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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


2. Arammana-Paccaya or the Relation of Object

What is the Arammana-relation? All classes of consciousness, all states of mental concomitants, all kinds of material qualities, all phases of nibbana, all terms expressive of concepts, are arammana- relations. There is, in fact, not a single thing (dhamma) which does not become an object of mind and of the mental elements. Stated concisely, object is of six different kinds: visible object, audible object, odorous object, sapid object, tangible object, and cognizable object.

Which are those things that are related by the arammana-relations? All classes of mind and their concomitants are the things that are related by the arammana-relations. There is indeed not a single class of consciousness that can exist without its having an existing (bhutena) or non-existing (abhutena) object. (Bhutena and abhutena may also be rendered here as 'real' and 'unreal', or, as 'present' and 'non- present', respectively).

Here the present visible object is the arammana-paccaya, and is causally related to the two classes, good and bad, of consciousness of sight. Similarly, the present audible object is causally related to the two classes of consciousness of sound; the present odorous obect, to the two classes of consciousness of smell; the present sapid object, to the two classes of consciousness of taste; the present three classes of tangible object, to the two classes of consciousness of touch; and the present five objects of sense, to the three classes of consciousness known as the triple element of apprehension. All these five objects of sense, present, past or future, and all objects of thought, present, past, future or outside time, are arammana-paccaya and are causally related, severally, to the seventy-six classes of consciousness known as mind-cognitions (or elements of comprehension).

In what sense is 'arammana' to be understood, and in what sense 'paccaya'? Arammana is to be understood in the sense of 'alambitabba', which means that which is held or hung upon, so to speak, by mind and mental elements. Paccaya is to be understood in the sense of 'upakaraka,' which means that which assists or renders help (in the arising of paccayuppannadhamma.)[3]

Concerning the word 'alambitabba', the function of the 'alambana' of minds and their mental factors is to take hold of or to attach to the object. For instance, there is in this physical world a kind of metal which receives its name of 'ayokantaka' (literally, iron-desire), lodestone, on account of its apparent desire for iron. When it gets near a lump of iron, it shakes itself as though desiring it. Moreover, it moves itself forward and attaches itself firmly to the iron. In other cases, it attracts the iron, and so the iron shakes itself, approaches the lodestone, and attaches itself firmly to it. Here we see the power of the lodestone, which may be taken as a striking representation of the 'alambana' of mind and the mental factors.

They (mind and its concomitants) not only attach themselves to objects, but, at the stage of their coming into existence within a personal entity, rise and cease every moment, while the objects remain present at the avenues of the six doors[4]. Thus the rising and ceasing is just like that of the sound of a gong, which is produced only at each moment we strike its surface, followed by immediate silence. It is also like that of the sound of a violin, which is produced only while we strike its strings with the bow over its strings and then immediately ceases.

To a sleeping man--while the life-continua are flowing (in the stream of thought)--kamma, the sign of kamma and the sign of the destiny awaiting him in the succeeding life--which had distinctly entered the avenues of the six doors at the time of approaching death in the preceding existence--are arammana-relations, and are causally related to (the nineteen classes of) consciousness known as the life- continuum.

End of the Arammana-Relation.

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