What exactly is Utu (temperature) in modern English and physics?

In Abhidhamma it talks about 4 causes of rupa: kamma, citta, utu, ahara.

Can someone please explain what utu means using modern terminology?

Thank you.

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My current maping is temperature. utu in digital pali dictionary says: masc. weather; climate; temperature

In physics, we have the 3rd law of thermodynamics, no way to reach absolute zero. So there is temperature everywhere, but it’s also a macroscopic phenomena. Before blackhole hawking radiation is proposed, it was thought that blackholes have no temperature. Temperature effectively means the radiation distribution. If there’s matter, we can measure temperature via the average molecular speed, if there’s no matter, we know via the electromagnetic radiation distribution.

Temperature basically is the measure of how much heat energy is stored within a substance. So basically it is referring to energy. Since energy is conserved, materiality produced by temperature just means mass-energy conservation law for me.

Mind and kamma produced materiality seems to violate conservation laws, but these materiality also seem to be added to continue by utu, so possibility over a long time, with the presence of living beings, the mass-energy of the universe increases? I dunno, it seems to be unlikely as the universe is very flat, and this implies a super thin line of critical mass for the whole universe maintained from near the start of the big bang to now.

So maybe there can be energy used up whenever mind or kammic produced materiality appears? I don’t think a 100% detailed accounting of energy balance equation has been done on living beings while we are alive.

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Welcome to the forum Citta.

Utu is heat. And a group of matter is composed of at least 8 kinds of rupa, one of them being utu.
Utu can be very intense or extremely weak and any degree between.
The variations in materiality we see such as say iron, water and wood are due to the variations in the intensity of these inseperable (avinibhoga) rupa. There are only eight (talking about materiality outside bodies) and yet the variation in intensity of each of these rupas means that a vast numer of different types of matter are possible. Rupas fall away instantly but utu can produce other rupas that may be almost the same in quality as the just fallen away rupa.



Then is there a difference between (energy) of utu and, I assume, ahara (nutrition) is also energy. Probably utu is non consumable energy and ahara is energy from consumption.

Mind and kamma produced materiality seems to violate conservation laws

Is it possible that mind & kamma influences already existing matter thus there is no creation of new energy & matter ex nihilo?

Thank you.

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It’s easy mapping if this means digestion of food, thus chemical energy, basically science has unified this with utu.

From what as I read, they don’t consider this as literally digestion of food molecules. So I dunno.

From burgs’ book, the nimitta is actually light generated by mind. Qi, and lifeforce is kammic produced materiality, Chakra is mind produced materiality. Or the other way around. I should be right as one can meditate to increase the Chakra upwards.

Anyway, you can try to see if there’s any science done on the chinese qi or Indian chakra to see if science is able to make sense of them with respect to energy conservation.

Just from fiction, we see Goku eat a lot to use inhuman amount of ki (qi) in his fighting.

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Do you have a citation for the ideas about Chakra? Is it from the pali?

Also Qi?

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They are from Burgs. In his favour of liberation book vol 1 and 2.

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Taking only kamma produced materiality. This type of materiality is extremely subtle.
In a human/animal it produces the various sense bases- eye base, nose base and so on.
However the base is not the whole eye (for example). It is very subtle as I said:

The Atthasalini (II, Book II, Ch III, 306)
explains that the large oval shaped object below the eye brows (the compound eye) is merely the place where the actual eye base arises.

“. . . a lump of flesh is situated in the cavity of the eye,
bound by the bone of the cavity of the eye below, by the
bone of the brow above, by the eye-peaks on both sides,
by the brain inside, by the eyelashes outside. . . Although
the world perceives the eye as white, as (of a certain)
bigness, extension, width, they do not know the real
sentient eye, but only the physical basis thereof. That
lump of flesh situated in the cavity of the eye is bound
to the brain by sinewy threads. Therein are white, black,
red, extension, cohesion, heat and mobility. The eye is
white from the abundance of phlegm, black from that of
bile, red from that of blood, rigid from the element of
extension, fluid from that of cohesion, hot from that of
heat, and oscillating from that of mobility. Such is the
compound organ of the eye. . . ”

The actual eyesense is

in the middle of the black circle, surrounded by

white circles, and it permeates the ocular membranes “as sprinkled
oil permeates seven cotton wicks.” We read:
“And it is served by the four elements doing the
functions of sustaining, binding, maturing and
, just as a princely boy is tended by four
nurses doing the functions of holding, bathing, dressing
and fanning him. And being upheld by the caloric order,
by thought (citta) and nutriment, and guarded by life
and attended by colour, odour, taste, etc., the organ, no
bigger in size than the head of a louse, stands duly
fulfilling the nature of the basis and the door of visual
cognition, etc. . . .

And it is this extremely tiny rupa that is the actual eyesense that is produced by kamma.

Think of a dead body. When you see a body a few seconds after death it looks almost identical to the living body seconds before. Yet the instant death consciousness arises there is absolutely no more kamma produced ,materiality in the body, nor any citta produced materiality. The difference in weight would be practically undetectable. Science cannot grasp kamma produced matter - they can only understand(to a degree) the surrounding composite eye where that actual eyebase arises.

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Ok I only know of burgs from what you and ven. Subhuti have said. These ideas you mention seem confusing rather than helpful though.

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Might have to read his whole thing to see if it is still confusing.

He basically used it for healing meditation, balancing the 4 elements, which since kamma and mind produced materiality is still form, that means they can be known via the 4 elements.

So letting the 4 elements just realign itself in the body, heals a lot of sickness.

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one can meditate to increase the Chakra upwards.

It is confusing if people wonder if it is a part of Theravada.
This is not a comparative religion forum, and ideas from tibetan mystics, chinese healers, hindu ascetics, yoga teachers or others will only be permitted if the aim is to clarify that they have no basis in the Theravada. We allow to a small extent these threads on science because most people have been educated in such a way - it can help them to understand how limited science is compared to Dhamma.
Healing and medicine is fine of course - but again this is not a medical forum. Although if anyone mentions medical ideas from the texts such as the requisites for bhikkhus or the doctor Jivaka that is encouraged.

Theravada is where the teachings of the SammasamBuddha are preserved. I think looking outside this to any other teaching shows a lack of appreciation of the depth of the Dhamma.

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I’m friendly with Burgs. However, his books are not pure classical theravāda. Quoting him as if it were a classical theravāda authority is not so good to do in this group although he is able to help many people.

As for nimitta being

Nimitta is paññati “seen” by the mind. It has nothing to do with rūpa.
The citta produced kalāpa is produced by mind any mind and is a very subtle material.
The mind that the object takes such as a nimitta, etc, can affect this materiality.


5 posts were split to a new topic: Near Death and Theravāda

From Pa-Auk Mindfulness of Breathing & Four Elements (this book is condensed and has lots of information on rūpa if you are interested).
I think Ven Maggavihāri has more than 50 lectures on rūpa alone. Go check out his youtube channel.

When a consciousness is a Samatha, Vipassanà, Path, or
Fruition Consciousness, it is capable of producing many gener-
ations of the consciousness-produced nutritive-essence-octad
kalàpas (cittaja-ojaññhamaka-kalàpa) within the body. The fire-
element in these kalàpas produces the temperature-produced
nutritive-essence-octad kalàpas (utuja-ojaññhamaka-kalàpa)
both inside and outside the body. Light is the brilliance of col-
our of the colour-materiality in these consciousness-produced
kalàpas and temperature-produced kalàpas.

The in-and-out-breath contains only nine types of materiality
found in what is called a consciousness-produced sound-as-the-
ninth-factor kalàpa (cittaja-sadda-navaka-kalàpa). This type
of kalàpa contains earth-element, water-element, fire-element,
air-element, colour, smell, taste, nutriment, and sound.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Near Death and Theravāda