non-intimating [apprehension]
that is next to the apprehension of the appearance of motion in the movement of the
61. 14. Bodily intimation is the mode (conformation) and the alteration (deformation)
in the consciousness-originated air element that causes the occurrence of moving
forward, etc., which mode and alteration are a condition for the stiffening, upholding,
and moving of the conascent material body. [448] Its function is to display intention.
It is manifested as the cause of bodily excitement. Its proximate cause is the
consciousness-originated air element. But it is called “bodily intimation” (kāya-
viññatti
) because it is the cause of the intimating (viññāpana) of intention by means
of bodily excitement, and because it is itself intimatable through the body, in other
words, through that bodily excitement. Moving forward, etc., should be understood
to occur owing to the movement of the [kinds of matter] that are temperature-born,
etc., which are interlocked with the consciousness-born kinds moved by that
[intimation]27 (See Dhs §636).
Chapter 14
449
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
hands, and so on. There is a certain kind of alteration that is separate from the
appearance of motion. And the apprehension of the former is next to the apprehension
of the latter. How is that to be known? By the apprehension of intention. For no
apprehension of intention such as, ‘He is getting this done, it seems’ is met with in the
case of trees’ movements, etc., which are devoid of intention. But it is met with in the
case of hand movements and so on. Therefore there is a certain kind of alteration that
is separate from the appearance of motion, and it is known as the ‘intimator of the
intention.’ Also it is known by inference that the apprehension of the alteration is next
to the apprehension of the appearance thus: The intimator intimates the meaning to
be intimated only when it is apprehended as a cause, not merely as present. For they
say accordingly:
Sounds that have entered no objective field
Do not awaken any kind of meaning;
And also beings merely recognized
As such communicate no meanings either.
“If just the apprehension of the alteration is the reason for the apprehension of the
intention, why is there no apprehension of intention in unapprehended communication
(saṅketa)ī It is not only just the apprehension of the alteration that is the reason for the
apprehension of the intention; but rather it should be taken that the apprehension of
the previously-established connection is the decisive support for this. The stiffening,
upholding, and movement are due to the air-element associated with the alteration
belonging to the intimation, is what is said. What, is it all the air-element that does all
those things? It is not like that. For it is the air element given rise to by the seventh
impulsion that, by acquiring as its reinforcing conditions the air elements given rise to
by the preceding impulsions, moves consciousness-originated matter by acting as
cause for its successive arisings in adjacent locations, (desantaruppatti—cf. Ch. VIII, n.
54) not the others. The others, however, help it by doing the stiffening and upholding,
the successive arising in adjacent locations being itself the movement. So the
instrumentality should be taken as attributed when there is the sign [of movement];
otherwise there would not be uninterestedness and momentariness of dhammas.
And here the cart to be drawn by seven yokes is given as simile in the Commentary.
But when consciousness-born matter moves, the kinds of matter born of temperature,
kamma, and nutriment move too because they are bound up with it, like a piece of dry
cow-dung thrown into a river’s current.
“Since it has been said that the apprehension of intimation is next to the
apprehension of the appearance of motion, how then, is the air element itself as the
maker of the movement accompanied by the alteration consisting in the intimation? It
is not like that. It is the air elements given rise to by the first impulsion, etc., and which
are unable to cause movement in that way and perform only the stiffening and
upholding, that should be taken as only accompanied by the alteration belonging to
intimation. For it is the alteration coexistent with the intention that is the intimation,
because of giving rise to alteration in whatever direction it wishes to cause the
occurrence of moving forward and so on. Taking it in this way, it is perfectly logical to
say that the origination of intimation belongs to mind-door adverting. Since the
intention possessed of the aforesaid alteration is intimated through the apprehension
of that alteration, it is said that ‘Its function is to display intention.’ The air element
being the cause of the motion of the bodily intimation, is figuratively said, as a state of
alteration, to be ‘manifested as the cause of bodily motion.’ ‘Its proximate cause is the
consciousness-originated air-element’ is said since the air element’s excessive function
Chapter 14
450
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
 is the cause of intimating intention by movement of the body” (Vism-mhṭ 450–52). Cf.
Dhs-a 83f.
28.
Vacībheda—”speech utterance” is not in PED, which does not give this use of
bheda. Vism-mhṭ (p. 452) explains: “The function (—‘knocking together’) of the vocal
apparatus (—‘clung-to matter’).”
29. “The question, ‘It is the mode and the alteration of what?,’ should be handled in
the same way as for bodily intimation, with this difference: for ‘next to the apprehension
of the appearance of movement’ substitute ‘next to the hearing of an audible sound.’
And here, because of the absence of stiffening, etc., the argument beginning, ‘For it is
the air element given rise to by the seventh impulsion’ does not apply; for the sound
arises together with the knocking together, and the knocking together only applies in
the case of the first impulsion, and so on. The knocking together is the arising of
groups of primaries (bhūta-kalāpa) in proximity to each other due to conditions. The
movement is the progression of the successive arising in adjacent locations. This is the
difference. The earth element’s knocking together is parallel to the air element’s
moving as regards function” (Vism-mhṭ 452).
62.
15. Verbal intimation is the mode (conformation) and the alteration
(deformation) in the consciousness-originated earth element that causes that
occurrence of speech utterance which mode and alteration are a condition for
the knocking together of clung-to matter.28 Its function is to display intention. It
is manifested as the cause of the voice in speech. Its proximate cause is the
consciousness-originated earth element. But it is called “verbal intimation”
because it is the cause of the intimating of intention by means of the voice in
speech, and because it is itself intimatable through speech, in other words,
through that voice in speech. For, just as, on seeing a sign for water consisting of
an ox skull, etc., hung up in the forest, it is intimated that “there is water here,”
so too, on noticing either the bodily shaking or the voice in speech thus, they
intimate.29 (See Dhs §637.)
63. 16. The space element has the characteristic of delimiting matter. Its function
is to display the boundaries of matter. It is manifested as the confines of matter;
or it is manifested as untouchedness, as the state of gaps and apertures (cf. Dhs
§638). Its proximate cause is the matter delimited. And it is on account of it that
one can say of material things delimited that “this is above, below, around, that.”
64. 17. Lightness of matter has the characteristic of non-slowness. Its function is
to dispel heaviness of matter. It is manifested as light transformability. Its
proximate cause is light matter (cf. Dhs §639).
18. Malleability of matter has the characteristic of non-stiffenedness. Its function
is to dispel stiffness of matter. It is manifested as non-opposition to any kind of
action. Its proximate cause is malleable matter (cf. Dhs §640).
19.  Wieldiness of matter has the characteristic of wieldiness that is favourable
to bodily action. Its function is to dispel unwieldiness. It is manifested as non-
weakness. Its proximate cause is wieldy matter (cf. Dhs §641).
65.
These three, however, are not found apart from each other. Still their
difference may be understood as follows. Lightness of matter is alteration of matter
such as any light (agile) state in material instances, as in one who is healthy, any
Chapter 14
451
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
non-slowness, any manner of light transformability in them, which is originated
by conditions that prevent any disturbance of elements capable of creating
sluggishness of matter. Malleability of matter is alteration of matter such as any
malleable state in material instances, as in a well-pounded hide, any pliable
manner consisting in amenableness to exercise of power over them in all kinds
of work without distinction, which [449] is originated by conditions that prevent
any disturbance of elements capable of creating stiffness of matter. Wieldiness of
matter
 is alteration of matter such as any wieldy state in material instances, as in
well-refined gold, any manner in them consisting in favourableness to the work
of the body, which is originated by conditions that prevent any disturbance of
elements capable of creating unfavourableness to the work of the body.
66. 20.  Growth of matter has the characteristic of setting up. Its function is to
make material instances emerge in the first instance. It is manifested as launching;
or it is manifested as the completed state. Its proximate cause is grown matter.
21. Continuity of matter has the characteristic of occurrence. Its function is to
anchor. It is manifested as non-interruption. Its proximate cause is matter that is
to be anchored.
Both of these are terms for matter at its birth; but owing to difference of mode,
and according to [different persons’] susceptibility to instruction, the teaching
in the summary (uddesa) in the Dhammasaṅgaṇī is given as “growth and
continuity” (cf. Dhs §596); but since there is here no difference in meaning,
consequently in the description (niddesa) of these words, “the setting up of the
sense-bases is the growth of matter” and “the growth of matter is the continuity
of matter” is said (Dhs §642, 732, 865).
67. And in the Commentary, after saying, “It is genesis that is called ‘setting
up,’ increase that is called ‘growth,’ occurrence that is called ‘continuity,’” this
simile is given: “Genesis as setting up is like the time when water comes up in a
hole dug in a river bank; increase as growth is like the time when it fills [the
hole]; occurrence as continuity is like the time when it overflows.” And at the end
of the simile it is said: “So what is stated? Setting up is stated by sense-base;
sense-base is stated by setting up.” Consequently, it is the first genesis of material
instances that is their setting up; the genesis also of others that are generated in
addition to those is growth since it appears in the aspect of increase; the repeated
genesis also of others that are generated in addition to those is continuity since it
appears in the aspect of anchoring. This is how it should be understood to have
been declared thus.
68. 22. Ageing has the characteristic of maturing (ripening) material instances.
Its function is to lead on towards [their termination]. It is manifested as the loss
of newness without the loss of individual essence, like oldness in paddy. Its
proximate cause is matter that is maturing (ripening). This is said with reference
to the kind of ageing that is evident through seeing alteration in teeth, etc., as
their brokenness, and so on (cf. Dhs §644). But that of immaterial states, which
has no such [visible] alteration, is called hidden ageing. And that in earth, water,
rocks, the moon, the sun, etc., is called incessant ageing. [450]
Chapter 14
452
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
69. 23.  Impermanence of matter has the characteristic of complete breaking up.
Its function is to make material instances subside. It is manifested as destruction
and fall (cf. Dhs §645). Its proximate cause is matter that is completely breaking
up.
70. 24. Physical nutriment has the characteristic of nutritive essence. Its function
is to feed kinds of matter. It is manifested as consolidating. Its proximate cause is
a physical basis that must be fed with physical food. It is a term for the nutritive
essence by means of which living beings sustain themselves (cf. Dhs §646).
71. These, firstly, are the material instances that have been handed down in the
texts.30 But in the Commentary, others have been added as follows: matter as
power, matter as procreation, matter as birth, matter as sickness; and, in the
opinion of some, matter as torpor.31
In the first place, matter as torpor is rejected as non-existent by the words:
Surely thou art a sage enlightened,
There are no hindrances in thee (Sn 541).
As to the rest, matter as sickness is included by ageing and by impermanence;
matter as birth by growth and continuity; matter as procreation, by the water element;
and matter as power by the air element. So taken separately not even one of these
exists: this was the agreement reached.
So this derived matter of twenty-four sorts and the aforesaid matter of the
primary elements, which is of four sorts, together amount to twenty-eight sorts,
neither more nor less.
72. And all that [matter of twenty-eight sorts] is of one kind as “not-root-cause,
root-causeless, dissociated from root-cause, with conditions, mundane, subject
to cankers” (Dhs §584), and so on.
It is of two kinds as internal and external, gross and subtle, far and near,
produced (nipphanna) and unproduced, sensitive matter and insensitive matter,
faculty and non-faculty, clung to and not-clung to, and so on.
73.
Herein, the five kinds beginning with the eye are internal because they
occur as an integral part of the selfhood (in oneself); the rest are external because
they are external to that selfhood (personality). The nine beginning with the eye
and the three elements excepting the water element, making twelve kinds in all,
are to be taken as gross because of impinging; the rest are subtle because they are
the opposite of that. What is subtle is far because it is difficult to penetrate, the
other is near because it is easy to penetrate. The eighteen kinds of matter, that is
to say, the four elements, the thirteen beginning with the eye, and physical
nutriment, are produced because they can be discerned through their own
individual essences, having exceeded the [purely conceptual] states of [matter
as] delimitation, [matter as] alteration, and [matter as] characteristic (see §77);
the rest, being the opposite, are unproduced. The five kinds beginning with the
30. In actual fact the heart-basis is not in the Piṭakas as such.
31. “‘Some’ are the inmates of the Abhayagiri Monastery at Anurādhapura” (Vism-
mhṭ 455). A long discussion on this follows in Vism-mhṭ, not given here.
Chapter 14
453
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
eye are sensitive matter through their being conditions for the apprehension of
visible data, etc., because they are, as it were, bright like the surface of a looking
glass; the rest are insensitive matter because they are the opposite of that. [451]
Sensitive matter itself, together with the three beginning with the femininity
faculty, is faculty in the sense of predominance; the rest are not-faculty because
they are the opposite of that. What we shall later describe as “kamma-born” (§75
and XX.27) is clung to because that is “clung to,” [that is, acquired] by kamma.
The rest are not-clung to because they are the opposite of that.
74.
Again, all matter is of three kinds according to the visible (sanidassana)
triad, the kamma-born triad, etc. (see Dhs 2). Herein, as regards the gross, a
visible datum is visible with impact; the rest are invisible with impact; all the
subtle kinds are invisible without impact. So firstly it is of three kinds according
to the visible triad.
75. According to the kamma-born triad, etc., however, that born from kamma is
kamma-born; that born from a condition other than that is not-kamma-born; that
not born from anything is neither-kamma-born-nor-not-kamma-born.
That born from consciousness is consciousness-born; that born from a condition
other than consciousness is not-consciousness-born; that not born from anything
is  neither-consciousness-born-nor-not-consciousness-born.
That born from nutriment is nutriment-born; that born from a condition other
than that is not-nutriment-born; that not born from anything is neither-nutriment-
born-nor-not-nutriment-born
.
That born from temperature is temperature-born; that born from a condition
other than that is not-temperature-born; that not born from anything is neither-
temperature-born-nor-not-temperature-born
.
So it is of three kinds according to the kamma-born triad, and so on.
76. Again, it is of four kinds as seen, etc., as concrete matter, etc., and as the
physical basis tetrads, and so on.
Herein, the visible-data base is seen because it is the objective field of seeing.
The sound base is heard because it is the objective field of hearing. The three, that
is to say, odours, flavours, and tangible data, are sensed (lit. contacted) because
they are the objective fields of faculties that take contiguous [objective fields].
The rest are cognized because they are the objective field of consciousness
(cognition) only. So firstly it is of four kinds according to the seen, etc., tetrad.32
32. “‘Sensed (muta)’ means apprehendable by sensing (mutvā),  by reaching; hence
he said ‘because they are the objective fields of faculties that take contiguous [objective fields]’
(cf. §46). But what is it that is called a tangible datum? It is the three elements, earth,
heat, and air. But why is the water element not included here? Is not cold apprehended
by touching; and that is the water element? Certainly it is apprehended but it is not the
water element. What is it then? It is just the fire element. For there is the sensation
(buddhi) of cold when heat is sluggish. There is no quality that is called cold; there is
only the assumption (abhimāna)  of coldness due to the sluggishness of the state of
heat. How is that to be known? Because of the unreliability of the sensation of cold,
Chapter 14
454
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
77.
Here, however, “produced matter” is concrete matter; the space-element is
delimiting matter; those from “bodily intimation” up to “wieldiness” are matter as
alteration
; birth, ageing and dissolution are matter as characteristic. So it is of four
kinds as concrete matter and so on.
78. Here, however, what is called the materiality of the heart is physical basisnot
door
 (see Dhs-a 82f.); the two intimations are door, not physical basis; sensitive
matter is both physical basis and door; the rest are neither physical basis nor door. So
it is four kinds according to the physical basis tetrad.
79. Again, it is of five kinds as born of one, born of two, born of three, born of
four, and not born of anything.
Herein, what is kamma-born only or consciousness-born only is called born
of one. Of these, materiality of the faculties, together with the heart-basis, is kamma-
born only; the two intimations are consciousness-born only. But what is born
[now] of consciousness and [now] of temperature is called born of two. That is the
sound base only.33 What is born of temperature, consciousness, and nutriment
like ‘beyond and not beyond.’ For in hot weather, while those who stand in the sun
and go into the shade have the sensation of cold, yet those who go to the same place
from an underground cave have the sensation of heat. And if coldness were the water
element it would be found in a single group (kalāpa) along with heat; but it is not so
found. That is why it may be known that coldness is not the water element. And that
is conclusive (uttara) for those who agree to the inseparable existence of the primary
elements; and it is conclusive too even for those who do not agree because it is
disproved by associate existence through seeing the functions of the four primaries in
a single group. It is conclusive too for those who say that coldness is the characteristic
of the air element; for if coldness were the air element, coldness would be found in a
single group along with heat, and it is not so found. That is why it may be known that
coldness is not the air element either. But those who hold the opinion that fluidity
(dravatā) is the water element and that that is apprehended by touching should be told:
‘That fluidity touched is merely the venerable ones’ assumption as is the case with
shape.’ For this is said by the Ancients:
‘Three elements coexisting with fluidity
Together form what constitutes a tangible;
That “I succeed in touching this fluidity”
Is a common misconception in the world.
And as a man who touches elements,
And apprehends a shape then with his mind,
Fancies “I really have been touching shape,”
So too fluidity is recognized’” (Vism-mhṭ 459).
33.
“‘The sound base only:  here some say, ‘The consciousness-born is always
intimative  (saviññattika).’  The Ancients say, ‘There is sound due to the intervention
(vipphāra) of applied thought that does not intimate.’ While depending on the word of
the Great Commentary that puts it thus, ‘Intimatable (cognizable) through the ear by
means of the sound due to applied thought’s intervention,’ still there is also need of
the arising of consciousness-originated sound without intimation (cognition) for
because of the words, ‘For the intimation (cognition) is not due to intimating speech’
(?), it arises together with sound not intimatable (cognizable) through the ear. That
Chapter 14
455
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
[452] is called born of three. But that is the three beginning with “lightness” only.
What is born from the four beginning with kamma is called born of four. That is
all the rest except “matter as characteristic.”
80. But “matter as characteristic” is called not born of anything. Why? Because
there is no arising of arising, and the other two are the mere maturing and
breakup of what has arisen. Though in the passage, “The visible-data base, the
sound base, the odour base, the flavour base, the tangible-data base, the space
element, the water element, lightness of matter, malleability of matter, wieldiness
of matter, growth of matter, continuity of matter, and physical food—these states
are consciousness-originated” (cf. Dhs §667) and so on, a state of birth [that is,
growth] being born from somewhere can be understood as allowable since the
point of view here is the moment when the conditions that are giving birth to the
kinds of materiality are exercising their function.
This, firstly, is the section of the detailed explanation dealing with the
materiality aggregate.
[THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  AGGREGATE]
81. Among the remaining aggregates, however, whatever has the characteristic
of being felt34 should be understood, all taken together, as the feeling aggregate;
and whatever has the characteristic of perceiving, all taken together, as the
perception aggregate; and whatever has the characteristic of forming, all taken
together, as the formations aggregate; and whatever has the characteristic of
cognizing, all taken together, as the consciousness aggregate. Herein, since the
rest are easy to understand when the consciousness aggregate has been
being so, there would have to be a consciousness-born sound-ennead. And that theory
is rejected by Saṅghakaras who imagine that it is self-contradictory to say that there
is sound not intimatable (cognizable) through the ear. Others, however, do not reject
the Great Commentary’s statement and they comment on its intention. How? [They
say that] the non-intimation (non-cognition) through the ear of the sound activated
due to applied thought’s intervention is stated in the Suttas with this intention, ‘He
tells by hearing with the divine ear the subtle sound that is conascent with the
intimation, originated by applied thought, and consisting in movement of the tongue and
palate, and so on’ (cf. A I 171), and that in the Paṭṭhāna (Paṭṭh 1, 7) the state of object
condition for ear-consciousness is stated with reference to gross sound” (Vism-mhṭ 460).
34. “‘Has the characteristic of being felt means that it has as its characteristic what is
felt, what is experienced as the ‘taste (stimulus)’ of the object. ‘Characteristic of perceiving’
means that it has as its characteristic the perceiving of an object classed as blue, etc.,
and the knowing, the apprehending, of it by arousing the perception of it as blue,
yellow, long, short, and so on. Forming (abhisaṅkharaṇa)  is accumulating, or it is
contriving by becoming interested. And it is because volition is basic in both of these
ways that the formations aggregate is said thus to have the characteristic of forming. For
in expounding the formations aggregate in the Suttanta-Bhājaniya of the Vibhaṅga,
volition was expounded by the Blessed One thus, ‘Eye-contact-born volition’ (Vibh 8)
and so on. ‘Has the characteristic of cognizing means that it has as its characteristic that
kind of knowing called apprehension of an object in a mode in which the objective field
is apprehended differently from the mode of perceiving” (Vism-mhṭ 462).
Chapter 14
456
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
35. Profitable  in the sense of health, blamelessness, and pleasant result (see Vism-
mhṭ 463). Unprofitable in the opposite sense. Indeterminate because not describable as
either profitable or unprofitable (see Vism-mhṭ 464). This is the first of the twenty-
two triads in the Abhidhamma Mātikā (Dhs 1).
Pali has five principal words, nāma, viññāṇa, mano, citta, and ceto, against the normal
English  consciousness  and  mind. While their etymology can be looked up in the
dictionary, one or two points need noting here. Nāma (rendered by “mentality” when
not used to refer to a name) is almost confined in the sense considered to the expression
nāma-rūpa (“mentality-materiality”) as the fourth member of the dependent origination,
where it comprises the three mental aggregates of feeling, perception and formations,
but not that of consciousness (viññāṇa).  Viññāṇa (rendered by “consciousness”) is,
loosely, more or less a synonym for mano and citta; technically, it is bare cognition
considered apart from feeling, perception or formations. Mano (rendered by “mind”),
when used technically, is confined to the sixth internal base for contact (Ch. XV). Citta
(rendered by “mind” and “consciousness” or “[manner of] consciousness”), when
used technically, refers to a momentary type-situation considered as viññāṇa in relation
to the tone of its concomitant feeling, perception and formations. Possibly, a better
rendering would have been “cognizance” throughout. It carries a flavour of its
etymological relative, cetanā (“volition”). Ceto (another etymological relative, rendered
by “heart”—i.e. “seat of the emotions,”—“will” or “mind”), when used loosely is
very near to citta; but technically it is restricted to one or two such expressions as ceto-
vimutti
 (“mind-deliverance” or “heart-deliverance”).
36. “‘Sense sphere’ (kāmāvacara): here there are the two kinds of sense desire (kāma),
sense desire as basis (vatthu-kāma)  and sense desire as defilement (kilesakāma).  Of
these, sense desire as [objective] basis particularized as the five cords of sense desire
(pañca-kāma-guṇa = dimensions of sensual desires), is desired (kāmiyati). Sense desire
as defilement, which is craving, desires (kāmeti).  The sense sphere (kāmāvacara)  is
where these two operate (avacaranti)  together. But what is that? It is the elevenfold
sense-desire becoming, i.e. hell, asura demons, ghosts, animals, human beings, and
six sensual-sphere heavens. So too with the fine-material sphere and the immaterial
sphere, taking “fine-material” as craving for the fine-material too, and “immaterial” as
understood, we shall therefore begin with the commentary on the consciousness
aggregate.
82.
“Whatever has the characteristic of cognizing should be understood, all
taken together, as the consciousness aggregate” was said above. And what has
the characteristic of cognizing (vijānana)? Consciousness (viññāṇa); according
as it is said, “It cognizes, friend, that is why ‘consciousness’ is said” (M I 292).
The words viññāṇa (consciousness), citta (mind, consciousness), and mano (mind)
are one in meaning.
[THE 89 KINDS OF CONSCIOUSNESS—SEE TABLE III]
That same [consciousness], though one in its individual essence with the
characteristic of cognizing, is threefold according to kind, namely, (I) profitable,
(II) unprofitable, and (III) indeterminate.35
83.
I. Herein, the profitable is fourfold according to plane, namely, (A) of the
sense sphere, (B) of the fine-material sphere, (C) of the immaterial sphere, and (D)
supramundane.36
Chapter 14
457
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
I. A. Herein, (1)–(8) that of the sense sphere is eightfold, being classified
according to joy, equanimity, knowledge, and prompting, that is to say: (1) when
accompanied-by-joy it is either associated-with-knowledge and unprompted,
or (2) prompted; or (3) it is dissociated-from-knowledge and likewise
[unprompted, or (4) prompted]; and (5) when accompanied-by-equanimity it is
either associated-with-knowledge and prompted, or (6) unprompted; or (7) it is
dissociated-from-knowledge [453] and likewise [unprompted, or (8) prompted].
84. (1) When a man is happy on encountering an excellent gift to be given, or
recipient, etc., or some such cause for joy, and by placing right view foremost
that occurs in the way beginning “There is [merit in] giving” (M I 288), he
unhesitatingly and unurged by others performs such merit as giving, etc., then
his consciousness is accompanied by joyassociated with knowledge, and unprompted.
(2) But when a man is happy and content in the way aforesaid, and, while
placing right view foremost, yet he does it hesitantly through lack of free
generosity, etc., or urged on by others, then his consciousness is of the same kind
as the last but prompted; for in this sense “prompting” is a term for a prior effort
exerted by himself or others
85. (3) But when young children have a natural habit due to seeing the behav-
iour of relatives and are joyful on seeing bhikkhus and at once give them whatever
they have in their hands or pay homage, then the third kind of consciousness
arises. (4) But when they behave like this on being urged by their relatives, “Give;
pay homage,” then the fourth kind of consciousness arises. (5)–(8) But when the
consciousnesses are devoid of joy in these four instances through encountering
no excellence in the gift to be given, or in the recipient, etc., or through want of
any such cause for joy, then the remaining four, which are accompanied by
equanimity
, arise.
So sense-sphere profitable [consciousness] should be understood as of eight
kinds, being classed according to joy, equanimity, knowledge, and prompting.
86. I. B. The consciousness of the fine-material sphere is fivefold, being classed
according to association with the jhāna factors. That is to say, (9) the first is
associated with applied thought, sustained thought, happiness, bliss, and
concentration, (10) the second leaves out applied thought from that, (11) the
third leaves out sustained thought from that, (12) the fourth makes happiness
fade away from that, (13) the fifth is associated with equanimity and
concentration, bliss having subsided.
87.
I. C. That of the immaterial sphere is fourfold by association with the four
immaterial states; for (14) the first is associated with the jhāna of the base
consisting of boundless space in the way aforesaid, while (15)–(17) the second,
third, and fourth, are [respectively] associated with those of the base consisting
of boundless consciousness, and so on.
88. I. D. The supramundane is fourfold (18)–(21) by association with the four paths.
 craving for the immaterial too. It crosses over (uttarati) from the world (loka), thus it is
supramundane (lokuttara)” (Vism-mhṭ 464).
Chapter 14
458
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
So firstly, profitable consciousness itself is of twenty-one kinds. [454]
89.
II. The unprofitable is one kind according to plane, being only of the sense
sphere. It is of three kinds according to root, as (a) rooted in greed, (b) rooted in
hate, and (c) rooted in delusion.
90. II. (a) Herein, (22)–(29) that rooted in greed is of eight kinds, being classed
according to joy, equanimity, [false] view, and prompting, that is to say: (22) when
accompanied by joy it is either associated-with-[false-]view and unprompted, or
(23) prompted; or (24) it is dissociated-from-[false-]view and likewise [unprompted
or (25) prompted]; and (26) when accompanied-by-equanimity it is either associated-
with-[false-]view and unprompted, or (27) prompted; or (28) it is dissociated-from-
[false-]view and likewise [unprompted, or (29) prompted].
91. (22) When a man is happy and content in placing wrong view foremost of
the sort beginning “There is no danger in sense desires” (M I 307),  and either
enjoys sense desires with consciousness that in its own individual essence is
eager without being urged, or believes auspicious sights, etc., have a [real
substantial] core, then the first kind of unprofitable consciousness arises (23);
when it is with consciousness that is sluggish and urged on, then it is the
second kind (24). But when a man is happy and content only, without placing
wrong view foremost, and indulges in sexual intercourse, or covets others’ good
fortune, or steals others’ goods, with consciousness that in its own individual
essence is eager without being urged, then it is the third kind (25). When it is
with consciousness that is sluggish and urged on, then it is the fourth kind
(26)–(29). But when the consciousnesses are devoid of joy in these four instances
through encountering no excellence in the sense desires, or through want of
any such cause for joy, then the remaining four, which are accompanied by
equanimity, arise.
So that rooted in greed should be understood as of eight kinds, being classed
according to joy, equanimity, [false] view and prompting.
92. II. (b) That rooted in hate is of two kinds: (30)–(31) being accompanied-by-grief
and  associated-with-resentment, it is either prompted or unprompted. It should be
understood to occur at the times when [consciousness] is either keen [if
unprompted] or sluggish [if prompted] in the killing of living things, and so on.
93. II. (c) That rooted in delusion is of two kinds: (32)–(33) being accompanied-by-
equanimity
, it is either associated-with uncertainty or associated-with-agitation.
It should be understood to occur at the time of indecision or of distraction.
So unprofitable consciousness is of twelve kinds.
94. III. The indeterminate is of two kinds: (i) resultant and (ii) functional. Herein,
III. i. resultant is of four kinds according to plane; namely, (A) of the sense sphere,
(B) of the fine-material sphere, (C) of the immaterial sphere, and (D)
supramundane. Herein, III. i. A. that of the sense sphere is of two kinds, namely, (a)
profitable result and (b) unprofitable result. And III. i. A. (a) the profitable resultant
is of two kinds, namely, (1) without root-cause and (2) with root-cause.
95. III. i. A. (a) i. Herein, that without root-cause is that devoid of non-greed, etc.,
as the cause of result. It is of eight kinds as (34) eye-consciousness (35)–(38),
Chapter 14
459
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
ear-, nose-, tongue-, and body-consciousness (39), mind-element with the
function of receiving (40)–(41), the two mind-consciousness-elements with the
functions of investigating, and so on. [455]
96. Herein, (34) eye-consciousness has the characteristic of being supported by
the eye and cognizing visible data. Its function is to have only visible data as its
object. It is manifested as occupation with visible data. Its proximate cause is the
departure of (70) the functional mind-element that has visible data as its object.
(35)–(38)  Ear-, nose-, tongue-, and body-consciousness [respectively] have the
characteristic of being supported by the ear, etc., and of cognizing sounds, and
so on. Their functions are to have only sounds, etc., as their [respective] objects.
They are manifested as occupation with [respectively] sounds, and so on. Their
proximate cause is the departure of (70) the functional mind-element that has
[respectively] sounds, etc., as its object.
97.
(39) [The resultant] mind-element has the characteristic of cognizing
[respectively] visible data, etc., immediately next to (34)–(38) eye-consciousness,
and so on. Its function is to receive visible data, and so on. It is manifested as the
state [of receiving] corresponding to that [last-mentioned function].37 Its proximate
cause is the departure of eye-consciousness, and so on.
(40)–(41) Also the twofold resultant mind-consciousness-element without root-
cause with the function of investigating, etc., has as its characteristic the
cognizing of the six kinds of objects. Its function is that of investigating, and so
on. It is manifested as the state [of investigating] corresponding to that [last-
mentioned function]. Its proximate cause is the heart-basis.
98. But it is classed according to its association with joy or with equanimity,
and according to its being divisible into that with two positions and that with
five positions [in the cognitive series]. For of these, (40) one is associated-with-
joy because of its presence when entirely desirable objects occur; and it has two
positions [in the cognitive series] because it occurs as investigating at the five
doors and as registration at the end of impulsion. (41) The other kind is
associated-with-equanimity because of its presence when desirable-neutral
objects occur, and it has five positions since it occurs as investigation, registration,
rebirth-linking, life-continuum, and death.
99. And this eightfold resultant consciousness without root-cause is of two kinds
as well because of having an invariable object and a variable object. It is of three
kinds as classed according to [bodily] pleasure, [mental] joy, and equanimity. For
(34)–(38) the five consciousnesses have each an invariable object since they occur
respectively only with respect to visible data, and so on. The others (39)–(41) have a
variable object. For here (39) the mind-element occurs with respect to the five
beginning with visible data, and (40)–(41) the two mind-consciousness-elements
37. The meaning of the expression tathābhāva-paccupaṭṭhāna  appears more clearly
where it is used again at §108. In this definition (sādhana) the function (kicca-rasa) in fact
describes the verb action (kicca) while the manifestation (paccupaṭṭhāna) describes the
relevant nounal state (bhāva). So “tathābhāva” means that what has just been taken as
a function (e.g. “receiving”) is to be taken also as a state (“reception”).
Chapter 14
460
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
occur with respect to [all] six. Here, however, body-consciousness is associated with
[bodily] pleasure. The mind-consciousness-element (40) with two positions is
associated with [mental] joy; the other (41) is associated with equanimity.
So firstly, the profitable resultant without root-cause should be understood as
of eight kinds.
100.
III. i. A. (a) 2. But that with root-cause is (42)–(49) that associated with
non-greed, etc., as the cause of the result. It is of eight kinds because it is classed
according to joy, etc., like the profitable of the sense sphere (1)–(8). But it does not
occur with respect to the six objects38 through giving, etc., as the profitable does;
for it occurs only with respect to the six objects that are included among limited
states,39 as rebirth-linking, life-continuum, death, and registration. But the
prompted and unprompted states should be understood here as due to the source
it has come from, and so on.40 [456] And while there is no difference in the
associated states, the resultant should be understood as passive like the reflection
of a face in a looking-glass while the profitable is active like the face.
101.
III. i. A. (b) Unprofitable resultant, though, is without root-cause only. It is
of seven kinds as (50) eye-consciousness, (51)–(54) ear-, nose-, tongue-, and
body-consciousness, (55) mind-element with the function of receiving, and (56)
mind-consciousness-element with the function of investigating, etc., and having
five positions. It should be understood as to characteristic, etc., in the same way
as the profitable resultant without root-cause (34)–(41).
102.
Profitable resultant, though, has desirable or desirable-neutral objects
only, while these have undesirable or undesirable-neutral objects only. The former
are of three kinds, being classed according to equanimity, bodily pleasure, and
mental joy, while these are of two kinds, being classed according to bodily pain
and equanimity. For here it is only body-consciousness that is accompanied by
bodily pain; the rest are accompanied by equanimity. And the equanimity in
these is inferior, and not very sharp as the pain is; while in the former it is
superior, and not very sharp as the pleasure is.
So with these seven kinds of unprofitable resultant and the previous sixteen
kinds of profitable resultant, sense-sphere resultant consciousness is of twenty-
three kinds.
38. “To the six kinds of objects all classed as limited, etc., past, etc., internal, etc”
(Vism-mhṭ 474).
39. Registration consciousness does not, it is stated, occur with an object of exalted
consciousness—see Vibh-a 154.
40. “‘The source it has come from, and so on’ means the source it has come from and its
condition. Here, in the opinion of certain teachers the result of the unprompted
profitable is unprompted and the result of the prompted is prompted, like the movement
of the face’s reflection in a looking-glass when the face moves; thus it is due to the
source it has come from. 
But in the opinion of other teachers the unprompted arises due
to powerful kamma as condition and the prompted does so due to weak kamma; thus
it is due to its condition (Vism-mhṭ 474).
Chapter 14
461
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
103.
III. i. B. That of the fine-material sphere, however, is of five kinds (57)–(61)
like the profitable (9)–(13). But the profitable occurs in a cognitive series with the
impulsions as an attainment [of jhāna], while this occurs in an existence [in the
fine-material sphere] as rebirth-linking, life-continuum, and death.
104.
III. i. C. And as that of the fine-material sphere [was like the profitable of
that sphere] so that of the immaterial sphere (62)–(65) is of four kinds like the
profitable too (14)–(17). And its occurrence is classed in the same way as that of
the fine-material sphere.
105.
III. i. D. The supramundane resultant is of four kinds (66)–(69) because it is
[respectively] the fruitions of the consciousnesses associated with the four paths
(18)–(21). It occurs in two ways, that is to say, as [fruition in] the cognitive series
of the path and as fruition attainment (see Ch. XXII).
So resultant consciousness in all the four planes is of thirty-six kinds.
106.
III. ii. The functional, however, is of three kinds according to plane: (A) of
the sense sphere, (B) of the fine-material sphere, (C) of the immaterial sphere.
Herein, III. ii. A., that of the sense sphere, is of two kinds, namely, (1) without root-
cause, and (2) with root-cause.
III. ii. A. 1. Herein, that without root-cause is that devoid of non-greed, etc., as
the cause of result. That is of two kinds, being classed as (70) mind-element, and
(71)–(72) mind-consciousness-element.
107.
Herein, (70) the mind-element has the characteristics of being the forerunner
of eye-consciousness, etc., and of cognizing visible data and so on. Its function is
to advert. It is manifested as confrontation of visible data, and so on. Its proximate
cause is the interruption of [the continued occurrence of consciousness as] life-
continuum. It is associated with equanimity only.
108. But the mind-consciousness-element is of two kinds, namely, shared by all
and not shared by all. [457] Herein, (71) that shared by all is the functional [mind-
consciousness-element] accompanied by equanimity without root-cause. It has the
characteristic of cognizing the six kinds of objects. Its function is to determine at the
five doors and to advert at the mind door. It is manifested as the states [of determining
and adverting] corresponding to those [last-mentioned two functions]. Its proximate
cause is the departure either of the resultant mind-consciousness-element without
root-cause (40)–(41) [in the first case], or of one among the kinds of life-continuum
[in the second]. (72) That not shared by all is the functional [mind-consciousness-
element] accompanied by joy without root-cause. It has the characteristic of
cognizing the six kinds of objects. Its function is to cause smiling41 in Arahants
about things that are not sublime. It is manifested as the state corresponding to that
[last-mentioned function]. Its proximate cause is always the heart-basis.
So the sense-sphere functional without root-cause is of three kinds.
109.
III. ii. A. 2. That, however, with root cause is of eight kinds (73)–(80), like the
profitable (1)–(8), being classed according to joy and so on. While the profitable
41. “With respect to such unsublime objects as the forms of skeletons or ghosts”
(Vism-mhṭ 476). See e.g. Vin III 104.
Chapter 14
462
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
arises in trainers and ordinary men only, this arises in Arahants only. This is the
difference here.
So firstly, that of the sense sphere is of eleven kinds.
III. ii. B., III. ii. C. That, however, of the fine-material sphere (81)–(85), and that of
the  immaterial sphere (86)–(89) are [respectively] of five kinds and of four kinds
like the profitable. But they should be understood to differ from the profitable in
that they arise only in Arahants.
So functional consciousness in the three planes is of twenty kinds in all.
110.
So the 21 kinds of profitable, the 12 kinds of unprofitable, the 36 kinds of
resultant, and the 20 kinds of functional, amount in all to 89 kinds of
consciousness. And these occur in the fourteen modes of (a) rebirth-linking, (b)
life-continuum, (c) adverting, (d) seeing, (e) hearing, (f) smelling, (g) tasting, (h)
touching, (i) receiving, (j) investigating, (k) determining, (l) impulsion, (m)
registration, and (n) death.
[THE 14 MODES OF OCCURRENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS]
111. How so? (a) When, through the influence of the eight kinds of sense-sphere
profitable [consciousness] (1)–(8), beings come to be reborn among deities and
human beings, then the eight kinds of sense-sphere resultant with root-cause (42)–
(49) occur, and also the resultant mind-consciousness-element without root-cause
associated with equanimity (41), which is the weak profitable result with two root-
causes in those who are entering upon the state of eunuchs, etc., among human
beings—thus nine kinds of resultant consciousness in all occur as rebirth-linking;
and they do so making their object whichever among the kamma, sign of kamma, or
sign of destiny has appeared at the time of dying (see also XVII.120).42
112.
When, through the influence of the profitable of the fine-material sphere
(9)–(13) and the immaterial sphere (14)–(17), beings are reborn [respectively] in
the fine-material and immaterial kinds of becoming, then the nine kinds of fine-
material (57)–(61) and immaterial (62)–(65) resultant occur as rebirth-linking;
and they do so making their object only the sign of kamma that has appeared at
the time of dying.43
113.
When, through the influence of the unprofitable (22)–(33), they are reborn
in a state of loss, then the one kind of unprofitable resultant mind-consciousness-
element without root-cause (56) occurs as rebirth-linking; and it does so making
its object whichever among the kamma, sign of kamma, and sign of destiny has
appeared at the time of dying. [458]
42. See also M-a IV 124f. “Here ‘kamma’ is stored-up profitable kamma of the sense
sphere that has got an opportunity to ripen; hence he said ‘that has appeared.’ ‘Sign of
kamma’ 
is the gift to be given that was a condition for the volition at the moment of
accumulating the kamma. ‘Sign of destiny’ is the visible-data base located in the destiny
in which he is about to be reborn” (Vism-mhṭ 477). See XVII. 136ff.
43. “‘The sign of kamma here is only the kamma’s own object consisting of an earth
kasiṇa, etc” (Vism-mhṭ 478).
Chapter 14
463
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
This firstly is how the occurrence of nineteen kinds of resultant consciousness
should be understood as rebirth-linking.
114. (b) When the rebirth-linking consciousness has ceased, then, following on
whatever kind of rebirth-linking it may be, the same kinds, being the result of that
same kamma whatever it may be, occur as life-continuum consciousness with that
same object; and again those same kinds.44 And as long as there is no other kind of
arising of consciousness to interrupt the continuity, they also go on occurring
endlessly in periods of dreamless sleep, etc., like the current of a river.45
This is how the occurrence of those same [nineteen kinds of] consciousness
should be understood as life-continuum.
115.
(c) With the life-continuum continuity occurring thus, when living beings’
faculties have become capable of apprehending an object, then, when a visible
datum has come into the eye’s focus, there is impinging upon the eye-sensitivity
due to the visible datum. Thereupon, owing to the impact’s influence, there
comes to be a disturbance in [the continuity of] the life-continuum.46 Then, when
the life-continuum has ceased, the functional mind-element (70) arises making that
same visible datum its object, as it were, cutting off the life-continuum and
accomplishing the function of adverting. So too in the case of the ear door and so on.
116.
When an object of anyone of the six kinds has come into focus in the mind
door, then next to the disturbance of the life-continuum the functional mind-
consciousness-element without root-cause (71) arises accompanied by
44. “‘With that same object’:  if kamma is the life-continuum’s object, then it is that
kamma; if the sign of the kamma, or the sign of the destiny, then it is one of those”
(Vism-mhṭ 478).
45. “‘Occurring endlessly’: this is, in fact, thus called ‘bhavaṅga’ (life-continuum, lit.
‘limb’ (or ‘practice’—see II. 11) of becoming) because of its occurring as the state of an
aṅga (‘limb’ or ‘practice’) of the rebirth-process becoming (uppatti-bhava)” (Vism-mhṭ
478).
For the commentarial description of dream consciousness and kamma effected
during dreams, see Vibh-a (commentary to Ñāṇa-Vibhaṅga, Ekaka) and A-a,
(commentary to AN 5:196) which largely but not entirely overlap. Vism-mhṭ says
here: “The seeing of dreams is done with consciousness consisting only of the
functional” (Vism-mhṭ 478).
46.
“‘A disturbance in the life-continuum  is a wavering of the life-continuum
consciousness; the meaning is that there is the arrival at a state that is a reason for
dissimilarity in its occurrence twice in that way. For it is called disturbance (calana)
because it is like a disturbance (movement) since there seems to be a cause for an
occasion  (avatthā)  in the mind’s continuity different from the previous occasion.
Granted, firstly, that there is impact on the sensitivity owing to confrontation with an
object, since the necessity for that is established by the existence of the objective field
and the possessor of the objective field, but how does there come to be disturbance
(movement) of the life-continuum that has a different support? Because it is connected
with it. And here the example is this: when grains of sugar are put on the surface of a
drum and one of the grains of sugar is tapped, a fly sitting on another grain of sugar
moves” (Vism-mhṭ 478).
Chapter 14
464
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
equanimity, as it were, cutting off the life-continuum and accomplishing the
function of adverting.
This is how the occurrence of two kinds of functional consciousness should
be understood as adverting.
117.
(d)–(h) Next to adverting,47 taking the eye door first, eye-consciousness (d)
arises accomplishing the function of seeing in the eye door and having the eye-
sensitivity as its physical basis. And [likewise] (e) ear-, (f) nose-, (g) tongue-, and
(h)  body-consciousness arise, accomplishing respectively the functions of hearing,
etc., in the ear door and so on.
These comprise the profitable resultant [consciousnesses] (34)–(38) with respect
to desirable and desirable-neutral objective fields, and the unprofitable resultant
(50)–(54) with respect to undesirable and undesirable-neutral objective fields.
This is how the occurrence of ten kinds of resultant consciousness should be
understood as seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching.
118.
(i) Because of the words, “Eye-consciousness having arisen and ceased,
next to that there arises consciousness, mind, mentation … which is appropriate
mind-element” (Vibh 88), etc., next to eye-consciousness, etc., and receiving the
same objective fields as they [deal with], mind-element arises as (39) profitable
resultant next to profitable resultant [eye-consciousness, etc.,] and as (55)
unprofitable resultant next to [459] unprofitable resultant [eye-consciousness,
and so on].
This is how the occurrence of two kinds of resultant consciousness should be
understood as receiving.
119. (j) Because of the words, “Mind-element having arisen and ceased, also,
next to that there arises consciousness, mind, mentation … which is appropriate
mind-element” (Vibh 89),48 then resultant mind-consciousness-element without
root-cause arises investigating the same objective field as that received by the
mind-element. When next to (55) unprofitable-resultant mind-element it is (56)
unprofitable-resultant, and when next to (39) profitable-resultant [mind-element]
it is either (40) accompanied by joy in the case of a desirable object, or (41)
accompanied by equanimity in the case of a desirable-neutral object.
This is how the occurrence of three kinds of resultant consciousness should
be understood as investigating.
120.
(k) Next to investigation, (71) functional mind-consciousness-element
without root-cause arises accompanied by equanimity determining that same
objective field.
47.
“‘Next to adverting  means next to five-door adverting. For those who do not
admit the cognitive series beginning with receiving, just as they do not admit the
heart basis, the Pali has been handed down in various places in the way beginning,
‘For the eye-consciousness element as receiving (sampaṭicchanāya cakkhuviññāṇa-
dhātuyā)’ 
(see Ch. IV, n. 13); for the Pali cannot be contradicted” (Vism-mhṭ 479). The
quotation as it stands is not traced to the Piṭakas.
48. See Ch. IV, note 13.
Chapter 14
465
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
This is how the occurrence of one kind of resultant consciousness should be
understood as determining.
121.
(l) Next to determining, if the visible datum, etc., as object is vivid,49 then
six or seven impulsions impel with respect to the objective fields as determined.
These are one among (1)–(8) the eight kinds of sense-sphere profitable, or (22)–
(33) the twelve kinds of unprofitable, or (72)–(80) the nine remaining sense-
sphere functional. This, firstly, is the way in the case of the five doors.
But in the case of the mind door those same [impulsions arise] next to (71)
mind-door adverting.
Beyond [the stage of] change-of-lineage50 any [of the following 26 kinds of
impulsion] that obtains a condition51 impels; that is, any kind among (9)–(13)
the five profitable, and (81)–(85) the five functional, of the fine-material sphere,
and (14)–(17) the four profitable, and (86)–(89) the four functional of the
immaterial sphere, and also (18)–(21) the four path consciousnesses and (66)–
(69) four fruition consciousnesses of the supramundane.
This is how the occurrence of fifty-five kinds of profitable, unprofitable,
functional, and resultant consciousness should be understood as impulsion.
122.
(m) At the end of the impulsions, if the object is a very vivid one52 in the five
doors, or is clear in the mind door, then in sense-sphere beings at the end of
sense-sphere impulsions resultant consciousness occurs through any condition
it may have obtained such as previous kamma, impulsion consciousness, etc.,
with desirable, etc., object.53 [It occurs thus] as one among the eight sense-sphere
resultant kinds with root cause (42)–(49) or the three resultant mind-
consciousness elements without root-cause (40), (41), (56), and it [does so] twice
49. “‘If … vivid (lit. large)’: this is said because it is the occurrence of consciousness at
the end of the impulsions that is being discussed. For an object is here intended as
‘vivid’ when its life is fourteen conscious moments; and that should be understood as
coming into focus when it has arisen and is two or three moments past” (Vism-mhṭ 479).
50. “This includes also the preliminary-work and the cleansing (see Ch. XXII, note
7), not change-of-lineage only” (Vism-mhṭ 479). See also IV.74 and XXI. 129.
51. “‘That obtains a condition’: any impulsion that has obtained a condition for arising next
to change-of-lineage, as that of the fine-material sphere, and so on” (Vism-mhṭ 479).
52. “‘A very vivid one is one with a life of sixteen conscious moments. For registration
consciousness arises with respect to that, not with respect to any other. ‘Clear’ means
very evident, and that is only in the sense sphere; for registration arises with respect
to that” (Vism-mhṭ 479).
53.
“‘Previous kamma:  this is said in order to show the differences in kinds of
registration; for kamma that generates rebirth-linking is not the only kind to generate
registration; other kinds of kamma do so too. But the latter generates registration
unlike that generatable by the kamma that generates rebirth-linking. ‘Impulsion
consciousness’: 
this is said in order to show what defines the registration; for it is said,
‘Registration is definable by impulsion’ (?). The word ‘etc.’ includes rebirth-linking,
however; for that is not a condition for registration that is more outstanding than
itself. ‘Any condition’: any condition from among the desirable objects, etc., that has
combined (samaveta) to produce the arising of registration” (Vism-mhṭ 479).
Chapter 14
466
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
or [460] once, following after the impulsions that have impelled, and with respect
to an object other than the life-continuum’s object, like some of the water that
follows a little after a boat going upstream. Though ready to occur with the life-
continuum’s object after the impulsions have ended, it nevertheless occurs making
the impulsions’ object its object. Because of that it is called registration
(tadārammaṇa—lit. “having-that-as-its-object”).
This is how the occurrence of eleven kinds of resultant consciousness should
be understood as registration.
123.
(n) At the end of registration the life-continuum resumes its occurrence.
When the [resumed occurrence of the] life-continuum is again interrupted,
adverting, etc., occur again, and when the conditions obtain, the conscious
continuity repeats its occurrence as adverting, and next to adverting seeing, etc.,
according to the law of consciousness, again and again, until the life-continuum
of one becoming is exhausted. For the last life-continuum consciousness of all
in one becoming is called death (cuti) because of falling (cavanatta) from that
[becoming]. So that is of nineteen kinds too [like rebirth-linking and life-
continuum].
This is how the occurrence of nineteen kinds of resultant consciousness should
be understood as death.
124.
And after death there is rebirth-linking again; and after rebirth-linking,
life-continuum. Thus the conscious continuity of beings who hasten through
the kinds of becoming, destiny, station [of consciousness], and abode [of beings]
occurs without break. But when a man attains Arahantship here, it ceases with
the cessation of his death consciousness.
This is the section of the detailed explanation dealing with the consciousness
aggregate.
[THE  FEELING  AGGREGATE]
125.
Now, it was said above, “Whatever has the characteristic of being felt
should be understood, all taken together, as the feeling aggregate” (§81). And
here too, what is said to have the characteristic of being felt is feeling itself,
according as it is said, “It is felt, friend, that is why it is called feeling” (M I 293).
126.
But though it is singlefold according to its individual essence as the
characteristic of being felt, it is nevertheless threefold as to kind, that is to say,
profitable, unprofitable, and indeterminate. Herein, it should be understood that
when associated with the profitable consciousness described in the way
beginning “(1)–(8) That of the sense sphere is eight-fold, being classified
according to joy, equanimity, knowledge, and prompting” (§83), it is profitable;54
54. “This should be regarded as a secondary characteristic (upalakkhaṇa) of profitable
feeling, that is to say, the fact that whatever profitable feeling there is, is all associated
with profitable consciousness. That, however, is not for the purpose of establishing its
profitableness. For the profitableness of profitable feeling is not due to its association
with profitable consciousness, but rather to wise attention and so on. That is why he
said ‘as to kind.’ So too in the case of the unprofitable and so on” (Vism-mhṭ 481).
Chapter 14
467
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
that associated with unprofitable consciousness is unprofitable; that associated
with indeterminate consciousness is indeterminate. [461]
127.
It is fivefold according to the analysis of its individual essence into [bodily]
pleasure, [bodily] pain, [mental] joy, [mental] grief, and equanimity.
Herein,  pleasure is associated with profitable resultant body-consciousness
(38) and pain with unprofitable resultant body-consciousness (54). Joy is
associated with 62 kinds of consciousness, namely, as to sense sphere, with 4
kinds of profitable (1)–(4), with 4 resultant with root-cause (42)–(45), with 1
resultant without root-cause (40), with 4 functional with root-cause (73)–(76),
with 1 functional without root-cause (72), and with 4 unprofitable (22)–(25);
and as to the fine-material-sphere, with 4 kinds of profitable (9)–(12), 4 resultant
(57)–(60), and 4 functional (81)–(84), leaving out that of the fifth jhāna in each
case; but there is no supramundane without jhāna and consequently the [eight]
kinds of supramundane (18)–(21) and (66)–(69) multiplied by the five jhāna
make forty; but leaving out the eight associated with the fifth jhāna, it is associated
with the remaining 32 kinds of profitable resultant. Grief is associated with two
kinds of unprofitable (30)–(31). Equanimity is associated with the remaining
fifty-five kinds of consciousness.
128.
Herein, pleasure has the characteristic of experiencing a desirable tangible
datum. Its function is to intensify associated states. It is manifested as bodily
enjoyment. Its proximate cause is the body faculty.
Pain has the characteristic of experiencing an undesirable tangible datum. Its
function is to wither associated states. It is manifested as bodily affliction. Its
proximate cause is the body faculty.
Joy has the characteristic of experiencing a desirable object. Its function is to
exploit55 in one way or another the desirable aspect. It is manifested as mental
enjoyment. Its proximate cause is tranquillity.
Grief has the characteristic of experiencing an undesirable object. Its function
is to exploit in one way or another the undesirable aspect. It is manifested as
mental affliction. Its proximate cause is invariably the heart-basis.
Equanimity has the characteristic of being felt as neutral. Its function is not to
intensify or wither associated states much. It is manifested as peacefulness. Its
proximate cause is consciousness without happiness.56
55. Sambhoga—“exploiting”: not in this sense in PED (see also XVII.51).
56. “Pleasure and pain respectively gratify and afflict by acting in one way on the
body and in another way on the mind, but not so equanimity, which is why the latter
is described as of one class.
“Just as, when a man places a piece of cotton wool on an anvil and strikes it with an
iron hammer, and his hammer goes right through the cotton and hits the anvil, the
violence of the blow is great, so too because the violence of the impact’s blow is great,
body-consciousness is accompanied by pleasure when the object is a desirable or
desirable-neutral one, and by pain when the object is an undesirable or undesirable-
neutral one. [It is the impact of primary matter (tangible object) on the primaries of
the body.]
Chapter 14
468
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
This is the section of the detailed explanation dealing with the feeling
aggregate.
[THE  PERCEPTION  AGGREGATE]
129.
Now, it was said above, “Whatever has the characteristic of perceiving
should be understood, all taken together, as the perception aggregate” (§81).
And here too, what is said to have the characteristic of perceiving is perception
itself, according as it is said, “It perceives, friend, that is why it is called
perception” (M I 293).
But though it is singlefold according to its individual essence as the characteristic
of perceiving, it is nevertheless threefold as to kind, that is to say, profitable,
unprofitable, and indeterminate. Herein, [462] that associated with profitable
consciousness is profitable, that associated with unprofitable consciousness is
unprofitable, that associated with indeterminate consciousness is indeterminate. Since
there is no consciousness dissociated from perception, perception therefore has the
same number of divisions as consciousness [that is to say, eighty-nine].
130.
But though classed in the same way as consciousness, nevertheless, as to
characteristic, etc., it all has just the characteristic of perceiving. Its function is to
make a sign as a condition for perceiving again that “this is the same,” as
carpenters, etc., do in the case of timber, and so on. It is manifested as the action
of interpreting by means of the sign as apprehended, like the blind who “see”
an elephant (Ud 68–69). Its proximate cause is an objective field in whatever way
that appears, like the perception that arises in fawns that see scarecrows as men.
This is the section of the detailed explanation dealing with the perception
aggregate.
[THE FORMATIONS AGGREGATE—SEE TABLES II & IV]
131.
Now, it was said above, “Whatever has the characteristic of forming should
be understood, all taken together, as the formations aggregate” (§81). And here
too, what is said to have the characteristic of forming is that which has the
characteristic of agglomerating.57 What is that? It is formations themselves,
according as it is said, “They form the formed, bhikkhus, that is why they are
called formations” (S III 87).
132.
They have the characteristic of forming. Their function is to accumulate.
They are manifested as intervening.58 Their proximate cause is the remaining
“Herein, though profitable-resultant and unprofitable-resultant consciousness
discriminated according to the desirable and undesirable might logically be associated
with pleasure and pain, nevertheless the eight kinds of consciousness that have the eye,
etc., as their support ((34)–(37) and (50)–(53)) are invariably associated only with equanimity,
because of the gentleness of the impact’s blow in the case of two instances of derived
matter, like that of two pieces of cotton wool” (Vism-mhṭ 482). For a simile see Dhs-a 263.
57. “‘The characteristic of agglomerating means the characteristic of adding together
(sampiṇḍana); then they are said to have the function of accumulating, for the dhammas
in the formations aggregate are so described because volition is their basis” (Vism-
mhṭ 484).
Chapter 14
469
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
three [immaterial] aggregates. So according to characteristic, etc., they are
singlefold. And according to kind they are threefold, namely, (I) profitable, (II)
unprofitable, and (III) indeterminate. As regards these, when associated with
profitable consciousness they are profitable, when associated with unprofitable
consciousness they are unprofitable, when associated with indeterminate
consciousness they are indeterminate.
[ACCORDING TO ASSOCIATION WITH CONSCIOUSNESS]
133.
I. (1) Herein, firstly, those associated with the first sense-sphere profitable
consciousness (1) amount to thirty-six, that is to say, the constant ones, which
are the twenty-seven given in the texts as such, and the four “or-whatever-
states,”59 and also the five inconstant ones (cf. Dhs §1).
Herein, the twenty-seven given as such are these:
(i)
contact,
(ii)
volition,
(iii)
applied thought, [463]
(iv)
sustained thought,
(v)
happiness (interest),
(vi)
energy,
(vii)
life,
(viii)
concentration,
(ix)
faith,
(x)
mindfulness,
(xi)
conscience,
(xii)
shame,
(xiii)
non-greed,
(xiv)
non-hate,
(xv)
non-delusion,
(xvi)
tranquillity of the [mental] body,
(xvii)
tranquillity of consciousness,
(xviii)
lightness of the [mental] body,
(xix)
lightness of consciousness,
(xx)
malleability of the [mental] body,
(xxi)
malleability of consciousness,
(xxii)
wieldiness of the [mental] body,
(xxiii)
wieldiness of consciousness,
(xxiv)
proficiency of the [mental] body,
(xxv)
proficiency of consciousness,
(xxvi)
rectitude of the [mental) body,
58.
Vipphāra—“intervening” here is explained by Vism-mhṭ (p. 484) as vyāpāra
(interest or work); not in this sense in PED. See Ch. VI, note 6.
59.
Yevāpanaka (ye-vā-pana-ka) is commentarial shorthand derived from the
Dhammasaṇgaṇī phrase “ye-vā-pana tasmiṃ samaye aññe pi atthi paṭiccasamuppannā
arūpino dhammā
”—“Or whatever other immaterial conditionally-arisen states
(phenomena) there are too on that occasion” (Dhs 1). Cf. also M I 85.
Chapter 14
470
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
(xxvii)
rectitude of consciousness.
The four ‘or-whatever-states’ are these:
(xxviii)
zeal (desire),
(xxix)
resolution,
(xxx)
attention (bringing to mind),
(xxxi)
specific neutrality.
And the five inconstant are these:
(xxxii)
compassion,
(xxxiii)
gladness,
(xxxiv)
abstinence from bodily misconduct,
(xxxv)
abstinence from verbal misconduct,
(xxxvi)
abstinence from wrong livelihood.
These last arise sometimes [but not always], and when they arise they do not
do so together.
134.
Herein, (i) it touches (phusati), thus it is contact (phassa). This has the
characteristic of touching. Its function is the act of impingement. It is manifested as
concurrence. Its proximate cause is an objective field that has come into focus.
[As to its characteristic], although this is an immaterial state, it occurs with
respect to an object as the act of touching too.60 And [as to its function], although it
is not adherent on anyone side61 as eye-cum-visible-object and ear-cum-sound are,
yet it is what makes consciousness and the object impinge. It is said to be manifested
as concurrence because it has been described as its own action, namely, the
concurrence of the three [(cf. M I 111), that is, eye, visible object, and eye-consciousness].
And it is said to have as its proximate cause an objective field that has come into
focus because it arises automatically through the appropriate [conscious] reaction
and with a faculty when the objective field is presented. But it should be regarded as
like a hideless cow (S II 99) because it is the habitat62 of feeling.
135.
(ii) It wills (cetayati), thus it is volition (cetanā); it collects, is the meaning.
Its characteristic is the state of willing. Its function is to accumulate. It is
60. “‘As the act of touching too’: by this he shows that this is its individual essence even
though it is immaterial. And the characteristic of touching is obvious in its occurrence in
such instances as, say, the watering of the mouth in one who sees another tasting vinegar
or a ripe mango, the bodily shuddering in a sympathetic person who sees another being
hurt, the trembling of the knees in a timid man standing on the ground when he sees a
man precariously balanced on a high tree branch, the loss of power of the legs in one who
sees something terrifying such as a pisāca (goblin)” (Vism-mhṭ 484–85).
61. For “non-adherent” see §46. “‘On any one side’ means on any one side of itself,
like a pair of planks and so on. ‘Non-adherent’ means not sticking (asaṃsilissamāna). It
is only the impact without adherence that contact shares with visible data and sound,
not the objective field. Just as, though eye and ear are non-adherent respectively to
visible data and sounds still they have the word ‘touched’ used of them, so too it can
be said of contact’s touching and impinging on the object. Contact’s impinging is the
actual concurrence (meeting) of consciousness and object” (Vism-mhṭ 485).
62. Adhiṭṭhāna—“habitat” (or site or location or foundation): this meaning not given
in PED.
Chapter 14
471
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
manifested as coordinating. It accomplishes its own and others’ functions, as a
senior pupil, a head carpenter, etc., do. But it is evident when it occurs in the
marshalling (driving) of associated states in connection with urgent work,
remembering, and so on. [464]
136.
(iii)–(v) What should be said about applied thought,  sustained thought, and
happiness has already been said in the commentary on the first jhāna in the
Description of the Earth Kasiṇa (IV.88–98).
137. (vi) Energy (viriya) is the state of one who is vigorous (vīra). Its characteristic
is marshalling (driving). Its function is to consolidate conascent states. It is
manifested as non-collapse. Because of the words: “Bestirred, he strives wisely”
(A II 115), its proximate cause is a sense of urgency; or its proximate cause is
grounds for the initiation of energy. When rightly initiated, it should be regarded
as the root of all attainments.
138.
(vii) By its means they live, or it itself lives, or it is just mere living, thus it
is life. But its characteristic, etc., should be understood in the way stated under
material life (§59); for that is life of material things and this is life of immaterial
things. This is the only difference here.
139.
(viii) It puts (ādhiyati) consciousness evenly (samaṃ) on the object, or it
puts it rightly (sammā) on it, or it is just the mere collecting (samādhāna) of the
mind, thus it is concentration (samādhi). Its characteristic is non-wandering, or
its characteristic is non-distraction. Its function is to conglomerate conascent
states as water does bath powder. It is manifested as peace. Usually its proximate
cause is bliss. It should be regarded as steadiness of the mind, like the steadiness
of a lamp’s flame when there is no draught.
140.
(ix) By its means they have faith (saddahanti), or it itself is the having of
faith, or it is just the act of having faith (saddahana), thus it is faith (saddhā). Its
characteristic is having faith, or its characteristic is trusting. Its function is to
clarify, like a water-clearing gem, or its function is to enter into, like the setting
out across a flood (cf. Sn 184). It is manifested as non-fogginess, or it is manifested
as resolution. Its proximate cause is something to have faith in, or its proximate
cause is the things beginning with hearing the Good Dhamma (saddhamma)
that constitute the factors of stream-entry.63 It should be regarded as a hand
[because it takes hold of profitable things], as wealth (Sn 182), and as seed (Sn 77).
141. (x) By its means they remember (saranti), or it itself remembers, or it is just
mere remembering (saraṇa), thus it is mindfulness (sati). It has the characteristic of
not wobbling.64 Its function is not to forget. It is manifested as guarding, or it is
manifested as the state of confronting an objective field. Its proximate cause is
63. The four factors of stream-entry (see S V 347) are: waiting on good men, hearing
the Good Dhamma, wise attention, and practice in accordance with the Dhamma.
Again they are: absolute confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, and
possession of noble virtue (S V 343).
64. “Apilāpana (not wobbling)  is the steadying of an object, the remembering and
not forgetting it, keeping it as immovable as a stone instead of letting it go bobbing
about like a pumpkin in water” (Vism-mhṭ 487).
Chapter 14
472
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
strong perception, or its proximate cause is the foundations of mindfulness
concerned with the body, and so on (see MN 10). It should be regarded, however,
as like a pillar because it is firmly founded, or as like a door-keeper because it
guards the eye-door, and so on.
142.
(xi)–(xii) It has conscientious scruples (hiriyati) about bodily misconduct,
etc., thus it is conscience (hiri). This is a term for modesty. It is ashamed (ottappati)
of those same things, thus it is shame (ottappa). This is a term for anxiety about
evil. Herein, conscience has the characteristic of disgust at evil, while shame has
the characteristic of dread of it. Conscience has the function of not doing evil and
that in the mode of modesty, while shame has the function of not doing it and that
in the mode of dread. They are manifested as shrinking from evil in the way
already stated. Their proximate causes are self-respect and respect of others
[respectively]. [465] A man rejects evil through conscience out of respect for himself,
as the daughter of a good family does; he rejects evil through shame out of
respect for another, as a courtesan does. But these two states should be regarded
as the guardians of the world (see A I 51).
143.
(xiii)–(xv) By its means they are not greedy (na lubbhanti), or it itself is not
greedy, or it is just the mere not being greedy (alubbhana), thus it is non-greed
(alobha). The same method applies to non-hate  (adosa) and non-delusion  (amoha)
[na dussantiadussana = adosa, and na muyhanti, amuyhana amoha (see §§171,161)].
Of these, non-greed has the characteristic of the mind’s lack of desire for an
object, or it has the characteristic of non-adherence, like a water drop on a lotus
leaf. Its function is not to lay hold, like a liberated bhikkhu. It is manifested as a
state of not treating as a shelter, like that of a man who has fallen into filth. Non-
hate
 has the characteristic of lack of savagery, or the characteristic of non-
opposing, like a gentle friend. Its function is to remove annoyance, or its function
is to remove fever, as sandalwood does. It is manifested as agreeableness, like the
full moon. Non-delusion has the characteristic of penetrating [things] according
to their individual essences, or it has the characteristic of sure penetration, like
the penetration of an arrow shot by a skilful archer. Its function is to illuminate
the objective field, like a lamp. It is manifested as non-bewilderment, like a guide
in a forest. The three should be regarded as the roots of all that is profitable.
144.
(xvi)–(xvii) The tranquillizing of the body is tranquillity of the body. The
tranquillizing of consciousness is tranquillity of consciousness. And here body
means the three [mental] aggregates, feeling, [perception and formations] (see
Dhs 40). But both tranquillity of that body and of consciousness have, together,
the characteristic of quieting disturbance of that body and of consciousness.
Their function is to crush disturbance of the [mental] body and of consciousness.
They are manifested as inactivity and coolness of the [mental] body and of
consciousness. Their proximate cause is the [mental] body and consciousness.
They should be regarded as opposed to the defilements of agitation, etc., which
cause unpeacefulness in the [mental] body and in consciousness.
145.
(xviii)–(xix) The light (quick) state of the [mental] body is lightness of the
body. The light (quick) state of consciousness is lightness of consciousness.
They have the characteristic of quieting heaviness in the [mental] body and in
Chapter 14
473
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
consciousness. Their function is to crush heaviness in the [mental] body and in
consciousness. They are manifested as non-sluggishness of the [mental] body
and of consciousness. Their proximate cause is the [mental] body and
consciousness. They should be regarded as opposed to the defilements of
stiffness and torpor, which cause heaviness in the [mental] body and in
consciousness.
146.
(xx)–(xxi) The malleable state of the [mental] body is malleability of body.
The malleable state of consciousness is malleability of consciousness. They have
the characteristic of quieting rigidity in the [mental] body and in consciousness.
Their function is to crush stiffening in the [mental] body and in consciousness.
They are manifested as non-resistance. Their proximate cause is the [mental
body and consciousness. They should be regarded as opposed to the defilements
of views, conceit (pride), etc., which cause stiffening of the [mental body and of
consciousness.
147.
(xxii)–(xxiii) The wieldy state of the [mental] body is wieldiness of body.
The wieldy state of consciousness is wieldiness of consciousness. They have the
characteristic of quieting unwieldiness in the [mental] body and in
consciousness. [466] Their function is to crush unwieldiness in the [mental]
body and in consciousness. They are manifested as success in making
[something] an object of the [mental] body and consciousness. Their proximate
cause is the [mental] body and consciousness. As bringing trust in things that
should be trusted in and as bringing susceptibility of application to beneficial
acts, like the refining of gold, they should be regarded as opposed to the remaining
hindrances, etc., that cause unwieldiness in the [mental] body and in consciousness.
148.
(xxiv)–(xxv) The proficient state of the [mental] body is proficiency of body.
The proficient state of consciousness is proficiency of consciousness. They have the
characteristic of healthiness of the [mental] body and of consciousness. Their
function is to crush unhealthiness of the [mental] body and of consciousness.
They are manifested as absence of disability. Their proximate cause is the [mental]
body and consciousness. They should be regarded as opposed to faithlessness,
etc., which cause unhealthiness in the [mental] body and in consciousness.
149.
(xxvi)–(xxvii) The straight state of the [mental] body is rectitude of body.
The straight state of consciousness is rectitude of consciousness. They have the
characteristic of uprightness of the [mental] body and of consciousness. Their
function is to crush tortuousness in the [mental] body and in consciousness.
They are manifested as non-crookedness. Their proximate cause is the [mental]
body and consciousness. They should be regarded as opposed to deceit, fraud,
etc., which cause tortuousness in the [mental] body and in consciousness.65
65.
“And here by tranquilization, etc., of consciousness only consciousness is
tranquillized and becomes light, malleable, wieldy, proficient and upright. But with
tranquilization, etc., of the [mental] body also the material body is tranquillized, and
so on. This is why the twofoldness of states is given by the Blessed One here, but not
in all places” (Vism-mhṭ 489).
Chapter 14
474
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
150.
(xxviii)  Zeal  (desire) is a term for desire to act. So that zeal has the
characteristic of desire to act. Its function is scanning for an object. It is manifested
as need for an object. That same [object] is its proximate cause. It should be
regarded as the extending of the mental hand in the apprehending of an object.
151.
(xxix) The act of resolving66 is  resolution. It has the characteristic of
conviction. Its function is not to grope. It is manifested as decisiveness. Its
proximate cause is a thing to be convinced about. It should be regarded as like a
boundary-post owing to its immovableness with respect to the object.
152. (xxx) It is the maker of what is to be made, it is the maker in the mind
(manamhi kāro), thus it is attention (bringing-to-mind—manasi-kāra). It makes the
mind different from the previous [life-continuum] mind, thus it is attention. It
has three ways of doing this: as the controller of the object, as the controller of
the cognitive series, and as the controller of impulsions. Herein, the controller of
the object is the maker in the mind, thus it is attention. That has the characteristic
of conducting (sāraṇa). Its function is to yoke associated states to the object. It is
manifested as confrontation with an object. Its proximate cause is an object. It
should be regarded as the conductor (sārathi) of associated states by controlling
the object, itself being included in the formations aggregate. Controller of the
cognitive series
 is a term for five-door adverting (70). Controller of impulsions is a
term for mind-door adverting (71). These last two are not included here.
153.
(xxxi)  Specific neutrality  (tatra-majjhattatā—lit. “neutrality in regard
thereto”) is neutrality (majjhattatā) in regard to those states [of consciousness
and consciousness-concomitants arisen in association with it]. It has the
characteristic of conveying consciousness and consciousness-concomitants
evenly. Its function is to prevent deficiency and excess, [467] or its function is to
inhibit partiality. It is manifested as neutrality. It should be regarded as like a
conductor (driver) who looks with equanimity on thoroughbreds progressing
evenly.
154.
(xxxii)–(xxxiii)  Compassion and gladness should be understood as given
in the Description of the Divine Abodes (IX.§92, 94, 95), except that those are of
the fine-material sphere and have attained to absorption, while these are of the
sense sphere. This is the only difference. Some, however, want to include among
the inconstant both loving-kindness and equanimity. That cannot be accepted
for, as to meaning, non-hate itself is loving-kindness, and specific neutrality is
equanimity.
155.
(xxxiv)–(xxxvi)  Abstinence from bodily misconduct: the compound
kāyaduccaritavirati resolves as kāyaduccaritato virati; so also with the other two.
But as regards characteristic, etc., these three have the characteristic of non-
transgression in the respective fields of bodily conduct, etc.; they have the
characteristic of not treading there, is what is said. Their function is to draw
back from the fields of bodily misconduct, and so on. They are manifested as the
not doing of these things. Their proximate causes are the special qualities of
66.
“‘The act of resolving’ should be understood as the act of being convinced
(sanniṭṭhāna) about an object, not as trusting (pasādana)” (Vism-mhṭ 489). See §140.
Chapter 14
475
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
faith, conscience, shame, fewness of wishes, and so on. They should be regarded
as the mind’s averseness from evil-doing.
156.
So these are the thirty-six formations that should be understood to come
into association with the first profitable consciousness of the sense sphere (1).
And as with the first, so with the second (2), the only difference here being
promptedness.
(3)–(4) Those associated with the third (3) should be understood as all the
foregoing except non-delusion (xv). Likewise with the fourth (4), the only
difference here being promptedness.
(5)–(6) All those stated in the first instance, except happiness (v), come into
association with the fifth (5). Likewise with the sixth (6), the only difference here
being promptedness.
(7)–(8) [Those associated] with the seventh (7) should be understood as [the
last] except non-delusion (xv). Likewise with the eighth (8), the only difference
here being promptedness.
157.
(9)–(13) All those stated in the first instance, except the three abstinences
(xxxiv-xxxvi), come into association with the first of the fine-material profitable
[kinds of consciousness] (9). With the second (10) applied thought (iii) is also
lacking. With the third (11) sustained thought (iv) is also lacking. With the
fourth (12) happiness (v) is also lacking. With the fifth (13) compassion (xxxii)
and gladness (xxxiii), among the inconstant, are also lacking.
(14)–(17) In the case of the four kinds of immaterial [profitable consciousness]
these are the same as the last-mentioned, for it is only the immaterialness that is
the difference here.
158.
(18)–(21) As regards the supramundane, firstly, in the case of the path
consciousness having the first jhāna they should be understood to be as stated
in the case of the first fine-material-sphere consciousness (9). The paths classed
as belonging to the second jhāna, etc., should be understood to be as stated in
the cases [respectively] of the second fine-material-sphere jhāna, and so on (10)–
(13). But the difference here is absence of compassion (xxxii) and gladness
(xxxiii),67 constancy of the abstinences (xxxiv-xxxvi), and supramundaneness.
[468]
159.
II. (22) As regards the unprofitable, there are firstly seventeen associated
with the first unprofitable consciousness rooted in greed (22), that is to say,
thirteen constant given in the texts as such (see Dhs § 365) and four or-what-
ever-states.
Herein, the thirteen given as such are these:
contact (i),
volition (ii),
applied thought (iii),
67.
“Because the path consciousnesses have Nibbāna as their object and because
compassion, gladness, etc., have living beings as their object, there is no compassion,
etc., in the path” (Vism-mhṭ 491).
Chapter 14
476
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
sustained thought (iv),
happiness (v),
energy (vi),
life (vii),
concentration (viii),
(xxxvii)
consciencelessness,
(xxxviii)
shamelessness,
(xxxix)
greed,
(xl)
delusion,
(xli)
wrong view.
The four or-whatever-states are these:
zeal (xxviii),
resolution (xxix),
(xlii)
agitation,
attention (xxx).
160.
Herein, (xxxvii) it has no conscientious scruples, thus it is consciencelessness.
(xxxviii) It is unashamed, thus it is shamelessness. Of these, consciencelessness has
the characteristic of absence of disgust at bodily misconduct, etc., or it has the
characteristic of immodesty. Shamelessness has the characteristic of absence of
dread on their account, or it has the characteristic of absence of anxiety about
them. This is in brief here. The detail, however, is the opposite of what was said
above under conscience (xi) and shame (xii).
161.
(xxxix) By its means they are greedy, or it itself is greedy, or it is just the
mere being greedy, thus is it greed. (xl) By its means they are deluded, or it itself
is deluded, or it is just the mere being deluded, thus it is delusion.
162. Of these, greed has the characteristic of grasping an object, like birdlime
(lit. “monkey lime”). Its function is sticking, like meat put in a hot pan. It is
manifested as not giving up, like the dye of lamp-black. Its proximate cause is
seeing enjoyment in things that lead to bondage. Swelling with the current of
craving, it should be regarded as taking [beings] with it to states of loss, as a
swift-flowing river does to the great ocean.
163.
Delusion has the characteristic of blindness, or it has the characteristic of
unknowing. Its function is non-penetration, or its function is to conceal the
individual essence of an object. It is manifested as the absence of right theory
(see Ch. XVII, §52), or it is manifested as darkness. Its proximate cause is unwise
(unjustified) attention. It should be regarded as the root of all that is unprofitable.
164.
(xli) By its means they see wrongly, or it itself sees wrongly, or it is just the
mere seeing wrongly, thus it is wrong view. Its characteristic [469] is unwise
(unjustified) interpreting. Its function is to presume. It is manifested as wrong
interpreting. Its proximate cause is unwillingness to see Noble Ones, and so on.
It should be regarded as the most reprehensible of all.
165.
(xlii)  Agitation is agitatedness. It has the characteristic of disquiet, like
water whipped by the wind. Its function is unsteadiness, like a flag or banner
whipped by the wind. It is manifested as turmoil, like ashes flung up by pelting
Chapter 14
477
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
with stones. Its proximate cause is unwise attention to mental disquiet. It should
be regarded as distraction of consciousness.
166. The remaining formations here should be understood as already stated under
the profitable. For it is only the unprofitableness that differentiates them as bad.
So these are the seventeen formations that should be understood to come into
association with the first unprofitable consciousness (22).
(23) And as with the first, so with the second (23), but here the difference is
promptedness and inconstant [occurrence] of (xliii) stiffening and torpor.
167.
Herein, (xliii) stiffening (thīnanatā) is stiffness (thīna); making torpid
(middhanatā) is torpor (middha). The meaning is, paralysis due to lack of urgency,
and loss of vigour. The compound thīnamiddha  (stiffness-and-torpor) should be
resolved into thīnañ ca middhañ ca. Herein, stiffness has the characteristic of lack
of driving power. Its function is to remove energy. It is manifested as subsiding.
Torpor has the characteristic of unwieldiness. Its function is to smother. It is
manifested as laziness, or it is manifested as nodding and sleep.68 The proximate
cause of both is unwise attention to boredom, sloth, and so on.
168.
(24) With the third [unprofitable consciousness] (24) there should be
understood to be associated those given for the first (22), excepting wrong view
(xli). But here the difference is that there is inconstant [occurrence] of (xliv) pride
(conceit).
That [pride] has the characteristic of haughtiness. Its function is arrogance. It
is manifested as vain gloriousness. Its proximate cause is greed dissociated
from views. It should be regarded as like madness.
(25) With the fourth (25) should be understood to be associated those given
for the second (23), excepting wrong view (xli). And here pride (xliv) is among
the inconstant too.
169.
(26) Those given for the first (22), excepting happiness (v), come into
association with the fifth (26).
(27) And as with the fifth (26), so with the sixth too (27); but the difference
here is promptedness and the inconstant [occurrence] of stiffness-and-torpor
(xliii).
(28) With the seventh (28) should be understood to be associated those given
for the fifth (26), except views (xli); but pride (xliv) is inconstant here.
(29)
With the eighth (29) should be understood to be associated those given for the
sixth (27), except views (xli); and here too pride (xliv) is among the inconstant.
170.
(30)–(31) As regards the two [kinds of unprofitable consciousness] rooted
in hate, [470] there are, firstly, eighteen associated with the first (30), that is,
eleven constant given in the texts as such (see Dhs § 413), four or-whatever-
states, and three inconstant. Herein the eleven given as such are these:
68.
”Because the paralysis (saṃhanana)  of consciousness comes about through
stiffness, but that of matter through torpor like that of the three aggregates beginning
with feeling, therefore torpor is manifested as nodding and sleep” (Vism-mhṭ 493).
Chapter 14
478
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
contact (i),
volition (ii),
applied thought (iii),
sustained thought (iv),
energy (vi),
life (vii),
concentration (viii),
consciencelessness (xxxvii),
shamelessness (xxxviii),
(xiv)
hate,
delusion (xl).
The four or-whatever-states are these:
zeal (xxviii),
resolution (xxix),
agitation (xlii),
attention (xxx).
The three inconstant are these:
(xlvi)
envy,
(xlvii)
avarice,
(xlviii)
worry.
171.
Herein, (xlv) by its means they hate, or it itself hates, or it is just mere
hating, thus it is hate (dosa). It has the characteristic of savageness, like a provoked
snake. Its function is to spread, like a drop of poison, or its function is to burn up
its own support, like a forest fire. It is manifested as persecuting (dūsana), like an
enemy who has got his chance. Its proximate cause is the grounds for annoyance
(see A V 150). It should be regarded as like stale urine mixed with poison.
172.
(xlvi) Envying is envy. It has the characteristic of being jealous of other’s
success. Its function is to be dissatisfied with that. It is manifested as averseness from
that. Its proximate cause is another’s success. It should be regarded as a fetter.
173.
(xlvii) Avariciousness is avarice. Its characteristic is the hiding of one’s
own success that has been or can be obtained. Its function is not to bear sharing
these with others. It is manifested as shrinking, or it is manifested as meanness.
Its proximate cause is one’s own success. It should be regarded as a mental
disfigurement.
174. (xlviii) The vile (kucchita) that is done (kata) is villainy (kukata).69 The state of
that is worry (kukkucca). It has subsequent regret as its characteristic. Its function is
to sorrow about what has and what has not been done. It is manifested as remorse.
Its proximate cause is what has and what has not been done. It should be regarded
as slavery.
69. Kukata is not in PED. It is impossible to render into English this “portmanteau”
etymology, e.g. kucchita-kata—kukata, kukutatā … kukkucca, which depends mostly on a
fortuitous parallelism of meaning and verbal forms in the Pali. While useless to strict
modern etymologists, it has a definite semantic and mnemonic use.
Chapter 14
479
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
175.
The rest are of the kind already described.
So these eighteen formations should be understood to come into association
with the first [unprofitable consciousness] rooted in hate (30).
(31) And as with the first (30), so with the second (31), the only difference,
however, being promptedness and the presence of stiffness and torpor (xliii)
among the inconstant.
176.
(32)–(33) As regards the two rooted in delusion, firstly: [associated] with
[the consciousness that is] associated with uncertainty (32) [471] are the eleven
given in the texts as such thus:
contact (i),
volition (ii),
applied thought (iii),
sustained thought (iv),
energy (vi),
life (vii),
(xlix)
steadiness of consciousness,
consciencelessness (xxxvii),
shamelessness (xxxviii),
delusion (xl),
(l)
uncertainty.
The or-whatever-states are these two:
agitation (xlii),
attention (xxx).
And these together total thirteen.
177.
Herein, (xlix) steadiness of consciousness is weak concentration (viii)
consisting in mere steadiness in occurrence.70
(1) It is without wish to cure (vigatā cikicchā), thus it is uncertainty (vicikicchā).
It has the characteristic of doubt. Its function is to waver. It is manifested as
indecisiveness, or it is manifested as taking various sides. Its proximate cause is
unwise attention. It should be regarded as obstructive of theory (see XVII.52).
The rest are as already described.
178.
(33) [The consciousness] associated with agitation (33) has the same
[formations as the consciousness] associated with uncertainty (32), except for
uncertainty (1). But with the absence of uncertainty resolution (xxix) arises here.
So with that they are likewise thirteen, and concentration (viii) is stronger because
of the presence of resolution. Also agitation is given in the texts as such, while
resolution (xxix) and attention (xxx) are among the or-whatever-states.
70. “‘Mere steadiness in occurrence  is mere presence for a moment. That it is only
“mere steadiness in occurrence” owing to the mere condition for the steadiness of the
mind (ceto) is because of lack of real steadiness due to absence of decidedness (nicchaya),
and it is incapable of being a condition for such steadiness in continuity (see §188) as
the steadiness of consciousness stated thus: ‘like the steadiness of a flame sheltered
from a draught’ (XIV.139)” (Vism-mhṭ 495).
Chapter 14
480
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
Thus should the unprofitable formations be understood.
179. III. As regards the indeterminate, firstly, the resultant indeterminate (34)–(69)
are twofold, classed as those without root-cause and those with root-cause.
Those associated with resultant consciousness without root-cause (34)–(41),
(50)–(56) are those without root-cause.
Herein, firstly, those associated with the profitable resultant (34) and
unprofitable resultant (50) eye-consciousness are the four given in the texts as
such, namely:
contact (i),
volition (ii),
life (vii),
steadiness of consciousness (xlix),
which amount to five with
attention (xxx)
as the only or-whatever-state.
These same kinds are associated with ear-, nose-, tongue-, and body-
consciousness (35)–(38), (51)–(54).
180.
Those associated with both kinds of resultant mind-element (39), (55)
come to eight by adding applied thought (iii), sustained thought (iv) and
resolution (xxix). Likewise those associated with the threefold mind-
consciousness-element with root-cause (40), (41), (56). But here (40) that
accompanied by joy should be understood to have happiness (v) also in addition
to that.
181.
The [formations] associated with resultant consciousness with root-cause
(42)–(49) are those with root-cause. Of these, firstly, those associated with the
sense-sphere resultant [consciousness] with root-cause are similar to the
formations associated with the eight sense-sphere [consciousnesses] (1)–(8).
But of the inconstant ones, compassion (xxxii) and gladness (xxxiii) are not
among the resultant because they have living beings as their object. For the
resultant ones of the sense-sphere have only limited objects. And not only
compassion and gladness but also the three abstinences (xxxiv)–(xxxvi) are not
among the resultant; [472] for it is said that “the five training precepts are
profitable only” (Vibh 291).
182.
(57)–(69) Those associated with the resultant consciousness of the fine-
material sphere (57)–(61), the immaterial sphere (62)–(65), and the supramundane
(66)–(69) are similar to the formations associated with the profitable
consciousnesses of those kinds (9)–(21) too.
183.
(70)–(89)  Functional indeterminate [formations] are also twofold classed as
those without root-cause (70)–(72) and those with root-cause (73)–(80). Those
without root-cause are associated with functional consciousness without root-
cause; and they are the same as those associated [respectively] with profitable
resultant mind-element (39) and the pair of mind-consciousness-elements
without root-cause (40)–(41). But in the case of the two mind-consciousness-
Chapter 14
481
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
elements (71)–(72), energy (vi) is additional, and because of the presence of
energy, concentration (viii) is strong. This is the difference here.
184.
Those associated with functional consciousness with root-cause (73)–
(80) are those with root-cause. Of these, firstly, those associated with the eight
sense-sphere functional consciousnesses (73)–(80) are similar to the formations
associated with the eight sense-sphere profitable (1)–(8), except for the
abstinences (xxxiv)–(xxxvi).
Those associated with the functional [consciousnesses] of the fine-material
sphere (81)–(85) and the immaterial sphere (86)–(89) are in all aspects similar to
those associated with profitable consciousness (9)–(17).
This is how formations should be understood as indeterminate.
This is the section of the detailed explanation dealing with the formations
aggregate.
[C. CLASSIFICATION OF THE AGGREGATES]
185.
The foregoing section, firstly, is that of the detailed explanation of the
aggregates according to the Abhidhamma-Bhājaniya [of the Vibhaṅga]. But the
aggregates have been given in detail by the Blessed One [in the Suttanta-
Bhājaniya] in this way: “Any materiality whatever, whether past, future or present,
internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: all that
together in the mass and in the gross is called the materiality aggregate. Any
feeling whatever … Any perception whatever … Any formations whatever …
Any consciousness whatever, whether past, future or present … all that together
in the mass and in the gross is called the consciousness aggregate” (Vibh 1–9;
cf. M III 17).
[MATERIALITY]
186.
Herein, the word whatever includes without exception. Materiality prevents
over-generalization. Thus materiality is comprised without exception by the two
expressions. Then he undertakes its exposition as past,  future and present, etc.;
for some of it is classed as past and some as future, and so on. So also in the case
of feeling, and so on.
Herein, the materiality called (i) past is fourfold, according to (a) extent, (b)
continuity, (c) period, and (d) moment. Likewise (ii) the future and (iii) the present.71
71. “Here when the time is delimited by death and rebirth-linking the term ‘extent’
is applicable. It is made known through the Suttas in the way beginning ‘Was I in the
past?’ (M I 8); for the past state is likewise mentioned as ‘extent’ in the Bhaddekaratta
Sutta too in the way beginning, ‘He does not follow what is past (the past extent)’ (M
III 1 88). But when it is delimited in the ultimate sense as in the Addhāniruttipatha
Sutta thus, ‘Bhikkhus, there are three extents, the past extent, the future extent, and
the present extent’ (It 53), then it is appropriate as delimited by moment. Herein, the
existingness of the present is stated thus, ‘Bhikkhus, of matter that is born … manifested,
it is said that: “It exists”’ (S IV 72), and pastness and futureness are respectively called
before and after that” (Vism-mhṭ 496).
Chapter 14
482
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
187.
Herein, (a) firstly, according to extent: in the case of a single becoming of
one [living being], previous to rebirth-linking is past, subsequent to death is
future, between these two is present.
188.
(b)  According to continuity: that [materiality] which has like or single
origination72 by temperature and single origination by nutriment, though it
occurs successively, [473] is present. That which, previous to that, was of unlike
origination by temperature and nutriment is past. That which is subsequent is
future. That which is born of consciousness and has its origination in one
cognitive series, in one impulsion, in one attainment, is present. Previous to that
is  past. Subsequent to that is future. There is no special classification into past
continuity, etc., of that which has its origination in kamma, but its pastness, etc.,
should be understood according as it supports those which have their origination
through temperature, nutriment, and consciousness.
189.
(c)  According to period: any period among those such as one minute,
morning, evening, day-and-night, etc., that occurs as a continuity, is called present.
Previous to that is past. Subsequent is future.
190. (d) According to moment: what is included in the trio of moments, [that is to
say, arising, presence, and dissolution] beginning with arising is called present.
At a time previous to that it is future. At a time subsequent to that it is past.73
191.
Furthermore, that whose functions of cause and condition74 have elapsed
is past. That whose function of cause is finished and whose function of condition
72. “Cold temperature is like with cold, and hot with hot. But that temperature which
falls on the body, whether hot or cold, and occurs as a continuity in one mode, being
neither less nor more, is called ‘single temperature.’ The word ‘single’ is used because
of the plurality of ‘like’ temperature. So too with nutriment. ‘In one cognitive series, in
one impulsion’ 
refers respectively to five-door and mind-door consciousness. The
explanations of continuity and period are given in the Commentaries for the purpose
of helping the practice of insight” (Vism-mhṭ 496).
73.
In these two paragraphs “past  and “future  refer not to time, as in the other
paragraphs, but to the materiality.
74. “‘Cause (hetu) is what gives birth (janaka); condition (paccaya) is what consolidates
(upatthambhaka). Their respective functions are arousing and consolidating. Just as the
seed’s function is to arouse the sprout and that of the earth, etc., is to consolidate it,
and just as kamma’s function is to arouse result as matter that is due to kamma
performed, and that of nutriment is to consolidate it, so the function of those [conditions]
that give birth to each material group and each thought-arising and serve as kamma
and proximity-conditions, etc., for them, and the function of those that consolidate
them and serve as conascence, prenascence, and postnascence conditions for them
may be construed accordingly as appropriate.
“Because there is similarity and dissimilarity in temperature, etc., in the way stated,
the pastness, etc., of material instances originated by it are stated according to
continuity. But there is no such similarity and dissimilarity in the kamma that gives
birth to a single becoming, so instead of stating according to continuity the pastness,
etc., of material instances originated by that, it is stated according to what consolidates.
However, when there comes to be reversal of sex, then the male sex disappears owing
Chapter 14
483
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
is unfinished is present. That which has not attained to either function is future.
Or alternatively, the moment of the function is present. At a time previous to that
it is future. At a time subsequent to that it is past.
And here only the explanations beginning with the moment are absolutely
literal. The rest are in a figurative [or relative] sense.
192.
(iv)–(v) The division into internal and external is as already stated (§73).
Besides, it is internal in the sense of one’s own75 that should be understood here
as internal and that of another person as external.
(vi)–(vii) Gross and subtle are also as already stated (§73).
193.
(viii)–(ix)  Inferior and superior are twofold, namely, figuratively
(relatively) and absolutely (literally). Herein, the materiality of the Sudassin
deities is inferior to the materiality of the Akaniṭṭha (Highest) deities. That
same materiality [of the Sudassin deities] is superior to the materiality of the
Sudassa deities. Thus, firstly, should inferiority and superiority be understood
figuratively (relatively) down as far as the denizens of hell. But absolutely
(literally) it is inferior where it arises as unprofitable result, and it is superior
where it arises as profitable result.76
194.
(x)–(xi) Far and near: this is also as already described (§73). Besides, relative
farness and nearness should be understood here according to location.
195.
All that together in the mass and in the gross: by making all that materiality,
separately described by the words “past,” etc., into a collection by understanding
its oneness, in other words, its characteristic of being molested (ruppana), it
comes to be called the materiality (rūpa) aggregate. This is the meaning here.
196.
By this, too, it is shown that the materiality aggregate is all materiality,
which all comes into the collection with the characteristic of being molested; for
there is no materiality aggregate apart from materiality. [474]
And just as in the case of materiality, so also feeling, etc., [are respectively
shown as the feeling aggregate, etc.,] since they come under the collections with
the [respective] characteristics of being felt, etc.; for there is no feeling aggregate
apart from feeling and so on.
to powerful unprofitable kamma, and the female sex appears owing to weak profitable
kamma; and the female sex disappears owing to weak unprofitable kamma, while the
male sex appears owing to powerful profitable kamma (see Dhs-a 321). So there is in
fact dissimilarity in what is originated by kamma and consequent dissimilarity in
what is past, etc., in accordance with the continuity of these as well. But it is not
included because it does not happen always” (Vism-mhṭ 497).
75. Niyakajjhatta—“internally in the sense of one’s own”: four kinds of ajjhatta (internal,
lit. “belonging to oneself”) are mentioned in the commentaries and sub-commentaries
(see Dhs-a 46): gocarajjhatta—internally  as range or resort (M-a IV 161; II 90, 292),
ajjhattajjhata—internally as such (Vism-mhṭ 152), niyakajjhatta—internally in the sense
of one’s own (IV.141, IX.114, this ref.; M-a IV 161), visayajjhatta—internally as objective
field (M-a IV 160).
76.
Profitable result is superior because it produces a desirable object (see Vism-
mhṭ 498). This question is treated at length at Vibh-a 9f.
Chapter 14
484
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
[FEELING]
197.
In the classification (i)–(iii) into past, etc., the past, future, and present
state of feeling should be understood according to continuity and according to
moment and so on.
Herein,  according to continuity, that included in a single cognitive series, a
single impulsion, a single attainment, and that occurring in association with an
objective field of one kind,77 is present. Before that is past. Subsequent is future.
According to moment, etc.: that feeling included in the trio of moments, which is
in between the past time and the future time, and which is performing its own
function, is present. Before that is past. Subsequent is future.
198. (iv)–(v)The classification into internal and external should be understood
according to the internal in the sense of one’s own.
(vi)–(vii) The classification into gross  and  subtle should be understood (a)
according to kind, (b) individual essence, (c) person, and (d) the mundane
and supramundane, as stated in the Vibhaṅga in the way beginning
“Unprofitable feeling is gross, profitable and indeterminate feeling is subtle,
[profitable and unprofitable feeling is gross, indeterminate feeling is subtle]”
(Vibh 3), and so on.
199.
(a)  According to kind, firstly: unprofitable feeling is a state of disquiet,
because it is the cause of reprehensible actions and because it produces
burning of defilement, so it is gross [compared] with profitable feeling. And
because it is accompanied by interestedness and drive and result, and because
of the burning of the defilements, and because it is reprehensible, it is gross
compared with resultant indeterminate. Also because it is accompanied by
result, because of the burning of the defilements, and because it is attended
by affliction and is reprehensible, it is gross compared with functional
indeterminate. But in the opposite sense profitable and indeterminate feeling
are subtle compared with unprofitable feeling. Also the two, that is, profitable
and unprofitable feeling, involve interestedness, drive and result, so they are
respectively gross compared with the twofold indeterminate. And in the
opposite sense the twofold indeterminate is subtle compared with them. This,
firstly, is how grossness and subtlety should be understood according to
kind.
200. (b)  According to individual essence: painful feeling is gross compared with
the others because it is without enjoyment, it involves intervention, causes
disturbance, creates anxiety, and is overpowering. The other two are subtle
compared with the painful because they are satisfying, peaceful, and superior,
and respectively agreeable and neutral. Both the pleasant and the painful are
gross compared with the neither-painful-nor-pleasant because they involve
intervention, cause disturbance and are obvious. The latter is subtle in the way
77. “The feeling that accompanies the faith, etc., occurring in one who sees an image
of the Buddha or who hears the Dhamma, even for a whole day, is ‘present’” (Vism-
mhṭ 499).
Chapter 14
485
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
aforesaid compared with both the former. Thus should grossness and subtlety
be understood according to individual essence.
201.
(c)  According to person: feeling in one who has no attainment is gross
compared with that in one who has one, because it is distracted by a multiple
object. In the opposite sense the other is subtle. This is how grossness and
subtlety should be understood according to person. [475]
202.
(d)  According to the mundane and supramundane: feeling subject to
cankers is mundane, and that is gross compared with that free from
cankers, because it is the cause for the arising of cankers, is liable to the
floods, liable to the bonds, liable to the ties, liable to the hindrances, liable
to the clingings, defilable, and shared by ordinary men. The latter, in the
opposite sense, is subtle compared with that subject to cankers. This is
how grossness and subtlety should be understood according to the
mundane and supramundane.
203.
Herein, one should beware of mixing up [the classifications] according to
kind and so on. For although feeling associated with unprofitable resultant
body-consciousness is subtle according to kind because it is indeterminate, it is
nevertheless gross according to individual essence, and so on. And this is said:
“Indeterminate feeling is subtle, painful feeling is gross. The feeling in one with
an attainment is subtle, that in one with no attainment is gross. Feeling free from
cankers is subtle, feeling accompanied by cankers is gross” (Vibh 3). And like
painful feeling, so also pleasant, etc., is gross according to kind and subtle
according to individual essence.
204.
Therefore feeling’s grossness and subtlety should be understood in such
a way that there is no mixing up of the classifications according to kind and so
on. For instance, [when it is said] “The indeterminate according to kind is subtle
compared with the profitable and the unprofitable,” the individual-essence class,
etc., must not be insisted upon like this: “Which kind of indeterminate? Is it the
painful? Is it the pleasant? Is it that in one with an attainment? Is it that in one
with no attainment? Is it that subject to cankers? Is it that free from cankers?”
and so in each instance.
205.
Furthermore, because of the words “Or feeling should be regarded as
gross or subtle in comparison with this or that feeling” (Vibh 4), among the
unprofitable, etc., feeling accompanied by hate, too, is gross compared with that
accompanied by greed because it burns up its own support, like a fire; and that
accompanied by greed is subtle. Also, that accompanied by hate is gross when
the hate is constant, and subtle when it is inconstant. And the constant is gross
when giving result that lasts for the aeon, while the other is subtle. And of those
giving result lasting for the aeon the unprompted is gross, while the other is
subtle. But that accompanied by greed is gross when associated with [false]
view, while the other is subtle. That also when constant and giving result lasting
for the aeon and unprompted is gross, while the others are subtle. And without
distinction the unprofitable with much result is gross, while that with little
result is subtle. But the profitable with little result is gross, while that with much
result is subtle.
Chapter 14
486
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
206.
Furthermore, the profitable of the sense sphere is gross; that of the fine-
material sphere is subtle; next to which the immaterial, and next the
supramundane [should be similarly compared]. That of the sense sphere is
gross in giving, while it is subtle in virtue; next, that in development. Also, that
in development is gross with two root-causes, while with three root-causes it is
subtle. Also that with three root-causes is gross when prompted, while it is
subtle when unprompted. That of the fine-material sphere is gross in the first
jhāna, [while it is subtle in the second jhāna. That also of the second jhāna is
gross] … of the fifth jhāna is subtle. And that of the immaterial sphere associated
with the base consisting of boundless space is gross … [476] that associated
with the base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception is subtle only.
And the supramundane associated with the stream-entry path is gross … that
associated with the Arahant path is subtle only. The same method applies also
to resultant and functional feeling in the various planes and to feeling stated
according to pain, etc., according to one with no attainment, etc., and according
to that subject to cankers, and so on.
207.
Then according to location, painful feelings in hell are gross, while in the
animal generation they are subtle … Those among the Paranimmitavasavatti
Deities are subtle only. And the pleasant should be construed throughout like
the painful where suitable.
208.
And according to physical basis, any feeling that has an inferior physical
basis is gross, while one with a superior physical basis is subtle.
(viii)–(ix) What is gross should be regarded as inferior in the inferior-superior
classification, and what is subtle superior.
209.
[(x)–(xi) The word far is explained in the Vibhaṅga in the way beginning
“The unprofitable is far from the profitable and indeterminate” (Vibh 4) and the
word  near in the way beginning “Unprofitable feeling is near to unprofitable
feeling” (Vibh 4). Therefore, unprofitable feeling is far from the profitable and
the indeterminate because of dissimilarity, unconnectedness, and non-
resemblance. The profitable and the indeterminate are likewise far from the
unprofitable. And so in all instances. But unprofitable feeling is near to
unprofitable feeling because of similarity and resemblance.
This is the section of the detailed explanation dealing with the past, etc.,
classifications of the feeling aggregate.
[PERCEPTION, FORMATIONS AND CONSCIOUSNESS]
210.
This should also be understood of the perception, etc., associated with
any kind of feeling.
[D. CLASSES OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE AGGREGATES]
Having understood this, again as regards these same aggregates:
Knowledge of aggregates is classed
(1)
As to order, and (2) distinction,
(3)
As to neither less nor more,
(4)
And likewise as to simile,
Chapter 14
487
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
(5)
And twice as to how to be seen,
(6)
And as to good for one seeing thus—
This is the way of exposition
That a wise man should rightly know.
211.
1. Herein, as to order: order is of several kinds, namely, order of arising,
order of abandoning, order of practice, order of plane, order of teaching.
Herein, “First there comes to be the foetus in the first stage, then there comes
to be the foetus in the second stage” (S I 206), etc., is order of arising. “Things to
be abandoned by seeing, things to be abandoned by development” (Dhs 1), etc.,
is  order of abandoning. “Purification of virtue [477] … purification of
consciousness” (M I 148), etc., is order of practice. “The sense sphere, the fine-
material sphere” (Paṭis I 83), etc., is order of plane. “The four foundations of
mindfulness, the four right efforts” (D II 120), etc., or “Talk on giving, talk on
virtue” (M I 379), etc., is order of teaching.
212.
Of these, firstly, order of arising is not applicable here because the aggregates
do not arise in the order in which they are successively dealt with, as is the case
with “the foetus in the first stage,” etc., nor is order of abandoning applicable,
because the profitable and indeterminate are not to be abandoned; nor is order of
practice
, because what is unprofitable is not to be practiced; nor is order of plane,
because feeling, etc., are included in all four planes.
213.
Order of teaching is appropriate however; for there are those people who,
while teachable, have fallen into assuming a self among the five aggregates
owing to failure to analyze them; and the Blessed One is desirous of releasing
them from the assumption by getting them to see how the [seeming] compactness
of mass [in the five aggregates] is resolved; and being desirous of their welfare,
he first, for the purpose of their easy apprehension, taught the materiality
aggregate, which is gross, being the objective field of the eye, etc.; and after that,
feeling, which feels matter as desirable and undesirable; then perception, which
apprehends the aspects of feeling’s objective field, since “What one feels, that
one perceives” (M I 293); then formations, which form volitionally through the
means of perception; and lastly, consciousness, which these things beginning
with feeling have as their support, and which dominates them.78
This, in the first place, is how the exposition should be known as to order.
214. 2. As to distinction: as to the distinction between aggregates and aggregates-
as-objects-of-clinging. But what is the distinction between them? Firstly, aggregates is
said without distinguishing. Aggregates [as objects] of clinging is said distinguishing
those that are subject to cankers and are liable to the clingings, according as it is
said: “Bhikkhus, I shall teach you the five aggregates and the five aggregates [as
objects] of clinging. Listen … And what, bhikkhus, are the five aggregates? Any
kind of materiality whatever, bhikkhus, whether past, future or present … far or
78. “Consciousness dominates because of the words, ‘Dhammas have mind as their
forerunner’ (Dhp l), ‘Dhammas (states) that have parallel turn-over with consciousness’
(Dhs §1522), and ‘The king, lord of the six doors (?)’” (Vism-mhṭ 503).
Chapter 14
488
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
near: this is called the materiality aggregate. Any kind of feeling whatever … Any
kind of perception whatever … Any kind of formations whatever … Any kind of
consciousness whatever … far or near: this is called the consciousness aggregate.
These, bhikkhus, are called the five aggregates. And what, bhikkhus, are the five
aggregates [as objects] of clinging? Any kind of materiality whatever … far or near,
that is subject to cankers and liable to the clingings: this is called the materiality
aggregate [as object] of clinging. Any kind of feeling whatever … Any kind of
perception whatever … Any kind of formations whatever … Any kind of
consciousness whatever … far or near, that is subject to cankers and liable to the
clingings: this is called the consciousness aggregate [as object] of clinging. These,
bhikkhus, are called the five aggregates [as objects] of clinging” (S III 47). [478]
215.
Now, while there is feeling, etc., both free from cankers [and subject to
them],79 not so materiality. However, since materiality can be described as a
[simple] aggregate in the sense of a total, it is therefore mentioned among the
[simple] aggregates. And since it can be described as an aggregate [that is the
object] of clinging in the sense of a total and in the sense of being subjected to
cankers, that [same materiality] is therefore mentioned among the aggregates
[as objects] of clinging too. But feeling, etc., are only mentioned among the
[simple] aggregates when they are free from cankers. When they are subject to
cankers, they are mentioned among the aggregates [as objects] of clinging. And
here the meaning of the term “aggregates as objects of clinging” should be
regarded as this: aggregates that are the resort of clinging are aggregates of
clinging. But here all these taken together are intended as aggregates.
216.
3. As to neither less nor more: but why are five aggregates, neither less nor
more, mentioned by the Blessed One? (a) Because all formed things that resemble
each other fall into these groups, (b) because that is the widest limit as the basis
for the assumption of self and what pertains to self, and (c) because of the
inclusion80 by them of the other sorts of aggregates.
217.
(a) When the numerous categories of formed states are grouped together
according to similarity,81 materiality forms one aggregate through being grouped
79. Sammohavinodanī (Be) (Khandha Vibhaṅga Commentary) in the identical passage,
reads vedanādayo anāsavā pi sāsavā pi atthi. Ee and Ae read vedanādayo anāsavā pi atthi.
80. Avarodha—“inclusion”: not in PED. The term etaparama—“the widest limit” is not
mentioned in PED. See M I 80, 339; S V 119; M-a III, 281. Cf. also etāvaparama, M I 246.
81. “When all formed dhammas are grouped together according to similarity, they
naturally fall into five aggregates. Herein, it is the items that are the same owing to the
sameness consisting respectively in ‘molesting,’ etc., that are to be understood as
‘similar.’ Among them, those that are strong in the volition whose nature is accumulating
with the function of forming the formed, are called the formations aggregate. And the
others, that is, contact, etc., which are devoid of the distinguishing characteristics of
‘being molested,’ etc., may also be so regarded under the generality of forming the
formed. But the similarities consisting in touching are not describable separately by
the word ‘aggregate,’ and so that is why no aggregates of contact, etc., have been
stated by the Perfect One who knows the similarities of dhammas. ‘Bhikkhus, whatever
ascetics or brahmans there are who are asserters of eternity and declare the self and
Chapter 14
489
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
together according to similarity consisting in materiality; feeling forms one
aggregate through being grouped together according to similarity consisting
in feeling; and so with perception and the other two. So they are stated as five
because similar formed things fall into groups.
218.
(b) And this is the extreme limit as the basis for the assumption of self and
what pertains to self, that is to say, the five beginning with materiality. For this is
said: “Bhikkhus, when matter exists, it is through clinging to matter, through
insisting upon (interpreting) matter, that such a view as this arises: ‘This is
mine, this is I, this is my self.’ When feeling exists … When perception exists …
When formations exist … When consciousness exists, it is through clinging to
consciousness, through insisting upon (interpreting) consciousness, that such
a view as this arises: ‘This is mine, this is I, this is my self’”(S III 181–82). So they
are stated as five because this is the widest limit as a basis for the assumption of
self and what pertains to self.
219.
(c) And also, since those other [sorts of aggregates] stated as the five
aggregates of things beginning with virtue82 are comprised within the formations
aggregate, they are included here too. Therefore they are stated as five because
they include the other sorts.
This is how the exposition should be known as to neither less nor more.
220.
4.  As to simile: the materiality aggregate [as object] of clinging is like a
sick-room because it is the dwelling-place, as physical basis, door, and object, of
the sick man, namely, the consciousness aggregate as object of clinging. The
feeling aggregate as object of clinging is like the sickness because it afflicts. The
perception aggregate as object of clinging is like the provocation of the sickness
because it gives rise to feeling associated with greed, etc., owing to perception of
sense desires, and so on. The formations aggregate as object of clinging is like
having recourse to what is unsuitable because it is the source of feeling, which
is the sickness; [479] for it is said: “Feeling as feeling is the formed that they
form” (S III 87), and likewise: “Because of unprofitable kamma having been
performed and stored up, resultant body-consciousness has arisen accompanied
by pain” (Dhs §556). The consciousness aggregate as object of clinging is like
the sick man because it is never free from feeling, which is the sickness.
221.
Also they are (respectively) like the prison, the punishment, the offence,
the punisher, and the offender. And they are like the dish, the food, the curry
sauce [poured over the food], the server, and the eater.83
 the world to be eternal, all do so depending and relying on these same five aggregates
or on one or other of them’ (cf. S IV 46), and so on” (Vism-mhṭ 503).
82. The aggregates of virtue, concentration, understanding, liberation, and knowledge
and vision of liberation (S I 99), etc.
83. “The matter of the body is like the prison because it is the site of the punishment.
Perception is like the offence because owing to perception of beauty, etc., it is a cause of
the punishment, which is feeling. The formations aggregate is like the punisher because it
is a cause of feeling. Consciousness is like the offender because it is afflicted by feeling.
Again, matter is like the dish because it bears the food. Perception is like the curry sauce
Chapter 14
490
PATH OF PURIFICATION
Part 3: Understanding (Paññā)
This is how the exposition should be known as to simile.
222.
5.  Twice as to how to be seen: the exposition should be known twice as to
how to be seen, namely, in brief and in detail.
223.
In brief [that is, collectively] the five aggregates as objects of clinging
should be seen as an enemy with drawn sword (S IV 174) in the Snake Simile, as
a burden (S III 25) according to the Burden Sutta, as a devourer (S III 87f)
according to the To-be-devoured Discourse, and as impermanent, painful, not-
self, formed, and murderous, according to the Yamaka Sutta (S III 112f).
224.
In detail [that is, individually,] matter should be regarded as a lump of
froth because it will not stand squeezing, feeling as a bubble on water because it
can only be enjoyed for an instant, perception as a mirage because it causes
illusion, formations as a plantain trunk because they have no core, and
consciousness as a conjuring trick because it deceives (S III 140–42).
In particular, even sublime internal materiality84 should be regarded as foul
(ugly); feeling should be regarded as painful because it is never free from the
three kinds of suffering (see XVI.34); perception and formations as not-self
because they are unmanageable; and consciousness as impermanent because it
has the nature of rise and fall.
225.
6. As to good for one seeing thus: good comes to be accomplished in one who
sees in the two ways thus in brief and in detail. And the way of definition should
be known according to that, that is to say, firstly, one who sees the five aggregates
as objects of clinging in the form of an enemy with drawn sword, etc., is not
worried by the aggregates, but one who sees materiality, etc., in detail as a lump
of froth, etc., is not one who sees a core in the coreless.
226.
And in particular, [480] one who sees internal materiality as foul (ugly)
fully understands nutriment consisting of physical nutriment. He abandons
the perversion [of perceiving] beauty in the foul (ugly), he crosses the flood of
sense desire, he is loosed from the bond of sense desire, he becomes canker-free
as regards the canker of sense desire, he breaks the bodily tie of covetousness. He
does not cling with sense-desire clinging.
227. One who sees feeling as pain fully understands nutriment consisting of
contact. He abandons the perversion of perceiving pleasure in the painful. He
crosses the flood of becoming. He is loosed from the bond of becoming. He
becomes canker-free as regards the canker of becoming. He breaks the bodily tie
of ill will. He does not cling with rules-and-vows clinging.
228.
One who sees perception and formations as not-self fully understands
nutriment consisting of mental volition. He abandons the perversion of
because, owing to perception of beauty, etc., it hides the food,  which is feeling.  The
formations aggregate is like the server  because it is a cause of feeling;  and service is
included since one who is taking a meal is usually served. Consciousness  is like the
eater because it is helped by feeling” (Vism-mhṭ 504). For cāraka (prison) see XVI.18.
84. Ee and Ae both read visesato ca sūḷāram pi ajjhattikaṃ rūpaṃ. But Sammohavinodanī
(Be) in identical passage reads visesato ca subhārammaṇam pi oḷārikam pi ajjhattika-rūpaṃ.
Chapter 14
491
CHAPTER XIV
The Aggregates
perceiving self in the not-self. He crosses the flood of views. He is loosed from
the bond of views. He breaks the bodily tie of interpretations (insistence) that
“This is the truth.” He does not cling with self-theory clinging.
229.
One who sees consciousness as impermanent fully understands nutriment
consisting of consciousness. He abandons the perversion of perceiving
permanence in the impermanent. He crosses the flood of ignorance. He is loosed
from the bond of ignorance. He becomes canker-free as regards the canker of
ignorance. He breaks the bodily tie of holding to rules and vows. He does not
[cling with false-] view clinging.
230.
Such blessings there will be
From seeing them as murderers and otherwise,
Therefore the wise should see
The aggregates as murderers and otherwise.
The fourteenth chapter called The Description of the
Aggregates in the Treatise on the Development of
Understanding in the Path of Purification composed for
the purpose of gladdening good people.