The Heart-Base (Hadayavatthu) is the assembly place of the Formations (Sankhara). It is the place they all gather together.
The Formations include:
1.Formations of Body (Kaya-Sankhara).
2.Formations of Speech (Vaci-Sankhara).
3.Formations of the Citta (Citta-Sankhara).
4. Meritorious Formations (Punnabhisankhara).
5.Demeritorious Formations (Apunnabhisankhara).
6. Imperturbable Formations (Anenjabhisankhara).
This, making up all the six types of formations. In brief, however, the Formations of Body are the basis, the remainder being grouped together under the Formations of the Citta thus making up only two types of formations.
The Heart-Base comes within the “formations of body” and when one watches the heart-base, one is then developing “Contemplation of the Body with Mindfulness” (Kayanupassana-Satipatฺtฺhana).
When external formations1 strike against the body, both externally and internally, it is called “The Impact of Sensation” (Phassa). In whatever way they strike against the body, they give rise to feeling (Vedana) which is either pleasant or painful or, neither pleasant nor painful. These feelings can lead us to know where to find the Heart-Base.
As for Thoughts, these are called “Formations of the Citta” which arise in the heart-base.
When one sees deeply into the heart-base, one will see the nature of Body and Mind; that they are always changing, that they arise, continue for a time and then die away and cease.
When one sees the arising and ceasing of the formations, one is then establish-ed in “Contemplation of Objects of Mind with Mindfulness” (Dhammanupassana-Satipatฺtฺhana). One who watches the heart-base can fully develop all four aspects of the great way of setting up Mindfulness (Maha-Satipatฺtฺhana). When one’s
attention is upon the heart-base, one is then established in non-delusion (Vijja), whereas when one does not attend to it, one is caught in delusion (Avujja).
The 52 Concomitants of the Citta:
Analogous to Various Flavours
When one has Formations of Delusion, they add flavours to things. The Formations which add flavours being the following:-
1. Meritorious Formations including the 25 “Beautiful” Concomitants of the Citta (Sobhanฺa-Cetasika),
2.De-meritorious Formations including the 14 Unhealthy Concomitants of the Citta (Akusala-Cetasika).
3.Imperturbable Formations including the 13 Neutral Concomitants of the Citta (Annasamana-Cetasika)
This covers all the fifty-two concomitants of the Citta. These concomitants are like various qualities and flavours, such as the flavour of pepper, of salt, of sourness, of sweetness, and the qualities of poison and alcohol. These include both the good and the bad. If someone, without knowing, takes poison or alcohol, then
he will he poisoned or will get drunk in accordance with the nature of that which he has taken.
De-Meritorious formations are evil and are analogous to the qualities of poison and alcohol. Meritorious formations are analogous to the flavours of sourness and sweetness which are good for the one who takes them. As for the Imperturbable formations, these are like flavours that are neither sweet; sour, poisonous nor alcoholic.
These formations are all within the “formations of the Citta”; they all arise together at the same time and when they cease, they all die away together. They are all within the same state and they all have the same object (or support).
De-Meritorious formations should be left alone, but the Meritorious formations should be practised. The Imperturbable formations are neutral and become good or evil depending on the other associated formations. The Demeritorious formations are to be found, only in the Citta in the sensual-realm.
One who practises meditation in order to attain the Form-Realm, must be well acquainted with the Sensual Realm Citta, because one whose Citta adapts to the Form Realm must first of all slough off the Sensual Realm Citta before attaining the Form Realm Citta.
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