Objects and Doors - Objects of the mind-door II

Citta is another class of dhammārammana cittas experience different ārammanas, but citta itself can be ārammana as well. Citta can have kusala cittas, akusala cittas and many other types of citta as its object.


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.


Topic 189