Tipitaka >> Abhidhamma Pitaka >> The Patthanuddesa Dipani
The Buddhist Philosophy of Relations
By Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw, Aggamahapandita, D.Litt.
Translated into English by Sayadaw U Nyana, Patamagyaw of Masoeyein Monastery Mandalay

12. Asevana-Paccaya or the Relation of Habitual Recurrence

The forty-seven kinds of mundane apperceptions comprising the twelve classes of immoral consciousness, the seventeen mundane classes of moral consciousness, and the eighteen classes of inoperative consciousness (obtained by excluding the two classes of consciousness, called "turning towards", avajjana, from the twenty), are here termed the causal relation of habitual recurrence. When any one of these arrives at the apperceptional process (i.e., the sequence of seven similar states of consciousness in a process of thought) every preceding apperception causally relates itself by way of habitual recurrence to every succeeding apperception. The related things, paccayuppanna-dhammas, comprise the succeeding apperceptions as stated above, as well as the Four Paths.

In what sense is the term asevana to be understood? It is to be understood in the sense of habituating by constant repetition or of causing in its paccayuppanna-dhamma to accept its inspiration, for them to gain greater and greater proficiency, energy and force. Here Pagunabhava means proficiency of the succeeding apperceptional thoughts in their apperceptive functions and stages; just as one who reads a lesson many times becomes more proficient with each new reading.

Parivaso literally means perfuming, or inspiring. Just as a silk cloth is perfumed with sweet scents, so also is the body of thought, so to speak, perfumed, or inspired, with lust, hate, and so forth; or with disinterestedness (arajjana), amity (adussana), and so on. Although the preceding apperception ceases, its apperceptional force does not cease; that is, its force pervades the succeeding thought. Therefore, every succeeding apperception, on coming into existence, becomes more vigorous on account of the former"s habituation. Thus the immediate preceding thought habituates or causes its immediate successor to accept its habituation. However, the process of habitual recurrence usually ceases at the seventh thought, after which, either resultant thought-moments of retention follow, or subsidence into the life-continuum takes place.

Here, habitual recurrence, as dealt with in the Suttanta, ought to be mentioned also. Many passages are to be found in several parts of the Sutta Pitaka. Such are: Satipatthanam bhaveti: "one cultivates the earnest applications in mindfulness"; Sammappadhanam bhaveti: "one cultivates the supreme effort"; Sati-sambojjhangam bhaveti: "one cultivates mindfulness, a factor of Enlightenment"; Dhammavicaya-sambojjhangam bhaveti: "one cultivates the "investigation of truth," a factor of Enlightenment"; Sammaditthim bhaveti: "one cultivates the right view"; Sammasankappam bhaveti: "one cultivates right aspiration". and so on. In these passages, by "bhaveti" is meant, to repeat the effort either for one day, or for seven days, or for one month, or for seven months, or for one year, or for seven years.

Moral and immoral actions, which have been repeatedly performed or cultivated, or many times done in former existences, causally relate by way of habitual recurrence to moral and immoral actions of the present existence for their greater improvement and worsening respectively.

The relation which effects the improvement and the worsening respectively of such moral and immoral actions, at some other distant time or in some future existence, is called sufficing condition, but the one which effects this only during the apperceptional process is called habitual recurrence.

In this world, there are clearly to be seen always many incidental results or consequences following upon great achievements in art, science, literature, and so forth, which have been carried out in thought, word, and deed, continuously, repeatedly and incessantly.

As such a relation of habitual recurrence is found among all transient phenomena, manly zeal and effort, exerted for a long period of time, have developed to such a high degree that many great and difficult labours have reached complete accomplishment and that even Buddhahood has been attained.

End of Asevana-Relation.

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