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June 07, 2018


Hla Maung,
Senior Geologist (Retired),
Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise

Patthana, or “Book of Origination” deals with the conditionality and dependent nature of all corporeal (body) and mental phenomena of existence, which in their combinations are known by conventional names of ‘I’, ‘person’, ‘world’, etc., but which in the ultimate sense are only passing phenomena, and nothing more. The Patthana has been described as the most important work of the Abhidhamma, which is one of the main divisions of the Buddhist Canon (or Holy Books).
All phenomena are arranged or explained with respect to 24 ‘paccaya’ or conditions or modes of conditionality. PACCAYA : CONDITION is something on which something else depends, something without which something else cannot arise or happen. Buddhist monks, on special occasions, may chant non-stop the whole Book of Origination and Conditionality, a process which may take several days. Most devotees in Myanmar however commonly recite, perhaps daily, just the 24 “paccayas” or modes of conditionality or relationship, which are enumerated below. The recitation is as follows : “Hetu paccayaw Arammana, Arammana paccayaw Adhipati, Adhipati paccayaw Anantara, … (and so on until) … Athi paccayaw Nathi, Nathi paccayaw Vigata, Vigata paccayaw Avigata paccayaw ti.”
This short recitation may be translated as :- “ Roots are conditioned by (or interdependent with) Objects, Objects are conditioned by Predominance, Predominance is conditioned by Contiguity, and so on. It is however not just a simple case of “1 dependent on 2, 2 dependent on 3, 3 dependent on 4, …” and so on, but all 24 conditions are intricately inter-related and inter-dependent.
The 24 conditions or groups are listed below, and a brief description of each group is given later.
1.       HETU    :     ROOT           condition
2.       ARAMMANA    :     OBJECT
4.       ANANTARA    :     CONTIGUITY
6.       SAHAJATA    :     CO-NASCENCE
7.       ANNAMANNA    :     MUTUALITY
8.       NISSAYA    :     FOUNDATION
10.     PUREJATA    :     PRE-NASCENCE
12.     ASEVANA    :     REPETITION
13.     KAMMA    :     KAMMA
14.     VIPAKA    :     KAMMA-RESULT
15.     AHARA    :     NUTRIMENT
16.     INDRIYA    :     FACULTY
17.     JHANA    :     JHANA
18.     MAGGA    :     PATH
21.     ATHI    :     PRESENCE
22.     NATHI    :     ABSENCE
1. HETU paccaya : ROOT condition
The six roots of all wholesome and unwholesome acts, speech, thoughts: lobha, dosa, moha, alobha, adosa, amoha.
2. ARAMMANA paccaya : OBJECT condition
Any object or thing, including mind-object, which causes consciousness and mental phenomena.
3. ADHIPATI paccaya : PREDOMINANCE condition
Intention        :     chanda
Energy        :     viriya
Consciousness    :     vinnana
Reflection        :     vimamsa
In any state of consciousness or mental phenomenon, only one of the above is   predominant.
ANANTARA paccaya : CONTIGUITY condition
SAMANANTARA paccaya : IMMEDIACY condition, i.e., very closely related
Any state of consciousness or mental phenomenon which is the cause or necessary condition for the immediately following consciousness or mental phenomenon.
For example, eye consciousness ( seeing an apple ) is the cause or condition for the immediately following desire for the apple.
SAHAJATA paccaya : CO-NASCENCE condition ( being born or arising at he same time )
For example, the 4 mental groups, feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness, all arise or happen together.If feeling arises, the other 3 must also arise.
Only at the moment of conception in the mother’s womb, corporeality ( rupa ) forms a necessary co-nascent condition for the 4 mental groups.
ANNAMANNA paccaya : MUTUALITY condition
The above closely associated or co-nascent phenomena are also conditioned by way of mutuality, “just as three sticks propped up one by one another.”
NISSAYA paccaya : FOUNDATION condition
Foundation condition : refers to a pre-nascent or co-nascent phenomenon which acts for other phenomena as a foundation, just as trees have the earth for their foundation, or the oil painting has the canvas as its foundation. In this way, the five sense organs and the physical base of the mind are, for the corresponding 6 kinds of consciousness, a pre-nascent condition by way of foundation.
All co-nascent ( SAHAJATA ) phenomena are mutually ( ANNAMANNA ) conditioned by way of foundation ( NISSAYA ).
UPANISSAYA paccaya : INDUCEMENT condition
Three kinds :
Direct inducement: pakati upanissaya
Greed, as a direct inducement to theft
Hate,                     – “ –               murder
Faith,                     – “ –               charity
Bad food,              – “-                bad health
Bad friends,          – “ –               bad habits,etc.
Object inducement: arammanupanissaya
Any object, past, present, future, real, imagined, can become an inducement to good, bad or neutral states of mind.
Immediacy inducement: anantarupanissaya
Eye-consciousness leading to the immediately following mental state, etc..
PUREJATA paccaya : PRENASCENCE condition
Something previously arisen, which forms a base for something arising later, e.g., the sense organs and the mind, already arisen at birth, form the condition for the consciousness arising later.
PACCHAJATA paccaya : POST-NASCENCE condition
The consciousness and the phenomena associated with it, when they are a condition necessary for the preservation of this already arisen body.
ASEVANA paccaya : REPETITION condition
The kammical consciousness, in which all the preceding impulsive mind-moments ( javana citta ), through repetition and exercise, are a condition for succeeding ones, making them easier to arise.
KAMMA paccaya : KAMMA condition
The pre-natal kamma, or kamma-volitions or cetana, which is the generatingcause of kamma-produced mind-body phenomena in a later rebirth.
VIPAKA paccaya : KAMMA RESULT condition
The kamma-resultant sense-consciousness is a condition for co-nascent mind-body phenomena.
AHARA paccaya : NUTRIMENT condition
Four kinds of ahara or nutriment are recognized.
Material food ( feeds the body )
Sensorial or mental impressions are a condition for agreeable, neutral and disagreeable feelings
Mental volition feeds rebirth
Consciousness feeds mind and corporeality in the moment of conception.
INDRIYA paccaya : FACULTY condition
Refers to 20 faculties as follows:
1-5 Eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, for eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, etc.
vitality or life force
bodily pleasant feelings
bodily pain
assurance of future knowledge on entering sotapan-path
higher knowledge on reaching sotapan-fruition
highest knowledge of arahat-fruition
JHANA paccaya : JHANA condition
The 7 jhana conditions, required for the co-nascent mental and bodily phenomena:
thought conception – vitakka
discursive thinking – vicara
interest – piti
joy – sukha
sadness – domanassa
equanimity – epekkha
concentration – samedhi
1,2,3,4,7 are in greedy consciousness
1,2,5,7 are in hateful consciousness
1,2,6,7 are in deluded consciousness
MAGGA paccaya : PATH condition
In essence the 8-fold Right Path, and conversely, the “8-fold Wrong Path”, altogether 16 conditions, although here, the classification is given in 12 divisions:
Knowledge or Right Understanding – panna or Samma Ditthi
Thought conception – vitakka, either right or wrong
Right Speech – Samma Vaca
Right Bodily Action – Samma Kammanta
Right Livelihood – Samma Ajiva
Energy – either right (Samma Viriya) or wrong
Attentiveness – either right ( Samma Sati) or wrong
Concentration – wither right (Samma Samedhi) or wrong
Wrong views – micchaditthi
Miccha vaca – wrong speech
Wrong bodily action – miccha kammanta
Wrong livelihood – miccha ajiva
SAMPAYUTTA paccaya : ASSOCIATION condition
Refers to co-nascent (no. 6) and mutuality (no. 7) conditioned 4 mental groups (feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness) as they aid each other by being associated, or having a common base, or having a common object, and they arise and disappear simultaneously.
Refers to such phenomena as aid phenomena by not having the same physical base (eye, etc.) and objects. Thus corporeal phenomena are for mental phenomena a condition by way of disassociation, whether co-nascent or not, and vice versa.
ATTHI paccaya : PRESENCE condition
Refers to a phenomenon which, through its presence, is a condition for other phenomena. This condition applies to nos. 6,7,8,10.
NATHI paccaya : ABSENCE condition
Refers to consciousness etc. has just passed and which forms the necessary condition for the immediately following consciousness by giving it opportunity to arise.
VITAGA paccaya : DISAPPEARANCE condition
Identical with 22
Identical with 21.
I cannot pretend to understand the Patthana or Book of Conditioned Relationships. I understand it as a high school student might understand the human body, that it is made up of a bones and flesh, with a heart and brain, and liver and kidneys, and so on, but I do not understand it as a doctor might, or a neurosurgeon or medical specialist, Nevertheless, I hope the above summary, which I have summarised from Venerable Nyanatiloka Mahathera’s “Guide through the Abhidhamma-Pitaka, published 1957 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, might help Myanmar devotees understand a little more as they recite the 24 groups of related Paccaya conditions.


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