or resolution, is another cetasika among the six "particulars" which arises
with cittas of the four jatis but not with every citta.
The Visuddhimagga ( XIV, 151) gives the following definition of
The act of
resolving 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 regard to the object.
The "Paramattha Manjusa"
(489), the commentary to the Visuddhimagga, states that:
" the act
of resolving should be understood as the act of being convinced about an
(I, Part IV, Chapter I, 133) give a definition similar to the one of the
(1 The Dhammasangani does not mention adhimokkha in its fist of dhammas,
but it adds:"or whatever other factors there are"(1). The Atthasalini
and the Visuddhimaga classify adhimokkha among the nine "whatsoevers"
(ye va panaka). Manasikara is also classified among the "whatsoevers".
Manasikara and adhimokkha are mentioned in the "Discourse on the Uninterrupted"
(Middle Length Saying III, no.111) . see Abhidhamma Studies by Ven.
Nyanaponika, in Chapter 4, p. 49, and in his Appendix. B.P.S. Kandy, 1976.).
Adhimokkha is not the same as what we usually mean by the words " determination"
and "decision" in conventional language. In order to understand the characteristic
of adhimokkha we should know which types of citta it accompanies.
Since adhimokkha is one of the "particulars" it accompanies cittas of the
four jartis and thus it can be kusala, akusala, vipaka or kiriya as we
have seen, the "particulars" do not arise with every citta. Adhimokkha
does not accompany the dvi-pacavinnas (sense-cognitions) which are accompanied
only by the "universals", not by other types of cetasikas. Seeing-consciousness,
for example, arises at the eye-base and sees visible object. It does not
need, apart from the seven "universals", adhimokkha or any other cetasika
in order to see visible object.
Adhimokkha does not arise either with the type of moha-mula-citta (citta
rooted in ignorance) which is accompanied bv doubt (vicikiccha).
When there is doubt there cannot be at the same time the cetasika adhimokkha
which "does not grope" and is "convinced" about the object.
Adhimokkha accompanies all cittas other than the afore-mentioned cittas.
It arises in the sense-door process as well as in the mind-door process.
Adhimokkha is one among the cetasikas which assist citta in cognizing its
object. Adhimokkha also accompanies the cittas which do not arise in a
process: the patisandhi-citta, the bhavanga-citta and the cuti-citta. It
is "convinced" about the object these cittas experience.
When we hear the word "decision" or"determination", we usually associate
this word with a decision we have to consider carefully. We may not have
expected adhimokkha to arise in a sense-door process, but, as we have seen,
it arises in sense-door processes as well as in mind-door processes and
it assists the citta in cogizing the object.
Adhimokkha which accompanies akusala citta is determination which is akusala.
When one, for example, speaks harshly or hits someone else, there is akusala
adhimokkha which is convinced about the object of aversion. Adhimokkha
which accompanies kusala citta is determination which is kusala. When one,
for example, decides with kusala citta to study the Dhamma, kusala adhimokkha
accompanies the kusala citta. However, at such a moment there are also
many other wholesome cetasikas accompanying the kusala citta and adhimokkha
is only one of them. It is difficult to know exactly what adhimokkha is.
There is, for example, kusala cetana which "wills" kusala, there is non-attachment,
alobha, and there are many other cetasikas which each have their own task
in assisting the citta to perform its function. They all take part in "deciding"
to study the Dhamma.
When one develops calm there is adhimokkha which is determined, sure about
the object, which is in this case an object of samatha. When jhana is attained
adhimokkha accompanies the jhana-citta and it performs its function of
being determined as to the object of absorption.
When one develops right understanding of nama and rupa there is adhimokkha
accompanying the kusala citta. We may believe that we can decide to make
sati arise, but there is no self who can decide this. When
there are the appropriate conditions for sati and panna they arise and
then there is also adhimokkha which performs its function while it accompanies
the kusala citta. When one begins to develop right understanding of nama
and rupa, there will be doubt as to their different characteristics. When
there is doubt adhimokkha does not arise. When there is right mindfulness
of the nama or rupa which appears, adhimokkha performs its function of
being "convinced", sure about the object.
Adhimokkha which accompanies lokuttara citta is "convinced", sure about
the object which is nibbana.
Adhimokkha is not self; it is sankhara dhamma, a conditioned dhatnrna which
arises and falls away with the citta it accompanies. It performs its function
only while it is accompanying the citta and then it falls away together
with the citta. If the next citta is accompanied by adhimokkha it is another
adhimokkha and this falls away again. "
Since adhimokkha arises with all cittas except the ten panca-vinnanas and
the type of moha-mula-citta which is accompanied by doubt, it arises with
seventy-eight cittas in all (1 When cittas are counted as 89. Cittas Can
be counted as 89 or 121. Wren they are counted as 121 the lokuttara jhanacittas
accompanied by jhana-factors of the five stages of jhana are included.).
Viriya, energy or effort, is another cetasiika among the "particulars"
which arises with cittas of the four jatis but not with every citta. The
( XIV, 137) states concerning viriya :
is the state of one who, is vigorous (vira). Its characteristic is marshalling
(driving). Its finction is to consolidate conascent states (the accompanying
citta and cetasikas). It is manifested as non-collapse. Because of the
words "Bestirred, he strives wisely" (Gradual Saying II. I l5),
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.
Viriya which is
the root of all attainments is right effort, viriya accompanying kusala
citta. Since viriya accompanies cittas of the four jatis, there is also
akusala viriya, viriya accompanying vipakacitta and viriya accompanying
The Atthasalini (I, Pan IV, Chapter1, 120, 121) gives a definition
of viriya which is similar to the one given by the Visuddhimagga.
Apart from this definition it gives first another one and here it deals
with viriya under the aspect of "controlIing faculty" or indriya.
The Pali term "indriya" means "governing or ruling principle". When kusala
viriya has been developed it becomes a "controlling faculty". The controlling
faculty of viriya "controls" or inhibits laziness, a defilement opposed
to energy (1 See Dhammasangani 13, and for explanation: Atthasalini,
Part IV, Chaprer 2, 146. There are five indriyas which should be developed
together. They are the "spiritual faculties" which are the following wholesome
qualities: Saddha (confidence), viriya, sati, samadhi (concentration) and
panna. These facultes control or overcome the defilements which are their
opposites. When indriya have been developed to the degree that they are
"unshakable", they are "powers" or "strengths", balas. Powers cannot be
shaken by the defilements which are their opposites.). We read in the Atthaslini:
From its overcoming
idleness it is a controlling faculty in the sense of predominance ...lts
characteristic is strengthening, and grasp or support. As an old house
stands when strengthened by new pillars, so the aspirant (meditator), when
strengthened by energy, does not fall off or deteriorate as to moral states.
Thus should the characteristic of strengthening be understood...
then uses a simile of a small army which, if it goes to battle, might be
repulsed. However, when they are supported by a strong reinforcement sent
by the king, they can defeat the hostile army. We read:
... thus energy
does not allow associated states to recede, to retreat; it uplifts, support
them. Hence it has been said that energy has the characteristic of supporting.
The word 'energy' as it
is used in conventional language does not render the precise meaning of
viriya. When we for example say that we are full of energy, what do we
mean? Energy for what? Is it energy accompanying akusala citta or energy
accompanying kusala citta? Besides, there are also vipakacittas and
kiriyacittas which are accompanied by viriya, We are inclined to take energy
for self, but energy is sankhara dhamma, a conditioned dhamma. Energy is
conditioned by the citta and the other cetasikas it accompanies and thus
there is a different kind of energy with different dttas. In order to have
more understanding about viriya we should study which types of cittas it
Viriya accompanies all akusala cittas and all sobhana cittas (1 Sobhana
cittas, beautiful citta, are cittas accompanied by sobhana cetasikas. They
include not only kusala cittas but also vipakacittas accompanied by sobhana
cetasikas and kiriyacittas [of the arahat] accompanied by sabhana cetasikas.
The sobhana cittas of the sense-sphere, kamavacara sobhana cittas, are:
maha-kusala. cittas, maha-vipakacittas and maha-kiriyacittas. "Maha" means:
"great sobhana cittas also include jhanacittas and lokutrara cittas. (2
For details see Appendix 4.) (including jhanacittas and lokuttara cittas),
but it does not arise with all vipakacittas and with all kiriyacittas.
Viriya does not accompany the dvi-panca-vinnanas, the sense-cognitions.
Seeing or hearing do not need viriya in order to experience their object.
The mind-door adverting-consciousness, mano-dvaravajjana-citta and the
hasituppada-citta which causes smiling in the case of arahats are the
only ahetuka cittas (rootless cittas) which are accompanied by viriya.
We read in the Visuddhimagga that the function of viriya is to consolidate
conascent states. Viriya strengthens, supports the citta and the other
cetasikas it accompanies so that they can carry out their work and do not
Viriya accompanies every kusaIa citta and it supports the citta and accompanying
cetasikas so that they can carry out their work in a whoIesome way. When
there is loving kindness, it is strengthened and supported by kusala viriya.
If there were no viriya accompanying the kusala citta, no kusala could
be performed. Also when the citta is akusala citta, viriya accompanies
the citta and the cetasikas so that they can carry out their work in the
unwholesome way, Viriya accompanies every akusala citta. When there is
anger, dosa, it is strengthened and supported by viriya. Viriya which accompanies
akusala citta is wrong effort and viriya which accompanies kusala citta
is right effort.
Kusala viriya can be energy for dana, for sila, for samatha or for vipassana.
It depends on conditions which type of kusala arises at a particular moment.
If one wants, for example, to subdue defilements through the development
of calm and one knows how to develop calm, there is energy and perseverance
with the development of calm. If one's goal is knowing realities as they
are there are conditions for energy for vipassana. This kind of energy
or effort arises together with the citta which is mindful of a nama or
rupa appearing now, at this moment. Right effort arises because of its
own conditions; there is no self who can exert himself. When we have a
notion of self who has to make an effort to be aware, there is wrong effort
instead of right effort. Right effort is a conditioned dhamma, sankhara
dhamma, which arises because of its own conditions. It does not last, it
falls away immediately with the citta it accompanies and then wrong effort
As we read in the definition of the Visuddhimagga, the proximate
cause of viriya is "a sense of urgency or grounds for the initiation of
energy'. Birth, old age and death can remind us of the urgency to develop
right understanding which eventually will lead to freedom from the cycle
of birth and death. When we are "urged" to be mindful of realities, there
is no self who makes an effort to be mindful. Bight effort which is a reality
arising because of its own conditions strengthens and supports the citta
with mindfulness. There is energy, courage and perseverance to develop
the eightfold Path since this is the only way leading to the end of dukkha.
The Visuddhimagga and the Atthasalini, when they mention
that the proximate cause of viriya is a sense of urgency, quote the words,
"bestirred, he strives wisely', from a sutta of the Gradual Sayings(Book
of the Fours, Chapter XII, 3, The Goad). in the sutta we read about four
kinds of horses. One horse is already stirred to activity when he sees
the shadow of the goadstick, whereas another one is not stirred by that,
but is only stirred when his coat is pricked by the goad. Another one is
stirred only when his flesh is pierced by the goad. We read about the fourth
kind of horse:
monks, we may hove a goodly thorough-bred steed, which is stirred,
feels agitation neither at the sight of the goadstick nor when his coat
is pricked, nor yet when his flesh is pierced with the goadstick but when
he is pierced to the very bone he is stirred...
We then read about four
kinds of people who are compared to these horses:
In this case,
marks, here we may have a certain goodly thorough-bred man who hears it
said that in such and such a village or township is a woman or a man afflicted
or dead. Thereat he is stirred. he feels agitation. Thus agitated he strictly
applies himself. Thus applied he both realizes in his own person the supreme
truth, and sees it by penetrating it with wisdom...
Sickness, old age and
death are realities of daily life which can remind us of the urgency to
develop right understanding, they are like a "goadstick" which can "stir"
us. They are the proximate cause of right effort, which is energy for mindfulness
of the reality appearing at the present moment.
Again, monks, here we may hove a goodly thoroughbred man who does not hear
it said that in such or such a village or township is a woman or a man
afflicted or dead, but with his own eyes sees it. Thereupon he is stirred...
Then again, monks, here we may hove a certain goodly thorough-bred man
who does not hear it said... nor yet with his own eyes sees a woman or
man articled or dead, but his own kinsman or blood-relation is afflicted
or dead. Thereupon he is stirred...
Once more, monks, here we may have a goodly thoroughbred man who neither
hears it said... nor yet with his own eyes sees... nor is his own kinsman
or blood-relation afflicted or dead, but he himself is stricken with painful
bodily feelings, grievous, sharp, racking, distracting, discomforting,
that drain the life away. Thereat he is stirred, he feels agitation. Being
so stirred he strictly applies himself. Thus applied he both realizes with
his own person the supreme truth and sees it by penetrating it with wisdom...
Viriya is the "root of aIl attainments", as we read in the definition by
the Visuddhimagga. Right effort is an indriya, controlling
faculty, which has to be developed together with the other indriyas for
the attainment of jhana and the attainment of enlightenment. As the Atthasalini
states, viriya is the indriya which "controls" or inhibits laziness. Laziness
is an obstruction to jhana and to enlightenment, Right effort can also
be seen under the aspect to path-factor and as such it is called
of the eightfold Path. Right effort has to accompany right under-standing,
samma-ditthi, of the eightfold Path in order to be a path-factor. Right
effort of the eightfold Path develops through maha-satipatthana, the "four
applications of mindfulness". When there is mindfulness of the reality
which appears at the present moment there is also right effort.
Viriya is one of the factors of enlightenment, bojhangas. The factors
of enlightenment are: mindfulness (sati), investigation of the Dhamma (dhammavicaya,
which is panna), viriya, enthusiasm (piti), calm (passaddhi), concentration
(samadhi) and equanimity (upekkha). When the enlightenment factors have
been developed they lead to the realization of the four noble Truths. The
enlightenment factors reach completion through the development of maha-satipattna
(1Kindred Sayings V, Maha-vagga, Kindred Sayings on the Limbs of
Wisdom, Chapter I, 6.).
Thus we see that there are different aspects to right effort. We read in
the scriptures about "four right endeavours" and these are aspects of right
effort. We read for example in the Middle Length Sayings (Ill, 141, the
Analysis of the Truths) that Sariputta explained to the monks the four
noble Truths. He spoke about dukkha, its origination, its cessation and
the way leading to its cessation, the eightfold Path. He explained about
right effort, one of the factors of the eightfold Path, that there are
four right endeavours:
your reverences, is right endeavour? As to this, your reverences, a monk
generates desire, endeavours, stirs up energy. exerts his mind and strives
for the non-arising of evil unskilled states that have not arisen... for
the getting rid of evil unskilled states that have arisen... for the arising
of skilled states that have not arisen... for the maintenance, preservation,
increase, maturity, development and completion of skilled states that have
arisen. This, your reverences, is called right endeavour.
When there is mindfulness
of visible object which appears now, seeing which appears now, sound which
appears now, hearing which appears now, or any other reality which appears
now, right undetstand of the eightfold Path is being developed and this
is the most effective way to avoid akusala, to overcome it, to make kusala
arise and to maintain kusala and bring it to perfection. At the moment
of right mindfulness right effort performs its task of strengthening the
kusala citta so that there is perseverance with the development of the