Concepts III - Cittas that do not have concepts as object

Can concepts be the object of akusala citta (unwholesome consciousness)? They can, and they are, in fact, usually the objects of akusala citta. There can be lobha-mula-citta which is attached to a concept. Or, there can be dosa-mula-citta which has aversion towards a concept. When one does not like this or that person, does one realise what the object is? At such moments a concept is the object of citta. Thus we see that a concept can be the object of any kind of akusala citta.
Can a concept be the object of kusala citta (wholesome consciousness)? It can be the object of kusala citta. Concepts belong to our daily life and thus they are the objects of all kinds of cittas arising in our daily life. If we want to perform dana (giving) but we don’t know concepts, we wouldn’t know what the gift is in a conventional sense. In such a case there could not be kusala citta that performs dana. There cannot be abstention (virati) from wrong deeds or speech if one does not know what is there in a conventional sense; if one does not know that there is a being or a person.
When someone develops samatha can concepts be the object of citta? One may think that it is difficult to answer this question when he has not studied in detail the way of development of samatha and the subjects of calm. However, it is important to remember that when a dhamma (reality) is not the object of citta, a concept must be the object. Thus, also in samatha a concept can be the object of citta. All cittas, except the cittas that develop satipatthana and the sensedoor process cittas, can have concepts as object.
Only if we develop satipatthana can we know whether a phenomenon is a paramattha dhamma. When satipatthana does not arise, at such moments there is no awareness, no study and no investigation of the characteristics of paramattha dhammas. In our daily lives the object of citta is sometimes a paramattha dhamma and sometimes a concept. The development of satipatthana is very intricate, because panna must become very refined in order that it can see all the realities that appear as they are.

Topic 290