These recordings were made on April 9, 2006 at Bodhisukha Parahita Monastery in Barasat, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. If you have the appropriate software installed, clicking the title will play the corresponding mp3 file. The file can also be downloaded to your computor by simply right-clicking and choosing "Save Target As..."

This text is from The Illustrated Buddhist Philosophy of Relations, The Patthana, The 24 Relations Explained, Compiled by S. S. Khin Maung Aye, Religious Affairs Department Press, Myanmar, 2004. (For convenience only, all Pali diacritical marks have been omitted.

Note on Paccayo

Paccaya is to be understood in the sense of assisting in the arising, or the coming-to-be, of the dhammas related to a relating dhamma. It also means helping that related dhamma to develop, as well as to maintain its growth. For instance, paccaya has the role of assisting a seed to germinate, helping the sapling to develop into a plant, and helping in the growth of the tree.

Invitation: An invitation to all devas, chanted by Ven. Ariyanwantha, followed by group recitation of the titles of the 24 Relations
The Relation by Way of Root
Ven. Nandobatha
  • Just as the roots of a tree draw up sap from the soil and water, carrying that sap to nourish the tree, so also, when a tree is nourished through immoral roots that feed it with greed (lobha), hatred (dosa), and bewilderment (moha), it cannot flourish, but must wither away. On the other hand, when it is nourished through the three moral roots of disinterestedness (alobha), amity (adosa), and intelligence (amoha), it flourishes and grows superbly.
  • 2
    The Relation of Object
    Ven. Aggavamsa

    All classes of concomitants, all kinds of material qualities, and all phases of Nibbana, are arammana relations. Stated concisely, objects are of six different kinds: visible object, audible object or sound, odorous object or smell, sapid object or taste, tangible object, and cognizable object.

    All classes of mind and their concomitants are the things that are related by the arammana relations. There is indeed not a single class of consciousness that can exist without its having an object which may be "real" or "unreal." All meritorious consciences, all demeritorious consciences, all resultant consciences, and all non-operative consciences, are causally related.

    arammana is to be understood in the sense of "alambitabba" which means that which is held or hung upon, so to speak, by mind and mental elements. A cripple or a blind person has to hang upon an extended rope or to lean upon a staff for moving about.

    The Relation of Dominance
    Ven. Ariyawansa

    King Cakkavatti, or the Universal Monarch, by his power of past merit overcomes the inhabitants of the whole continent and rules over them. In like manner, those four influences: (1) intention or desire-to-do (chanda); (2) energy (viriya); (3) mind or will (citta); and (4) investigation or power of reasoning (vimamsa), which have reached the dominant stage, become lord or leader of their adjuncts. The adjuncts also become according as they are led.

    Great accomplishments are made possible due to the arising of the above-mentioned four dominants or adhipatis. As among the four dominants, also, while any one of them attains predominance, the three others become followers.

    The Relation of Contiguity
    Ven. Ariyawantha

    Anantara is so-called because it causes such states of phenomena as are similar to its own to succeed immediately the following instant.

    The analogy given by the teachers is that of the eldest son of King Cakkavatti (Universal Monarch) to succeed to the throne immediately after the death of the father. There are five niyaamas (cosmic laws or cosmic order), viz:

    (1) The Psychical Order (citta niyama)
    (2) The Caloric Order (utu niyama)
    (3) The Germinal Order (bija niyama)
    (4) The Moral Order (kamma niyama)
    (5) The Natural Phenomenal Sequence (dhamma niyama)

    These five niyamas govern the universe for all time. They cannot be canceled by any power or God, they cannot be controlled by any power.

    By the Relation of Contiguity, all classes of consciousness and their mental concomitants, which have just ceased, give way to all classes of consciousness and their mental concomitants to arise in the immediately succeeding instant.

    The Relation of Immediate Contiguity
    Ven. Kawi

    Samantara is to be understood in the sense thorough rapid action.

    The various classes of consciousness are in a state of continual flux, i.e., in a continuous succession of changes. By the Relation of Immediate Contiguity, the states of phenomena that succeed similar states do so in the immediately following instant. Here, there is a thorough immediateness. The succession is so quick that the preceding consciousness is hardly distinguishable from the succeeding consciousness. The analogy here is that when King Cakkavatti (Universal Monarch) goes forth into the homeless life of a bhikkhu, as a forest dweller, the eldest son automatically becomes the new Universal Monarch without a break

    The Relation of Co-existence
    Ven. Meghiya

    Here, co-existence means that when a phenomenon arises, it arises together with its effect; or, in other words, it also causes its effect to arise simultaneously. It is just like the lamp which, when lighted, causes light to appear simultaneously.

    The four mental aggregates of sensation, perception, volitional activities, and consciousness arise simultaneously according to the Relation of Co-existence.

    The Relation of Reciprocity
    Ven. Nyana

    This Relation is illustrated by a three-legged stool. Just as the three legs of the stool are mutually supporting one another, each resting on the others for the stability of the stool, so also, physical phenomena and mental phenomena are mutually supporting each other. In other words, there is a Relation of Reciprocity between the two.

    The Relation of Dependence
    Ven. Nyaninda

    The material base itself pre-exists and serves as a standing ground. The ground must be ready for a tree to grow on it. The tree depends on the ground for its existence.

    On the same principle, meritorious actions and demeritorious actions arise as resultants of previous actions, good or bad. Present actions arise dependent on past actions.

    The Relation of Sufficing Condition
    Ven. Pragyananda

    The Relation of Sufficing Condition may be understood in the sense of the presence of some potentiality that causes something to arise. For instance, rain serves as the sufficing condition for the development of a tree which grows on the earth. On the same principle, saddha or conviction in the Triple Gem and the potentiality of kamma is the sufficing condition for all forms of meritorious actions, such as observing the precepts, keeping oneself moral, cultivating the mind for calm, developing the mind for insight, and practicing mindfulness, all these actions leading to attainment of Magga Knowledge, special apperception (abinna), and dwelling in jhana,or sustained cessation (nirodha samapatti).

    The Relation of Pre-existence
    Ven. Pannadhaja

    What has existed beforehand serves as a condition for the prosperity of what comes after. Like the sun and the moon, that have existed earlier on, serve humanity and all things that exist in the world, parents, who exist beforehand, become the greatest benefactors of their children.

    The same principle holds in the case of sense-objects which exist or arise beforehand to cause good or bad consequence to those that come into contact with them.

    The Relation of Past-existence
    Ven. Razaindasiri

    What is to become later supports what has existed beforehand. The simile of newly-hatched vultures : When the parent vultures go out in search of food , they do not, as of custom, bring home any food for their newly-hatched children. The birdlings sustain themselves solely on their hope of getting some food on the parents' return. They get their food only when they are old enough to go out. On the same principle our body may be kept buoyant by some hope, and when the hope fails, the body withers.

    The Relation of Habitual Recurrence
    Ven. Sandiya

    Asevana is to be understood in the sense of habituating by constant repetition. The things related to habitual recurrence gain greater and greater proficiency, energy, and force.

    When a piece of furniture is being treated with a polishing compound, it receives the compound layer after layer, slowly and repeatedly. At each of the applications of the polishing compound, the sheen on the surface being thus treated improves slowly and steadily.

    In the matter of learning, what has been previously learned helps the assimilation of what is learned afterwards. On the same principle, previous moral or immoral actions are causally related to moral or immoral actions that are done afterwards.

    The Relation of Kamma
    Ven. Silavamsa

    By kamma is meant volitional action.

    When an action is done, the doer has committed something good or bad, as the case may be, for which he has to reap the consequence thereof.

    The Relation of Kamma is seen in the process of germination of a seed followed by the growth of a tree. A tree comes into being from a seed which germinates and develops slowly and steadily, having its roots firmly established in the ground. The nutrients from the soil and the water help its growth.

    Likewise, past kamma, both good and bad, are the seeds of causal factors for our present actions, good or bad. Consequences of these various actions will have to be borne by all of us in countless forms of existence, until such time as we realize Nibbana.

    The Relation of Effect
    Ven. Vimala Thami

    Good or bad actions result in good or bad effects. A good effect may be compared to a gentle breeze, i.e., as when someone enjoying the good effect of his own past good action under the cool shade of a tree, a gentle breeze blowing from a bluish clear sky refreshes him, making physically and mentally at ease.

    As the result of meritorious actions, one is reborn in the fortunate destinations of the human world and the divine world of devas.

    As the result of evil actions, one is destined to the four miserable realms, the realm of continuous suffering, the animal world, the realm of ever-hungry beings, and the realm of fallen angels (asuras).

    The Relation of Food
    Ven. Wisuta

    Ahara is to be understood in the sense of "holding up strongly" which means "causing to exist firmly."

    Just as strong props hold up an old house and keep it from collapsing, food sustains all beings to keep well. If the props were absent, the house could not withstand wind and rain and would collapse. So also, if a being has to go without food, he will starve to death.

    Just as material food is necessary for the well-being of the body, mental food is necessary for the mind. Lacking both, a being cannot subsist for long.

    The Relation of Control
    Ven. Ariyawansa

    Indriya is to be understood in the sense of “exercising control over” the dhammas related by this Relation, in their respective functions.

    In a system of government, the heads of the departments called Ministers are put in control of their respective departments. Indirya paccaya may be seen as each indriya exercising control over its respective function. Just as the Minister for Education controls matters concerning public education, the eye controls or regulates sight, and is called an indriya. In Buddhist psychological philosophy there are 22 Controlling Powers (indriyas), such as cakkhundriya (eye) and sotindriya (ear), exercising control over their respective functions.

    Control over the related dhammas, it may be noted, is not as complete as the dominance of the predominant factor (adhipati) over its adjuncts.

    The Relation of Jhāna
    Ven. Seintita

    Jhana is to be understood in the sense of clearly viewing or actively looking at, i.e., going close to the object and looking at it mentally.

    The meditator contemplating an object is like someone standing at a commanding height and viewing things from the top. He thereby gains wide-angle full view. The higher he reaches, the wider his angle of vision. He then sees things in detail as viewed through binoculars.

    A meditator who has achieved the five jhanas or one who has attained the meritorious types of jhana is able to contemplate dhammas, to see them as they truly are and thereby to gain truth comprehensively, which culminates in Nibbana.

    The Relation of Path
    Ven. Meghiya

    Magga is called path because it is the means of reaching Nibbana. Only the right path of eight constituents will lead to Nibbana.

    There is also the wrong path which leads to the realms of misfortune.

    The Ariya Path of Eight Constituents headed by Right View, sammaditthi, is the only path that leads to Nibbāna, the true happiness, the ultimate Peace (where the universal sorrow of rebirth is ended).

    The Relation of Association

    In Burmese food culture, there is a preparation known in Pali as catumadhu meaning "four sweet ingredients," roughly "four foods in one" in modern parlance. The four are sesamum oil, ghee, honey, and jaggery. They are mixed so thoroughly that each of them loses its original flavor and coalesces perfectly into one new food. By this relation, consciousness of sight coalesces with its seven mental properties so thoroughly that they all are unitedly spoken of as sight. Similarly, in all other classes of consciousness, the mental properties, such as contact (phassa), sensation (vedana), and perception (sanna), thoroughly coalesce with the consciousness (citta).

    The Relation of Dissociation
    Ven. Pannadhaja

    In a dish, the six tastes of sweet, sour, hot, astringent, salty, and bitter, come together while each retains its own taste and function. In the Relation of Dissociation, the same principle holds. Therefore, a mental is causally related to a physical by way of co-existence dissociation and vice versa.

    Rebirth consciousness, the three physical groups of ten (kalapas), which are born of kamma that arise at rebirth, are instances of the Relation of Dissociation, here, co-existent dissociation.

    The Relation of Presence
    Ven. Razaindasiri

    This Relation may be compared to a mighty mountain whose presence causes the forests to remain in their lush state.

    Inasmuch as a properly fed body is kept healthy by the food, so also, the presence of the five capital relations, the Relation of Co-existence, the Relation of Pre-existence, the Relation of Post-existence, the Relation of Food, the Relation of the Faculty of Life, are causally related as between their respective effects.

    The Relation of Absence
    Ven. Silavamsa

    The Relation of Absence is entirely the Relation of Contiguity or anantara paccaya.

    Just as darkness prevails only when the light of the lamp goes out, only when the three phases of time or khanjnas, i.e., the moment of arising or genesis (uppada), the moment of development (thiiti), and the moment of dissolution (bhanga), which represent separate states of consciousness, are totally absent, can the Relation of Absence arise.

    The Relation of Abeyance
    Ven. Vimala Thami

    Just as the moon can shine only when the sun is not shining, only when the foregoing consciousness and its mental concomitants are no longer prevalent, can a fresh consciousness and its mental concomitants arise.

    The Relation of Continuance
    Ven. Wisuta

    Aquatic animals thrive happily in the ocean. When they are captured and are no longer in the presence of the ocean, they cannot live. Similarly, every conscious moment is related by of the Relation of Continuance in the nascent stage, the static stage, or the cessant stage (uppada, thiiti, bhanga). This is shown by the all-knowing Buddha.

    Conclusion: Group recitation of the titles of the Relations
    Sharing Merit: Group recitation