Observations on the Term Bhvaṅga in the Visuddhimagga
The term bhavaṅga occurs eighty one times through the Visuddhimagga, the representative abhidhamma treatise or commentarial text within Southeast Asian Theravāda tradition. This article scrutinizes the twenty two usages of bhavaṅga which are found in the fourteenth chapter of the Visuddhimagga. The discussions which are found in these occurrences adopt the perspectives of Paṭṭhāna or the Great Treatise (Mahāpakaraṇa), the seventh abhidhamma treatise, such as the proximate condition (anantara-paccaya), the cognitive procedure (citta-niyama) and so on. The Visuddhimagga, however, discusses a much developed and systematic cognitive process (citta-vīthi) defining fourteen modes of it, namely, rebirth-linking (paṭisandhi), bhavaṅga, adverting (āvajjana), seeing (dassana), hearing (savana), smelling (ghāyana), tasting (sāyana), touching (phusana), receiving (sampaṭicchana), investigating (santīraṇa), determining (votthapana), javana, registration (tadārammaṇa) and death (cuti). Furthermore, it enumerates eighty nine kinds of consciousness (citta) such as twenty one kinds of wholesome consciousness (kusala citta), twelve kinds of unwholesome consciousness (akusala citta), thirty six kinds of resultant (vipāka) and twenty kinds of functional (kiriya). According to the Visuddhimagga, nineteen kinds of resultant are in charge of bhavaṅga. It implies that bhavaṅga is also an active consciousness same as the other seventy modes of consciousness. This very discussion sets the Visuddhimagga apart from other previous treatises.