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How the mind functions

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According to Theravada Buddhism, there are 52 important mental factors as listed below, that help to understand how the mind functions. (although, this list is not exhaustive).

Seven universal mental factors: Common to all consciousness. These factors perform the most rudimentary and essential cognitive functions, without which consciousness of an object would be utterly impossible. The factors are:

Phassa - contact

Vedana - feeling

Sanna - perception

Cetana - volition

Ekaggata - one-pointedness

Jivitindriya - life faculty

Manasikara - attention.

Six occasional or particular mental factors: Ethically variable mental factors found only in certain consciousnesses. They are:

Vitakka - Application of thought

Vicara - Examining

Adhimokkha - Decision

Viriya - Energy

Piti - Rapture

Chanda - Desire (to act).

Fourteen unwholesome mental factors: Accompany the unwholesome consciousnesses. These factors are:

Four universal unwholesome mental factors:

Moha - delusion

Ahirika - lack of shame

Anottappa - disregard for consequence

Uddhacca - restlessness

Three mental factors of the greed-group (lobha):

Lobha - greed

Ditthi - wrong view

Mana - conceit

Four mental factors of the hatred-group (dosa)

Dosa - hatred

Issa - envy

Macchariya - miserliness

Kukkucca - regret

Other unwholesome mental factors

Thina - sloth

Middha - torpor

Vicikiccha - doubt.

Unwholesome consciousness is consciousness accompanied by one or another of the three unwholesome roots—greed, hatred, and delusion. Such consciousness is called unwholesome because it is mentally unhealthy, morally blameworthy, and productive of painful results.

Twenty-five beautiful mental factors: Accompany the wholesome consciousnesses. They are:

Nineteen universal beautiful mental factors:

Saddha - faith

Sati - mindfulness

Hiri - shame at doing evil

Ottappa - regard for consequence

Alobha - lack of greed

Adosa - lack of hatred

Tatramajjhattata - balance, the neutrality of mind

Kayapassaddhi - tranquillity of mental body

Cittapassaddhi - tranquillity of consciousness

Kayalahuta - lightness of mental body

Cittalahuta - lightness of consciousness

Kayamuduta - malleability/softness of mental body

Cittamuduta - malleability/softness of consciousness

Kayakammannata - wieldiness of the mental body

Cittakammannata - wieldiness of consciousness

Kayapagunnata - proficiency of mental body

Cittapagunnata - proficiency of consciousness

Kayujukata - straightness/rectitude of mental body

Cittujukata - straightness/rectitude of consciousness.

Three Abstinences (virati):

Sammavaca - right speech

Sammakammanta - right action

Samma-ajiva - right livelihood

Two Immeasurables (appamanna):

Karuna - compassion

Mudita - sympathetic joy

One Faculty of wisdom (pannindriya):

Panna - wisdom.

Wholesome consciousness is consciousness accompanied by the wholesome roots—non-greed or generosity, non-hatred or loving-kindness, and non-delusion or wisdom. Such consciousness is mentally healthy, morally blameless, and productive of pleasant results.

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Written by   210
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