Understanding The Universal Mind Conditioners

Continuing a review of the 52 cetasikas, conditioning factors in the mind, the focus for this talk are each of the 7 Universal Mind Conditioners: Feeling, Perception, Contact, Volition, Concentration, Vitality and Attention.  These factors participate in every moment of consciousness, whether the mind manifests wholesome or unwholesome self-organizations.  Understanding the function of these mind conditioners conceptually creates the conditions that support direct identification of them as impersonal while practicing mindfulness of breathing meditation, and this insight reveals the non-self characteristic of human personality.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Reviewing The Universal Mind Conditioners

Here is the document that shows all 52 of the cetasikas:  CETASIKAS POSTER

The focus for the next talk will be what are called the Particular or Occasional Cetasikas.


The Universal Mind Conditioners February 13 2019

This is the first of a series of discussions describing the cetasikas, those factors that condition the selfing process.  In the context of the Anapanasati Sutta, investigating and calming the mind conditioners are two of the sixteen stages in the process of Awakening and are preceded by breath awareness that relaxes the body and calms the mind, reviewed in previous discussions.  This talk reviews the first 13 cetasikas.  They are termed “Universal” and “Occasional” mind conditioners, which are considered as ethically neutral or malleable in their function, meaning that their self-manifestation depends upon whether they are accompanied by Wholesome or Unwholesome cetasikas.  The Universal cetasikas participate in every moment of self-formation, and the Occasional cetasikas occur predominantly but not always, and are conditioned by internal mental processes.  The cetasikas were described in detail and this was followed by general discussion regarding how they can be mindfully recognized and “calmed” through the practice of mindfulness of breathing.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Factors That Condition The Mind

Next week’s discussion will focus on the first of the Unwholesome Mind Conditioners which appear in every moment of distress and confusion (Buddhism terms this experience as dukkha).


The Universal and Occasional Mind Conditioners Notes


In exploring the section of the Anapanasati Sutta related to training oneself to be “…sensitive to mental fabrication…calming mental fabrication”, there’s benefit in understanding the nature of the factors that fabricate each moment of self-awareness. These fabrications emerge from the categories of conditioning factors called cetasikas. The meaning of the term is “that which is associated with the mind”. This term is a kind of categorical listing of what are called sankharas, a term synonymous with karma. Both are derived from the word karoti, which means “to do”. If you imagine the cetasikas to be just the conditioners, then the “action potential” is karma. For me, the basic value of the cetasika “system” is to “deconstruct” the notion of a separate, enduring self.