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Paccaya: 'condition', is something on which something else, the so-called 'conditioned thing', is dependent, and without which the latter cannot be. Many 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 mūla patthāna Sayadaw of Burma, under the title Conditional Relations Published by the Pāli Text Society, London 1969, 1981.

The 24 modes of conditionality are:

  1. Root condition: hetu paccaya
  2. Object: ārammana
  3. Predominance: adhipati
  4. Proximity: 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. Kamma: kamma
  14. Kamma-result: vipāka
  15. Nutriment: āhāra
  16. Ability: indriya
  17. Jhāna: jhanas
  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 kammically advantageous and disadvantageous mental states are entirely dependent on the simultaneity and presence of their respective roots, i.e, of greed lobha, hate dosa confusion moha or greedlessness alobha hatelessness adosa unconfusedness amoha For the definition of these 6 roots, see: mūla

The roots are a condition by way of root for the mental phenomena associated with a root, and for the material 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 visual-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 mental-object may be anything whatever, material 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 properties 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.. Cf. iddhi-pāda

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, visual-consciousness is for the immediately following mindelement - 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 condjtion 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 conascence.

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 conception.

8: Support-condition nissaya-paccaya This condition refers either to a pre-nascent see: 10 or co-nascent see: 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 see: 6 phenomena are mutually see: 7 conditioned by each other by way of support.

9: Decisive-support or inducement condition upanissaya-paccaya is threefold, namely a by way of object ārammanūpanissaya-paccaya b by way of proximity anantarūpanissaya c natural decisive support pakatupanissaya These conditions act as strong inducement or cogent reason.

a. Anything past, present or future, material or mental, real or imaginary, may, as object of our thinking, become a decisive support, or strong inducement, to moral, immoral or kammically 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 deterioration.

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 kammical consciousness, in which each time the preceding impulse moments javana-citta 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: Kamma-condition kamma-paccaya The pre-natal kamma i.e kamma-intentions, kamma-cetanā in a previous birth is the generating condition cause of the 5 sense-organs, the fivefold sense-consciousness, and the other kamma-produced mental and material phenomena in a later birth. - Kammical intention is also a condition by way of kamma for the co-nascent mental phenomena associated therewith, but these phenomena are in no way kamma-results.

14: Kamma-result-condition vipāka-paccaya The kamma-resultant 5 kinds of sense-consciousness are a condition by way of kamma-result for the co-nascent mental and material phenomena.

15: Nutriment-condition āhāra-paccaya For the 4 nutriments, see: 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 unmaterial phenomena visual-consciousness etc.; physical vitality 6 and all the remaining abilities, for the co-nascent mental and material 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 material phenomena, to wit: 1 thought-conception vitakka 2 discursive thinking vicāra 3 interest pīti 4 joy sukha 5 sadness domanassa 6 indifference upekkhā 7 concentration samādhi For definition s. Pāli terms.

1, 2, 3, 4, 7 are found in 4 classes of greedy consciousness see: Tab. I. 22-25; 1, 2, 5, 7 in hateful consciousness ib. 30, 31; 1, 2, 6, 7 in the classes of confused consciousness ib. 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 kammically advantageous and disadvantageous mental phenomena associated with them, a way of escape from this or that mental constitution, namely: 1 knowledge paññā = sammāditthi right understanding, 2 right or wrong thought-conception vitakka 3 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 awareness or mindfulness sati 8 right or wrong concentration samādhi 9 wrong views micchāditthi 10 wrong speech micchā-vācā 11 wrong bodily action micchā-kammanta 12 wrong livelihood micchā-ājīva Cf. magga

19: Association-condition sampayutta-paccaya refers to the co-nascent see: 6 and mutually see: 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 baving the same physical base eye, etc. and objects. Thus material phenomena are for mental phenomena, and conversely, a condition by way of dissociation, whether co-nascent or not.

21: 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.


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

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