[The first Edition comprised 2 Volumes. The first Volume contained Chapter I to V and the second Volume Chapter VI to IX.]

The first five chapters of the Abhidhammattha Sangaha deal with the 89 and 121 types of consciousness, 52 mental states, various thought-processes in the course of one's lifetime and at rebirth, 31 planes of existence, and classification of Kamma. In one sense they form one complete book.

The remaining four chapters are devoted to

The sixth chapter is confined mainly to rūpa and Nibbāna.

Twenty-eight species of Rūpa are enumerated. What they are, how they arise, persist, and perish, are also explained. Rūpa is the third paramattha mentioned in the Abhidhamma, and is one of the two composite factors of this so-called being - the other being nāma (mind). As nāma, so rūpa too has been microscopically analysed. But no logical definition of rūpa is found either in the Text or in the Commentaries.

Rūpa is derived from Ö rup, to break up, to perish (nāsa).

According to the Vibhāvini Tīkā, rūpa is that which transforms or assumes a different mode owing to the adverse physical conditions of cold heat, etc. (sītonhādi virodhippaccayehi vikāram āpajjati).

From a Buddhist standpoint rūpa not only changes but also perishes (khaya, vaya). It endures only for seventeen thought-moments. Rūpa changes so rapidly that one cannot strike an identical place twice.

Rūpa is also explained as that which manifests itself (Ö rup - pakāsane).

Scholars suggest various renderings for rūpa. It is generally rendered by 'form', 'body', 'matter', 'corporeality', etc. meanings differ according to the context. One particular meaning is not universally applicable.

From a philosophical standpoint, 'matter' is the nearest equivalent for rūpa, although scientists too find it difficult to define matter.

It should be noted that the atomic theory prevailed in India in the time of the Buddha. Paramānu was the ancient term for the modern atom. According to the ancient belief one ratharenu consists of 36 tajjāris; one tajjāri, 36 anus; one anu, 36 paramānus. The minute particles of dust seen dancing in the sunbeam are called ratharenus. One paramānu is therefore, 1/46, 656th part of a ratharenu. This paramānu was considered indivisible.

With His supernormal knowledge the Buddha analysed this so-called paramānu and declared that it consists of paramatthas - ultimate entities which cannot further be subdivided.

The paramatthas are pathavi, āpo, tejo, and vāyo. One must not understand that these elements are earth, water, fire and air, as some Greek thinkers believed in the past.


Pathavi means the element of extension, the substratum of matter. Without it objects cannot occupy space. The qualities of hardness and softness which are purely relative are two conditions of this particular element. It may be stated that this element is present in earth, water, fire and air. For instance, the water above is supported by water below. It is this element of extension in conjunction with the element of motion, that produces the upward pressure. Heat or cold is the tejo element, while fluidity is the āpo element


āpo is the element of cohesion. Unlike pathavi it is intangible. It is this element that makes scattered particles of matter cohere, and gives rise to the idea of 'body'. When solid bodies are melted, this element becomes more prominent in the resulting fluid. This element is found even in minute particles when solid bodies are reduced to powder. The elements of extension and cohesion are so closely interrelated that when cohesion ceases extension disappears.


Tejo is the element of heat. Cold is also a form of tejo. Both heat and cold are included in tejo because they possess the power of maturing bodies, Tejo, in other words, is the vitalizing energy. Preservation and decay are also due to this element. Unlike the other three essentials of matter, this element has the power to regenerate matter by itself.

Inseparably connected with heat is vāyo, the element of motion. Movements are caused by this element. Motion is regarded as the force or the generator of heat. "Motion and heat in the material realm correspond respectively to consciousness and Kamma in the mental."


These four elements coexist and are inseparable, but one may preponderate over another as, for instance, pathavi in earth, āpo in water, tejo in fire, and vāyo in air.

They are also called Mahābhūtas, or Great Essentials because they are invariably found in all material substances ranging from the infinitesimally small cell to the most massive object.

Dependent on them are the four subsidiary material qualities of colour (vanna), smell (gandha), taste (rasa), and nutritive essence (ojā). These eight coexisting forces and qualities constitute one material group called 'suddhatthaka rūpa kalāpa - pure-octad material group'.

The remaining twenty kinds of rūpa are equally important.

It should be noted that physical life-principle (rūpa jīvitindriya) and sex are also conditioned by Kamma. Life in inorganic matter should be differentiated from life in animate beings.

The fact that rūpas arise in four ways such as Kamma, mind, seasonal phenomena, and food, will be a novel idea to modern thinkers. All these four sources can, to a great extent, be brought under one's control.

To some extent we are responsible for the creation of our own material phenomena, desirable or undesirable.

The accumulated Karmic tendencies created by persons in the course of their previous lives, play at times a greater role than the hereditary parental cells and genes, in the formation of physical characteristics.

The Buddha, for instance, inherited like every other person, the reproductive cells and genes from His parents. But physically there was none comparable to Him in His long line of honorable ancestors. In the Buddha's own words, He belonged not to the royal lineage, but to that of the Aryan Buddhas. He was certainly a superman, an extraordinary creation of His own Kamma.

According to the Lakkhana Sutta (D. 30) the Buddha inherited these exceptional features, such as the 32 major marks, as the result of his past meritorious deeds. The ethical reason for acquiring each physical feature is clearly explained in the Sutta.

In the sixth chapter only a few lines are devoted to the fourth paramattha - Nibbāna - the summum bonum of Buddhism. But the path to Nibbāna is described in detail in the ninth chapter.

The seventh chapter enumerates all ethical states and classifies them into various groups.

The two most profound philosophical teachings of Buddhism - namely, the Law of Dependent Arising (paticca-samuppāda) and the twenty-four Causal Relations (Patthāna) are described in the eighth chapter.

The last chapter is the most important and the most interesting, as it deals with Mental Culture (bhāvanā) and Emancipation, the quintessence of Buddhism.

To understand the intricacies of Abhidhamma one should critically read and reread the Abhidhammattha Sangaha patiently and carefully, pondering at the same time on the profound teachings embodied therein.

One who understands the Abhidhamma well can fully comprehend the Word of the Buddha and thereby realize one's ultimate goal.




Katham ?

Iti ca atthārasavidhamp' etam sabhāvarūpam, salakkhanarūpam nipphannarūpam rūparūpam, sammasanarūpanti ea sangaham gacchati.

Jātirūpam eva pan' ettha upacayasantatināmena pavuccatī' ti ekādasavidhamp' etam rūpam atthavīsativi dham hoti sarūpāvasena.

Katham ?

Ayam' ettha rūpasamuddeso.

Analysis of Matter


§ 1. Having thus far described the consciousness and mental states in accordance with their classes (1) and processes (2), matter will now be dealt with.

With respect to enumeration (3), divisions (4), arising (5), groups (6), and the mode of happening (7), the compendium of matter therein is fivefold.


Enumeration of matter (samuddesa)

§ 2. Matter is twofold-namely, the four Great Essentials (8), and material qualities derived from them (9). These two constitute eleven species.


Thus these eighteen (22) kinds of material qualities are grouped:

(8) Limiting material quality, viz: the element of space (28).

(9) Communicating material quality (29) - viz: - bodily intimation and vocal intimation.

(10) Mutable material qualities (30) - viz: - material lightness (31), softness (32), adaptability (33), and the two forms of intimation.

(11) Characteristics (34) of material qualities, viz: material productivity, continuity, decay and impermanence.

Here by productivity and continuity are meant the material quality of birth.

Thus the eleven kinds of material qualities are treated as twenty eight according to their intrinsic properties.

How (twenty-eight)?

Essentials, sensory organs, objects, sex, heart, vitality, and food thus (matter) is eighteen fold.

Limitation (space), intimation, change-ability, and characteristics - thus there are ten non-conditioned (by kamma ). In all there are twenty-eight.

Herein this is the enumeration of matter.


1. The first three chapters dealt with different types of consciousness and mental states, both concisely and descriptively.


2. The fourth chapter was confined to 7 thought-processes during lifetime, and the fifth chapter, to various planes and processes of rebirth consciousness.


3. Samuddesa - i.e., the brief exposition of rūpa.


4. Vibhāga - i.e., the analysis of rūpa.


5. Samutthāna - i.e., the arising of different constituents of rūpa such as eye-decad, etc., caused by Kamma, mind, seasonal phenomena, and food.


6. Kalāpa - the group compositions of rūpa, such as body-decad, sex-decad. etc.


7. Pavattikkama - i.e., how rūpas take place in accordance with the states of existence, time, and classes of beings.


8. Mahābhūtāni - lit ., those that have grown great. The four Great Essentials are the fundamental material elements which are inseparable. Every material substance, ranging from the minutest particle to the most massive object, consists of these four elements which possess specific characteristics.


9. Upādāya-rūpāni - Derivative or secondary material properties dependent on the Great Essentials. Like the earth are the Essentials; the Derivatives are like trees that spring therefrom. The remaining 24 rūpas are regarded as Derivatives.


10. Pathavi-dhātu - The Pāli term dhātu means that which bears its own characteristic marks. Element is the closest equivalent for dhātu. Pathavi dhātu, literally, means the earth-element. It is so called because like the earth it serves as a support or foundation for the other coexisting rūpas. Pathavi (Sanskrit: prthivi), also spelt pathavi, puthavi, puthuvi, puthuvi - is derived from Ö puth, to expand, to extend. So far, though not very satisfactory, the closest equivalent for pathavi-dhātu is 'the element of extension'. Without it objects cannot occupy space. Both hardness and softness are characteristics of this element.


11. āpo-dhātu - lit., the fluid element . āpo is derived from Ö ap, to arrive, or from ā + Ö pāy, to grow, to increase. It is 'the element of cohesion . According to Buddhism it is this element that makes different particles of matter cohere, and thus prevents them from being scattered about. Both fluidity and contraction are the properties of this element. It should be understood that cold is not a characteristic of this element.


12. Tejo-dhātu - lit., the fire-element, is explained as 'the element of heat'. Tejo is derived from Ö tij, to sharpen, to mature. Vivacity and maturity are due to the presence of this element. Both heat and cold are the properties of tejo. Intense tejo is heat, and mild tejo is cold. It should not be understood that cold is the characteristic of āpo and heat is that of tejo; for, in that case, both heat and cold should be found together, as āpo and tejo coexist.


13. Vāyo-dhātu - lit., 'the air-element', is explained as the element of motion. Vāyo is derived from Ö vay, to move, to vibrate. Motion, vibration, oscillation, and pressure are caused by this element.


14. Pasāda-rūpa - They are the sensitive parts of the five organs - eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body. They tend to clarify the coexisting material qualities. The perceptible physical eye, for instance, is the sasambhāra cakkhu or composite eye, which consists of the four bhūta-rūpas, four upādā-rūpas (colour, odour, taste, and sap), and jīvitindriya (vitality). The sensitive part which lies at the center of the retina and which enables one to see objects is, the cakkhu pasāda. This is the basis of the eye-consciousness (cakkhu-viññāna) and becomes the instrument for the eye-door thought-process (cakkhu-dvāravīthi). The desire to see tends to develop the sense of sight. The eye, therefore, consists of ten material qualities of which pasāda is one.

The other pasāda-rūpas should be similarly understood.

The pasāda-rūpas of ear, nose, and tongue are in their respective centers; the kāya-pasāda-rūpa is diffused throughout the body except on hair, on the tips of nails, and in withered skin.


15. Gocararūpa - The sense-fields which serve as supports for the sense-cognitions to arise.


16. Rūpa - Both colour and shape are implied by this term.


17. Photthabba - owing to its subtlety, the element of cohesion (āpo) cannot be felt by the sense of touch. Only the other three Fundamental Elements are regarded as tangible. In water, for instance, the cold felt is tejo, the softness is pathavi, and the pressure is vāyo. One cannot touch āpo as its property is cohesion.

See Compendium, p. 155, n. 6.


18. Itthattam purisattam - also termed itthindriyam, purisindriyam - are collectively called in the abbreviated form bhāva-rūpa, the state by means of which masculinity and femininity are distinguished.


19. Hadayavatthu - The seat of consciousness. Dhammasangani omits this rūpa. In the Atthasālini hadayavatthu is explained as cittassa vatthu (basis of consciousness).

It is clear that the Buddha did not definitely assign a specific seat for consciousness, as He has done with the other senses. It was the cardiac theory (the view that heart is the seat of consciousness) that prevailed in His time, and this was evidently supported by the Upanishads. The Buddha could have accepted this popular theory, but He did not commit Himself. In the Patthāna, the Book of Relations, the Buddha refers to the basis of consciousness in such indirect terms as "yam rūpam nissāya'' "depending on that material thing", without positively asserting whether that rūpa was either the heart (hadaya) or the brain. But, according to the views of commentators like Venerable Buddhaghosa and Anuruddha, the seat of consciousness is definitely the heart. It should be understood that the Buddha has neither accepted nor rejected this ancient popular cardiac theory.

See Compendium p. 156, n. 1, and p. 277.


20. Jīvitindriya - There is vitality both in mind and in matter. Psychic life, which is one of the fifty-two mental states (cetasikās), and physical life, which is one of the twenty-eight rūpas, are essential characteristics of this so-called being. Psychic life is one of the seven universals and physical life is associated with almost every material group except in dead matter. Simultaneous with the arising of the rebirth-consciousness, physical life also springs up together with the initial material groups. Jīvita is qualified by indriya because it has a dominating influence over other co-adjuncts in vivifying them.


21. Kabalīkāro āhāro - so called because gross food is taken in by making into morsels. Here āhāra means nutritive essence (ojā) which sustains the physical body. In the statement - sabbe sattā āhāratthitikā, all beings live on food - āhāra means a condition (paccaya).


22. Eighteen - 5+4 (tangibility excluded), 2+1+1+1 = 18.


23. Sabhāva-rūpa - With respect to their own peculiar characteristics such as hardness, fluidity, etc.


24. Salakkhanarūpa - So called because they arise with the inherent general marks of impermanence (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and soullessness (anattā).


25. Nipphannarūpa - i.e., produced by Kamma mind, etc.


26. Rūparūpa - Here the first term rūpa is used in its etymological sense, i.e., change-ableness, as in the Pāli phrase - dukkha-dukkha.


27. Sammasanarūpa - Because it enables one to employ them as objects fit for contemplation or insight.


28. ākāsadhātu - Ceylon Commentators derive ākāsa from ā + Ö kas, to plough. Since there is no ploughing as on earth, space is called ākāsa. According to Sanskrit, ākāsa is derived from ā + Ö kās, to view, to recognize. In Ledi Sayadaw's opinion it is derived from ā + Ö kās, to shine, to appear. ākāsa is space which in itself is nothingness. As such it is eternal. ākāsa is a dhātu in the sense of a non-entity (nijjīva), not as an existing element like the four Essentials. By ākāsa, as one of the 28 rūpas, is meant not so much the outside space as the intra-atomic space that 'limits' or separates material groups (rūpakalāpas). Hence in Abhidhamma it is regarded as a 'pariccheda-rūpa'. Although ākāsa is not an objective reality, as it is invariably associated with all material units that arise in four ways, Abhidhamma teaches that it, too, is produced by the same four causes such as Kamma, mind, seasonal changes. and food. Simultaneous with the arising and perishing of the conditioned rūpas, ākāsa rūpa also arises and perishes.

See Compendium p. 226.


29. Viññatti is that by means of which one communicates one's ideas to another and one understands another's intentions. It is done both by action and speech - kāya-viññatti and vacī-viññatti. The former is caused by the 'air-element' (vāyo-dhātu) produced by mind (cittaja); the latter by the 'earth-element produced by the mind. The duration of viññatti is only one thought-moment.


30. Vikārarūpa - Change-ability of rūpa.


31. Lahutā denotes physical health, and is comparable to an iron rod heated throughout the day.


32. Mudutā is comparable to a well-beaten hide.


33. Kammaññatā is opposed to the stiffness of the body, and is comparable to well-hammered gold.


34. Lakkhanarūpa - So called because they assume distinguishable characteristics at different stages, such as arising (upāda), static (thiti) and dissolution (bhanga).


Upacaya means the first heaping-up or the first arising. Here 'upa' is used in the sense of first. The arising of the first three decads - kāya, bhāva, and vatthu - at the very moment of conception, is regarded as upacaya. The subsequent arising of the three decads from the static stage of rebirth-consciousness throughout lifetime is regarded as santati. Both upacaya and santati are sometimes treated as jāti - birth. Then the number of rūpas amounts to 27 instead of 28.

The life term of conditioned rūpa is normally 17 thought-moments or 51 minor thought-instants (according to Commentators, during the time occupied by a flash of lightning, billions of thought-moments arise.)

The first thought-moment is like the upacaya, the last thought-moment is like the aniccatā, the intermediate 15 are like the jaratā. Aniccatā is the dissolution of rūpa.


Strictly speaking, there are only three lakkhanarūpas, viz: birth, growth-decay, and death. Aniccatā is synonymous with marana (death). The entire interval between birth and death constitutes development or decay.

With the exception of the five rūpas - namely, two viññattis, jāti, jarā, and aniccatā - all the remaining 23 rūpas last for 17 thought-moments.




Icc'evam atthavīsati vidham pi ca vicakkhanā

Classification of Matter


§ 3. Now all this matter divides itself into various categories as follows:


Matter is thus one-fold. When conceived as personal, external, and so forth, matter becomes manifold.


The five kinds of sensitive material qualities are personal (43); the rest are external.

The six kinds, comprising the sensitives and the heart, are material qualities with basis (44); the rest are without a basis.

The seven kinds, comprising the sensitives and (the two) media of communication, are material qualities with a door (45); the rest are without doors.

The eight kinds, comprising the sensitives, sex-states, and vitality, are material qualities with a controlling faculty (46); the rest are without a controlling faculty.

The twelve kinds, comprising the sensitives and (seven) sense-objects (because "tangibility" comprises the three elements, excluding āpo), are gross (47), proximate, and impinging material qualities; the rest are subtle, distant, and non-impinging.

Material qualities born of Kamma are 'grasped at' (48); the others are 'not grasped at'.

Object of form is visible; the rest are invisible.

Eye and ear, as not reaching (the object), and nose, tongue and body, as reaching (the object), are five kinds of material phenomena that take objects (49); the others do not.

Colour, odour, taste, sap (50), and the four Essentials are the eight kinds (51) of material phenomena that are inseparable; the rest are separable.


Thus the wise analyze, accordingly, the 28 kinds with respect to 'personal' and so forth.

Herein this is the analysis of Matter.


35. Ahetukam - Because they are not associated with the roots lobha, dosa, etc.


36. Sappaccayam - Because they are related to the causes - Kamma. citta, utu, and āhāra.


37. Sāsavam - Since they serve as objects for Defilements.


38. Sankhatam - Because they are conditioned by the four causes - Kamma, citta, etc.


39. Lokiyam - Because they are connected with the world of the Five Aggregates of Attachment (pañcupādānakkhandhaloka). There is no supramundane rūpa.


40. Kāmāvacaram - Because they come within the range of sensual objects.


41. Anārammanam - As they themselves do not perceive objects. It is the mind that perceives objects through the senses. Rūpas serve as sense-objects.


42. Appahātābbam - Because there is no gradual eradication of matter like passions. 'Indestructibility' of matter is not implied by this term.


43. Ajjhattikam - Belonging to the so-called self. The five sensitive organs are essential for living beings. Without them they are inanimate logs. They serve as doors to the mind.


44. i.e., they serve as seats of consciousness.


45. They serve as doors to moral and immoral actions, mind and mental states, deeds and speech.


46. They are so called because they possess a controlling power in their respective spheres. The physical eye, for instance, is composed of ten material qualities; but it is the sensitive eye (cakkhupasādarūpa) that controls the remaining nine. The remaining pasādarūpas should be similarly understood. The state of sex controls masculinity and femininity. Like the captain of a ship it is vitality that controls rūpas.


47. Olārikam - Because of their importance both subjectively and objectively. They are regarded as santike (near) because of their receptivity. Owing to the grossness and nearness both sensitive organs and sense-objects mutually strike each other. Hence they are called sappatigha, lit., 'with striking against'.

See Compendium p. 159, n. 4.


48. Upādinnam - The first 18 kinds of rūpa born of Kamma are grasped by craving and false view.


49. Gocaraggāhikarūpam - They are so called because they take external objects as pasture. According to the Abhidhammattha Sangaha, sight and sound are regarded as objects that do not approach the eye and ear respectively as in the case of bodily contacts, etc. Both eye and ear cognize distant objects without any direct approach. In the case of other objects they directly contact the sense-organs. For instance, taste must directly touch the tongue. So are the other two objects. This may be the reason, irrespective of the wave theory, why the author distinguishes between senses that reach, and do not reach, the objects.

See Compendium, p. 160.


50. Ojā, as a rūpa in itself, has the power of producing other rūpas as well.


51. As a rule these eight rūpas are bound together. The four Essentials are inseparable and so are the four Derivatives. Hence they are also termed 'suddhatthaka' ('pure octad') and 'ojatthaka' ('with ojā as the eighth'). The growth of inanimate matter is also due to the presence of this universal ojā.



§ 4. Kammam, cittam, utu, āhāro c'āti cattāri rūpasamutthānāni nāma.

Tattha kāmāvacaram rūpāvacaram ca ti pañcavīsatividham pi kusalākusalakammam abhisankhatam ajjhattika-santāne kammasamutthānarūpam patisandhim upādāya khane khane samutthāpeti.

Arūpavipākadvipañcaviññānavajjitam pañcasattatividham picittam cittasamuttānarūpam pathamabhavangam upādāya jāyantam eva samutthāpeti.

Tattha appanājavanam iriyāpatham pi sannāmeti.

Votthapanakāmāvacarajavanābhiññā pana viññattim pi samutthāpenti.

Somanassa-javanāni pan' ettha terasa-hasanam pi janenti.

Sītunhotu-samaññātā tejo-dhātu-thitippattā'va utusamutthanarūpam ajjhattañ ca bahiddhā ca yathāraham samutthāpeti.

Ojā-sankhāto āhāro āhārasamutthānarūpam ajjho-haranakāle thānappatto' vā samutthāpeti.

Tattha hadaya-indriyarūpani kammajān, eva viññattidvayam cittajam eva, saddo cittotujo,lahutādittayam utucittāhārehi sambhoti.

Avinibbhogarūpāni c' eva ākāsadhātu ca catūhi sambhūtāni. Lakkhanarūpani na kutoci jāyanti.

Atthārasa pannarasa terasa dvādasāti ca

Kammacittotukāhārajāni honti yathākkamam.

Jāyamānādirūpānam sabhāvattā hi kevalam

Lakkhanāni na jāyanti kehicī' ti pakāsitam.

Ayam' ettha rūpasamutthānanayo.

The Arising of Material Phenomena (52)


§ 4. Material phenomena arise in four ways, viz:


1. Material Phenomena arising from Kamma (53)

Therein, the twenty-five types of moral and immoral Kamma, pertaining to the kāma and rūpa Spheres, produce ,in one's own continuity, duly constituted material phenomena born of Kamma, at every moment, commencing from conception.

2. Material Phenomena arising from Mind (54)

The seventy-five types of consciousness, excluding the Formless Resultants and the twice fivefold cognitives, produce mind-born material phenomena, from the first moment of life-continuum just as it arises.

Therein the ecstatic javanas regulate the bodily postures. But the Determining Consciousness, javanas of the kāma Sphere, and Super-knowledge Consciousness, produce also (bodily and vocal) media of communication. Herein the thirteen pleasurable javanas produce laughter too.


3. Material Phenomena arising from Seasonal Conditions (55)

The tejo-element, which comprises both cold and heat, on reaching its static stage, produces, according to circumstances, both internal and external material phenomena, resulting from seasonal conditions.


4. Material Phenomena arising from Food (56)

Food, known as nutritive essence, during assimilation on reaching its static stage, produces material phenomena resulting from food.

Therein the heart and the (eight) material Faculties are born of Kamma. The two media of communication are born only of mind. Sound is born of mind and seasonal conditions. The triple qualities of lightness and so forth arise from seasonal conditions, mind, and food. The inseparable material qualities and the element of space arise from four causes. Characteristic material qualities do not arise from any cause.

Eighteen, fifteen, thirteen, and twelve arise respectively from Kamma, mind, seasonal conditions, and food.

The characteristic marks of matter that arise and so forth are not produced by any cause, they say, since they are wholly intrinsic.


52. Rhūpasamutthana - Buddhism does not attempt to solve the problem of the ultimate origin of matter. It takes for granted that matter exists and states that rūpa develops in four ways.


53. Kammaja - Strictly speaking, by Kamma are meant past moral and immoral types of consciousness. It is only those classes of consciousness pertaining to the kāma and rūpa-spheres that tend to produce rūpa. They are 12 types of immoral consciousness, 8 types of moral consciousness, and the 5 moral rūpa jhānas. A moral or immoral birth-reproductive Kamma generated at the dying moment of a person, conditions the rebirth-consciousness (patisandhi-citta) in a subsequent birth. Simultaneous with the arising of the rebirth-consciousness, rūpas conditioned by past Kamma spring up at every instant, like the flame of a lamp, up to the 17th thought-moment reckoned from the dying moment of the person.

At the very moment of conception there arise, as a result of the reproductive Karmic force, three dasakas or 'decads' - namely, the kāya, bhāva, and vatthu - body, sex, and base decads. The body decad is composed of the four elements, four derivatives, vitality and the kāyapasāda. The sex-decad and the base-decad are similarly constituted.


54. Cittaja - Mind, the invisible but more powerful composite factor of the so-called being, has the potentiality to produce rūpa. In other words, good and bad thoughts produce desirable and undesirable material phenomena. This is apparent from the physical changes that result from thoughts generated by a person. According to Abhidhamma, it is from the arising moment of the first bhavanga, that is, immediately after the rebirth-consciousness, that material phenomena arising from mind spring up. The rebirth-consciousness does not produce mind-born rūpas, since Kamma does that function, and since it is a newcomer to the fresh existence. No mind-born rūpas arise at the static and perishing thought-moments, as they are weak. The ten sense-cognitives lack the potentiality to produce rūpa. The four arūpa vipāka jhānas do not produce rūpa, as they are developed through non-attachment to rūpa.

It is stated that jhāna factors are essential to produce mind-born rūpa. One who possesses jhānas can therefore produce powerful rūpas which would enable him to live even without edible food. The mentally alert do not lack vitality. One who experiences Nibbānic bliss could live without any food for a considerable period. For instance, the Buddha fasted 49 days immediately after His Enlightenment.

Of the 75 types of consciousness, 26 javanas (10 rūpa kusala and kriyā, 8 arūpa kusala and kriyā and 8 lokuttaras) could produce abnormal bodily movements such as passing through the air, diving into the earth, walking on water, etc.

Here the Determining consciousness is the mind-door consciousness (manodvārāvajjana). 29 kāma-javanas are the 12 akusalas, 1 hasituppāda, and 16 sobhana kusala and kriyā; and abhiññā cittas are the two fifth jhāna kusala and kriyā, accompanied by equanimity and connected with knowledge.

13 pleasurable javanas are the 4 akusalas and 8 sobhana kusalas and kriyās, accompanied by pleasure, and one hasituppāda.

Worldlings, when laughing or smiling, experience the four akusalas and four sobhanas; Sekhas, the same types of consciousness excluding the two akusalas accompanied by misbelief; Arahats, the four kriyās and one hasituppāda. The Buddhas smile only with the four sobhana kriyās.


55. Utuja - It was stated earlier that Kamma produces, at the moment of rebirth, three decads kāya, bhāva, and vatthu. The internal tejo element, found in these three groups, combined with the external tejo element, produces material phenomena caused by seasonal conditions at the static stage of the rebirth-consciousness. At the genetic stage Kamma-born tejo element takes the place of mind-born tejo element.

It is clear that the term utu has been used in the sense of tejo which constitutes both heat and cold. Strictly speaking, it is the internal and external tejo elements which produce rūpa. It should be understood that rūpas produced by climatic conditions are also included in the utuja class.


56. āharaja - By āhāra are meant the nutritive essence present in physical food and the sap (ojā) contained in the material groups born of Kamma, mind, and seasonal conditions. The internal ojā, supported by the external nutritive essence, produces rūpa at the static stage which endures for 49 minor thought-instants. Rūpas arise when the ojā diffuses the body. Internal sap is alone incapable of producing rūpa without the aid of external nutritive essence.


Hadaya and 8 indriya rūpas (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, masculinity, feminity, and vitality) are wholly produced by Kamma. Thus jīvitindriya or the life-principle present in animate beings such as men and animals should be differentiated from the inanimate life of plants and inorganic substances as they are not the inevitable results of Kamma.

They do possess a certain kind of life different from human beings and animals.


ākāsa - It is interesting to note that this inter-atomic space is caused by all the four causes.


Sadda - Articulate sounds are caused by mind; inarticulate sounds are caused by utu. Musical notes caused by men are produced by utu, conditioned by mind.


Kammaja = 18. They are: 8 inseparables + 1 Space + 1 Heart + 8 Controlling faculties .


Cittaja = 15. They are: 5 Mutables + 1 Sound + 8 Inseparables + 1 Space.


Utuja = 13. They are: 1 Sound + Lightness, etc. 3 + 8 Inseparables + 1 Space.


āhāraja = 12. They are: Lightness, etc. 3 + 8 Inseparables + 1 Space . The four lakkhana rūpas are common to all as there is no rūpa devoid of the three instants birth, decay, and death.


§ 5. Ekuppādā ekanirodhā ekanissayā sahavuttino ekavīsati rūpa-kalāpā nāma.

Tattha jīvitam avinibbhogarūpañ ca cakkhunā asaha cakkhu-dasakan' ti pavuccati. Tathā sotādihi saddhim sotadasakam, ghāna-dasakam, jivhā-dasakam, kāyadasakam, itthibhāva-dasakam, pumbhāva-dasakam, vatthudasakaññ c'āti yathākkamam yojetabbam. Avinibbhoga rūpam eva jīvitena saha jīvitanavakan ti pavuccati. Ime nava kammasamutthāna-kalāpā.

Avinibbhogarūpam pana suddhatthakam. Tad' eva kāyaviññattiyā saha kāyaviññattinavakam vacī-viññatti saddehi saha vacī-viññatti-dasakam lahutādīhi saddhim lahutādi-ekādasakam kāya-viññattilahutādi dvādasakam vacī-viññatti-saddalahutādi-terasakañ c'āti cha cittasamut-thānakalāpā.

Suddhatthakam, saddanavakam, lahutādi-ekādasakam, sadda-lahutādi dvādasakañ c'āti cattāro utusamutthāna-kalāpā.

Suddhatthakam, lahutadekādasakañ cā'ti dve āhārasamutthāna-kalāpa.

Tattha suddhatthakam, saddanavakañ c'āti utusamutthāna kalāpā bahiddhā pi' labbhanti. Avasasā pana sabbe pi ajjhattikam eva.

Kammacittotukāhāra-samutthānā yathākkamam

Nava cha caturo dve'ti kalāpā ekavīsati.

Kalāpānam paricchedalakkhanattā vicakkhanā

Na kalāpangam iccāhu ākāsam lakkhanāni ca.

Ayam' ettha kalāpa-yojanā.

Grouping of Material Qualities (57)


§ 5. There are twenty-one material groups inasmuch as they arise together (or have a common genesis), cease together (or have a common cessation), have a common dependence, and coexist.

Therein vitality and the (eight) inseparable material qualities together with the eye are called the 'eye-decad'. Similarly the 'ear-decad' together with the ear and so forth, 'nose-decad', 'tongue-decad', 'body-decad', 'female-decad', 'male-decad', 'base-decad', should respectively be formed. Inseparably material qualities, together with vitality, are called the 'vital nonad'. These nine groups are produced by Kamma.

The inseparable material qualities constitute the 'pure octad'. They, together with the bodily intimation, constitute the 'bodily intimation nonad'; together with the vocal intimation and sound, the 'vocal intimation decad'; together with the material qualities of lightness, pliancy, and adaptability, the 'un-decad of lightness' and so forth; the dodecad of bodily intimation, lightness, pliancy, and adaptability; and the tridecad of vocal intimation, sound, lightness, pliancy, and adaptability.

These six material groups are produced by mind.

The pure octad, the sound-nonad, the un-decad of lightness, pliancy, and adaptability; the dodecad of sound, lightness, pliancy, and adaptability-these four are produced by seasonal phenomena.

The pure octad, and the un-decad of lightness, pliancy and adaptability are the two material qualities produced by food.

Of them the two material groups produced by seasonal phenomena - pure octad and the sound, nonad - are found externally too. All the rest are strictly internal.

There are twenty-one material groups - nine, six, four and two produced in due order from Kamma, mind, seasonal phenomena, and food.

As space demarcates, and characteristic marks just indicate, the wise state that they are not parts of material groups.

Herein this is the formation of material groups.



§ 6. Sabbāni pan' etāni rūpāni kāmaloke yathāraham anūnāni pavattiyam upalabbhanti. Patisandhiyam pana samsedajānañ c'eva opapātikānañ ca cakkhu sota-ghāna-jivhā-kāya-bhāva-vatthu-dasaka-sankhātāni satta-dasa kāni pātubhavanti, ukkatthavasena. Omakavasena pana cakkhu-sota-ghāna-bhāva-dasakāni kadāci pi na labbhanti. Tasmā tesam vasena kalāpahāni veditabbā.

Gabbhaseyyaka-sattānam pana kāya-bhāva-vatthu-dasaka-sankhātāni tīni dasakāni pātubhavanti. Tathā, pi bhāvadasakam kadāci na labbhati. Tato param pavattikāle kamena cakkhudasakādīni ca pātubhavanti.

Icc' evam patisandhim upādāya kammasamutthānā dutiyacittam upādāya citta-samutthāna thitikālam upādāya utusamutthānā ojāpharanam upādāya āhārasa mutthānā c'āti catusamutthānarūpa-kalāpa-santati-kāmaloke dīpajāla viya nadīsoto viya ca yāvatāyukam abbhocchinnam pavattati.

Maranakāle pana cuti-cittopari sattarasama cittassa thiti kālam upādaāa kammajarūpāni na uppajjanti. Puretaram uppannāni ca kammaja-rūpāni cuticitta-samakālam eva pavattitvā nirujjhanti. Tato param cittajāhāraja-rūpañ ca vocchijjhati. Tato param utusamutthānarūpaparamparā yāva mata-kalebara-sankhātā pavattanti.

Icc' evam matasattānam punad'eva bhavantare

Patisandhim upādāya tathā rūpam pavattati.

Rūpaloke pana ghāna-jivhā-kāya-bhāva-dasakāni ca āharaja-kalāpāni ca na labbhanti. Tasmā tesam patisandhikāle cakkhu-sota-vatthuvasena tīni dasakāni jīvita-navakāni c'ātui cattāro kammasamutthānakalāpā, pavattiyam cittotusamutthānā ca labbhanti.

Asañña-sattānam pana cakkhu-sota-vatthu-saddāni pi na labbhanti. Tathā sabbāni pi cittajarūpāni. Tasmā tesam patisandhikāle jīvitanavakam eva. Pavattiyañ ca saddavajjitam, utusamutthānarūpam atiricchati.

Iccevam kāmarūpāsaññi-sankhātesu tīsu thānesn patisandhi-pavatti-vasena duvidhā rūpappavatti veditabbā.

Atthavisati kāmesu honti tevīsa rūpisu

Sattaras' ev' asaññīnam arūpe natthi kiñci pi.

Saddo vikāro jaratā marañ c' opapattiyam

Na labbhanti pavatte tu na kiñci pi na labbhati.

Ayam' ettha rūpa-pavattikkamo.




§ 7. Nibbānam pana lokuttara-sankhātam catumaggañānena sacchikātabbam magga-phalānam ālambanabhūtam vāna-sankhātāya tanhāya nikkhantattā nibbānanti pavuccati.

Tad'etam sabhāvato ekavidham pi; saupādisesanibbānadhātu anupādisesa-nibbānadhātu c'āti duvidham hoti kāranapariyāyena. Tathā suññatam animittam appanihitam c'āti tividham hoti ākārabhedena.

Padamaccutamaccantam asankhātamanuttaram

Nibbānam iti bhāsanti vānamuttā mahesayo.

Iti cittam cetasikām rūpam nibbānam iccapi

Paramattham pakāsenti catudhā va tathāgatā

Iti Abhidhammatthasangahe rūpa-sangahavibhāgo nāma Chattho Paricchedo.

Arising of Material Phenomena (58)


§ 6. All these material qualities are obtained, with no deficiency, according to circumstances, during lifetime in the kāma-sphere. But at conception, to moisture-born beings and to those of spontaneous birth, there arise at most the seven decads - eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, sex and base. As a minimum sometimes, eye, ear, nose, and sex decads are not obtained. This is how deficiencies of material groups should be understood.

To the womb-born creatures there arise three decads - body, sex and base. Sometimes, however, the sex-decad is not obtained. From the conception and thereafter, during lifetime, gradually there arise eye-decads and so forth.

Thus the continuity of material groups produced in four ways - namely, Kamma-born from the time of conception, mind-born from the second moment of consciousness, season-born from the time of the static stage, food-born from the time of the diffusion of nutritive essence - uninterruptedly flows on in the kāma-sphere till the end of life, like the flame of a lamp, or the stream of a river.

But at the time of death, from the seventeenth moment, reckoned backward from the decease-consciousness starting from the static stage of consciousness, kamma-born material phenomena no longer arise. Kamma-born material qualities that arose earlier exist till the decease-moment and then cease. Following that, the consciousness-born and nutriment-born material phenomena come to cessation. Thereafter a continuity of material qualities produced by physical changes persists while what is called a corpse lasts.

Thus to the dead persons, again in a subsequent life, material qualities similarly arise starting from the conception.

In the rūpa-plane decads of nose, tongue, body, sex and the material groups produced by food do not arise. Therefore to them at the time of rebirth there arise four material groups produced by Kamma, such as the three decads of eye, ear, and base, and the vital nonad. During life material qualities produced by mind and physical changes arise.

But to the mindless beings there do not arise eye, ear, base and sound. Similarly mind-born material qualities do not arise. Therefore at the moment of their rebirth only the vital nonad arises. During lifetime material qualities produced by physical changes, with the exception of sound, continue.

Thus in the three planes of kāma, rūpa and asañña (Mindless) the procedure of material phenomena should be understood in two ways as regards rebirth and lifetime.

In the kāma-sphere are obtained 28 material qualities, 23 in the rūpa-plane, 17 in the asañña-plane, but none in the arūpa-plane.

At the moment of birth, sound, mutation, decay and impermanence are not obtained. During lifetime there is nothing that is not obtained.

Herein this is the way how material qualities arise.


Nibbāna (59)


§ 7. Nibbāna however is termed supramundane, and is to be realized by the wisdom of the Four Paths. It becomes an object to the Paths and Fruits, and is called Nibbāna because it is a departure (ni) from cord-like, (vāna) craving.

Nibbāna is onefold according to its intrinsic nature.

According to the way (it is experienced) it is twofold - namely, the element of Nibbāna with the substrata remaining, and the element of Nibbāna without the substrata remaining.

It is threefold according to its different aspects, namely, Void (60), Signless (61), and Longing-free (62).

Great seers who are free from craving declare that Nibbāna is an objective state (63) which is deathless, absolutely endless, non-conditioned (64), and incomparable.

Thus, as fourfold the Tathāgatas reveal the Ultimate Entities-consciousness mental states, matter, and Nibbāna.


In the Abhidhamma Compendium this is the sixth chapter, which deals with the analysis of matter.


57. Rūpas do not arise singly but collectively in groups. There are 21 such material groups.

As all mental states possess four common characteristics, so rūpas found in the aforesaid groups possess four salient characteristics. For instance, in the 'eye-decad' all the ten associated rūpas arise and cease together (ekuppāda-ekanirodha). The earth-element, which is one of the ten, acts as a basis for the remaining nine (ekanissaya). All these ten coexist (sahavutti). It should be understood that the earth-element of the 'eye-decad' does not serve as a basis for the associated rūpas of the 'ear-decad'. These four characteristics apply only to the associated rūpas of each particular group.


58. This section deals with the manner in which these material groups come into being and how they exist during lifetime, at the moment of conception, and in different states of birth.

According to Buddhism there are four kinds of birth - namely, egg-born beings (andaja), womb-born beings (jalābuja), moisture-born beings (samsedaja), and beings having spontaneous births (opapātika).

Embryos that take moisture as nidus for their growth, like certain lowly forms of animal life, belong to the third class.

Sometimes moisture-born beings lack certain senses and have no sex. They all must possess a consciousness as they are all endowed with the base-decad, that is, the seat of consciousness. Beings having a spontaneous birth are generally invisible to the physical eye. Conditioned by their past Kamma, they appear spontaneously, without passing through an embryonic stage. Petas and Devas normally, and Brahmas belong to this class.

Some of those who have spontaneous birth in the kāma-sphere are asexual. But all beings who are Spontaneously born in the rūpa-sphere are not only asexual but are also devoid of sensitive nose, tongue, and body, though they possess those physical organs. The sensitive material qualities (pasādarūpas) of those particular organs are lost as they are not of any practical use to Brahmas.

Egg-born beings are also included among womb-born beings. At the moment of conception they all obtain the three decads of body, sex, and the seat of consciousness. At times some are devoid of both masculinity and femininity. From this it is seen that even eggs are constituted with a consciousness.


59. Nibbāna, Sanskrit Nirvāna, is composed of ni and vāna. Ni + vāna = Nivāna = Nibāna = Nibbāna. Ni is a particle implying negation. Vāna means weaving or craving. It is this craving which acts as a cord to connect the series of lives of any particular individual in the course of his wanderings in Samsāra.

As long as one is entangled by craving or attachment, one accumulates fresh Karmic forces which must materialize in one form or other in the eternal cycle of birth and death. When all forms of craving are extirpated, Karmic forces cease to operate, and one, in conventional terms, attains Nibbāna, escaping the cycle of birth and death. The Buddhist conception of Deliverance is this escape from the ever-recurring cycle of birth and death, and is not merely an escape from 'sin and hell'.

Etymologically, Nibbāna, derived from ni + Ö vu, to weave, means non-craving or non-attachment , or 'departure from craving'. Strictly speaking, Nibbāna is that Dhamma which is gained by the complete destruction of all forms of craving.

Nibbāna is also derived from ni + Ö vā, to blow. In that case Nibbāna means the blowing out, the extinction, or the annihilation of the flames of lust, hatred, and ignorance. It should be understood that the mere destruction of passions is not Nibbāna (khayamattam eva na nibbānanti vattabbam). It is only the means to gain Nibbāna, and is not an end in itself.

Nibbāna is an ultimate reality (vatthu-dhamma) which is supramundane (lokuttara), that is, beyond the world of mind and body or the five 'aggregates'.

Nibbāna is to be understood by intuitive knowledge and inferential knowledge (paccakkha or pativedha ñāna and anumāna or anubodha ñāna). To express both ideas it is stated that Nibbāna is to be realized by means of the wisdom pertaining to the four Paths of Sainthood and that it becomes an object to the Paths and Fruits.

Intrinsically (sabhāvato) Nibbāna is peaceful (santi). As such it is unique (kevala). This single Nibbāna is viewed as twofold according to the way it is experienced before and after death. The text uses a simple but recondite Pāli phrase - kāranapariyāyena. The Ceylon Commentary explains the cause for naming it as such with respect to its having or not having the aggregates as the remainder (sa-upādisesādivasena paññāpane kāranabhūtassa upādisesābhāvābhāvassa lesena). Adding a note on this term S. Z. Aung writes: "The Ceylon Commentaries explain it by paññāpane kāranassa lesena - by way of device of the means (of knowing) in the matter of language." - Compendium, p. 168, n. 6.


Saupādisesa - Sa = with; upadi = aggregates (mind and body); sesa = remaining. Upādi, derived from upa + ā + Ö dā, to take, means the five aggregates as they are firmly grasped by craving and false views. It also signifies passions (kilesas). According to the text and the Commentarial interpretations, Nibbāna, experienced by Sotāpannas, Sakadāgāmis, and Anāgāmis, is saupādisesa-nibbānadhātu as they have the body and some passions still remaining. Nibbāna of the Arahats is also saupādisesa-nibbānadhātu as they have the body still remaining. It is only the Nibbāna of the Arahats after their death that is termed anupādisesa-nibbānadhātu because the aggregates and the passions are discarded by them.

Itivuttaka refers to these two kinds of Nibbāna, but mention is made only of Nibbāna comprehended by Arahats. It states:

"These two Nibbāna-states are shown by Him
Who seeth, who is such and unattached.
One state is that in this same life possessed
With base remaining, tho' becoming's stream
Be cut off. While the state without a base
Belongeth to the future, wherein all
Becomings utterly do come to cease."

Itivuttaka p. 38.

Woodward - As it was said p. 143.

(See the Buddha and His Teachings)

60. Suññata - Devoid of lust, hatred, and ignorance or of all conditioned things. Void here does not mean that Nibbāna is 'nothingness'.


61. Animitta - Free from the signs of lust, etc., or from the signs of all conditioned things.


62. Appanihita - Free from the hankerings of lust, etc., or because it is not longed for with any feelings of craving.


63. Padam - Here the term is used in the sense of an objective reality (vatthu-dhamma). 'State' does not exactly convey the meaning of the Pāli term. It may be argued whether Nibbāna could strictly be called either a state or a process. In Pāli it is designated as a 'Dhamma'.


64. Asankhata - Nibbāna is the only Dhamma which is not conditioned by any cause. Hence it is eternal and is neither a cause nor an effect.

Diagram XIII

How different types of consciousness produce various kinds of rūpa




Kammajarūpa -

rūpa born of Kamma



Cittaja -

rūpa born of mind



Iriyāpatha -

bodily movements



Hasituppāda -

smiling consciousness



Viññatti -

two media of communication - gestures and speech

+ = Yes,   - = No







4 Rooted in Attachment, accompanied by pleasure






4 Rooted in Attachment, accompanied by indifference






2 Rooted in Ill will, 2 rooted in Ignorance






10 Sense-cognitions, 4 arūpa vipāka






2 sampaticchana, 1 Sense-door, 3 santīrana






1 Mind-door (votthapana)






1 hasituppāda






5 rūpa kusala






5 rūpa vipāka and 5 rūpa kiriyā






8 arūpa kusala and kiriyā






8 lokuttara






4 sobhanas, accompanied by pleasure






4 sobhanas, accompanied by indifference






8 sobhanas, vipāka






4 sobhanas, kiriyā, accompanied pleasure






4 sobhanas, kiriyā, accompanied equanimity







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