The class of dhammārammana which is cetasika comprises all fifty-two
cetasikas. Feeling is a cetasika. Painful feeling, for example, can be known
by citta ; then the object of citta is dhammārammana. When one experiences
hardness the object is not dhammārammana but phothabbārammana
(tangible object). Hardness and painful bodily feeling can appear closely one
after the other. If one does not realize that hardness and painful bodily
feeling are different ārammanas and if one is ignorant of the different
characteristics of nāma and rūpa, one will continue taking them for self.
Citta can experience all kinds of objects. Even nibbana can be experienced
by citta. Nibbāna is dhammārammana, it can only be experienced through
the mind-door. Thus, citta can experience both sankhāra dhammas
(conditioned dhammas) and visankhāra dhamma (unconditioned dhamma).
The citta which experiences sankhāra dhamma is lokiya citta (lokiya is
usually translated as 'mundane', but it does not mean 'worldly' as it is
understood in conventional language). The citta which directly experiences
nibbana is lokuttara citta.
Another class of dhammārammana is conventional terms, concepts and
ideas (paññatti). Thus we see that citta can know both paramattha
dhammas, which are nāma and rūpa, and concepts or conventional
terms, which are not paramattha dhammas.
A concept or a conventional term citta thinks of is not a paramattha dhamma.
We can think of a person, an animal or a thing because of remembrance of
past experiences, but they are not paramattha dhammas, realities which can
be directly experienced. When there is thinking about a conventional term or
a concept, it is nāma which thinks ; nāma is a paramattha dhamma. Thus, the
reality at that moment is the thinking.
Conventional terms can denote both realities and things which are not real. A
term which in itself is not a paramattha dhamma, can denote a paramattha
dhamma. For instance, the terms 'nāma' and 'rūpa' are pannatti, but they
denote paramattha dhammas. It is essential to know the difference
between paramattha dhamma and paññatti. If we cling to the terms 'nāma'
and 'rūpa' and continue thinking about nāma and rūpa instead of being
aware of their characteristics when they appear, we will only know
pannattis instead of realities.