Different Aspects of Citta - Accumulation of citta

Different people react differently to what they experience, thus, different

types of citta arise. What one person likes, another dislikes. We can also

notice how different people are when they make or produce something. Even

when two people plan to make the same thing the result is quite different. For

example, when two people make a painting of the same tree, the paintings

are not at all the same. People have different talents and capacities;

some people have no difficulty with their studies, whereas others are

incapable of study. Cittas are beyond control; they have each their own

conditions for their arising.


Why are people so different from one another? The reason is that they have

different experiences in life and thus they accumulate different

inclinations. When a child has been taught from his youth to be generous

he accumulates generosity. People who are angry very often accumulate a

great deal of anger. We all have accumulated different inclinations, tastes and



Each citta which arises falls away completely and is succeeded by the next

citta. How then can there be accumulations of experiences in life,

accumulations of good and bad inclinations? The reason is that each citta

which falls away is succeeded by the next citta. Our life is an uninterrupted

series of cittas and each citta conditions the next citta and this again the next,

and thus the past can condition the present. It is a fact that our good cittas

and bad cittas in the past condition our inclinations today. Thus, good and

bad inclinations are accumulated.


We all have accumulated many impure inclinations and defilements (in

Pāli:kilesa). Defilements are for example greed or attachment (lobha), anger

(dosa) and ignorance (moha). There are different degrees of defilements:

there are subtle defilements or latent tendencies, medium defilements and

gross defilements. Subtle defilements do not appear with the citta, but they

are latent tendencies which are accumulated in the citta. At the time we are

asleep and not dreaming there are no akusala cittas but there are

unwholesome latent tendencies. When we wake up akusala cittas arise again.

How could they appear if there were not in each citta accumulated

unwholesome latent tendencies? Even when the citta is not akusala there are

unwholesome latent tendencies so long as they have not been eradicated by

wisdom. Medium defilement is different from subtle defilement since it arises

together with the citta. Medium defilement arises with cittas rooted in

attachment,  lobha, aversion, dosa, and ignorance, moha. Medium defilement

is, for example, attachment to what one sees, or hears or experiences

through the bodysense, or aversion towards the objects one experiences.

Medium defilement does not motivate ill deeds. Gross defilement motivates

unwholesome actions akusala kamma, through body, speech and mind, such

as killing, slandering or the intention to take away other people's possessions.

Kamma  is a mental phenomenon and thus it can be accumulated. People

accumulate different defilements and different kammas.

Topic 176