II. THE TWELVE ANGAS
Twelve Branches or Links in the Chain of Existence
The twelve Angas or 'links' fall under four
(I) 'Angas that project' (Aksepaka)
These Angas refer to Avidya (ignorance) and the
Samskaras (predispositions) which project the Bijas of the five fruits,
namely, consciousness (Vijnana), names and forms (Namarupa), the six
sense-organs (Sadayatana), contact (Sparsa), and sensation (Vedana).
By Avidyanga (ignorance as the first link in the
chain of causation) is meant only the Avidya which gives rise to good
and bad deeds which directly bring about reincarnation.
Predispositions which have their origin in this
Avidya are the Samskaras, i.e., the Samskaranga (predisposition link).
It follows from this that neither those deeds
which produce a part of the particular recompense of this life, nor
those auxiliary and complementary deeds which produce a part of the
particular recompense of the life or lives to come, constitute part of
(2) Angas that are projected (Aksipta)
These Angas refer to the five kinds of Bijas found
in the Mulavijnana which, in contradistinction to the Bijas which issue
from deeds (kamabija), immediately engender five elements of the future
existence (the future Vipakaphala), namely, consciousness, names and
forms, the sense-organs, contact, and sensation. These Bijas are the
five Angas called Aksipta, (i.e., Angas that are projected), because
they are projected by the Angas of Avidya and Samskaras.
We have therefore: (1) consciousness-bijas, that
is to say, the causes of Mulavijnana; (2) Bijas of names and forms,
i.e., the causes of the four non-material Skandhas and the Rupaskandhas
(3) Bijas of sense-organs, i.e., the causes of sense-organs; (4)
contact-bijas, i.e., the causes of contacts; (5) sensation-bijas, i.e.,
the causes of sensations.
In other words, the Name-form-bijas include,
broadly speaking, the Bijas of the five causes (consciousness,
name-form, etc.); and the four other classes of Bijas are established
separately to mark out Bijas of specially great importance: [Mulavijnana
Bijas that hold and carry, Bijas of the sense-organs that engender
sense-awareness, of touch that touches objects and of sensation that
feels objects.] Similarly, the six sense-organs, in a general way
include the six consciousness-Dhatus, while the 'consciousness Angas’,
in a special way, is the Manodhatu.
1. According to the Abhidharmasamuccaya,
consciousness must also be listed among the projecting Angas, (aksepakas),
partly because the Karmabijas in consciousness are given the name of
vijnananga (consciousness Angas), and partly because the Vipakavijnana
Bijas are comprised in Namarupa (name and form).
2. According to the Sutra (Pratityasamutpadasutra),
the vijnananga is simultaneously projecting and projected, because the
Karmabijas and the Vijnanabijas are both designated by the term ‘Vijnana’.
Furthermore, the explanation of the Abhidharma is
inadmissible, because Vijnana is the supporting basis for Namarupa, not
comprised in Namarupa.
3. Although the creation and perfuming by the
various deeds of the Bijas of Vijnana-Namarupa-Sadayatana-Sparsa-Vedana
- which are the Angas of this name - are simultaneous, yet the sacred
texts teach, incorrectly, that they are successive on account of the
difference of their characteristics: Vijnana is the lord (eighth
consciousness), the four other Angas are companions ; Namarupa is
general, the last three Angas are particular; Sadayatana is superior,
Sparsa and Vedana are inferior; Sparsa is cause and Vedana is effect.
Alternatively, the Angas are enumerated as
successive dharmas, despite the fact that they arc Bijas and
simultaneous, because, later on, in the state of actual manifestation,
when the Bija produces fruit, there is succession between actual
Vijnana, actual Namarupa, etc.
4. It is by accepting this last point of view
that the texts (Dasabhumi, Abhidharma, Pratityasamutpadasutra) consider
the five Angas, from Vijnana to Vedana, as actualities: during the
period when they are in the state of cause (Bija), they are definitely
5. Furthermore, it is by accepting this point
of view that the Pratityasamutpadasutra indicates that projection (aksepa)
and generation (janana) are simultaneous, for the time when the Bija is
moistened and that at which it is not are not simultaneous. 2
(3) Angas that engender (Janaka).
By this are meant the three Angas, Trsna
(craving-thirst, desire), Upadana (grasping), and Bhava (being,
existence), because they directly engender future birth, old age and
death, i.e., future existence.
As a result of the error and delusion respecting
the fruit of retribution (the internal Mulavijnana, etc.), there are
produced the deeds which will create, in the capacity of
Adhipatipratyaya, the future existence, and there are projected the
Bijas of the five Angas (Vijnana, etc.) which will produce, in the
capacity of Hetupratyaya, ‘Birth-Old-Age-Deach' of the future existence.
Then, in consequence of the error and delusion
respecting external objects (which are Adhipatiphala) and by the force
of the sensation of external objects, Trsna or craving-thrist is
produced, and, in consequence of Trsna, there are produced the four
graspings or clingings (Upadanas), namely, clinging to desire
(Kamopadana), clinging to ideas arising from the conception of Atman
(Atmavadopadana), clinging to erroneous views (drstyupadana), and
clinging to false moral precepts (silavratopadana).
When reunited, Trsna and Upadana 'moisten’, on the
one hand, the Bijas deriving from deeds which are aksepaka, and, on the
other, the Bijas of the five Angas, Vijnana, etc., which are aksipta.
Hence these six categories of Bijas take the name of Bhava (existence),
because they are capable of directly producing a future Bhava, a future
According to one text (Yogasastra, 10), only the
Bijas derived from deeds are given the name of Bhava, because they are
capable of producing directly the fruit of retribution.
According to another text, the name of Bhava must
be reserved for the Bijas of the five Angas, consciousness, etc.,
because these Bijas immediately engender future consciousness, etc.
(4) Angas that are engendered (Janya).
By this are meant Birth-Old-Age-Death,
Jati-jaramarana, because they are directly engendered by the Angas of
Birth extends from the commencement of the
intermediate existence (antarabhava) up to the fundamental existence (Mulabhava,
i.e., earthly life) as long as there is no decay. Old age comprises all
the stages of decay. Death is the deterioration of the body and the end
1 The Twelve Angas (Dvadasangas) are also known as
the Twelve Nidanas. They are the twelve links in the chain of causation:
(1) Avidya, ignorance, or unenlightenment; (2) Samskara, activity, or
predisposition; (3) Vijnana, consciousness ; (4) Namarupa, name and
form; (5) Sadayatana, the six sense-organs, i.e., eye, car, nose,
tongue, body, and mind; (6) Sparsa, contact, couch; (7) Vedana,
sensation, feeling; (8) Trsna, craving-thirst, desire; (9) Upadana,
laying hold of, grasping; (10) Bhava, being, existence; (11) Jati,
birth; (12) Jaramarana, old age and death. The ‘classical formula’
reads:’By reason of ignorance, predispositions; by reason of
predispositions, consciousness’, etc..
2 According to the Sutras, the Bija can remain
80,000 Kalpas without giving birth, and in order to give birth it must
be moistened by Trsna (thirst, desire or craving). At the moment when it
is moistened, an actual dharma is engendered and a future dharma is
3 K’uei Chi - When one experiences the internal
Vipaka, by reason of the ignorance of the internal samvrtidukkha
(mundane suffering), one produces non-meritorious deeds. This dukkha,
the character of which is crude and easy to understand, is named
samvrtidukkha. When one is incapable of understanding the internal
paramarthadukkha (supramundane suffering), one produces meritorious and
non-exciting deeds. The nature of the dukkha of men and gods is not
crude. The paramas, i.e., men of sterling excellence, understand this
dukkha. Hence the name of paramarthadukkha.
Subsequently, when one experiences objects, in
view of the inability to understand their nature, one produces a defiled
sensation; Trsna then increases.
In reality, the delusion respecting the internal
mundane suffering also moistens birth. The delusion respecting the
external objects also produces deeds.