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Bhavanga-sota: the 'undercurrent forming the condition of being, or existence', though, as will be evident from the following, it differs in several respects from the usage of that term in Western psychology. Bhavanga bhava-anga, which, in the canonical works, is mentioned twice or thrice in the Patthāna, is explained in the Abhidhamma commentaries as the foundation or condition kārana of existence bhava, as the sine, qua of life, having the nature of a process, lit. a flux or stream sota. Herein, since time immemorial, all contacts and experiences are, as it were, stored up, or better said, are functioning, but concealed as such to full consciousness, from where however they occasionally emerge as subconscious phenomena and approach the threshold of full consciousness, or crossing it become fully conscious. This so-called 'subconscious life-stream' or undercurrent of life is that by which might be explained the ability of memory, paranormal psychic phenomena, mental and physical growth, kamma and rebirth. etc. An alternative rendering is 'life-continuum'.


Maha Thera Nyanatiloka. Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, Buddhist Publication Society, first edition 1952.

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