THE FUNCTION OF JAVANA
When we see,
hear, smell, taste, experience an object through the body-sense or through the mind-door,
there is not only one citta experiencing the object through the appropriate doorway, but a
series or process of cittas. A rupa which impinges on one of the senses is experienced by
a series of cittas. When that sense-door process is over, the object is experienced by
cittas through the mind-door. Sense-door processes and mind-door processes arise and fall
We may not know that both in a sense-door process and in a
mind-door process there are akusala cittas or kusala cittas arising. Because of our
accumulated ignorance we do not clearly know our akusala cittas and kusala cittas and we
do not recognize our more subtle defilements.
In a sense-door process the object is experienced first by
cittas which are not kusala cittas or akusala cittas ; it is experienced by kiriyacittas
and by vipakacittas. The sense-door-adverting-consciousness (panca- dvaravajjana-citta) is
an ahetuka kiriyacitta (a kiriya-citta without beautiful roots or unwholesome roots). It
is succeeded by one of the dvi-panca-vinnanas (the five pairs, which are :
seeing-consciousness, hearing-consciousness etc.) and this citta is ahetuka vipaka. Then
there are two more ahetuka vipakacittas : the sampatic-chana-citta which receives the
object and the santirana-citta which investigates the object. The santirana-citta is
succeeded by the votthapana-citta (determining-consciousness) which is an ahetuka
kiriyacitta. The votthapana-citta determines the object and is then succeeded by kusala
cittas or by akusala cittas. In the case of those who are arahats there are no kusala
cittas or akusala cittas succeeding the votthapana-citta but kiriyacittas. When the cittas
of the sense-door process have fallen away, cittas of the mind-door process experience the
object. First there are bhavanga-cittas and then the mano- dvaravajjana- citta arises
which has the function of adverting to the object through the mind-door. The mano-
dvaravajjana-citta is succeeded by kusala cittas or by akusala cittas in the case of those
who are not arahats. The mano-dvaravajjana-citta is not kusala or akusala, it is an
Since cittas arise and fall away very rapidly it is hard
to know the different cittas which arise. Often we might not even know when we have kusala
cittas or akusala cittas. For example, after there has been seeing we may not realize when
there is attachment to the object, when there is aversion towards it, or when there is
ignorance of realities. If we study the Dhamma we will learn about our more subtle
defilements. Ignorance of our akusala cittas is dangerous. If we do not realize when we
have akusala cittas we will continue accumulating akusala.
The kusala cittas or akusala cittas which arise perform a
function ; they perform the function of javana or 'running through the object'. In the
sense-door process the votthapana-citta has determined the object already when the
javana-cittas arise and in the mind-door process the mano-dvaravajjana-citta has adverted
to the object already when the javana-cittas arise. Thus, the kusala cittas or akusala
cittas which follow have as their only function to 'run through' the object. Usually there
are seven cittas in succession which perform the function of javana. If the first
javana-citta is kusala, the succeeding six cittas are also kusala cittas ; if the first
javana-citta is akusala, the succeeding six cittas are also akusala cittas. Do we realize
it when javana-cittas are cittas rooted in lobha, dosa or moha, or when they are kusala
cittas? We are ignorant most of the time, even of javana-cittas.
There are fifty-five kinds of citta which can perform the
function of javana. Twelve akusala cittas (eight lobha-mula-cittas, two dosa-mula-cittas
and two moha-mula-cittas), eight kamavacara kusala cittas, which are called maha-kusala
cittas (Kamavacara cittas are cittas which are of the sensuous plane of consciousness, not
jhanacittas or lokuttara cittas.), eight maha-kiriyacittas of the arahat (kiriyacittas
which are not ahetuka, but accompanied by sobhana hetus). The arahat has maha-kiriyacittas
instead of maha-kusala cittas since he does not accumulate any more kamma.
Maha-kiriyacittas are of the sensuous plane of consciousness; they are not jhanacittas or
lokuttara cittas. Arahats also have kamavacara citta ; they see, hear or think of objects
experienced through the senses. However, on account of what is experienced no kusala
cittas or akusala cittas arise.
For the arahat there is also an ahetuka kiriyacitta
performing the function of javana, which may arise when he smiles : the hasituppada-citta
Those who attain rupa-jhana (fine material jhana) can have
five types of rupavacara kusala cittas performing the function of javana, since there are
five stages of rupa-jhana. Arahats who attain rupa-jhana can have five types of rupavacara
kiriyacittas which perform the function of javana.
For those who attain arupa-jhana (immaterial jhana) there
can be four types of arupavacara kusala cittas performing the function of javana, since
there are four stages of arupa-jhana Arahats who attain arupa-jhana can have four types of
Arupavacara kiriyacittas performing the function of javana.
Those who directly experience nibbana have lokuttara
cittas. There are eight lokuttara cittas, four of which are magga-cittas
('path-consciousness', 'magga' means path) and four of which are lokuttara vipakacittas,
called phala-cittas (' fruit-consciousness', 'phala' means fruit. There are four pairs of
lokuttara cittas since there are four stages of enlightenment). Vipakacittas of other of
consciousness cannot perform the function of javana, the function of javana. Thus, all
eight lokuttara cittas perform the function of javana. Summarising the fifty-five cittas
which can perform the function of javana.
[colectively known as 12 akusala cittas]
8 lobha-mula-cittas (cittas rooted in attachment)
2 dosa-mula-cittas (cittas rooted in aversion)
2 moha-mula-citta (citta rooted in ignorance)
8 maha-kusala cittas (kamavacara kusala cittas)
1 hasituppada-citta (ahetuka kiriyacitta which may arise
when the arahat smiles)
5 rupavacara kusala cittas (rupa-jhanacittas)
5 rupavacara kiriyacittas (rupa-jhanacittas of the arahat)
4 arupavacara kusala cittas (arupa-jhanacittas)
4 arupavacara kiriyacittas (arupa-jhanacittas of the arahat)
[colectively known as 8 lokuttara cittas]
4 magga-cittas (lokuttara kusala cittas)
4 phala-cittas (lokuttara vipakacittas)
It is useful to know that when akusala cittas arise on
account of an object, there arise not just one, but seven akusala cittas in one process
and this process of cittas can be followed by other processes with akusala javana-cittas.
Each time we dislike something there are processes of cittas which experience the object,
and in each of these processes there are seven akusala javana-cittas. Many akusala cittas
may arise on account of something we dislike or are attached to.
There is no self who can prevent akusala cittas from
arising ; when they arise in the sense-door process the votthapana-citta has determined
the object already, and when they arise in the mind-door process the
mano-dvaravajjana-citta has adverted to the object already. When the first javana-citta
has arisen it has to be succeeded by the following javana-cittas. The first javana-citta
conditions the second one and this again the following one ; the third, the fourth, the
fifth, the sixth javana-cittas are the same.
Processes with kusala javana-cittas and processes with
akusala javana-cittas can arise shortly one after the other. For instance, people have the
intention to offer food to the monks. However, when one has bought the ingredients for the
food one is going to offer, one may find the cost rather high. At that moment there may be
cittas with stinginess and then the javana-cittas are akusala cittas. Thus we see that
accumulated defilement can appear at any time when there are conditions, even if one has
the intention to do a good deed.
It is during the time of the javana-cittas that we
accumulate wholesomeness or unwholesomeness. It is not possible to control javana-cittas,
but knowing the conditions for wholesomeness will help us to have fewer akusala cittas.
The Buddha, out of compassion, taught people the way to
have less akusala. He encouraged them to perform all kinds of kusala, no matter whether it
is dana (generosity) sila (morality) or bhavana (mental development). He taught the
development of the wisdom which can eradicate all kinds of akusala. There are different
degrees of panna. If panna merely knows what is kusala and what is akusala, it is not of
the degree that it can eradicate akusala. When panna has not been developed to the degree
of 'insight-wisdom', there is still a concept of self who cultivates wholesomeness and
abstains from ill deeds. When there is the concept of self, defilements cannot be
The person who is not an ariyan may be able to observe the
five precepts, but there is a difference between him and the ariyan who observes them. The
non-ariyan may transgress them when there are conditions for it while for the ariyan there
aren't any more conditions for transgressing them. Moreover, the ariyan who observes sila
does not take the observing of sila for self any more, since he has eradicated the latent
tendency towards wrong view. Thus his sila is purer. He is on the way leading to the
eradication of all defilements.
When we are not mindful of realities, we take the objects
we experience for self. When panna realizes the objects which are experienced as nama and
rupa, elements which do not last, there is less opportunity for akusala javana-cittas.
In the 'Visuddhimagga' (I, 55) we read about the 'Elder'
...It seems that as the Elder was on his way
Cetiya-pabbata to Anuradhapura for alms, a certain daughter-in-law of a clan, who had
quarrelled with her husband and had set out early from Anuradhapura all dressed up and
tricked out like a celestial nymph to go to her relatives' home, saw him on the road, and
being low-minded, she laughed a loud laugh. (Wondering) 'What is that?", the Elder
looked up, and finding in the bones of her teeth the perception of foulness, he reached
Arahantship. Hence it was said : 'He saw the bones that were her teeth, And kept in mind
his first perception ; And standing on that very spot, The Elder became an Arahant.' But
her husband who was going after her saw the Elder and asked 'Venerable sir, did you by any
chance see a woman?' The Elder told him : 'Whether it was a man or woman That went by I
noticed not ; But only that on this high road There goes a group of bones.'
Maha-Tissa was not absorbed in the object he experience,
nor entranced by the details. He realized when he perceived the woman's teeth the
'foulness of the body' and he did not take what he perceived for 'self'. The perception of
the 'foulness of the body' reminds us not to see the self in the body, but to realize
bodily phenomena as rupas which do not stay. Maha-Tissa saw things as they are ; the panna
arising at that moment was to the degree that it could eradicate all defilements.
There are countless javana-cittas in a day with lobha,
dosa and moha, and therefore we should not be heedless, but we should be as mindful as we
are able to. We read in the 'Kindred Sayings' (IV, Salayatana-vagga, Kindred Sayings on
Sense, Second Fifty, par. 97, Dwelling heedless) :
At Savatthi was the occasion (of this discourse)...
'I will teach you, monks, of the one who dwells heedless,
and of the one who dwells earnest. Do you listen to it.
And how, monks, does one dwell heedless?
In him, monks, who dwells with the faculty of sight
uncontrolled, the heart is corrupted by objects cognizable by the eye. In him whose heart
is corrupted there is no delight. Without delight there is no joy. Where joy is not, there
is no calm. Without calm one dwells in sorrow. The sorrowful man's heart is not composed.
When the heart is not composed, one has not clear ideas. Through not having clear ideas he
is reckoned as one who dwells heedless. (And it is the same with regard to the faculties
of taste, touch and mind).
And how, monks, does one dwell in earnest?
In him, monks, who dwells with the faculty of sight
controlled the heart is not corrupted by objects cognizable by the eye. In him whose heart
is not corrupted delight is born. In one delighted joy is born. When one is joyful the
body is calmed. He whose body is calmed feels at ease. Composed is the heart of him who is
at ease. When the heart is composed one's ideas are clear. Through having clear ideas one
is reckoned as one who dwells earnest. (And it is the same with regard to the faculty of
taste, touch and mind.)
Thus, monks, is one a dweller in earnestness.'
1. Are there for the arahat only lokuttara cittas
performing the function of javana, or can he also have kamavacara cittas (cittas of the
sensuous plane) performing the function of javana?
2. Are there vipakacittas which can perform the function of javana?
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