A book by the most senior western Monk who ordained under Mahaboowa.
However, the superficial citta is always grounded in something
we call the “original citta,” or the “primordial citta.
This superficial citta has qualities and faculties that are changing all the time. It is never without change. When the citta is associated with the aggregates of body and mind, it is bound up with the world of constant change. The citta changes because it must change. Because the aggregates are part of the world, they are inherently impermanent; so the citta cannot remain fixed in that situation.
However, the superficial citta is always grounded in something we call the “original citta,” or the “primordial citta. ” Unlike the ordinary citta, the original citta is something which is vast and unfathomable. It is like the depth and breadth of the ocean, as opposed to wave-like sensations rippling on the surface. The waves are not separate from the ocean, but they do not really affect the ocean either. At the same time, the waves can be quite turbulent and full of motion. They are never still. The basic condition of waves on the ocean’s surface is con-stant change. The depths, however, always remain as they are: still and unchanging.
Consciousness is necessary to experience the duality of subject and object, but it is completely extraneous and unnecessary to the original citta. So from the point of view of the reality of the knowing-ness which is the true citta, consciousness is superfluous because the true knowing is always present in the citta, even after all the physical and mental aggregates have disappeared. Because of that, we cannot really say anything definitive about the original citta at all. Although its scope is immeasurably large, it remains for us a mystery, an unknown quantity.
The citta is the active one. It creates the five aggregates of body and mind; it creates vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra and viññāṇa. It creates everything. You mustn’t think of the five aggregates as being five dif-ferent rooms that the citta enters one after another. It’s not like that.
The citta creates a moment of viññāṇa, which then dies away. Then it creates vedanā, and that dies away. Then it goes to saññā, and that dies away. Then saṅkhāra, then viññāṇa again. It performs the duties of feeling, memory, thought and consciousness. They’re all the jurisdic-tion of the citta, the whole lot. It performs multiple tasks.
The citta, on the other hand, is the exception to the rule. Existing separately from the five khandhas, the citta is comparable to the un-fathomable vastness of space. Just as space is the medium without which nothing could come into being, the citta is the stable conscious continuum without which nothing in the realm of the five aggregates or the six sense bases could come into being. The citta is the unchang-ing reality in which everything in the world arises and then ceases.
Because the citta does not change, it does not exist—but it is real. Being awareness itself, it is that all-encompassing presence in which arising and passing are known.