THE FUNCTIONS OF TADARAMMANA AND CUTI
which impinges on one of the senses can be visible object, sound, smell, taste or an
impression through the body-sense. Each one of these objects is rupa. They arise and fall
away, but they do not fall away as rapidly as nama. Rupa lasts as long as seventeen
moments of citta. When rupa impinges on one of the senses, the panca-dvaravajjana-citta
(five-sense-door-adverting-consciousness), does not arise immediately. First there have to
be bhavanga-cittas and they are: the atita-bhavanga (past bhavanga), the bhavanga-calana
(vibrating bhavanga) and the bhavangupaccheda (arrest-bhavanga or last bhavanga-citta
before the stream of
bhavanga-cittas is arrested). These bhavanga-cittas do not experience the rupa which has
contacted one of the senses. The panca-dvaravajjana-citta, which is a kiriyacitta, adverts
to the object which has impinged on one of the senses. It is succeeded by the
dvi-panca-vinnana (seeing-consciousness, hearing-consciousness, etc. ) which is vipaka,
the result of a good deed or an ill deed. There is, however, not only one moment of vipaka
in a process, but several moments. The dvi-panca-vinnana is succeeded by
sampaticchana-citta (receiving-consciousness) which is vipaka and this citta is succeeded
by santirana-citta (investigating- consciousness) which is also vipaka. The
santirana-citta is succeeded by the votthapana-citta (determining- consciousness) which is
kiriyacitta. This citta is succeeded by seven javana-cittas which are, in the case of
non-arahats, akusala cittas or kusala cittas. All cittas, starting with the
panca-dvaravajjana-citta, experience the object which has impinged on one of the senses.
As we have seen, rupa lasts as long as seventeen moments
If the rupa which has impinged on one of the senses arose at the same time
as the atita-bhavanga, then that rupa will not have fallen away yet when the seventh
javana-citta has fallen away; only fifteen moments of citta have passed since the
atita-bhavanga arose. Thus there could be two more cittas in that process which directly
experience the object. After the javana- cittas two vipaka-cittas may arise which
experience the object and these are the tadarammana-cittas (or tadalambana-cittas) They
perform the function of tadalambana or tadarammana, which is sometimes translated as
'registering' or 'retention'. Tadarammana literally means 'that object'; the citta 'hangs
on' to that object. When the tadarammana-cittas have fallen away the sense-door process
has run its full cruise. If the rupa which impinges on one of the senses has arisen before
the atita-bhavanga, the process cannot run its full course, because the rupa falls away
before the tadarammana-cittas can arise.
Only in the sense-door process kamma can, after the
javana-cittas produce the tadarammana-cittas which 'hang on' to the object. For those who
are born in rupa-brahma planes where there are less conditions for sense-impressions, and
for those who are born in arupa-brahma planes where there are no sense- impressions, there
are no tadarammana-cittas. [Birth in a rupo-brahma plane is the result of rupa
vacarakusala citta (rupa-jhanacitta) and birth in an arupa-brahma plane is the result of
arupavacara kusala citta (arupa- hanacitta).]
Summarizing the cittas which succeed one another when rupa
impinges on one of the senses and becomes the object of cittas of a sense-door process:
Atita-bhavanga (past bhavanga)
Bhavanga-calana (vibrating bhavanga)
Dvi-panca-vinnana (seeing-consciousness, etc.)
kusala cittas or akusala cittas (in the
case of non - arahats), 'running
through' the object
16. Tadarammana-citta (registering-consciousness)
17. Tadarammana-citta (registering-consciousness)
The tadarammana-citta experiences an object not only
through the five sense-doors, but also through the mind-door. In the sense-door process
tadarammana-citta can arise only when the object has not fallen away yet. If
tadarammana-cittas arise in the sense-door process they can arise also in the succeeding
The tadarammana-citta is a vipakacitta which can
experience an object through six doors. If the object is visible object, which, in the
eye-door process, is experienced by citta through the eye-door, then the
tadarammana-cittas of that process also experience the object through the eye-door. The
tadarammana-cittas of the mind-door process succeeding the eye-door process experience
that object through the mind-door. If the object which contacts the sense-door is
unpleasant, all vipakacittas of that process and thus also the tadarammana-cittas, if they
arise, are akusala vipaka. The tadarammana-cittas of the mind-door process succeeding that
sense-door process are also akusala vipaka. If the object which contacts the sense-door is
pleasant, all vipakacittas of that process, tadarammana-cittas included, are kusala
vipaka. It is the same with the tadarammana cittas of the subsequent mind-door process.
The function of tadarammana can be performed by eleven
different kinds of citta: by three ahetuka vipakacittas (unaccompanied by roots or hetus)
and by eight sahetuka vipakacittas (accompanied by sobhana hetus).
If the tadarammana-citta is ahetuka, the function of
tadarammana is performed by santirana-citta. As we have seen, santirana-citta, which is
always ahetuka vipaka, can perform more than one function.
the function of santirana (investigating) when it arises in the sense-door process and
succeeds sampaticchana-citta. Apart from the function of, santirana, santirana-citta can
perform the functions of patisandhi (rebirth), bhavanga, cuti (dying) and, moreover, it
can perform the function of tadarammana.
As stated before, there are three kinds of
1. Santirana-citta which is akusala vipaka, accompanied by
upekkha (indifferent feeling).
2. Santiana-citta which is kusala vipaka, accompanied by upekkha.
3. Santirana-citta which is kusala vipaka, accompanied by somanassa (pleasant feeling).
Only the first and the second kind of santirana-citta
(santirana-citta which is akusala vipaka, and santirana-citta which is kusala vipaka,
accompanied by upekkha) can perform the functions of patisandhi, bhavanga and cuti. The
function of santirana (investigating) can be performed by all three kinds of
santirana-citta. As we have seen, santirana-citta accompanied by somanassa performs the
function of santirana when the object is extraordinarily pleasant.
All the time cittas arise and fall away, performing
different functions. The last function of citta in life is the function of cuti (dying).
When we say in conventional language that a person has died, the cuti-citta
(dying-consciousness), which is the last citta of that life, has fallen away. The
cuti-citta is succeeded by the patisandhi-citta (rebirth-consciousness) of the following
Death is unavoidable. Everybody, no matter whether he is
in one of the hell planes, in the human-being plane or in one of the heavenly planes has
to have cuti-citta. We read in the teachings about birth, old age, sickness and death. Old
age is mentioned immediately after birth, before sickness is mentioned. The reason is that
as soon as we are born, we are already ageing, we are already on our way to death. We read
in the 'Khuddaka Nikaya' ('sutta-Nipata', 'Woven Cadences';, Ch.lll, The Great
Chapter, par. 8, The Dart, vs. 574-583, I use the translation by E.M. Hare.):
How insignificant is man's lot here,
How brief, obscure, how troubled, fraught with ill!
there is no means whereby man shall not die:
Death follows on decay: such is life's course.
The early ripening fruit hazards the fall:
Ever death's hazard haunts the lives of men.
Just as the potter's earthen vessel end
In shards, so too man's life. Young and mature,
The fool and sage, come all within the power
Of death: death is for all the common lot;
And of death's victims passing to yond world,
No father saves his son, no kith his kin.
See! while they crowd and gaze and weep, their kin
Are one by one, as ox to slaughter, borne.
Thus smitten is the world by old age and death,
The wise world-plight discern, lamenting not.
Thou knowest not the 'whence' or 'whither' way
And, seeing neither course, grievest in vain!
If one is not wise, one grieves, but for those who
cultivate the Eightfold Path, there will be less sorrow. For him who has attained the
stage of the arahat, there will be cuti-citta, but it will not be succeeded by
patisandhi-citta. Then there is an end to birth, old age, sickness and death.
We read in the 'Gradual Sayings' (Book of the Threes, Ch.
VII, par. 62, Terror, V and VI):
Monks, these three terrors part mother and son. What
A mother cannot bear to see her son grow old. She says, 'I
am growing old. Let not my son grow old.' The son likewise cannot bear to see his mother
grow old. He says, 'I am growing old. Let not my mother grow old.' And it is the same with
regard to getting sick and dying. These are the three terrors that part mother and son.
But, monks, there is a way, there is a practice that leads
to the abandoning, to the overpassing of these three terrors that part mother and son, a
way which joins mother and son. What is that way, what is that practice which so leads?.
It is just this Eightfold Way, to wit: Right view,.....
right concentration, That is the way, that is the practice... ..
If one is not an arahat yet, there will be a
patisandhi-citta succeeding the cuti-citta, Before the cuti-citta arises, there are only
five javana-citta instead of seven and these are the last javana-cittas of that lifespan.
If kusala kamma will produce the patisandhi-citta of the next life these last
javana-cittas are kusala cittas and if akusala kamma will produce the patisandhi-citta of
the next life
they are akusala cittas. These javana-cittas can experience a pleasant
or unpleasant object through one of the sense-doors or through the mind-door and this
object is conditioned by the kamma which will produce the patisandhi-citta (See ch.10) .
One may remember previous kamma, or one may experience a sign or symbol of it, or else one
may experience a sign or symbol of the place of one's rebirth. These javana-cittas may or
may not be followed by tadarammana-cittas. The cuti-citta has only the function of being
the dying-moment of that life. The cuti-citta is vipakacitta produced by the kamma which
produced the patisandhi-citta and the bhavanga-cittas of the life which is just ending; it
is of the same type as these cittas and it experiences the same object.
When the cuti-citta has fallen away the patisandhi-citta
of the following life arises, which citta may be of a different type, depending on the
kamma which produces it. This patisandhi-citta experiences the same object as the last
javana-cittas arising before the cuti-citta of the previous life. The patisandhi-citta,
all bhavanga-cittas and the cuti-citta of the next life experience that object.
The same types of citta which can perform the functions of
patisandhi and bhavanga, can perform the function of cuti. Since there are nineteen types
of citta which can perform the function of patisandhi (See ch.ll) and the function of
bhavanga, there are nineteen types of citta which can perform the function of cuti.
If someone suffers great pains before he dies because of
an accident or sickness, the last javana-cittas arising before the cuti-citta will not
necessarily be akusala cittas. There may be akusala cittas with aversion when he feels the
pain, but the last javana-cittas may be kusala cittas. There may be 'wise attention'
(yoniso manasikara) preceding the cuti-citta.
We read in the 'Gradual Sayings' (Book of the Sixes, Ch.
VI, par. 2, Phagguna) that the Buddha visited the venerable Phagguna who was very ill.
Phagguna had attained the second stage of enlightenment (the stage of the sakadagami; he
was not yet completely freed from the 'five lower fetters';. We read in the sutta that
the Buddha said to Phagguna:
'I hope, Phagguna, you're bearing up, keeping going; that
Your aches and pains grow less, not more; that there are signs of their growing less, not
'Lord, I can neither bear up nor keep going; my aches and
pains grow grievously more, not less; and there are signs of their growing more, not less.
Lord, the violent ache that racks my head is just as
though some lusty fellow chopped at it with a sharp-edged sword; Lord, I can neither bear
up nor keep going; my pains grow more, not less....'
So the Exalted one instructed him, roused him, gladdened
him and comforted him with Dhamma-talk, then rose from his seat and departed.
Now not long after the Exalted One's departure, the
venerable Phagguna died; and at the time of his death his faculties were completely
Then went the venerable Ananda to the Exalted One, saluted
him, and sat down at one side. So seated, he said:
'Lord, not long after the Exalted One left, the venerable
Phagguna died; and at that time his faculties were completely purifiedl
'But why, Ananda, should not the faculties of the monk
Phagguna have been completely purified? The monk's mind, Ananda, had not been wholly freed
from the five lower fetters: but, when he heard that Dhamma teaching, his mind was wholly
There are these six advantages, Ananda, in hearing Dhamma
in time, in testing its goodness in time. What six?
Consider, Ananda, the monk whose mind is not wholly freed
from the five lower fetters, but, when dying, is able to see the Tathagata: the Tathagata
teaches him Dhamma, lovely in the beginning, lovely in the middle, lovely in the end, its
goodness, its significance; and makes known the brahman-life(1), wholly fulfilled,
perfectly pure. When he has heard that Dhamma teaching, his mind is wholly freed from the
five lower fetters(2) . This Ananda, is the first advantage in hearing Dhamma in time.
(1. In Pali:
brahma-cariya: pure or holy life.
This term is used for the life of the monks and for the life of laypeople who observe
eight precepts. However it is also used with regard to all those who develop the Eightfold
Path. The goal of the 'brahma-cariya' is the eradication of all defilements.)
(2. Those who have attained the third stage of
enlightenment, the stage of the anagami are completely free from the five 'lower
Or... though not just able to see the Tathagata, sees
his disciple, who teaches him Dhamma... and makes known the brahman-life... Then is his
mind wholly freed from the five lower fetters. This, Ananda, is the second advantage...
Or.., though not able to see the Tathagata or his
disciple, continues to reflect in mind on Dhamma, as heard, as learnt, ponders on it,
pores over it. Then is his mind wholly freed from the five lower fetters. This, Ananda, is
the third advantage in testing its goodness in time... '
The same is said with regard to the monk who has attained
the third stage of enlightenment (the stage of the anagami), and who, has the opportunity
to hear dhamma and consider dhamma while listening, can attain the stage of the arahat.
Summary of functions (kicca) of citta:
experiencing impressions through the body-sense
javana (impulsion, or 'running through the object')
tadarammana (or tadalambana, registering)
Which functions can be performed by the
santirana-citta which is akusala vipaka?
Which functions can be performed by the
santirana-citta which is kusala vipska, accompanied by upekkha (indifferent feeling)?
Which functions can be performed by
santirana-citta which is kusala vipaka, accompanied by somanassa?.
By how many types of citta can the function of
cuti (dying) be performed? Which types?.
Why can tadarammana-citta not arise in the
rupa-brahma planes and in the arupa-brahma planes?
Can all types of vipakacittas experience an
object through the six doors?
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