'condition', is something on which something
else, the so-called 'conditioned thing', is dependent, and without which the
latter cannot be. Manifold are the ways in which one thing, or one occurrence,
may be the condition for some other thing, or occurrence. In the Patthāna, the
last book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka (comprising 6 large vols. in the Siamese
edition), these 24 modes of conditionality are enumerated and explained, and
then applied to all conceivable mental and physical phenomena and occurrences,
and thus their conditioned nature is demonstrated.
The first two volumes of the Patthāna have been translated
into English by the Venerable U Nārada (Mūlapatthāna Sayadaw) of Burma, under
the title Conditional Relations (Published by the Pāli Text Society, London
1969, 1981). For a synopsis of this work, see Guide VII.
The 24 modes of conditionality are:
- 1. Root condition: hetu paccaya
- 2. Object: Ārammana
- 3. Predominance: adhipati
- 4. Priority: anantara
- 5. Contiguity: samanantara
- 6. Co-nascence: sahajāta
- 7. Mutuality: aññamañña
- 8. Support: nissaya
- 9. Decisive Support: upanissaya
- 10. Pre-nascene: purejāta
- 11. Post-nascene: pacchājāta
- 12. Repitition: Āsevana
- 13. Karma: kamma
- 14. Karma-result: vipāka
- 15. Nutriment: Āhāra
- 16. ability: indriya
- 17. Jhāna: jhāna
- 18. Path: magga
- 19. Associaton: sampayutta
- 20. Dissociation: vippayutta
- 21. Presence: atthi
- 22. Absence: natthi
- 23. Disappearance: vigata
- 24. Non-disappearance: avigata
(1) Root-condition (hetu-paccaya) is that condition
that resembles the root of a tree. Just as a tree rests on its root, and remains
alive only as long as its root is not destroyed, similarly all karmically
advantageous and disadvantageous mental states are entirely dependent on the
simultaneity and presence of their respective roots, i.e., of greed (lobha), hate
(dosa), delusion (moha), or greedlessness (alobha),
hatelessness (adosa), undeludedness (amoha). For the definition of
these 6 roots, s. mūla.
"The roots are a condition by way of root for the
(mental) phenomena associated with a root, and for the corporeal phenomena
produced thereby (e.g. for bodily expression)" (Patth).
(2) Object-condition (ārammana-paccaya) is called
something which, as object, forms the condition for consciousness and mental
phenomena. Thus, the physical object of sight consisting in colour and light
('light-wave'), is the necessary condition and the sine qua non for the arising
of eye-consciousness (cakkhu-viññāna), etc.; sound ('sound wave') for
ear-consciousness (sotā-viññāna), etc.; further, any object arising
in the mind is the condition for mind-consciousness (mano-viññāna). The
mind-object may be anything whatever, corporeal or mental, past, present or
future, real or imaginary.
(3) Predominance-condition (adhipati-paccaya) is the
term for 4 things, on the preponderance and predominance of which are dependent
the mental phenomena associated with them, namely: concentrated intention (chanda), energy (viriya), consciousness (citta) and
investigation (vīmamsā). In one and the same state of consciousness,
however, only one of these 4 phenomena can be predominant at a time.
"Whenever such phenomena as consciousness and mental concomitants are
arising by giving preponderance to one of these 4 things, then this phenomenon
is for the other phenomena a condition by way of predominance" (Patth.).
(4-5) Proximity and contiguity (or immediacy)-condition (anantara
and samanantara-paccaya) - both being identical - refer to any state
of consciousness and mental phenomena associated with them, which are the
conditions for the immediately following stage in the process of consciousness.
For example, in the visual process, eye-consciousness is for the immediately
following mind element - performing the function of receiving the visible object
- a condition by way of contiguity; and so is this mind-element for the next
following mind-consciousness element, performing the function of investigating
the object, etc. Cf. viññāna-kicca.
(6) Co-nascence condition (sahajāta-paccaya), i.e.
condition by way of simultaneous arising, is a phenomenon that for another one
forms, a condition in such a way that, simultaneously with its arising, also the
other thing must arise. Thus, for instance, in one and the same moment each of
the 4 mental groups (feeling, perception, mental constructions and consciousness)
is for the 3 other groups a condition by way of co-nascence or co-arising; or
again each of the 4 physical elements (solid, liquid, heat, motion) is such a
condition for the other 3 elements. Only at the moment of conception in the
mother's womb does materiality (physical base of mind) serve for the 4 mental
groups as a condition by way of co nascence.
(7) Condition by way of mutuality (aññāmañña-paccaya).
All the just mentioned associated and co-nascent mental phenomena, as well
as the 4 physical elements, are, of course, at the same time also conditioned by
way of mutuality, "just like three sticks propped up one by another."
The 4 mental groups are one for another a condition by way of mutuality. So also
are the 4 elements, and also mentality and materiality at the moment of
(8) Support-condition (nissaya-paccaya). This
condition refers either to a pre-nascent (s. 10) or co-nascent (s. 6) phenomenon
which is aiding other phenomena in the manner of a foundation or base, just as
the trees have the earth as their foundation, or as the oil-painting rests on
the canvas. In this way, the 5 sense-organs and the physical base of the mind
are for the corresponding 6 kinds of consciousness a prenascent, i.e. previously
arisen, condition by way of support. Further all co-nascent (s. 6) phenomena are
mutually (s. 7) conditioned by each other by way of support.
(9) Decisive-support (or inducement) condition (upanissaya-paccaya) is
- (a) by way of object (ārammanūpanissaya-paccaya),
- (b) by way of proximity (anantarūpanissaya),
- (c) natural decisive
These conditions act as strong inducement or
- (a) Anything past, present or future, corporeal or mental,
real or imaginary, may, as object of our thinking, become a decisive support, or
strong inducement, to moral, immoral or karmically neutral states of mind. Evil
things, by wrong thinking about them, become an inducement to immoral life; by
right thinking, an inducement to moral life. But good things may be an
inducement not only to similarly good things, but also to bad things, such as
self-conceit, vanity, envy, etc.
- (b;) is identical with proximity condition (No. 4).
- (c) Faith, virtue, etc., produced in one's own mind, or the
influence of climate, food, etc., on one's body and mind, may act as natural and
decisive support-conditions. Faith may be a direct and natural inducement to
charity, virtue to mental training, etc.; greed to theft, hate to murder;
unsuitable food and climate to ill-health; friends to spiritual progress or
(10) Pre-nascence-condition (purejāta-paccaya) refers
to something previously arisen, which forms a base for something arising later
on. For example, the 5 physical sense-organs and the physical base of mind,
having already arisen at the time of birth, form the condition for the
consciousness arising later, and for the mental phenomena associated therewith.
(11) Post-nascence-condition (pacchā-jāta-paccaya) refers
to consciousness and the phenomena therewith associated, because they are - just
as is the feeling of hunger- a necessary condition for the preservation of this
already arisen body.
(12) Repetition-condition (āsevana-paccaya) refers to
the karmical consciousness, in which each time the preceding impulsive moments (javana-citta,
q.v.) are for all the succeeding ones a condition by way of repetition and
frequency, just as in learning by heart, through constant repetition, the later
recitation becomes gradually easier and easier.
(13) Karma-condition (kamma-paccaya). The pre-natal
karma (i.e karma-intentions, kamma-cetanā, in a previous birth) is the
generating condition (cause) of the 5 sense-organs, the fivefold
sense-consciousness, and the other karma-produced mental and corporeal phenomena
in a later birth. - Karmical intention is also a condition by way of karma for
the co-nascent mental phenomena associated therewith, but these phenomena are in
no way karma-results.
(14) Karma-result-condition (vipāka-paccaya). The
karma-resultant 5 kinds of sense-consciousness are a condition by way of
karma-result for the co-nascent mental and corporeal phenomena.
(15) Nutriment-condition (āhāra-paccaya). For the 4
nutriments, s. Āhāra.
(16) ability-condition (indriya-paccaya). This
condition applies to 20 abilities (indriya), leaving out No. 7 and
8 from the 22 abilities. Of these 20 abilities, the 5 physical sense-organs (1 -
5), in their capacity as abilities, form a condition only for uncorporeal
phenomena (eye-consciousness etc.); physical vitality (6) and all the remaining
abilities, for the co-nascent mental and corporeal phenomena.
(17) Jhāna-condition (jhāna-paccaya) is a name for
the 7 so-called jhāna-factors, as these form a condition to the co-nascent
mental and corporeal phenomena, to wit:
- (1) thought-conception (vitakka),
discursive thinking (vicāra),
- (3) interest (pīti),
- (4) joy (sukha),
- (5) sadness (domanassa),
- (6) indifference (upekkhā),
concentration (samādhi). (For definition s. Pāli terms)
1, 2, 3, 4, 7 are found in 4 classes of greedy consciousness
(s. Tab.I. 22-25); 1, 2, 5, 7 in hateful consciousness (Tab.I.30, 31); 1, 2, 6, 7
in the classes of deluded consciousness (Tab.I.32, 33).
This condition does not only apply to jhāna alone,
but also to the general intensifying ('absorbing') impact of these 7 factors.
(18) Path-condition (magga-paccaya) refers to the 12
path-factors, as these are for the karmically advantageous and disadvantageous mental
phenomena associated with them, a way of escape from this or that mental
- (1) knowledge (paññā = sammāditthi, right
- (2) (right or wrong) thought-conception (vitakka),
right speech (sammā-vācā),
- (4) right bodily action (sammā-kammanta),
- (5) right livelihood (sammā-ājīva),
- (6) (right or wrong) energy (viriya),
- (7) (right or wrong) mindfulness (sati),
- (8) (right or wrong)
- (9) wrong views (micchāditthi),
wrong speech (micchā-vācā),
- (11) wrong bodily action (micchā-kammanta),
- (12) wrong livelihood (micchā-ājīva). Cf.
(19) Association-condition (sampayutta-paccaya) refers
to the co-nascent (s. 6) and mutually (s. 7) conditioned 4 mental groups (khandha),
"as they aid each other by their being associated, by having a common
physical base, a common object, and by their arising and disappearing
simultaneously" (Patth. Com.).
(20) Dissociation-condition (vippayutta-paccaya)
refers to such phenomena as aid other phenomena by not having the same physical
base (eye, etc.) and objects. Thus corporeal phenomena are for mental phenomena,
and conversely, a condition by way of dissociation, whether co-nascent or not.
(2l) Presence-condition (atthi-paccaya) refers to a
phenomenon - being pre-nascent or co-nascent - which through its presence is a
condition for other phenomena. This condition applies to the conditions Nos. 6,
7, 8, 10, 11.
(22) Absence-condition (natthi-paccaya) refers to
consciousness, etc., which has just passed, and which thus forms the necessary
condition for the immediately following stage of consciousness by giving it an
opportunity to arise. Cf. No. 4.
(23) Disappearance-condition (vigata-paccaya) is
identical with No. 22.
(24) Non-disappearance-condition (avigata-paccaya) is
identical with No. 21.
These 24 conditions should be known thoroughly for a detailed
understanding of that famous formula of the dependent origination (paticcasamuppāda). Cf. Fund. III, Guide p. 117 ff. (App.) .
See The Significance of Dependent Origination, by
Nyanatiloka (WHEEL 140).