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Jun 23rd
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Home Teachings Dependant Originations What is Dependant Origination - Mind-and-Body to Six Bases

What is Dependant Origination - Mind-and-Body to Six Bases

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Article Index
What is Dependant Origination
Ignorance to Formations
Formations to Consciousness
Consciousness to Mind-and-Body
Mind-and-Body to Six Bases
Six Bases to Contact
Contact to Feeling
Feeling to Craving
Craving to Clinging
Clinging to Becoming
Becoming to Birth
Birth to Suffering
The Three Periods
Other Aspects
All Pages

Mind-and-Body to Six Bases



Namarupa conditions salhayata. This is very profound and hard to understand. Here namarupa means the three cetasika khandhas while rupa refers to the four primary elements, the six physical rupas, jivita (life), rupa and nutriment (ahararupa). Namarupa leads to salhayatana or five physical sense-organs, viz., eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and consciousness.

These ayatanas are the doors (avara) that lead to vithi process. In the immaterial world every citta- unit throughout the whole life is born of associated cetasika. But for ordinary persons this will remain bookish knowledge as it is to be understood only by Ariyas in the immaterial world. Further, in any existence like human life that has both nama and rupa every vipaka-citta that arises from the time of conception is also due to associated cetasika, Vipaka citta means the kind of citta that barely sees, barely hears, etc., the pleasant or unpleasant objects.

Here the seeing citta cannot arise by itself for it presupposes manasikara that considers the visual object, phassa that contacts the object and cetana that strives to see it. The seeing citta can arise, only when these concomitant cetasikas arises collectively at the same time. This is consciousness condition called sahajata Paccaya in Pali. Thus a load that can be raised only by four men working together will not move up if the team leader tries to move it alone. Like-wise, although viññana is the mainspring of mental life it counts for little by itself. It can function only together with other mental factors. Moreover, these associate cetasikas contribute to the five physical ayatanas, viz., eye, ear, etc. by consciousness at the moment of rebirth.

Of course at the time of conception there is only kaya or rupa. But in other kinds of rebirth that do not involve the mother's womb, there may be all the five ayatanas at the beginning. The conditioning of the ayatanas by viññana and cetasikas at the moment of conception is hard to understand but we have to accept on the authority of the Buddha. At other times vipaka as well as the non-vipaka cittas help to maintain the ayatanas. This is understandable since it is impossible for matter to exist without mind.


The rebirth consciousness arises on the basis of the heart (hadaya-vatthu). The mind ayatana has its basis in the eye, ear, etc. Thought and consciousness too have heart as their physical basis. All the secondary physical phenomena such as the eye, visual object, etc., depend on the four primary elements, viz., pathavi, apo (solidity, motion) etc., The five pasada. rupa, i.e. eye, ear, etc. are rooted in the primary elements, and their kamma-based rupas in jivita (life- force) rupa. The five ayatana rupas too depend on nutriment (ahara-rupa). To sum up, citta-viññana is conditioned by at least three mental factors, viz., manasikara, phassa and cetana. Sometimes there arise repeatedly greed, craving, anger, illusion, pride, doubt, restlessness, worry, envy, ill- will, anxiety, fear and so forth.

All these mental states arise because of unwholesome cetasikas. similarly there often occur faith, piety, moral sense, non-attachment, compassion, sympathetic joy (mudita) appreciation of the law of kamma, reflection on anicca, dukkha, anatta, and so forth. These mental states arise from wholesome cetasiksa. Thus the meditator realizes the dependence of viññana on wholesome or unwholesome cetasikas, the eye-consciousness on the eye. So it is clear that the manayatana is dependent on namarupa. The mind is also vital to the existence of living matter. So the five ayatanas that produce sense-organs are dependent on the mind.

The sensitive sense-organs (pasada) cannot exist without their gross physical bases just as the reflecting mirror cannot exist without the gross matter of glass. So the eye presupposes the gross matter of solidity (pathavi), cohesion (apo) heat (tejo) and tenseness (vayo), in short, the ability to see depends on the gross physical body of the eye. The same may be said of the ability to hear, the ability to smell, ets. Further, we can maintain life uninterruptedly only because of life- force (jivita-rupa) and nutriment. All these facts show how the five ayatana rupas originate with namarupa. The sixth ayatanas viz., manayatana comprising thought, reflection, intention, etc depends on wholesome or unwholesome mental states such as greed, faith and mental factors such as phassa (contact) as well as on its physical bases. It arises from its root viz., bhavanga which in turn forms the basis for the mind-process (manodvara-vithi).


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