Mental Factors - 52

Mental Factors[Chethasika]

Chethasika – Mental Factors – 52 

Mental Factors – 52 are playing vital role with matters when creating this illusion world.  in Pali Language we called them Chethasika.  They are defined as aspects of the mind that apprehend the quality of an object, and that have the ability to color the mind. They have four main unchanged features.

Always keep in mind though we segrate and learn these factors of ultimate realities those are working together and those have very close relationships, especially Consciousness[viññānaya], Mental factors [chethasikas] and Matters[Rupa]. 

Without Rupa, Vññānaya cannot occur and without viññānaya chethaskika cannot occur.  They are inter dependents and these Viññānaya and Chethasika together called Nama matters called Rupa.  Both together we called them “Namarupa”

Four main features of the Chethasika

01. arise together with consciousness – Eka+Uppadha = Ekuppadha
02. perishes together with consciousness – Eka+Nirodha = Ekanirodha
03. Chethasika has the common object as with consciousness – Eka+Arammana = Ekarammana
04. They have the common basis as with consciousness – Eka+Vaththuka – Ekavaththuka 

Relationship between Chiththa and Chethasika

Hypothetically, imagine that you are walking from the wall “A” towards the wall “B”. Think about the incident.  what is happening?
While you are walking you are going away from the wall “A” at the same time you are reaching wall “B” .  These three things happening together isn’t it?

This incident has three stages.
                    01. You are walking from wall “A”  to towards wall “B”
                    02. You are going away from the wall “A”
                    03. At the same time, You are Reaching wall “B” isn’t it

Out of these three stages what is the most important one? No doubt, the First one, walking towards wall “A” to “B”. The other two are not much important.   Because, if one is not occurring the other two can not be there at all.
Similarly, we can compare chiththa and chethasika into this example.

The first stage is the Chiththa or Consciousness compare to the walking means you are taking a purpose. The other two are chethsikas which are occuring supporting to that purpose. This way you need to understand the relationship between chiththa and chethasika.

It is not possible to do the action of the journey without the distance and the approach. Also, It should also be noted that the Consciousness can be born without the mental factors. It should be noted that the Chiththa cannot be separated from Chaitasikayana, or Chaitasika can not be separated from mind, just as the act of travel can be separated from distance and approach.

According to their behaviours chethasika segregates in to four main parts.

01. Seven universal mental factors (sabbacittasādhāraṇa cetasikas)
02. Six occasional or particular mental factors (prakiṇṇaka cetasikas)
03. Fourteen unwholesome mental factors (akusala cetasikas)
04. Twenty-five beautiful mental factors (sobhana cetasikas)

Now let us try to understand one by one according to there behavioural nature.

Seven universal mental factors (sabbacittasādhāraṇa cetasikas)

The universal mental factors. There are seven mental factors which are called universals because they are common to every state of consciousness. Irrespective of the consciousness bhumi and the action that are being taken they are born with the consciousness.  Without these six universal mental factors consciousness will not be born.

01. Contact [Phassa] Mental factor
02. Feeling [Vedanā] Mental factor
03. Perception [Sagñā] Mental factor
04. Volition [Chetanā] Mental factor
05. One-pointedness [Ekaggata] Mental factor
06. Life faculty [Jīvitindriya] Mental factor
07. Attention [Manasikāra] Mental factor

01. Contact – [Phassa]

Phassa is occurring with the help of three things. Those are
                      01. The sense organ,
                      02. object, sound, taste, auder, touch [Gochara Rupa]one at a time and
                      03. appropriate consciousness.

Consciousness[viññānaya] keeps on taking purposes continuously one after the other using our 5 sensory receptors and heart sensory receptor [wasthu prasada]. When consciousness taking a purpose, at the very first Contaxt[Phassa] occurring with the consciousness, not soon a or later.  Remember we learnt Chethasikas live with the consciousness.  At the same time keeping the first place of the purpose rest of the relevant chethaskikas occuring.

 It is very difficult to explain in words. Because this process time period is very smaller than milliseconds and it is called Kshanaya. While studying further you will be able to understand exactly what is the real roll of Passa.


When the light is available sun rays dropping to  the object and those rays bump with the eye[chakku pasada], it catches the color message of that rays from the sense organ we called Chakku Prasada. At the same time “Chakku vinnana” occurring and bring that message to the heart consciousness. There are 6 places where the consciousness occuring and we called them “bhumi” the mind birth places.  Except heart sensory receptor rest five receptores  taking their specific stimulant matter purposes only. 

Chiththa and Chethasika Birth Places [Pasada Bhumi]

Hope you remember we learnt 5 matters called Five sensory receptors (pasaada ruupaani):
the sensory matter of the

01. eye (cakkhu pasaada) taking the Color purpose only. 
02. ear (sota pasaada), taking the sound purpose
03. nose (ghaana pasaada), taking the odor purpose
04. tongue (jivhaa pasaada), taking the taste purpose
05. body (kaaya pasaada) taking the touch purpose
06. The heart or mind-base element (hadaya vatthu – vatthu pasada) taking all kinds of purposes in the past present and future as well.

Only these 6 places are the one’s consciousness birth places. Because of that those are called “Pasada Bhumi”

Once you completed the 4 ultimate realities then only you can get the exact picture of this process. For the time being just keep this in mind for your awareness.


Relationship Between Consciousness[Chiththa] and Birthplace [Bhumi]

Mind or the Consciousness is one but according to there role it has given 89 or 121 names. Out of those 89 or 121 we are now going to learn only 10 which directly related to 5 sensorial receptors.  By now you already aware that the  Consciousness birth occurring due to one or more of the 6 main causes. Those are 
Unwholesome Causes:

01. Lobha – greed
02. Dosa – hatred
02. Moha – delusion

Wholesome Causes

04. Alobha – lack of greed
05. Adosa – lack of hatred
06. Amoha or Paññā – wisdom

But these 10 Consciousnesses  birth happening as a result of previous Karma  without these six Causes.  They are born with their respective Bhumi hence consciousness was named with the birth place.and their particular actions.

Result of Past Unwholesome Karma [Vipaka Chiththa]

01. Upekkha sahagatha chakku viññānaya
     With equanimity: eye-consciousness
02. Upekkha sahagatha sotha viññānaya
     With equanimity: ear-consciousness
03. Upekkha sahagatha Ghana viññānaya
     With equanimity: nose-consciousness
04. Upekkha sahagatha Jivha viññānaya
     With equanimity: tongue-consciousness
05. Dukka sahagatha Kaya viññānaya
     With physical pain: body-consciousness

Result of Past Wholesome Karma[Vipaka Chiththa]

01. Upekkha sahagatha chakku viññānaya
     With equanimity: eye-consciousness
02. Upekkha sahagatha sotha viññānaya
     With equanimity: ear-consciousness
03. Upekkha sahagatha Ghana viññānaya
      With equanimity: nose-consciousness
04. Upekkha sahagatha Jivha viññānaya
     With equanimity: tongue-consciousness
05. Suka sahagatha Kaya viññānaya
      With Physical pleasure: body-consciousness

Among the Vipaka minds are also the birth minds of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body  birth-minds. Those minds are named according to their places of birth. Since there are many natal minds in the heart image, they may not be named according to their place of origin. The mind born in the heart of irrational minds is named according to the work done by that mind.

New Arrival

02. Feeling – Vedana

Another very important factor which has several Categorizations.  Before moving forward would like to do simple activity.

Just a little experiment for you to understand the Lord Buddha.
Very first you feel and think about the word feeling according to your knowledge. What do you know about the word feeling. 

01. Now will see what Lord Buddha says about the word Feeling called “Vedana”.  Mainly it has three types of Feelings.

                             01. Pleasant Feeling –  [Somanassa Vedana]
                             02. Unpleasant Feeling – [Domanassa Vedana]
                             03. Neutral Feeling – [Upekkha Vedana] 

These three types of vedana can be found in most of the Sutta deshana. 

02. But when it comes to Abhi Dhamma there are 5 Vedana types and those are:

01  Bodily agreeable feeling – kaayika sukha vedana[Sukha]
02. Bodily disagreeable feeling – kaayikaa dukkha  dana[Dukkha]
03. Mentally agreeable feeling – chetasika sukha vedanaa [Somanassa)
04. Mentally disagreeable feeling – chetasikaa dukkha vedana [Domanassa]
05. Indifferent or neutral feeling – adukkhamasukhaa vedanaa [Upekkha]

03. There is another classification according to the consciousness  birth place. Because as you already aware these mental factors applied with the consciousness, prevails and die or decay with the consciousness. In the six sensory receptors[prasada Rupa] once they meet with an stimulation matters[Gochara Rupa], related consciousness occurs and they are called with their Prasada Rupa name. Though we explained them in stages all these happening together at once.  Those 6 Vedana named as:

01. Eye Contact Feeling – 
02. Ear Contact Feeling
03. Nose Contact Feeling
04. Tongue Contact Feeling
05. Body Contact Feeling
06. Mind Contact Feeling

Vedana in Dependant Origination [Patichchasamuppada]

We are not going to learn this indetaile  right now.  But I want you to show the relationship of those factors in several Buddhist teachings.  Hence worthwhile having a brief discussion of this topic.

Mental Factors with Dependant Origination

Now let us see how these sensory receptors[Prasada Rupa] and Stimulant Matters[Gochar Rupa] combine with Contact[Passa] occurring Feeling [Vedan].   Explain here one  sensory receptor rest you have to learn in a similar way.  As example we take eye[Chakku] sensory receptor.

Chakkhu is the prasada object that the image touches here.  The eye is mainly divided into two parts. As

                       01. Sasambhara Chakkhu – The eye we see in the flesh is called Sasambhara Chakkhu. 
                       02. Prasada Chakkhu – The luster in which the shadow of the image of the eye, produced by karma, is called Prasada Chakkhu.

Consciousness will occur with the purpose of the transformation of that pleasure. That consciousness is called Chakkhu consciousness.

Because of the eye and image, Chakkhu Consciousness is born and it is touched[Contact = Passa] by the combination of the three elements of eye, image and Chakkhu Consciousness. It is not done by any external force but by causality. When a form of Chakkhu prasada collides, Chakkhu consciousness occurs.

Once the consciousness occurs without any delay or early at the same time these seven universal mental factors and the rest of the mental factors that relates to the consciousness purpose is born with that consciousness.  Vedana is one of them. With the Passa chethasika Vedan Chethasika is playing a vital role. Hence in 5 aggregates Vedana take separately as one of the aggregates after the matter aggregate. called Vedana Aggregate.

03. Perception –  Sagna

The nature that takes the form of a purpose is called “Sagna”[Perception].  Everything has a special way that helps to distinguish each thing from other things when the are recognizing.  When a mind is born in the form of a purpose, with that mind there is always a recognition mind that takes the form of a purpose. Those signs are an introduction to each thing according to the previously recognized and a same to be introduced in the future. Since taking the form of the initiator is also an introduction, in many books it is also said that “the nature of the introduction of intentions is called “Sagna”.

The Lord Buddha told us that as long as the creature enjoys the traditional world arising from the delusion of not knowing this objective world wisely, he is engaged in an eternal samsara journey.   Perception is awareness or recognize of an object’s distinctive features. It becomes six-fold in relation to the five physical sense objects (color, sound, smell, taste, touch), and mental objects. It is sañña that enables us to recognize an object previously perceived.

As in the case of feeling, perception is an impersonal process which arises and perishes in a moment. If the momentariness and impersonal nature of perception are not appreciated by insight, here again, wrong conceptions will result that perception is the self, or the self possesses perception, or perception is in the self, or the self is in perception.

Four Perversions[Vipallaasa]

There are four perversions [Vipallaasa] that distort perception The perversions of regarding:

01. What is impermanent[Anichcha] as permanent [Nicca]
02. What is unsatisfactory [Dukkha] as pleasant or happiness-yielding [Sukha]
03. What is without self [Anaththa] as self [Aththa]
04. What is impure [Asubha] as pure [Subha]

These distortions, born of ignorance, increase craving, grasping, and suffering. Only by the practice of mindfulness can one see through these perversions and avoid them.  But to avoid something first we must know that it’s existence.  Without knowing the existence  we cannot avoid.    

Perception and Memory.

Memory occurs not through a single factor but through a complex process in which perception plays the most important role.

01. When the mind first cognizes an object through the senses, perception “picks out” the object’s distinctive mark.
02. When the same object is met with on a subsequent occasion, perception again notices that its distinctive mark is identical with the previous one.
03. It “grasps” the identity of the distinctive marks.
04. This “grasping” is a complex series of thought processes, one of which connects the present object with the previous one and another attaches to the present object the previous one’s name.
05. Memory will be good if this “grasping” functions well, and “grasping” will function well if the initial “picking out” of the object’s distinctive marks was clear, not obscured by irrelevant thoughts.
06. Clear perception comes through attention. As the Buddha says:

              • “In what is seen there must be just the seen,
              • in what is heard there must be just the heard,
              • in what is sensed there must be just the sensed,
              • in what is thought there must be just the thought.”

How the Factors working together

These 52 chethasika’s have there own particular jobs that they are conducting depending on the purpose of the occured consciousness. If it is wholesome act and the consciousness take the same wholesome purpose then of course

01. 7 universal factors engaging irrespective of the purpose and
02. out of 6 Particular factors few of them which related to that purpose engaging and
03. 25 wholesome Factors engaging with
04. the Prgna[Wisdom] factor. 
05. 3 Abstain Factors and
06. the 2 illimitable Factors also engaging with the relevancy of the purpose. 

Similarly, like in Vedana we take as one of the aggregates Sagna also taking as another aggregate called Sagna Aggregate.  Because Vedana and Sagna both doing a vital role after the Phassa to run the rest of the process of consciousness in that particular purpose.  


As we discussed in Mind and Mindfulness page about 5 Aggregates called “Panchas Skhandha” named:
                             01. Form Aggregate=[Rupa Skandha]
                             02. Feeling Aggregate=[Vedanà Skandha],
                             03. Perception Aggregate=[Sagnà Skandha],
                             04. Mental Factors Aggregate =[Sankhàra Skandha] and
                             05. Consciousness Aggregate =[Vinnàna Skandha].
we have now completed three Skandhas.  Those are Rupa, Vedana, Sagna and next one is Sanskara Skandha which includes rest of the 50 mental factors.

Sanskara Skanda

Rest of the Universal Factors