or vitality) and manasikara (attention) are two other cetasikas among the
seven universals which arise with every citta. As regards jivitindriya,
(1 Jivitam means "life", and indriya means "controlling faculty".) this
cetasika sustains the life of the citta and cetasikas it accompanies. According
to the Atthasalini (part IV, Chapter I, 123, 124) (2 See also Dhammasangani19.)
the characteristic of jivitindriya is "ceaseless watching", its function
is to maintain the life of the accompanying dhammas, its manifestation
the establishment of them, and the proximate cause are the dhamas which
have to be sustained.
The function of jivitindriya
is to maintain the life of citta and its accompanying cetasikas. It keeps
them going until they fall away. Since jivitindriya arises and falls away
together with the citta, it performs its function only for a very short
while. Each moment of citta consists actually of three exttemely short
moment ( uppada khana)
Jivitindriya arises with
the citta at the arising moment and it maintains the life of citta and
the accompanying cetasikas, but it cannot make them stay beyond the dissolution
moment; then jivitindriya has to fall away together with the citta and
the accompanying cetasikas. The Atthasalini states concening jivitindriya:
the moment of its
presence, or static moment (tithi khana)
the dissolution moment
(bhanga khana ).
over those states (the accompanying dhammas) only in the moment of (their
and its) existence, as water over lotuses, etc. And although it watches
over them, arisen as its own property, as a nurse aver the infant, life
goes on only by being bound up with these states (accompanying dhammas)
that have gone on, as the pilot on the boat. Beyond the dissolution mornent
it does not go on, owing to the non-being both of itself and of the states
which should have been kept going. At the dissolution moment it does not
maintain them, owing to its own destruction, as the spent oil in the wick
cannot maintain the flame of the lamp. Its effective power is as its duration.
Citta and cetasikas cannot
arise without jivitindriya which maintains their lives and jivitindriya
cannot arise without citta and the accompanying cetasikas. When, for example,
seeing arises, jivitindriya must accompany seeing. Seeing needs jivitindriya
in order to subsist during the very short period of its life. When seeing
falls away jivitindriya also falls away. Then another citta arises and
this citta is accompanied by another jivitindriya which sustains citta
and the accompanying cetasikas during that very short moment of their existence.
Jivitindriya has to arise with every citta in order to vitalize citta and
its accompanying cetasikas.
The cetasika jivitindriya which vitalizes the accompanying nama-dhamrnas
is nana. There is also jivitindriya which is rupa.( 1 See Vsuddhimagga
XIV, 59). Rupa-jivitindriya is a kind of rupa produced by kamma and it
maintains the life of the other rupas it arises together with. Ropas arise
and fall away in groups, some of which are produced by kamma, some by citta,
some by nutrition and some by temperature. Jivitindriya is part of only
the groups or rupa which are produced by kamma. It maintains the life of
the rupas it accompanies and then it falls away together with them.
We used to take life for something which lasts. we cling to life and we
take it for'mine' and 'self'. However, there is no physical life nor mental
life which lasts. life-faculty is sakhara dhamma, conditioned dhamma, which
does not stay and which is not self. The study of the reality of jivitindriya
can remind us that life lasts only for a moment and then falls away to
be succeeded by a next moment.
Manasikara, attention, is another cetasika among the universals which arises
with every citta. (2 There are aIso two kinds of citta which are called
manasikara (Atthasalini 133 and Visusshimagga XIV, 152).
One kind of citta which b manasikara is the panca-dvaravajana-citta (five-sense-door
adverting-consciousness). The first citta of the 'sense-door process',
which adverts to the object; it is called 'controller of the sense-door
process'. The other kind of citta which manasikara is the mano-dvara-vajana-citta
(mind-door adverting-consciousness) which adverts to the object through
the mind-door and is succeeded by the javana cittas. It is called 'controller
of the javanas'.) The Atthaslini (I, Part IV, Chapter 1,133 which
defines manasikara in the same wording as the Visuddhimagga (XIV,
152) states concerning the catasika which is Manasikara:
the characteristic of driving associated states towards the object. the
function of joining (yoking associated notes to the object, the manifestation
of facing the object. It is included in the sankharakkhandha, and should
be regarded as the charioteer of associated states because it regulates
The (XN, 152) adds that
the proximate cause of manasikara is an object.
The cetasika manasikara which can be translated as attention is the 'controller
of the object' because it turns the citta towards the object. However,
also at the moments we are, as we call it in conventional language, 'distracted'
and we think that we are without attention, there is still manasikara with
the citta since it accompanies every citta. Also when there is moha-mula-citta
accompanied by uddhacca (restlessness), citta cognizes an object; manasikara
accompanies the citta and 'joins' citta and the other cetasikas to that
object. Every citta needs manasikara in order to cognize an object.
There is citta at this moment and thus there must also be manasikara. Manasikara
is different from phassa which contacts the object so that citta can experience
it, and it is different from ekaggata cetasika which focuses on one object.
Manasikara has its own task while it assists the citta in cognizing the
object. Manasikara has attention to whatever object presents itself through
one of the six doors and it 'joins' citta and the accompanying cetasikas
to that object.
Manasikira is different
according as it arises with different types of citta. When, for example,
seeing arises, it is accompanied by Mamasikara which joins seeing and the
accompanying cetasikas to visible object. Seeing is vipaka and thus manasikara
is also vipika Shortly after the seeing there can be attention to the shape
and form of something and then the object is not visible object but a concept,
At that moment there is another type of citta acocmpanied by another manasikara,
At each moment manasiktra is different When there is lobha-mula-citta,
akusala citta rooted in attachrnent, manasiklra which accompanies lobha-mirla-citta
is also alrusala. When there is kusala citta the manasikara which accompanies
the kusala circa is also kusala.
When manasikara accompanies a citta which cultivates samatha, it'joins'
citta and the other cetasikas to the meditation subject, such as a corpse
or the Buddha's virtues. When the citta is rupavacara kusala citta, the
accompanying manasikara is also rupavacara; it is different from manasikara
which is kamvacara (belonging to the sense sphere). Rupavacara citta experiences
the meditation subject with absorption and the accompanying manasikara
'joins' citta and the accompanying cetasikas to that object. The manasikara
which accompanies arupavacara citta is still more tranquil and more refined
than the manasikara which accompanies rupavacara citta. When manasikara
accompanies the citta which develops vipassana, right understanding of
nama and rupa, there is attention towards the nama or rupa which is the
object of mindfulness at that moment; manasikara assists the citta and
joins it to that nama or rupa. When manasikara accompanies lokuttara citta,
manasikara is also lokuttara and it joins citta and the accompanying cetasikas
to the object which is nibbana.
We are likely to have a concept of self which has attention to this or
that object, but attention, manasikara, is a conditioned dhamma, it is
conditioned by the citta and the cetasikas it accompanies, it arises and
falls away together with them. At each moment there is a different citta
and thus also a different manasikara.
The seven universals have each their own specific characteristic,
function, manifestation and proximate cause and they have different qualities
as they arise with cittas of different jatis and of different planes of
consciousness. Summarizing the seven 'universals', they are:
All the 'universals' arise
with every citta and they share the same object with the citta. They are
all of the same jati as the citta they accompany and of the same plane
or consciousness. In the planes of existence where there are both nama
and rupa, cetasikas arise at the same 'base', vatthu, as the citta they
accompany and thus they may arise at the eye-base, ear-base nose-base,
tongue-base body-base or heart-base.
ekaggata ( concentration
Cetasikas never arise by themselves, they always accompany citta and other
cetasikas. Therefore, when we study cetasikas, we should also study the
different cittas they accompany.
There are other cetasikas besides the 'universals' which can arise with
the citta, but there have to be at least the seven 'universals' with every
There are ten types of cittas which ate accompanied only by the 'universals',
not by other cetasikas. These are the five pairs' (dvipancavinnana) which
are: seeing-consciousness, hearing consciousness, smelling-consciousness,
tasting-consciousness and body-consciousness. These cittas ate ahetuka
(rootless) vipakacittas which can be either kusala vipaka or akusala vipaka
and therefore, they are "five pairs".
When seeing-consciousness arises, each of the'universals' which accompanies
it performs its own function. Phassa wich accompanies seeing-consciousness
is eye-contact (cakkhu-samphassa).It contacts vsible object. When there
is eye-contact there is the coinciding of eye-base, visible object and
seeing-consciousness. Vedana, which is in this case indifferent feeling,
experiences the 'taste' of visible object. Sanna 'marks' and remembers
visible object. Cetana coordinates the tasks of the accompaning dhammas.
Since seeing-consciousness is vipakacitta, cetana merely coordinates, it
does not 'will' kusala or akusala. Ekaggata performs its function of focusing
on visible object; it does not focus on any other object. Jivitindriya
sustains citta and the accompanying cetasikas until they fall away. Manasikara
'drives' citta and the accompanying cetasikas towards visible object. Seeing-consdousness
needs the accompanying 'universals' in order to cognize Visible object;
it could not arise and cognize its object without the assistance of the
As we have seen, only the dvi-pancavinnanas are not accompanied by other
cetasikas besides the 'universals'. All the other cittas which arise in
the sense-door process and in the mind-door process and also the patisandhi-citta,
rebirth-.conciousness, the bhavanga-citta, life-continuum, and the cuti-citta,
dying-consciousness, are accompanied by other cetasikas besides the 'universals'.
The universals' have different qualities as they arise with different cittas.
For example, when kusala citta arises all the accompanying cetasikas, the
'universals' included, are kusala as well. Vedana, feeling, which accompanies
kusala citta can be pleasant feeling or indifferent feeling. Cetana, volition,
which accompanies kusala citta has a double function: it coordinates the
tasks of the accompanying dhammas and it 'wills' kusala. If it motivates
wholesome deeds it is capable of producing the appropriate result when
it is the right time for it. Thus, kusala cetana is different from cetana
which accompanies vipakacitta.
When the citta is akusala, all the accompanying cetasikas are akusala as
well. Vedana which accompanies akusala citta can be pleasant feeling (in
the case of lobha-mula-citta), unpleasant feeling (in the case of dosa-muIa-citta),
or indifferent feeling (in the case of lobha-muIa-citta and moha-muIa-citta).
As regards cetana which accompanies akusala citta, this has a double function:
it coordinates the accompanying dhammas on the object and it 'wills' akusala.
If it motivates unwholesome deeds it is capable of producing the appropriate
result when it is the right time. Ekaggata, concentration or one-pointedness,
which accompanies akusala citta is different from ekaggata which accompanies
kusala citta. Thus we see that mental phenomena which arise together condition
one another. If we have more understanding of the many different conditions
for the phenomena which arise, it will help us to see them as elements,
not as a person, a self.