The Radiant Citta
This is an excerpt from Appendix II of the Spiritual Biography of Acariya Mun. It is compiled from several discourses on citta given by Ãcariya Mahã Boowa. I keep going back to browse this appendix, trying to absorb this knowledge on citta. The glossary is also a handy reference, giving detailed, clear explanations of Buddhist terminology; giving elaborations instead of concise, restrictive terms.
The following breakdown of citta is really thought provoking. It credits the original citta with radiance and then asserts that its radiance is actually avijja (ignorance) and is required to be transcended in the quest for Absolute Freedom (seems to implie Nibanna).
Here is the quote. (I've also given the link to the entire biography afterwards.)
The term “original citta” means the original nature of the citta that
spins endlessly through the cycle of rebirth. The Buddha indicated this
when he said: “Monks, the original citta is intrinsically bright and clear,
but it becomes defiled by the commingling of the kilesas that come
In this sense, “original citta” refers to the origin of conventional
reality (sammuti), not the origin of Absolute Purity (parisuddhi). When
referring to the original citta, the Buddha stated: “Pabhassaramidaÿ
cittaÿ bhikkhave.” Pabhassara means radiant, it does not mean pure.
His reasoning is absolutely correct; it is impossible to argue against it.
Had the Buddha equated the original citta with the pure citta, one could
immediately object: “If the citta was originally pure, why then should it
be born at all?” The Arahant, who has purified his citta, is one who never
comes to birth again. If his citta were originally pure, why then would
he need to purify it? This would be the obvious objection: What reason
would there be to purify it? The radiant citta, on the other hand, can be
purified because its radiance is nothing other than the essential, true
nature of avijjã. Meditators will realize this truth clearly for themselves
at the moment when the citta transcends this radiance to reach Absolute
Freedom (vimutti). Then, the radiance will no longer appear in the citta.
At this very point, one realizes the supreme truth about the citta. (pp. 465-466)