kabalinkārāhāra: lit. 'food formed into balls',
i.e. food formed into mouthfuls for eating (according to Indian
custom); it denotes 'material food' and belongs, together with
the three mental nutriments, to the group of four nutriments (s.
kalāpa, 'group', 'unit': 1. 'corporeal unit' (s.
rūpa-kalāpa); 2. It has the meaning of 'group of
existence' (khandha) in kalāpasammasana (s.
sammasana), i.e. 'comprehension by groups', which is the
application of 'methodical (or inductive) insight'
(naya-vipassanā) to the comprehension of the 5
aggregates (khandha) as impermanent, painful and not-self.
It is a process of methodical summarization, or generalization,
from one's own meditative experience that is applied to each of
the 5 aggregates, viewed as past, present, future, as internal
and external, etc. In Vis.M XX, where the 'comprehension by
groups' is treated in detail, it is said to constitute 'the
beginning of insight' as it leads to the 'knowledge of rise and
fall', being the first of the 8 insightknowledges (s.
visuddhi VI). It is necessary for accomplishing the 5th
purification (s. visuddhi V; Vis.M XX, 2, 6ff.).
kalpa: (Skr) = kappa (q.v.).
kalyāna-mitta: 'noble (or good) friend', is called
a senior monk who is the mentor and friend of his pupil, "wishing
for his welfare and concerned with his progress", guiding his
meditation; in particular, the meditation teacher
(kammatthānācariya) is so called. For details
see Vis.M III, 28,57ff. The Buddha said that "noble friendship
is the entire holy life" (S. III, 18; XLV, 2), and he himself is
the good friend par excellence: "Ananda, it is owing to my being
a good friend to them that living beings subject to birth are
freed from birth" (S. III, 18).
kāma may denote: 1. subjective sensuality,
'sense-desire'; 2. objective sensuality, the five
1. Subjective sensuality, or sense-desire, is directed to all
five sense-objects, and is synonymous with
kāma-cchanda, 'sensuous desire', one of the 5
hindrances (nīvarana, q.v.);
kāma-rāga, sensuous lust', one of the ten
fetters (samyojana, q.v.); kāma-tanhā,
'sensuous craving', one of the 3 cravings (tanhā,
q.v.); kāma-vitakka, 'sensuous thought', one of the 3
wrong thoughts (micchā-sankappa; s. vitakka).
- Sense-desire is also one of the cankers (āsava,
q.v.) and clingings (upādāna, q.v.).
2. Objective sensuality is, in the canonical texts, mostly
called kāma-guna, 'cords (or strands) of
"There are 5 cords of sensuality: the visible objects,
cognizable by eye-consciousness, that are desirable, cherished,
pleasant, lovely, sensuous and alluring; the sounds ... smells
... tastes ... bodily impressions cognizable by
body-consciousness, that are desirable .... " (D. 33; M. 13, 26,
These two kinds of kāma are called 1.
kilesa-kāma, i.e. kāma as a mental
defilement, 2. vatthu-kāma, i.e. kāma as
the object-base of sensuality; first in MNid.. I, p. 1, and
frequently in the commentaries.
Sense-desire is finally eliminated at the stage of the
Non-Returner (Anāgāmi; s. ariya-puggala,
The peril and misery of sense-desire is often described in the
texts, e.g. in stirring similes at M. 22, 54, and in the 'gradual
instruction' (s. ānupubbī-kathā). See
further M. 13, 45, 75; Sn. v. 766ff.; Dhp. 186, 215.
The texts often stress the fact that what fetters man to the
world of the senses are not the sense-organs nor the
sense-objects but lustful desire (chandarāga). On
this see A. VI, 63; S. XXXV, 122, 191. - (App.).
kāma-bhava: 'sensuous existence'; s.
kāma-cchanda: 'sensuous desire', s.
kāma-guna: s. kāma.
kāma-loka: 'sensuous world', s. loka.
kāma-rāga: 'sensuous lust', is one of the 10
fetters (samyojana, q .v .) .
kāmāsava: s: āsava.
kāma-sukh'allikānuyoga: 'being addicted to
sensual pleasures', is one of the 2 extremes to be avoided by the
monk; s. majjhima-patipadā.
kāma-tanhā: 'sensuous craving'; s.
kāmāvacara: 'sensuous sphere'; s.
kāmesu-micchācāra: lit. 'wrong or evil
conduct with regard to sensual things'; 'unlawful sexual
intercourse' refers to adultery, and to intercourse with minors
or other persons under guardianship. The abstaining from this
unlawful act is one of the 5 moral rules (s.
sikkhāpada) binding upon all Buddhists. Through any
other sexual act one does not become guilty of the above
transgression, which is considered a great crime. The monk,
however, has to observe perfect chastity.
In many Suttas (e.g. A.X., 176) we find the following
explanation: "He avoids unlawful sexual intercourse, abstains
from it. He has no intercourse with girls who are still under the
protection of father or mother, brother, sister or relatives, nor
with married women, nor female convicts, nor, lastly, with
kamma: (wholesome or unwholesome) action; s. karma.
kamma-bhava: s. bhava,
kammaja-rūpa: 'karma-produced corporeality'; s.
kammaññatā: 'adaptability', i.e. of
corporeality (rūpassa; s. khandha, Summary I),
mental factors (kāya), and of consciousness
(citta); cf. Tab. II.
kammanta, sammā-: 'right action'; s.
kamma-paccaya: 'karma as condition'; s. paccaya
kamma-patha: 'course of action', is a name for the
group of 10 kinds of either unwholesome or wholesome actions,
I. The tenfold unwholesome courses of action
3 bodily actions: killing, stealing, unlawful sexual
4 verbal actions: lying, slandering, rude speech, foolish
3 mental actions: covetousness, ill-will, evil views.
Unwholesome mental courses of action comprise only extreme
forms of defiled thought: the greedy wish to appropriate others'
property, the hateful thought of harming others, and pernicious
views. Milder forms of mental defilement are also unwholesome,
but do not constitute 'courses of action'.
II. The tenfold wholesome course of action
3 bodily actions: avoidance of killing, stealing, unlawful
4 verbal actions: avoidance of lying, slandering, rude speech,
foolish babble; i.e. true, conciliatory, mild, and wise
3 mental actions: unselfishness, good-will, right views.
Both lists occur repeatedly, e.g. in A. X, 28, 176; M. 9; they
are explained in detail in M. 114, and in Com. to M. 9 (R. Und.,
p. 14), Atthasālini Tr. I, 126ff.
kamma-samutthāna-rūpa: 'corporeality produced
through karma'; s. samutthāna.
kammatthāna: lit. 'working-ground' (i.e. for
meditation), is the term in the Com. for 'subjects of
meditation'; s. bhāvanā.
kamma-vatta: 'karma-round'; s. vatta.
kammāyūhana: s. āyūhana.
kāmupādāna: 'sensuous clinging', is one
of the 4 kinds of clinging (upādāna, q.v.).
kankhā: 'doubt', may be either an intellectual,
critical doubt or an ethically and psychologically detrimental
doubt. The latter may either be a persistent negative skepticism
or wavering indecision. Only the detrimental doubt (identical
with vicikicchā, q.v.) is to be rejected as
karmically unwholesome, as it paralyses thinking and hinders the
inner development of man. Reasoned, critical doubt in dubious
matters is thereby not discouraged.
The 16 doubts enumerated in the Suttas (e.g. M. 2) are the
following: "Have I been in the past? Or, have I not been in the
past? What have I been in the past? How have I been in the past?
From what state into what state did I change in the past? - Shall
I be in the future? Or, shall I not be in the future? What shall
I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? From what state
into what state shall I change in the future? - Am I? Or, am I
not? What am I? How am I? Whence has this being come? Whither
will it go?"
kankhā-vitarana-visuddhi: 'purification by
overcoming doubt', is the 4th of the 7 stages of purification
kappa (Sanskrit kalpa): 'world-period', an
inconceivably long space of time, an aeon. This again is
subdivided into 4 sections: world-dissolution
(samvatta-kappa) dissolving world), continuation of the
chaos (samvatta-tthāyī), world-formation
(vivatta-kappa), continuation of the formed world
"How long a world-dissolution will continue, how long the
chaos, how long the formation, how long the continuation of the
formed world, of these things; o monks, one hardly can say that
it will be so many years, or so many centuries, or so many
millennia, or so many hundred thousands of years" (A. IV,
A detailed description of the 4 world-periods is given in that
stirring discourse on the all-embracing impermanence in A. VII,
The beautiful simile in S. XV, 5 may be mentioned here:
"Suppose, o monks, there was a huge rock of one solid mass, one
mile long, one mile wide, one mile high, without split or flaw.
And at the end of every hundred years a man should come and rub
against it once with a silken cloth. Then that huge rock would
wear off and disappear quicker than a world-period. But of such
world-periods, o monks, many have passed away, many hundreds,
many thousands, many hundred thousands. And how is this possible?
Inconceivable, o monks, is this samsāra (q.v.), not to be
discovered is any first beginning of beings, who obstructed by
ignorance and ensnared by craving, are hurrying and hastening
through this round of rebirths."
Compare here Grimm's German fairy-tale of the little
shepherdboy: 'In Farther Pommerania there is the
diamond-mountain, one hour high, one hour wide, one hour deep.
There every hundred years a little bird comes and whets its
little beak on it. And when the whole mountain is ground off,
then the first second of eternity has passed."
karma (Sanskrit), Pāli: kamma: 'action',
correctly speaking denotes the wholesome and unwholesome
volitions (kusala- and akusala-cetanā) and
their concomitant mental factors, causing rebirth and shaping the
destiny of beings. These karmical volitions (kamma
cetanā) become manifest as wholesome or unwholesome
actions by body (kāya-kamma), speech
(vacī-kamma) and mind (mano-kamma). Thus the
Buddhist term 'karma' by no means signifies the result of
actions, and quite certainly not the fate of man, or perhaps even
of whole nations (the so-called wholesale or mass-karma),
misconceptions which, through the influence of theosophy, have
become widely spread in the West.
"Volition (cetanā), o monks, is what I call action
(cetanāham bhikkhave kammam vadāmi), for through
volition one performs the action by body, speech or mind. . There
is karma (action), o monks, that ripens in hell.... Karma that
ripens in the animal world.. Karma that ripens in the world of
men.... Karma that ripens in the heavenly world.... Threefold,
however, is the fruit of karma: ripening during the life-time
(dittha-dhamma-vedanīya-kamma), ripening in the next
birth (upapajja-vedanīya-kamma), ripening in later
births (aparāpariya-vedanīya kamma) ...." (A.VI,
The 3 conditions or roots (mūla, q.v.) of
unwholesome karma (actions) are greed, hatred, delusion
(lobha, dosa, moha); those of wholesome karma are:
unselfishness (alobha), hatelessness (adosa =
mettā, good-will), undeludedness (amoha =
paññā, knowledge) .
"Greed, o monks, is a condition for the arising of karma;
hatred is a condition for the arising of karma; delusion is a
condition for the arising of karma ...." (A. III, 109).
"The unwholesome actions are of 3 kinds, conditioned by greed,
or hate, or delusion.
"Killing ... stealing ... unlawful sexual intercourse ...
lying ... slandering ... rude speech ... foolish babble, if
practised, carried on, and frequently cultivated, leads to
rebirth in hell, or amongst the animals, or amongst the ghosts"
(A. III, 40). "He who kills and is cruel goes either to hell or,
if reborn as man, will be short-lived. He who torments others
will be afflicted with disease. The angry one will look ugly, the
envious one will be without influence, the stingy one will be
poor, the stubborn one will be of low descent, the indolent one
will be without knowledge. In the contrary case, man will be
reborn in heaven or reborn as man, he will be long-lived,
possessed of beauty, influence, noble descent and knowledge" (cf.
For the above 10-fold wholesome and unwholesome course of
action, see kamma-patha. For the 5 heinous crimes with
immediate result, s. ānantarika-kamma.
"Owners of their karma are the beings, heirs of their karma,
their karma is their womb from which they are born, their karma
is their friend, their refuge. Whatever karma they perform, good
or bad, thereof they will be the heirs" (M. 135).
With regard to the time of the taking place of the
karma-result (vipāka), one distinguishes, as
mentioned above, 3 kinds of karma:
1. karma ripening during the life-time
2. karma ripening in the next birth
3. karma ripening in later births
The first two kinds of karma may be without karma-result
(vipāka), if the circumstances required for the
taking place of the karma-result are missing, or if, through the
preponderance of counteractive karma and their being too weak,
they are unable to produce any result. In this case they are
called ahosi-kamma, lit. 'karma that has been', in other
words, ineffectual karma.
The third type of karma, however, which bears fruit in later
lives, will, whenever and wherever there is an opportunity, be
productive of karma-result. Before its result has ripened, it
will never become ineffective as long as the life-process is kept
going by craving and ignorance.
According to the Com., e.g. Vis.M XIX, the 1st of the 7
karmical impulsive-moments (kamma javana; s.
javana) is considered as 'karma ripening during the
life-time', the 7th moment as 'karma ripening in the next birth',
the remaining 5 moments as 'karma ripening in later births'.
With regard to their functions one distinguishes:
1. regenerative (or productive) karma
2. supportive (or consolidating) karma
3. counteractive (suppressive or frustrating) karma
4. destructive (or supplanting) karma (upaghātaka-
(1) produces the 5 groups of existence (corporeality, feeling,
perception, mental formations, consciousness) at rebirth as well
as during life-continuity.
(2) does not produce karma-results but is only able to
maintain the already produced karma-results.
(3) counteracts or suppresses the karma-results.
(4) destroys the influence of a weaker karma and effects only
its own result.
With regard to the priority of their result one
1. weighty karma (garuka-kamma),
2. habitual karma (ācinnaka- or
3. death-proximate karma (maranāsanna-kamma),
4. stored-up karma (katattā-kamma).
(1, 2) The weighty (garuka) and the habitual
(bahula) wholesome or unwholesome karma are ripening
earlier than the light and rarely performed karma. (3) The
death-proximate (maranāsanna) karma - i.e. the
wholesome or unwholesome volition present immediately before
death, which often may be the reflex of some previously performed
good or evil action (kamma), or of a sign of it
(kamma-nimitta), or of a sign of the future existence
(gati-nimitta) - produces rebirth. (4) In the absence of
any of these three actions at the moment before death, the
stored-up (katattā) karma will produce rebirth.
A real, and in the ultimate sense true, understanding of
Buddhist karma doctrine is possible only through a deep insight
into the impersonality (s. anattā) and conditionality
(s. paticcasamuppāda, paccaya) of all phenomena of
existence. "Everywhere, in all the forms of existence ... such a
one is beholding merely mental and physical phenomena kept going
by their being bound up through causes and effects.
"No doer does he see behind the deeds, no recipient apart from
the karma-fruit. And with full insight he clearly understands
that the wise ones are using merely conventional terms when, with
regard to the taking place of any action, they speak of a doer,
or when they speak of a receiver of the karma-results at their
arising. Therefore the ancient masters have said:
'No doer of the deeds is found,
No one who ever reaps their fruits;
Empty phenomena roll on:
This view alone is right and true.
'And whilst the deeds and their results
Roll on, based on conditions all,
There no beginning can be seen,
Just as it is with seed and tree.' " (Vis.M XIX)
Karma (kamma-paccaya) is one of the 24 conditions
(paccaya, q.v.) (App.: Kamma).
Literature: Karma and Rebirth, by Nyanatiloka
(WHEEL 9); Survival and Karma in Buddhist Perspective, by K.N.
Jayatilleke (WHEEL 141/143); Kamma and its Fruit (WHEEL
karma-formations: sankhāra, i.e. wholesome
or unwholesome volitions (cetanā) manifested as
actions of body, speech or mind, form the 2nd link of the formula
of dependent origination (paticca-samuppāda,
karma-process: s. bhava,
karma-produced corporeality: s.
karma-result: vipāka (q.v.).
karma-round: kamma vatta (s. vatta).
karmically acquired corporeality:
karmically wholesome, unwholesome, neutral:
kusala (q.v.), akusala (q.v.) avyākata
(q.v.); cf. Tab. I.. .
karunā: 'compassion', is one of the 4 sublime
abodes (brahma-vihāra, q.v.).
kasina: (perhaps related to Sanskrit krtsna,
'all, complete, whole'), is the name for a purely external device
to produce and develop concentration of mind and attain the 4
absorptions (jhāna q.v.). It consists in
concentrating one's full and undivided attention on one visible
object as preparatory image (parikamma-nimitta), e.g. a
colored spot or disc, or a piece of earth, or a pond at some
distance, etc., until at last one perceives, even with the eyes
closed, a mental reflex, the acquired image
(uggaha-nimitta). Now, while continuing to direct one's
attention to this image, there may arise the spotless and
immovable counter-image (patibhāga-nimitta), and
together with it the neighbourhood-concentration
(upacāra-samādhi) will have been reached. While
still persevering in the concentration on the object, one finally
will reach a state of mind where all sense-activity is suspended,
where there is no more seeing and hearing, no more perception of
bodily impression and feeling, i.e. the state of the 1st mental
absorption (jhāna, q.v.).
The 10 kasinas mentioned in the Suttas are: earth-kasina,
water, fire, wind, blue, yellow, red, white, space, and
consciousness. "There are 10 kasina-spheres: someone sees the
earth kasina, above, below, on all sides, undivided, unbounded
.... someone see the water-kasina, above, below, etc." (M. 77; D.
33) Cf. abhibhāyatan, bhāvanā; further s.
For space and consciousness-kasina we find in Vis.M V the
names limited space-kasina
(paricchinnākāsa-kasina; . . . s. App. ) and
For full description see Vis.M IV-V; also Atthasālini
Tr. I, 248.
katattā-kamma: 'stored-up karma'; s. karma.
kāya (lit: accumulation): 'group', 'body', may
either refer to the physical body (rūpa-kāya) or
to the mental body (nāma-kāya). In the latter
case it is either a collective name for the mental groups
(feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness; s.
khandha), or merely for feeling, perception and a few of
the mental formations (s. nāma), e.g. in
kāya-lahutā, etc. (cf. Tab. II).
Kāya has this same meaning in the standard
description of the 3rd absorption (jhāna, q.v.) "and
he feels joy in his mind or his mental constitution
(kāya)", and (e.g. Pug. 1-8) of the attainment of the
8 deliverances (vimokkha, q.v.); "having attained the 8
deliverances in his mind, or his person (kāya)." -
Kāya is also the 5th sense-organ, the body-organ; s.
āyatana, dhātu, indriya.
kāya-gatā-sati: 'mindfulness with regard to
the body', refers sometimes (e.g. Vis.M VIII, 2) only to the
contemplation on the 32 parts of the body, sometimes (e.g. M.
119) to all the various meditations comprised under the
'contemplation of the body'
(kāyānupassanā), the 1st of the 4
'foundations of mindfulness' (satipatthāna, q.v.),
consisting partly in concentration (samādhi)
exercises, partly in insight (vipassanā) exercises.
On the other hand, the cemetery meditations
(sīvathika, q.v.) mentioned in the Satipatthāna S.(M. 10) are nearly the same as the 10 contemplations of
loathsomeness (asubha-bhāvanā, q.v.). of Vis.M
VI, whereas elsewhere the contemplation on the 32 parts of the
body is called the 'reflection on impurity'
In such texts as: 'One thing, o monks, developed and
repeatedly practised, leads to the attainment of wisdom. It is
the contemplation on the body' (A.I), the reference is to all
exercises mentioned in the 1st Satipatthāna.
Vis.M VIII, 2 gives a detailed description and explanation of
the method of developing the contemplation on the 32 parts of the
body. This exercise can produce the 1st absorption only
(jhāna, q.v.) The stereotype text given in the
Satipatthāna Sutta and elsewhere - but leaving out the brain
- runs as follows:
"And further, o monks, the monk contemplates this body from
the soles of the feet upward, and from the tops of the hairs
downward, with skin stretched over it, and filled with manifold
impurities: 'This body has hairs of the head, hairs of the body,
nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart,
liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, intestines, bowels, stomach,
excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin
grease, spittle, nasal mucus, oil of the joints, and urine
Vis.M VIII, 2 says "By repeating the words of this exercise
one will become well acquainted with the wording, the mind will
not rush here and there, the different parts will become distinct
and appear like a row of fingers, or a row of hedge-poles. Now,
just as one repeats the exercise in words, one should do it also
in mind. The repeating in mind forms the condition for the
penetration of the characteristic marks.... He who thus has
examined the parts of the body as to colour, shape, region,
locality and limits, and considers them one by one, and not too
hurriedly, as something loathsome, to such a one, while
contemplating the body, all these things at the same time are
appearing distinctly clear. But also when keeping one's attention
fixed outwardly (i.e. to the bodies of other beings), and when
all the parts appear distinctly, then all men and animals moving
about lose the appearance of living beings and appear like heaps
of many different things. And it looks as if those foods and
drinks, being swallowed by them, were being inserted into this
heap of things. Now, while again and again one is conceiving the
idea 'Disgusting! Disgusting!' - omitting in due course several
parts - gradually the attainment - concentration
(appanā-samādhi, i.e. the concentration of the
jhāna) will be reached. In this connection, the
appearing of forms ... is called the acquired image
(uggaha-nimitta), the arising of loathsomeness, however,
the counter-image (patibhāganimitta)."
kāya-kamma: 'bodily action'; s. karma,
k.-passaddhi, k.-ujukatā; s.
Tab. II. For passaddhi, s. further bojjhanga.
kāya-lahutā: agility or lightness of mental
factors (s. lahutā).
kāyānupassanā: 'contemplation of the
body', is one of the 4 foundations of mindfulness; s.
kāya-passaddhi: tranquillity of mental factors, s.
kāya-sakkhi: 'body-witness', is one of the 7 noble
disciples (s. ariya-puggala, B.). He is one who "in his
own person (lit. body) has attained the 8 deliverances
(vimokkha, q.v.), and after wisely understanding the
phenomena, the cankers have partly come to extinction" (Pug. 32).
In A. IX, 44 it is said: "A monk, o brother, attains the 1st
absorption (jhāna, q.v.), and as far as this domain
reaches,- so far he has realized it in his own person. Thus the
Blessed One calls such a person a body-witness in certain
respects. (The same is then repeated with regard to the 7 higher
absorptions). Further again, o brother, the monk attains the
extinction of perception and feeling (s.
nirodha-samāpatti), and after wisely understanding
the phenomena, all the cankers come to extinction. Thus, o
brother, the Blessed One calls such a person a body-witness in
khalu-pacchā-bhattik'anga: s. dhutanga.
khana: 'moment'; s. citta-kkhana.
khandha: the 5 'groups (of existence)' or 'groups of
clinging' (upādānakkhandha); alternative
renderings: aggregates, categories of clinging's objects. These
are the 5 aspects in which the Buddha has summed up all the
physical and mental phenomena of existence, and which appear to
the ignorant man as his ego, or personality, to wit:
(1) the corporeality group (rūpa-kkhandha),
(2) the feeling group (vedanā-kkhandha),
(3) the perception group
(4) the mental-formation group
(5) the consciousness-group
"Whatever there exists of corporeal things, whether past,
present or future, one's own or external, gross or subtle, lofty
or low, far or near, all that belongs to the corporeality group.
Whatever there exists of feeling ... of perception ... of mental
formations ... of consciousness ... all that belongs to the
consciousness-group" (S. XXII, 48). - Another division is that
into the 2 groups: mind (2-5) and corporeality (1)
(nāma-rūpa), whilst in Dhamma Sanganī, the
first book of the Abhidhamma, all the phenomena are treated by
way of 3 groups: consciousness (5), mental factors (2-4),
corporeality (1), in Pāli citta, cetasika, rūpa.
Cf. Guide I.
What is called individual existence is in reality nothing but
a mere process of those mental and physical phenomena, a process
that since time immemorial has been going on, and that also after
death will still continue for unthinkably long periods of time.
These 5 groups, however, neither singly nor collectively
constitute any self-dependent real ego-entity, or personality
(attā), nor is there to be found any such entity
apart from them. Hence the belief in such an ego-entity or
personality, as real in the ultimate sense, proves a mere
"When all constituent parts are there,
The designation 'cart' is used;
Just so, where the five groups exist,
Of 'living being' do we speak." (S. V. 10).
The fact ought to be emphasized here that these 5 groups,
correctly speaking, merely form an abstract classification by the
Buddha, but that they as such, i.e. as just these 5 complete
groups, have no real existence, since only single representatives
of these groups, mostly variable, can arise with any state of
consciousness. For example, with one and the same unit of
consciousness only one single kind of feeling, say joy or sorrow,
can be associated and never more than one. Similarly, two
different perceptions cannot arise at the same moment. Also, of
the various kinds of sense-cognition or consciousness, only one
can be present at a time, for example, seeing, hearing or inner
consciousness, etc. Of the 50 mental formations, however, a
smaller or larger number are always associated with every state
of consciousness, as we shall see later on.
Some writers on Buddhism who have not understood that the five
khandha are just classificatory groupings, have conceived
them as compact entities ('heaps', 'bundles'), while actually, as
stated above, the groups never exist as such, i.e. they never
occur in a simultaneous totality of all their constituents. Also
those single constituents of a group which are present in any
given body- and -mind process, are of an evanescent nature, and
so also their varying combinations. Feeling, perception and
mental formations are only different aspects and functions of a
single unit of consciousness. They are to consciousness what
redness, softness, sweetness, etc. are to an apple and have as
little separate existence as those qualities.
In S. XXII, 56, there is the following short definition of
these 5 groups:
"What, o monks, is the corporeality-group? The 4 primary
elements (mahā-bhūta or dhātu) and
corporeality depending thereon, this is called the
"What, o monks, is the feeling-group? There are 6 classes of
feeling: due to visual impression, to sound impression, to odour
impression, to taste impression, to bodily impression, and to
"What, o monks, is the perception-group? There are 6 classes
of perception: perception of visual objects, of sounds, of
odours, of tastes, of bodily impressions, and of mental
"What, o monks, is the group of mental formations? There are 6
classes of volitional states (cetanā): with regard to
visual objects, to sounds, to odours, to tastes, to bodily
impressions and to mind objects....
"What, o monks, is the consciousness-group? There are 6
classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness,
nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, and
About the inseparability of the groups it is said:
''Whatever, o brother, there exists of feeling, of perception
and of mental formations, these things are associated, not
dissociated, and it is impossible to separate one from the other
and show their difference. For whatever one feels, one perceives;
and whatever one perceives, of this one is conscious" (M.
Further: "Impossible is it for anyone to explain the passing
out of one existence and the entering into a new existence, or
the growth, increase and development of consciousness independent
of corporeality, feeling, perception and mental formations" (S.
For the inseparability and mutual conditionality of the 4
mental groups s. paccaya (6, 7).
Regarding the impersonality (anattā) and emptiness
(suññatā) of the 5 groups, it is said in S.
"Whatever there is of corporeality, feeling, perception,
mental formations and consciousness, whether past, present or
future, one's own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far
or near, this one should understand according to reality and true
wisdom: 'This does not belong to me, this am I not, this is not
my Ego.' "
Further in S. XXII, 95: "Suppose that a man who is not blind
were to behold the many bubbles on the Ganges as they are driving
along; and he should watch them and carefully examine them. After
carefully examining them, however, they will appear to him empty,
unreal and unsubstantial. In exactly the same way does the monk
behold all the corporeal phenomena ... feelings ... perceptions
... mental formations ... states of consciousness, whether they
be of the past, present or future ... far or near. And he watches
them and examines them carefully; and after carefully examining
them, they appear to him empty, unreal and unsubstantial."
The 5 groups are compared, respectively, to a lump of froth, a
bubble, a mirage, a coreless plantain stem, and a conjuring trick
(S. XXII, 95).
See the Khandha Samyutta (S. XXII); Vis.M XIV.
SUMMARY OF THE 5 GROUPS
I. Corporeality Group
A. Underived (no-upādā): 4 elements
the solid, or earth-element
the liquid, or water-element (āpo-dhātu)
heat, or fire-element (tejo-dhātu)
motion, or wind-element (vāyo-dhātu)
B. Derived (upādā): 24 secondary
Physical sense-organs of: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting,
Physical sense-objects: form, sound, odour, taste, (bodily
'Bodily impacts' (photthabba) are
generally omitted in this list, because these physical objects of
body-sensitivity are identical with the afore-mentioned solid
element, heat and motion element. Hence their inclusion under
'derived corporeality' would be a duplication.
physical base of mind (hadaya-vatthu, q.v.)
bodily expression (kāya-viññatti; s.
verbal expression (vacī-viññatti)
physical life (rūpa jīvita; s.
space element (ākāsa-dhātu, q.v.)
physical agility (rūpassa lahutā)
physical elasticity (rūpassa mudutā)
physical adaptability (rūpassa kammaññatā)
physical growth (rūpassa upacaya)
physical continuity (rūpassa santati; s.
decay (jarā, q.v.)
nutriment (āhāra, q.v.)
II. Feeling Group
All feelings may, according to their nature, be classified as
bodily agreeable feeling sukha = kāyikā sukhā vedanā
bodily painful feeling dukkha = kāyikā dukkhā vedanā
mentally agreeable feeling somanassa = cetasikā sukhā vedanā
mentally painful feeling domanassa = cetasikā dukkhā vedanā
indifferent feeling upekkhā = adukkha-m-asukhā vedanā
III. Perception Group
All perceptions are divided into 6 classes: perception of
form, sound, odour, taste, bodily impression, and mental
IV. Group of Mental Formations
This group comprises 50 mental phenomena, of which 11 are
general psychological elements, 25 lofty (sobhana)
qualities, 14 karmically unwholesome qualities. Cf. Tab. 11.
V. Consciousness Group
The Suttas divide consciousness, according to the senses, into
6 classes: eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body-,
The Abhidhamma and commentaries, however, distinguish, from
the karmical or moral viewpoint, 89 classes of consciousness. Cf.
viññāna and Tab. 1.
The moral quality of feeling, perception and consciousness is
determined by the mental formations.
khandha-parinibbāna: s. nibbāna.
khandha-santāna: s. santāna.
khanti: 'patience', forbearance', is one of the 10
perfections (pāramī, q.v.).
khayānupassanā: 'contemplation of
dissolution', is one of the 18 chief kinds of insight (s.
khidda-padosikā devā: 'the celestial beings
corruptible by pleasures', are a class of devas (q.v.) of the
sensuous sphere. They waste their time in merriment, play and
enjoyment, and thereby become thoughtless, and in their
thoughtlessness they fall from that world (D. 1; 24).
khīnāsava: 'the one in whom all cankers are
destroyed' is a name for the Arahat, or Holy One; s.
kicca 'function'. Regarding the 14 functions of
consciousness, s. viññāna-kicca.
kilesa: 'defilements', are mind-defiling, unwholesome
qualities. Vis.M XXII, 49, 65: "There are 10 defilements, thus
called because they are themselves defiled, and because they
defile the mental factors associated with them. They are: (1)
greed (lobha), (2) hate (dosa), (3) delusion
(moha), (4) conceit (māna), (5) speculative
views (ditthi), (6) skeptical doubt
(vicikicchā), (7) mental torpor (thīna),
(8) restlessness (uddhacca); (9) shamelessness
(ahirika), (10) lack of moral dread or unconscientiousness
(anottappa)." For 1-3, s. mūla; 4, s.
māna; 5, s. ditthi; 6-8, s.
nīvarana; 9 and 10, s. ahirika-anottappa.
The ten are explained in Dhs. 1229f and enumerated in Vibh.
XII. No classification of the k. is found in the Suttas,
though the term occurs quite often in them. For the related term,
upakkilesa (q.v.; 'impurities') different lists are given
kilesa-kāma: 'sensuality considered as defilement'
(s. kilesa) might well be called 'subjective sensuality',
in contradistinction to 'objective sensuality'
(vatthu-kāma), i.e. the sensuous objects
(kāma-guna). Cf. kāma.
kilesa-parinibbāna: s. nibbāna
killing: s. karma, kammapatha,
kiñcana: 'something', i.e. something evil that
sticks or adheres to character. 'Evil appendant', is a name for
the 3 unwholesome roots (mūla). "There are 3
appendants: greed (lobha) is an appendant, hate
(dosa) is an appendant, delusion (moha) is an
appendant" (D. 33). 'Freed from appendants'
(akiñcana) is a term for the perfectly Holy One
kiriya (or kriya)-citta: 'functional
consciousness' or 'karmically inoperative consciousness', is a
name for such states of consciousness as are neither karmically
wholesome (kusala), nor unwholesome (akusala), nor
karma-results (vipāka); that is, they function
independently of karma. Thus are also called all those worldly
mental states in the Arahat which are accompanied by 2 or 3 noble
roots (greedlessness, hatelessness, undeludedness), being in the
Arahat karmically neutral and corresponding to the karmically
wholesome states of a non-Arahat (s. Tab. 1-8 and 73-89), as well
as the rootless mirth-producing (hasituppāda)
mind-consciousness-element of the Arahat (Tab. 72); further, that
mind-element (mano-dhātu) which performs the function
of advertence (āvajjana) to the sense object (Tab.
70), and that mind-consciousness-element
(manoviññāna-dhātu) which performs the
functions of deciding (votthapana) and advertence to the
mental object (Tab. 71). The last-named 2 elements, of course,
occur in all beings.
Together with karma-resultant consciousness
(vipāka) it belongs to the group of 'karmically
neutral consciousness' (avyākata). See Tab. I (last
column). - (App.).
knowledge: cf. paññā, ñāna,
vijjā, vipassanā, abhiññā.
kolankola: 'passing from one noble family to another',
is the name for one of the 3 kinds of Sotāpanna
kriya-citta = kiriya (q.v.).
kukkucca: lit. 'wrongly-performed-ness'
(ku+krta+ya), i.e. scruples, remorse, uneasiness of
conscience, worry, is one of the karmically unwholesome
(akusala) mental faculties (Tab. II) which, whenever it
arises, is associated with hateful (discontented) consciousness
(Tab. I and III, 30, 31). It is the 'repentance over wrong things
done, and right things neglected' (Com. to A. I). Restlessness
and scruples (uddhacca-kukkucca), combined, are counted as
one of the 5 mental hindrances (nīvarana, q.v.).
kuppa-dhamma 'liable to perturbation', is one who has
not yet attained full mastery over the absorptions. In Pug. 3 it
is said: "What person is liable to perturbation? Such a person
gains the attainments of the fine-material and immaterial sphere
(s. avacara). But he does not gain them at his wish, nor
without toil and exertion; and not at his wish as regards place,
object and duration, does he enter them or arise from them. Thus
it is well possible that in case of such a person, through
negligence, the attainments will become perturbed. This person is
liable to perturbation."
kusala: 'karmically wholesome' or 'profitable',
salutary, morally good, (skillful) Connotations of the term,
according to Com. (Atthasālini), are: of good health,
blameless, productive of favourable karma-result, skillful. It
should be noted that Com. excludes the meaning 'skillful', when
the term is applied to states of consciousness.
It is defined in M. 9 as the 10 wholesome courses of action
(s. kammapatha). In psychological terms, 'karmically
wholesome' are all those karmical volitions
(kamma-cetanā) and the consciousness and mental
factors associated therewith, which are accompanied by 2 or 3
wholesome roots (s. mūla), i.e. by greedlessness
(alobha) and hatelessness (adosa), and in some
cases also by non-delusion (amoha: wisdom, understanding).
Such states of consciousness are regarded as 'karmically
wholesome' as they are causes of favourable karma results and
contain the seeds of a happy destiny or rebirth. From this
explanation, two facts should be noted: (1) it is volition that
makes a state of consciousness, or an act, 'good' or 'bad'; (2)
the moral criterion in Buddhism is the presence or absence of the
3 wholesome or moral roots (s. mūla).
The above explanations refer to mundane (lokiya, q.v.)
wholesome consciousness. Supermundane wholesome
(lokuttara-kusala) states, i.e. the four paths of sanctity
(s. ariyapuggala), have as results only the corresponding
four fruitions; they do not constitute karma, nor do they lead to
rebirth, and this applies also to the good actions of an Arahat
(Tab. I, 73-80) and his meditative states (Tab. 1, 81-89), which
are all karmically inoperative (functional; s.
Kusala belongs to a threefold division of all
consciousness, as found in the Abhidhamma (Dhs.), into wholesome
(kusala), unwholesome (akusala) and karmically
neutral (avyākata), which is the first of the triads
(tika) in the Abhidhamma schedule
(mātikā); s. Guide, pp. 4ff., 12ff; Vis.M XIV,
kusala-kammapatha: 'wholesome course of action'; s.
kusala-mūla: the 'wholesome roots' or 'roots of
wholesome action', are greedlessness (alobha),
hatelessness (adosa), and non-delusion (amoha; s.
mūla). They are identical with kusala-hetu (s
. paccaya, 1).
kusala-vipāka: the (mental) 'karma-result of
wholesome karma' (s. karma).