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“Citta” is defined as “cinteti’ti cittan”, here the word” cinteti” means thinking; thinking of an object is Consciousness (Citta).  “Arammanan Vijanati”, the word “Arammana” means “object” and “ vijànàti” means “ to know”, so knowing various object is Citta. In simpler terms Citta can be defined as ‘consciousness of the senses’ or ‘awareness of an object’. The term Citta is invariably employed while referring to different classes of consciousness. In isolated cases, in the ordinary sense of mind, both terms Citta and Mana are frequently used.

In” Dhammasaïganãgani “(Classification of Dhammas), the first book in Abhidhamma Pitaka denotes ten names preached by the Buddha, that can be use for Citta (Consciousness) based on their functions. They are:

  • “Cittan”: Thinking various Objects,
  • “Mano”: knowing various objects.
  • “Manasan”: awareness of an object,
  • “Hadayan”: sustaining various kinds of thoughts,
  • “Pandaran”: not being spoiled like various forms of matter or rupa,
  • “Manayatanan”: Ayatana means a field, sphere, basis. Thereby field for various types of Consciousness,
  • “Manaindriyan”: So called because they possess a controlling power in their respective spheres,
  • “Vinnanan” : special knowing of various objects,
  • “Vinnankhando”: becoming an aggregate in relation to various Consciousness or mind,
  • “Thadja Manovinnana Dhathu”: arising according to concomitant mental factors (Cetasika),

These Ten names are synonyms for Consciousness or Cittas based on the types of functions carried out by Citta.

Only a one Citta arise in our mind at one time, after that citta perish, another citta will arise. Based on this process,  89 or 121 types of cittas that can arise in mind although the Citta is regarded as one Dhamma. These 89 or 121 Cittas may be divided into four classes in accordance with the four planes (bhumi) or spheres:

1 Kàmàvacara cittas: consciousness mostly experienced in the sense sphere (kàma-loka).

2 Rupàvacara cittas: consciousness mostly experienced in the fine-material sphere (rupa-loka),

3 Arupàvacara cittas: Consciousness mostly experienced in the immaterial sphere (arupa-loka)

4 Lokuttara cittas: consciousness experienced in the supramundane (transcendental) level

The above four classes of cittas may be called in short, Kàma cittas, Rupa cittas, Arupa cittas and Lokuttara cittas. Kàmàvacara cittas are experienced not only in the sense sphere but also in other spheres. The same thing is true with rupàvacara cittas and arupàvacara cittas.

Apart from above, Cittas can be further classified into wholesome (Kusala), Unwholesome (Akusala), Resultant (Vipaka), Functional (Kriya). Citta is a conditioned reality as it arises because of conditions and disappears when its conditions cease to sustain them. Therefore it’s impermanent.

May all beings be happy and well & attain Nibbana.

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