Jhanacittas - Planes of cittas

The many different kinds of cittas arising in our daily life experience objects through the five sense-doors and through the mind-door. We see, hear, receive impressions through the other doors and think about these objects. Both in the sense-door process and in the mind-door process of cittas there are javana-cittas which are in the case of the non-arahat either kusala cittas or akusala cittas. The javana-cittas are most of the time akusala cittas because we cling to all the objects which are experienced through the sense- doors and through the mind-door. We cling to visible object and seeing, to sound and hearing, to all the objects we experience. We cling to life we want to go on living and receiving sense-impressions. We may not notice when there is clinging after the seeing or hearing, especially when we do not feel particularly glad about what was seen or heard. But there may be lobha-mūla -cittas with indifferent feeling. There are likely to be many moments of clinging which pass unnoticed, both in the sense-door processes and in the mind-door processes. Time and again an object is experienced through a sense-door and then through the mind-door and there are also mind-door processes of cittas which think of concepts such as people, animals or things. Clinging to concepts is likely to arise very often and thus we think most of the time with akusala citta. When we do not apply ourselves to dāna, sila or bhāvana, thinking is done with akusala citta. Even when we perform good deeds there are bound to be akusala cittas shortly after the kusala cittas since there is seeing and hearing time and again and after the seeing or hearing attachment or aversion on account of what we experience may arise. The kusala cittas and akusala cittas, all the cittas which arise in our daily life are of the 'sensuous plane of consciousness' or kāmāvacara cittas. 


Cittas which experience sense-impressions are bound up with defilements and

therefore wise people, even those who lived before the Buddha's time, who

saw the disadvantages of sense-impressions, developed jhāna in order to be

temporarily freed from sense-impressions. Jhānacittas are not kāmāvacara

cittas, they are of another plane of consciousness; these cittas experience

with absorption a meditation subject through the mind-door. At the

moment of jhana one is freed from sense-impressions and from the

defilements which are bound up with them. Jhānacittas comprise

rūpāvacara cittas (rūpa-jhānacittas) and arūpāvacara cittas (arūpa-

jhānacittas). Arūpa-jhāna is more refined than rūpa-jhāna, since the

meditation subjects of a rūpa-jhāna are no longer dependent on materiality.

  Apart from the planes of citta which are kāmāvacara cittas, rūpāvacara cittas and arūpāvacara cittas, there is still another plane of citta: the lokuttara cittas (translated as supramundane cittas) which have nibbāna as their object. Those who attain enlightenment have lokuttara cittas, experiencing nibbāna.

Topic 195