VEDIC, BUDDHIST AND JAIN TRADITIONS
of Bh£ta in Early Buddhist Philosophy
Buddhist Philosophy, generally understood as Abhidhamma philosophy, is a well-integrated system of thought which
accepts the existence of thirtyone world-systems, situated in vacuum in an
They are broadly divided in three main spheres, namely k”ma-dh”tu,
r£pa-dh”tu, and ar£pa-dh”tu. There are eleven world-systems in the k”ma-dh”tu,
sixteen in r£pa-dh”tu, and
four in ar£pa-dh”tu, making the total number thirtyone. According to Buddhist
thought, the beings of the k”ma-dh”tu
and r£pa-dh”tu are the
psycho-physical manifestations and those of the ar£pa-dh”tu are in possession of the psychic personality alone.
structural exposition of the beings has been made with two reals, namely,
n”ma and r£pa. The term n”ma
stands for the inner personality, expressing itself through the citta
(consciousness) and cetasika
(psychic factors). R£pa refers
to the physical personality, within and without, gross in nature and
material in character with all its varieties of manifestations. The
concept of bh£tas in Abhidhamma
philosophy is thus closely related to the notion of r£pa, for it is the generic name for material elements.
insights have been thrown on both the n”ma
and r£pa in canonical (Pi¶aka),
sub-commentarial (¶¢k”) and
miscellaneous (Pakiøna) P”li
literature in general, and in all the seven texts of the Abhidhamma-Pi¶aka in particular. The issue has further been taken
up in the philosophical treatises, appearing as independent texts,
commentaries and manuals like Visuddhimagga,
A¶¶has”lin¢, Sammoha-vinodini, Paµcapakaraøa-A¶¶hakath”,
Abhidhamm”vat”ra, Abhidhammatthasa“gaha, N”mar£pa-pariccheda,
is detailed discussion on the concept of r£pa
in the second chapter of the Dhammasangan¢,
the first book of the Abhidhamma-pi¶aka,
in a catechetical way. The question has been raised such as - "What
is that which is called r£pa in
The answer follows that "The four mah”bh£tas
(basic material elements) and the up”d”-r£pas
(generated material elements) constitute the r£pa
to early Buddhist thought, mah”bh£tas are four in number. They are: pa¶hav¢-dh”tu (earth-element), ”po-dh”tu
(fire element) and v”yo-dh”tu
(air-element). They form the basic material elements or the primary
non-psychic Real (paramatha).
The material creations related to beings, internal (ajjhatika)
and external (bahira), and the
surroundings all around them in both the spheres of k”ma-dh”tu and r£pa-dh”tu
are their creations and manifestations. They take variegated forms in the
process of evolution and play a vital role in smooth functioning of the
universal psycho-physical order. They are vital components in creation in
the k”ma-dh”tu and r£pa-dh”tu. It is for this reson that they are called mah”bh£ta.
Buddhist heritage attributes five basic reasons for referring to the basic
material elements as mah”bh£tas.
These reasons, which also provide a broad understanding of the
concept of bh£tas are
enumerated as follows:
(Manifestation of Greatness)
are called mah”bh£ta because
of manifestation of greatness. It means they manifest with immense
vastness with respect to phenomena 'grasped at' (up”dinnasantati)
and to those of un-grasped at (ana-up”dinna-santati).
In case of the former, they appear as the material forms, as the bodies of
various kinds of beings like men, gods, demons, animals, birds, etc. In
latter case, they appear into a world system, tremendously vast,
traditionally calculated as 1203450 yojanas
in circumference containing big waters, mountains (like Sineru, Isadhara,
Karav¢ka, Sudassana, Nemidhara, Vinataka, Himav” etc.), as well as the
grandeurous trees like jambu-tree
in the Jambu-d¢pa, citta-p”tal¢-
tree (trumpet flower) in the kingdom of demon; simbal¢-tree
(silk-cotton) in the land of Garulas, kadambas-tree
in Aparagoy”na, <kappa-tree
in Uttarakura, and sirisa-tree (acacis)
in pubba-videha and the paricchattaka-tree
(coral) in the divine kingdom of T”vati]msa etc.2
(Showing illusory Resemblances in Phenomena)
are called mah”bh£ta because
of their appearance as illusory resemblances in variegated forms of
deceitful manifestations. They are not in their being, possessing any
colour but they manifest as blue, yellow, red, white, black etc. They are
illusory objects appearing as real and continuing to develop the
impression of being real, just like the juggler showing water which is not
water, a gem, stone or gold which is not real. Marking their such illusory
resemblances to the juggler's counterfeiting, they are called mah”bh£tas.
are again explained with the simile of ogresses. As ogresses seductively
transform their external appearances, and hide their own terrible forms,
so the mah”bh£tas conceal
their true nature and present an illusion to the people. This
characteristic of concealing
the true identity being a similar trait they share with ogresses,
they are called mah”bh£tas.
(Immensity of their Maintenance)
are called mah”bh£ta because
of immensity of their maintenance. It has its reference to the moment to
moment generational changes in material structure of the beings due to
fourfold food (”h”ra) and
factors like kamma, citta, utu and ”h”ra.
Thus, it is said that - "these mateial forms, being daily maintained
occur as essentials through abundance of food, covering etc., hence there
is the name mah”bh£ta".
(Immensity of Metamorphoses)
they are called mah”bh£ta
because of the immensity of their metamorphoses. It refers to the
tremendous changes undergone by the elements in material forms, both in
derived and 'un-derived' phenomena. Of these, the vastness of changes in
is manifested on the occasion of the destruction of the world-cycle.
Similar changes are manifested with respect to 'derived ones', when there
is the disturbance of the elements within.
the time of the destruction of the world-cycle, all the four basic
material elements become furious and manifest in their devastating forms.
The Fire-element turns into blazing flames embracing the world system up
to the Brahmaloka, consuming the
entire phenomena and turning the universe as the heap of ash. The
water-element, on such occasions, also take the form of over-whelming
watery uproar and the world of ten myriad ko¶is
is made overpowered and reduced to nothing within it. Similar becomes the
form of air-element which blows away the entire phenomena and reduce them
to the dust particles.
changes are brought when there is the disturbance of the element in the
'derived phenomena'. When there is disturbance in the earth-element, the
bodies become stiff as if they enter the mouth of ka¶¶hamuka.
Due to the disturbance in the water-element, the bodies go putrid and
become rotten as
if entered into the mouth of p£timukha.
The bodies become hot and turn into wax as entered in the mouth of aggimukha
due to disturbance in the fire-element. Further, when there is the
disturbance in the air-element, the bodies are turned into pieces as if
they have entered the mouth of the satthamukha.
Such mighty and devastating changes take place in the basic material
elements with reference to 'underived' and 'derived' phenomena and as such
they are called mah”-bh£ta.3
are called mah”bh£ta because
of their vast elementality. It means that they exist as very powerful
force and do not come under the process of dassana
or bh”van” for their
elimination. Mighty efforts are required to cope with them. Specially in k”ma-dh”tu, where there is the existence of a being, there is the
existence of the mah”bh£tas.
One cannot have even the idea of the beings without them.
this way, a set of five reasons are seen in the tradition to explain the
on these four basic material elements, there arise the up”d”-r£pa.
Up”d” means generated, derived, dependent etc. The material
elements which come into being depending upon the four mah”bh£tas are called up”d”-r£pa.
This may be understood with the simile of the earth and tree. Like the
earth are the mah”bh£tas, and
the up”d”-r£pas are just like
trees which spring therefrom. It is for this reason they are called
'derived material elements'. They have been stated to be twenty=-three in
earlier texts. Later on, their number becomes twenty-four with the
inclusion of the hadaya-vatthu.
number of attributes have been introduced to unfold the intrinsic nature
of the material elements as a
whole. Firstly, they are unconscious. They are neither the
consciousness (citta) nor the
psychic factors (cetasika), nor
the roots (hetu).They are devoid
of both the moral (kusala-hetu)
and immoral (akusala-hetu)
roots. They are aby”kata,
neither moral or immoral in character. They come into being depending upon
some causes of conditions (sapaccaya),
and stand as composite (sankhata),
made of other elements. Thus, they themselves are not the defiling forces
but become the object of pollution (s”sava).
They are knowable by the six types of consciousness, namely,
eye-consciousness (cakhu-viµµ”øa), ear-consciousness (sata-viµµ”øa), nose-consciousness (gh”na-viµµ”øa), tongue-consciousness (jihv”-viµµ”øa), body-consciousness (k”ya-viµµ”øa) and Mind-consciousness (mano-viµµ”øa). They, by nature, are impermanent (anicca)
and subject of destruction (jar”bhibh£ta).
material elements are grasped in the form of Qualities or the Qualitative
energies. A piece of stone
in our hand is heavy, hard, rough, brown and of triangular shape. Apart
from these qualities like - heaviness, hardness, roughness, brownness and
triangularness, there is nothing like stone. Analysis of other similar
material object also reveal the same truth. In this background the term r£pa
may correctly be rendered into English as Material qualities and not the
matter or material elements.
this stage, it seems desirable to append a brief note on each of the
twenty-eight types of material qualities. For the sake of their easy
communication, they are studied under eleven heads in later Abhidhammic
texts. The same is being followed here too.4
are the pa¶hav¢-dh”tu
(water element), tejo-dh”tu
(fire-element) and v”yo-dh”tu
term pa¶hav¢ is derived from
the root puttha which means 'to
expand' to 'extend', to 'grant support' etc. Dh”tu
means that which bears its own characteristic marks - (attano sabh”va]m dh”retiti dh”tu). Thus the literal
as well as nearer meaning of the term is - "the element of
the earth-element is that - "which is hard (kakkhala]m),
rough (khara-gata]m), hardness (kakkhalatta]m),
(kakkhal abh”vo) both
internal and external.
has the characteristic of hardness; its function is to become the base of
co-existing elements; and receiving them is its manifestation. In this
way, it is understood by touch, appearing as a tangible object of the
body-sense-organ (k”ya). It
provides base for the existence of co-existing material elements and it is
due to that are received as such and such.
The various objects occupy space for existence due to presence of
this element. Finally, it is the material energy of extension, manifesting
as amalgam of a number of qualities.
derivation of the term ”po is
traced from the root apa, which
means 'to arrive' or from paya
means to grow, to increase, to hold, to bind together etc. In this sense,
it is called 'the element of cohesion'. It makes the different material
particles cohere and prevents them from being
scattered. It acts as a binding force of the material elements. The
Dhammasangan¢ explains it as fluid (”po) belonging to fluid (”pogatam),
viscid (sineho) belonging to
what is viscid (sinehagata]m)
and the cohesiveness of matter (bandhanatta]m
r£passa). It is further analysed in the commentary as - "the
water-element has trickling as its characteristic (paggharaøa-lakkhaøa), breeding of co-existing states as function (br£haøa-rasa)
and gathering them together as manifestation (sa“gahapaccupa¶¶h”na).
In short, it is a material energy which manifest in binding the things
together. The formations of any kind is possible by its association.
is generally rendered as the element of heat or 'Fire element'. Literally,
it is derived from the root tija
which means to sharpen, to 'mature'. From it, vivacity and maturity are
understood due to its presence. In reality it is the 'heat' itself or the
material energy of heat or Fruition.
Or it may be said that the fire-element is that which is flame (tejo) belonging to flame (tejogatam),
heat (usm”) belonging to heat (usmagata]m)
hot (usuma]m), belonging to what is hot (usumagata]m).
the fire-element has the characteristic of heat, maturing as function, and
the gift of softening of co-existing states as manifestation. Both heat
and cold are its properties. It means the intense tejo
is heat and the mild tejo is
cold. It helps the maturity and fruition of the things within and without.
is understood as the air-element or the element of motion. The word v”yo
is formed from the root v”ya
which means to move, to vibrate. In this word, it is understood as motion,
vibration, oscillation and pressure. It is a material energy to keep the
things in a particular position by generating pressure all around.
is defined as the air (v”ya),
that which belongs to air (v”yogata]m),
fluctuation; and the inflation of form (thambhitatta]m
r£passa). Its characteristic is strengthening (vitthambana), impelling as function (samud¢raøa) and bringing near and over as manifestations (abhinih”ra).5
The things get motion because of its presence. It is the universal carrier
of the subtle material elements.
four basic material elements are studied separately simply for the sake of
understanding. Really speaking they are inseparable. One cannot identify
and exhibit in idividually as earth, water, fire and air. They exist
depending upon each other by the force created by the relation known as Aµµamaµµapaccaya.
as the originating ground of the generated material qualities.
is the name of sensitive material qualitites, generated by the four basic
material elements. It refers to the five sense-organs, namely; Cakkhu
(eye), Sota (ear), Gh”øa
(nose), Jivh” (tongue) and K”ya
(body). Each one of them is a sensitive material quality, functioning as
reflecting the object which appear in their respective ranges (ap”tha).
They also serve as the base (vatthu)
of the five viµµ”øas.
should be clarified here the five sense-organs, as referred to above, do
not signify the perceptible organs. They refer to the sensitive part of
each of them. It means that each sense-organ should be understood in its
two forms; the perceptible form (Sasambh”ra-r£pa) and sensitive form (pas”da-r£pa). The
external form is the manifested mode of appearance (santth”na) and within it, there is the sensitive part, known as the
Pas”da-r£pa. Such Pas”da-r£pa
are the six senses.
instance, the perceptible eye-ball, eye-brow, etc. are not the eye but the
sensitive part which is within, in the centre of the retina, which enables
one to see the visible objects, is the cakkhu-pas”da,
the real eye. It is a type of sensitive material energy which has the
capacity of reflecting the object, may meaningfully be called Dassana-samatthat”.
Similarly the ear is the sota-pas”da,
having potentiality to hear the audible objects (savana-samatthat”); nose is the gh”na-pas”da,
to smell the odorous objects; (gh”yana-samatthat”);
tongue is the jihv”-pas”sa to
relish the sapid objects (s”yana-samatthat”),
and the body is the k”ya-pas”da
to touch the tangible objects (phusana-samatthat”).
Each of them serves as the base of respective consciousness (viµµ”øa)
in maintaining the thought-processes
(citta-v¢thi) at different
the word gocara means a place
where there is the smooth way-faring of the senses. Technically, it stands
for the object. The material qualities which function as the object of the
senses are called Gocara-r£pa.
They are four in number namely; R£pa
(visible object), Sadda (audible
object), Gandha (odorous object)
and Rasa (sapid object). The
object of K”ya (phatabha) has been included in pa¶hav¢,
tejo and v”yo and, therefore, with a view to avoid duplications, not
included here in the present context:
object of the eye, stands for the colour and shape. It manifests as red,
blue, white, black, etc. in colour, and triangular, rectangular, square,
circular etc. in shape. It is visible (sannidassana)
and impinging (sapa¶igha).
sound. The sounds of the drum (bheri-sadda),
conches (sa“kha), song (g¢ta),
cymbals, clapping hands, of the people, of the non-human beings, of
splitting bamboos, tearing of the clothes etc. are included here. Each of
them is audible and impinging (sapa¶igha).
to odour. It includes the odours of roots, barks, vegitables, fish, shell
fish, stale butter, flowers, fruits etc. It appears as desirable smell (sugandha)
or undesirable smell (dugandha).
All the odours have the characteristic of striking the sense of smell.
Rasa is the
taste. It includes all the various types of tastes like sour, sweet,
bitter, pungent, alkaline, acid etc. They have the characteristics of
striking the tongue.
expresses the sense of the material qualities of sex. It is
of two types, namely; femininity (itthindriya)
and masculinity (purisindriya).
It is due to these two types of material qualities, the distinction
between the physical structure of a male and that of a female is marked.
With the presence of itthindriya,
there is a different type of development in the body of a woman. She is
markedly different from a man in respect of her appearance, occupation,
deportment and other feminine conditions. She is in possession of
different types of physical properties which distinguish her from those of
a man. It is not the object of visual cognition alone but can be
understood by mind-cognition also. It has the characteristic of knowing
the state of a woman, the function of showing 'this is woman', and the
manifestation is the cause of femininity in feature, mark, occupation as
well as deportment.
the purisindriya (masculinity)
is a material quality due to which there is a different type of physical
development of the body of a man. In generic sense, masculine features,
mark, occupation, deportment etc. should be understood as the opposite of
the feminine. The shape of the hands, feet, neck, breast etc. of a man is
unlike the shape of those of a woman. It is also not the object of mere
vision. It can be understood through mind alone. Expressing the state of a
man, is its charactersitic, and showing 'this is a man' is its function.
Its manifestation is the cause of masculinity in features, mark,
occupation, deportment etc.
is the name of the base of consciousness, technically called hadaya-vatthu.
Like the base of functioning of other senses, the base of mind has also
been indicated through it. It is said that at the time of Pa¶isandhi
(birth) of a human being, the viµµ”øa
enters into the womb of a mother. Simultaneously, there is the appearance
of the hadaya-vatthu as a
material base, on which the conscious stream rests. It is very small in
size, perhaps, the subtlest particle of material qualities.
is the name of vitality or the life-force of material qualities, J¢vitindriya
by its name. A material form remains sound, compact, solid etc., due to
its presence. A thing becomes old because of relative loss of j¢vitindriya.
The body of a man receives expressions like young, adult, old, extremely
broken due to relative appearance and disappearance of this force. Here
the term j¢vita is qualified by
indriya because it exercises
dominating influence over other co-existing material qualities in
vivifying them from the moment of patisandhi.
literally means the food material qualities. In technical sense, it refers
to the nourishing quality or the nutritive essence which sustains the
body. In generic sense, it is the name of the Kabal¢k”ra-”h”ra
or the gross food that one takes morsel by morsel. They are the rice (odana),
curry (kumm”sa), fish (maccha),
meat (mansa), gram powder (sattu)
is the name of Ėk”sa-dh”tu
or space-material quality. Here it should be understood that ”v”sa
has been included in the mah”bh£tas
in some of the systems of Indian philosophy. They are commonly known as paµca
mah”bh£ta. In the Buddhist system, it is a generated material
quality, basically dependent on the four mah”bh£tas.
The reason is obvious that it has relative existence.
means space which provides place for existence of other material
qualities. Thus the space-element is that which is not 'scratched', 'not
scratched off', not possible to break or cut. At the same time, it takes
shape according to the existence of the material qualities. It has the
characteristic of delimiting material objects. Its function is the showing
of their boundaries and the manifestation is marked as showing their
is the name of intimating material qualities. It is through this medium
that an idea is intimated, conveyed and understood by others. It is done
by actions and speech. Accordingly, the intimation through the physical
actions is k”ya-viµµatti and
that through the speech is vac¢-viµµatti.
To be more clear, it may be said that each physical as well as the vocal
action has the peculiarity of its own, and such peculiarity, distinguishes
one action from the other. For instance, sitting has its own peculiarity
due to which it is sitting and it is not understood, as standing, running,
etc. Similarly, standing, running, lying down have their own peculiarities
existing with each of them and due to which one is distinguished from the
other. Such peculiarities, associated with physical actions are
collectively called k”ya-viµµatti or physical intimation. As regards the vocal
actions, it is marked in day-to-day life, like teaching, singing,
rebuking, crying etc. which are distinct from one another. These distinct
actions associated with vocal action are v”ci-viµµatti.
Thus it may be stated that the "intimating material quality is that
due to which an idea related to a particular action is rightly
communicated and understood by others with full background of awareness of
various types of physical and vocal actions".
It means the material qualities of changing modes in material elements. They are of three types, namely; lightness (lahut”), mildness (mudut”) and adaptability (kammaµµat”) associated with material qualities. On experiential base, the lightness existing with the physical body is lahut”, mildness existing with it is mudut”, and the adaptability of the body towards the action in the moment is kammaµµat”. In absence of lahut”, one feels heaviness in discharging the physical performances. In absence of mudut” there is disinterestedness and in the state of non-presence of kammaµµat”, there is no lively leaning towards the activities to be performed in a particular unit of time. The three material qualities are experienced with body within and also may be understood with reference to the material surroundings.
is material quality or rather the natural characteristics of material
elements in general, manifesting in four ways as upacaya
(coming into being), santati
(continuity), jarat” (decay)
and aniccat” (destruction). It
is seen that a thing comes to exist, it continues, gradually starts
growing old and in the end suffers destruction. A seed comes to be a
sprout, continues to exist as a plant, gradually starts decaying and in
one fine moment turns into the dust particles. The coming into being,
existing, decaying and finally destroying are the natural characteristics
of things existing within and without. Because of their such a nature,
they are called lakkhana-r£pa.
this way, the four mah”bh£tas
and the twenty-four types of the up”d”-r£pas
have briefly been presented. Collectively they are called r£pa or the bh£ta in
early Buddhist tradition.
Buddhist philosophy does not believe in a Creating
Agency as the first in the beginning of creation. It proceeds with the
statement that the beginning of the sans”ra
is not known. It is not known whether it started during the reign of such
and such a king, in the s”sana
of such and such a Buddha - anamataggo,
aya]m saĘs”ro, purim”ko¶i assa na paµµ”yati. Nevertheless the
processes of sans”ra is an
ongoing one. If it is so, then there should be some Law
governing it. As answer to
this, it may be said that there is Law
of Dependent Origination (Paticca-samupp”da)taking
care of the systematic revolving of the Sa]ms”ra
with the help of twelve links, known as nid”nas.
The coming into existence of n”ma
and r£pa has meaningfully been
the process of explaining the generation of the material elements, a set
of four factors are systematically at work. They are kamma,
citta, utu and ”h”ra.
first factor is kamma. It refers
to the resultants of the moral and immoral actions done in the past. Here
the action should be understood in the sense of consciousness. There are
the twenty-five types of consciousness of the k”m”vac”ra and r£p”vac”ra
spheres. They are the twelve types of kamavacara
- immoral consciousness, eight types of
k”m”vac”ra - moral consciousness and five types of r£p”vac”ra - moral consciousness. They arise in different units
of time in our practical life and we exp[ress as performance of moral and
immoral actions. These twenty-five types of consciousness yield their
resultants. Such resultants are technically called kamma.
It has its bearing in generating the material elements. The process of
generation starts from the moment of the beginning of life known as pa¶isandhi.
second factor is citta or
consciousness. It refers to the seventy-five types of consciousness as - k”m”vac”ra-akusala-citta
(12), ahetuka-citta (8), k”m”vacara-sahehana-citta (24), r£p”vac”ra-sobhana-citta
(15), ar£p”vac”ra-sobhana citta
(8). They start generating material elements from the moment of beginning
of the life process of the life of the being. The moment of starting the
process is called bhava“ga.
is the third generating factor. It means weather. It manifests as hot or
cold - and effects the material elements accordingly. Its heating or
cooling effect starts from the moment the being comes into existence and
being experienced accordingly in the process of life.
fourth factor in this
context is ”h”ra. The
literal meaning of the term is food. In a generic sense, it refers to the
food taken by one in morsels. But it also signifies of the nutritive
quality of food. It has its effect on the body, internally and externally,
from the moment one starts taking food.
four factors are the four types of generating forces
acting continuously with the life of beings as well as with the
things associated with the life-process remaining within or without. They
function individually or in association. Some material elements are
generated by one particular factor and some are generated with their
collective efforts. It may be illustrated firstly as which types of
material elements are generated by which types of generating forces and
secondly as which type of generating factor individually or collectively
generates which types of material elements.
the former case, it is stated as below:
The eight types of indriya-r£pas and the hadaya-vatthu
are directly generated by kamma.
Here the five types of sensitive material elments (cakkhu, sota, gh”na, j¢hv”, and k”ya),
the two types of sex material elements (itthindriya
and purisindriya) and one type
of life-force material element (j¢vitindriya)
are the eight indriya-r£pas,
while hadaya-vatthu is the seat
of consciouseness. These nine material elements are the products of the kamma
as an individual force. It also functions in association with other forces
and produce nine more material elements. They
are the eight types of inseparable material elements (abbinibhoga-r£pa)
and one space-material elements (”k”sa-dh”tu).
Pa¶hav¢, apo, tejo, v”yo, yaøøa,
gandha, rasa, and oja are
always available as one inseparable unit and, therefore, they are called
'Inseparable material element'. These nine are the collective products.
The two type of viµµatti-r£pas, namely, k”ya-viµµatti
(physical intimation) and vac¢-viµµatti
(vocal intimation) are produced by citta
Sadda (sound) is produced
by the joint effort of citta and
The three material elements, namely, lahut”,
mudut” and kammaµµat”
are produced by the three factors, namely, citta,
utu and ”h”ra.
The eight types of abbinibhoga-r£pas
and ”k”sa-dh”tus are produced
by the combined efforts of all the four factors: kamma,
citta, utu and ”h”ra.
The four types of lakkhaøa-r£pas, namely, upasaya,
santati, jarat” and aniccat”
are not produced by any factors. The reason is obvious that
they are the nature of material elements.
this way, the twenty-eight types of material elements are produced by the
four generating factors.
analysing the generation of material elements as stated above, the role of
each generating factor may be illustrated as below:
(i) Kamma generates nine
material elements individually and nine in association with the other
factors. It makes a total of
eighteen material elements which are understood as kamma-products.
(ii) Citta generates two
material elements individually and thirteen in association with others. In this way, there are fifteen material elements which are
regarded as citta-products.
(iii) Utu has no independent
generation of material elements. It functions in association with others
and generates thirteen material elements. They are the utu-products.
Ėh”ra has also its collective but important role in generating
the material elements which are thirteen in number. It is in this way,
that the four generating factors are seen at work in producing the natural
elements in the process of existence in the fluxional nature of existence.6
to this stage, now, it seems desirable to state how the different material
elements come to be in the process of life and how they disappear when the
life-continuum comes to an end in the present state.
first moment in the present state of existence is called pa¶isandhi.
It is rather the rising of a pa¶isandhi-citta
or the birth consciousness. From the moment of its existence there starts
the function of kamma, and with
this, kammaja-r£pas appear.
second moment in this process is called bhava“ga.
It is also the rising of a consciousness which functions as preparing a
base of the present state of existence with the accumulation of the
resultants of all the past activities done by a particular being. With the
rising of this consciousness there starts the generation of material
elements by the citta.
the being has its initial physio-psychic amalgam which in common parlance
is stated as "coming into existence". From this moment there is
the generation of material elements produced by utu.
”h”raja-r£pas start coming
into being from the moment
one starts taking food and it is assimilated. The process continues till
the being exists.
is also a process of degeneration or disappearance of the material
elements when the life-process has a state of conventional cessation which
we name death. It is the rising
of a cuti-citta or death
consciousness. From the moment of its rising the process of the material
elements produced by kamma has a
stop. Thereafter, there is the cutting off between the cittaja and ”h”raja-r£pas.
The utuja-r£pas, in some form
or other, continues till the dead body exists. With gradual disappearance
of the dead body they also disappear.
1. katama]m sabbam
r£pa]m iti? catt”ro ca mah”bh£t”, catunnam ca mah”bh£t”nam up”d”ya
r£pa]m, ida]m vuccati sabba]m r£pam.
- D.S., 147.
kadambo kapparukkhoca, sirisena bhavati sattamo.
- A.S., 242.
3. bh£mi to
vitthit” y”va, brahma-lok” vidhavati,
acci, accimato loke, dayhamanamhi tejaso.
kotisatsahassekam, cakkhvala]m viteyuti,
kupitena yad” loko, salilena vinassati.
ko¶isatasahassekam, cakkavala]m vikirati,
v”yodh”tuppakopena, yad”loko vinassati.
patthaddho bhavati k”yo, da¶tho ka¶¶hamukhene va,
pa¶havidhatukopena, hoti ka¶¶hamukhe va so.
putiko bhavati k”yo, da¶¶ho putimukhene v”,
apodh”tuppakopena, hoti putimukhe va so.
santatto bhavati k”yo. da¶¶ho aggimukhena v”.
tejo-dh”tuppakopena, hoti aggimukhe va so.
sanchinnobhavati k”yo, dattho sa¶¶hamukhena v”.
v”yo-dhatuppakopena, hoti satthamukhe vaso.
- A.S., 243
4. bh£tappas”davisay”, bh”vo
j¢vitah”rar£pehi, a¶¶h”rasavidha]m tath”,
paricchedo ca viµµatti, vik”ro lakhaøamti ca,
anipphanna desa cuti, a¶¶havisa vidham bhava.
- A. San., 286.
5. D.S., 256; A.S.,
6. atth”vasa pannarasa,
terasa dvadas”ti ca,
kammacittotuk”har”ja]m honti yathakkama]m.
- A. San., 174.
©1995 Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi