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Akusala cetasika

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akusala cetasika (Immoral Mental Concomitants)

In Abhidhamma Class No. 14 on 24 September 2002 we gave an overview of the 52 cetasika and identified the three classes of cetasika: annasamana, akusala and sobhana.

We then explored the first of these classes the annasamana in more detail.

In this paper we look at the second class of cetasika, the akusala cetasika.

There are fourteen akusala cetasika which are ethically immoral. They may be divided into four sub-groups as follows:

mohacatukka = akusalasadharana

(four cetasika headed by moha)

(1)moha = avijja = delusion, ignorance, dullness (2)ahirika = lack of moral shame, impudence (3)anottappa = lack of moral dread, recklessness (4)uddhacca = unrest, restlessness, distraction

lobha-tri = papanca-dhamma (three cetasika headed by lobha)

(5) lobha= raga = tanha = greed, attachment, sensuous desire (6) miccha ditthi = wrong view, evil opinion (7) mana = conceit, pride

dosacatukka = hateful ones (four cetasika headed by dosa)

(8) dosa = patigha = hatred, anger, aversion (9) issa = envy, jealousy (10)macchariya = avarice, stinginess, selfishness (11)kukkucca = worry, scruples, remorse

end – tri = dull and wavering ones (last three immoral cetasika)

(12)thina = sloth (13)middha = torpor (14)[[vicikiccha = sceptical doubt, perplexity

English Meaning of the Pali Words

Reference: Brown, Lesley (Ed.), 1993, “The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary”, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

(1)moha]] = avijja = delusion, ignorance, dullness

delusion: a false impression or opinion, especially as a symptom of mental illness

ignorance: the fact or condition of being ignorant.; lack of knowledge (general or particular)

dullness: the quality or state of being dull

dull: make sluggish or inert; make stupid or unresponsive; make blunt; make listless, depressed or gloomy; grow dim or tarnished

(2)ahirika = lack of moral shame, impudence

moral: of or pertaining to human character or behaviour considered as good or bad; of or pertaining to the distinction between right and wrong, or good and evil, in relation to the actions, volitions, or character of responsible beings; ethical

shame: the feeling of humiliation or distress arising from the consciousness of something dishonourable or ridiculous in one’s own or another’s behaviour or circumstances, or from a situation offensive to one’s own or another’s sense of propriety or decency. Disgrace, loss of esteem or reputation, an instance of this.

impudence: shamelessness; immodesty, indelicacy; shameless effrontery; insolent disrespect; insolence, presumption; freedom from indifference; cool confidence

(3)anottappa = lack of moral dread, recklessness

dread: fear greatly, regard with awe; fear, be afraid

recklessness: neglect or disregard of something

(4)uddhacca = unrest, restlessness, distraction

unrest: disturb, trouble

restless: unable to rest; deprived of rest; finding no rest; uneasy in mind or spirit; fidgety; averse to being quiet or settled; constantly in motion; continually operating, never ceasing or pausing

distraction: the action of drawing or forcing apart; forcible disruption; severance; division; separation; removal; dispersal

(5)lobha = raga = tanha = greed, attachment, sensuous desire

greed: intense or inordinate longing, especially for wealth or food; avarice, covetous desire

attachment: the action of fastening, joining, affixing or attributing; something attached, or intended to be attached; an adjunct

sensuous: of or pertaining to the senses or sensation; derived from or affecting the senses, based on or relating to material objects or beings.

(6)miccha ditthi = wrong view, evil opinion

evil: morally depraved, bad, wicked; causing pain or trouble; unpleasant, offensive, disagreeable; unwholesome, dissatisfactory

opinion: a view held about a particular subject or point; a judgement formed; a belief

(7)mana = conceit, pride

conceit: overestimation of oneself or one’s personal qualities; vanity; that which is conceived in the mind, a conception, a notion, an idea; the faculty of mental conception; apprehension, understanding; personal opinion, judgement, estimation

pride: the quality of having a high, especially an excessively high opinion of one’s own worth or importance; inordinate self-esteem; arrogant or overbearing conduct, haughtiness

(8)dosa = patigha = hatred, anger, aversion

hatred: a feeling or hostility or strong aversion towards a person or thing; active and violent dislike

anger: trouble, affliction, vexation, sorrow; extreme or passionate displeasure, wrath; physical pain, infliction

aversion: the action of turning away oneself, one’s eyes etc; mental attitude or opposition or repugnance; a habitual dislike; antipathy, unwillingness

(9)issa = envy, jealousy

envy: look maliciously upon, grudge; hostility; malice; enmity; a feeling of resentful or discontented longing aroused by another person’s better fortune, situation, etc.

jealousy: the consuming fear, suspicion, or belief that one is being or might be displaced in someone’s affections; distrust of the fidelity of a spouse or lover; resentment or envy of another person or of his or her possible or actual success, advantage, or superiority; rivalry

(10)macchariya]] = avarice, stinginess, selfishness

avarice: greed for gain, cupidity; eager desire to get or keep something for oneself

stingy: of a person, action, etc.: niggardly, parsimonious, mean; of a food, a portion, supply etc.; given sparingly or grudgingly; scanty, meagre

selfish: concerned chiefly with one’s own personal advantage or welfare to the exclusion of regard for others, deficient in consideration for others; actuated by or appealing to self-interest

(11)kukkucca = worry, scruples, remorse

worry: a state or feeling of mental unease or anxiety regarding or arising from one’s cares or responsibilities, uncertainty about the future, fear of failure etc., anxious concern, anxiety

scruple: a thought or circumstance that causes the mind unease or disquiet; a feeling or doubt or hesitation with regard to the morality or propriety of a course of action; a fine point of conscience;

remorse: deep regret and repentance for a wrong committed; compunction; regretful remembrance of a thing; pity

Kukkucca could also be translated as: “flurry-and-worry”.

(12)thina = sloth

sloth: inactivity, reluctance to exert oneself; sluggishness, laziness; slowness, tardiness

(13)middha = torpor

torpor: be sluggish; torpid condition or quality; apathy, listlessness, dullness; indifference

(14)vicikiccha = sceptical doubt, perplexity

scepticism: the doctrine of the sceptics, Pyrrhonism; the opinion that real knowledge of any kind is unattainable; a sceptical attitude in relation to a particular branch of knowledge; doubt as to the truth of some assertion or apparent fact; mistrustfulness, doubting disposition

doubt: uncertainty as to the truth or reality of something or as to the wisdom of a course of action; occasion or room for uncertainty; an inclination to disbelieve or hesitate; a reason to disbelieve or hesitate, a reservation

perplexity: inability to deal with or understand a thing owing to its intricate nature; confusion, bewilderment


Dr. Mehm Tin Mon, “The Essence of Buddha Abhidhamma”, publisher Mehm Tay Zar Mon, Yangon, 1995, Ch. 2, pp. 76-83.

Brown, Lesley (Ed.), 1993, “The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary”, Clarendon Press, Oxford.