Details of Karma 2: Karmic Impulses of Mind According to Vaibhashika

In accord with the Mahayana sutras, the Sarvastivada abhidharma texts and The Great Extensive Commentarial Treatise on Special Topics of Knowledge (Skt. Abhidharma-mahāvibhāṣa-śāstra), the Vaibhashika system that followed this treatise asserts that karmic impulses of the mind are the mental factor of an urge. Karmic impulses of the body and speech, on the other hand, are forms of physical phenomena – namely, revealing forms (rnam-par rig-byed-kyi gzugs, Skt. vijñaptirūpa) and nonrevealing forms (rnam-par rig-byed ma-yin-pa’i gzugs, Skt. avijñaptirūpa). 

Vasubandhu’s Presentation

In his root text, “A Treasure House of Special Topics of Knowledge,” Put in Verses (Chos mngon-pa’i mdzod-kyi tshig-le’ur byas-pa, Skt. Abhidharmakośa-kārikā) (II.24) (Skt. Gretil ed., Tib. Derge Tengyur vol. 140, 4B-5A), Vasubandhu (dByigs-gnyen, Skt. Vasubandhu) lists the mental factor of a mental urge (sems-pa, Skt. cetanā) as one of the ten great factors grounded in all mental states (sa chen-po-pa, Skt. mahābhūmika).

In his Autocommentary to “A Treasure House of Special Topics of Knowledge” (Skt. Abhidharmakośa-bhāṣyā, Tib. Chos mngon-pa’i mdzod-kyi bshad-pa) (Gretil 54.20, Derge Tengyur vol. 140, 64B), Vasubandhu gives the definition of a mental urge. Although the Sanskrit original identifies a mental urge as a karmic impulse of the mind, the Tibetan translation in the Derge Tengyur omits this identification. 

An urge is something that affects the mind; (it is) a karmic impulse of the mind.
(Skt.) cetanā cittābhisaṃskāro manaskarma.
(Tib.) sems-pa-ni sems mngon-par ‘du-byed-pa’o

Sanghabhadra’s Presentation

In A Lamp for Topics of Knowledge (Abhidharmadīpa) put in verses, with an autocommentary, An Extensive Commentary to “A Lamp for Topics of Knowledge,” A Subcommentary of Light (Abhidharmadīpa-vibhāṣāprabhāvṛtti) (verse 112) (Gretil. ed.), Vasubandhu’s teacher and critic, Sanghabhadra (dGe-‘dun bzang-po, Skt. Saṅghabhadra), like Vasubandhu, also lists a mental urge as one of the ten great factors grounded in all mental states. In his Extensive Commentary to this verse, he gives the definition:

A mental urge is something that affects the mind. It has the defining characteristic of staying mindful of or forgetting about forms of physical phenomena that are something for the mind to do (something with) or verbal expressions that are objects for the mind (to utter) – either those it has (already) enacted, are to be enacted, are being enacted or are at the endpoint of being enacted.
(Skt.) cittābhisaṃskāraścetanā / cittavyāpārarūpā smṛtiḥ / cittasyārthābhilapanā kṛtakartavyakriyamāṇakarmāntāvipramoṣalakṣaṇā /

In other words, a mental urge brings the mind to hold on to or to let go of the revealing form of the body to do something with or to an object, or the revealing form of speech to do something with the sound of some words as something to utter to someone. A mental urge does this at any time in the process of doing that something or uttering that something – when it has already finished doing or uttering it, when it is about to be doing or uttering it, while it is doing or uttering it, or when it is at the endpoint of doing or uttering it. At any of these points, it can bring the mind to hold on to its object  – the revealing form of the body or speech – and enact its action or to let go of the object and thereby terminate the action. 

In the case of a mental urge for a constructive action of body or speech, the above definition applies to holding on to or letting go of refraining from doing something with or to the revealing form of some material object or to the sound of some words as something to utter.    

Yashomitra and Sthiramati’s Presentations

In The Clarified Meaning, An Explanatory Commentary on (Vasubandhu’s) “Treasure House of Special Topics of Knowledge” (Chos mngon-pa’i mdzod kyi ‘grel-bshad don-gsal-ba, Skt. Sphuṭārtha Abhidharmakośavyākhyā), called in its Tibetan translation An Annotated Commentary on (Vasubandhu’s) “Treasure House of Special Topics of Knowledge” (Chos mngon pa'i mdzod kyi 'grel bshad, Skt. Abhidharmakośa-ṭīkā) (Gretil ed. 127, Derge Tengyur vol. 103, 115B-116A), Jinaputa Yashomitra (rGyal-ba’i sras Grags-pa’i bshes-gnyen, Skt. Jīnaputra Yaśomitra) explains: 

“An urge is something that affects the mind” means something that causes movement, and like (its) movement, (the mind) moves. 
(Skt.) cetanā cittābhisaṃskāra iti, cittapraspandaḥ praspanda iva praspanda ity arthaḥ. 
(Tib.) sems-pa-ni sems mngon-par ‘du-byed-pa’o zhes-bya-ba-ni sems rab-tu g.yo-bar byed-pa ste, rab-tu g.yo-bar byed-pa bzhin-du rab-tu g.yo-bar byed ces bya-ba’i tha-tshig-go.

Although Jinaputra Yashomitra did not include mention of a mental urge as being a karmic impulse of the mind, his contemporary, Sthiramati (Blo-gros brtan pa, Skt. Sthiramati), includes it in his commentary, The Meaning of the Facts, An Annotated Subcommentary to (Vasubandhu’s) “Autocommentary to ‘A Treasure House of Special Topics of Knowledge’” (Chos mngon-pa mdzod-kyi bshad-pa'i rgya-cher ‘grel-pa don-gyi de-kho-na-nyid, Skt. Abhidharmakoṣa-bhāṣyā-ṭīkā-tattvārtha). There (Derge Tengyur vol. 209, 181B), Sthiramati explains:

In the line, “An urge is something that affects the mind,” “an urge” is the mover of the mind. It is the constructive, destructive, or unspecified, (and) the inferior, middling or superior mover and propellor of the mind. It is something whose presence – like that of a magnet, through whose power a piece of iron moves – is causing the mind to move toward its focal aim. It is that which is causing the mind to appear together with an action, without abiding for even another moment and not acting. (Thus), a mental urge is a “karmic impulse of the mind.” 
(Tib.) sems pa ni sems mngon par 'du byed pa'o zhes bya ba la/ sems pa ni yid g.yo ba dge ba dang mi dge ba dang lung du ma bstan pa dman pa dang bar ma dang gya nom pa sems g.yo ba dang rab tu g.yo ba ste/ gang zhig yod na khab long gi dbang gis lcags g.yo ba ltar sems dmigs pa la g.yo bar 'gyur ba ste/ skad cig gzhan du mi gnas shing / /byed med yid kyang gang gis na/ /byed dang bcas par snang gyur pa/ /sems pa de ni yid kyi las/ /zhes so/

Inciting and Incited Karmic Impulses

We have seen that the Sarvastivadin abhidharma texts, such as Revealing Karma (Las gdags-pa, Skt. Karmavijñapti), speak of inciting karmic impulses (sems-pa’i las, Skt. cetanākarma) and incited karmic impulses (bsams-pa’i las, Skt. cetayitvākarma), and that the Vaibhashikas follow their presentation. 

In A Treasure House (IV.1) (Gretil ed., Derge 10B), Vasubandhu states: 

The diversity of worlds is generated from karmic impulses; those that are inciting ones and those that are enacted by them. Inciting ones are karmic impulses pertaining to the mind. Those generated by them are the karmic impulses of the speech and the body. 
(Skt.) karmajaṃ lokavaicitryaṃ cetanā tatkṛtaṃ ca tat, cetanā mānasaṃ karma tajjaṃ vākkāyakarmaṇī. 
(Tib.) las-las ‘jig-rten sna-tshogs skye, de-ni sems-pa-dang des-byas, sems-pa yid-kyi las yin-no, des bskyed lus-dang ngag-gi las

In A Commentary to “A Treasure House (of Special Topics of Knowledge)”: A Filigree of Abhidharma (Chos mngon-mdzod-kyi tshig-le’ur byas-pa’i’grel-pa mngon-pa’i rgyan) (Sera Je Library ed., 294), Chim Jampeyang (mChims ‘Jam-pa’i dbyangs), putting together this verse with the passage cited above from Vasubandhu’s Autocommentary, explains: 

What was said (by Vasubandhu) refers to karmic impulses {in general, and specifically, to} inciting karmic impulses and what are enacted by those inciting (karmic impulses) – {in other words} incited karmic impulses {that have been caused to arise (that have been motivated) by them}. Of the two, inciting karmic impulses are congruent with mental cognition {and move the mind to an object} because they affect (the mind subsequently to give rise to) karmic impulses of the body and speech. They are karmic impulses of the mind; and as for mind, here it is the mind that is a cognitive stimulator. 
(Tib.) smras-pa {thun-mongs-dang so-so’i} las-de-ni sems-pa’i las-dang sems-pa-des byas-pa {ste des kun-nas bslang-ba} bsam-pa’i las gnyis-las sems-pa’i las-ni yid-shes dang mtshungs-ldan {yid yul-la g.yo-bar byed-pa} lus-ngag-gi las mngon-par ‘du-byed-pa’i sems-byung yin-pa’i phyir/ yid-kyi las-yin-no/ yid-ni ‘dir skye-mched- yid yin-no/ 

In A Treasure House (II.34) (Gretil ed., Derge Tengyur vol. 140, 5A), Vasubandhu lists the congruent features (mtshungs-ldan, Skt. saṃprayukta) that a mental urge shares in common with the consciousness and its accompanying mental factors that it affects and moves:

Primary mind, mind and primary consciousness are synonyms. Minds and (their accompanying) mental factors (share in common) their reliance, focal object, aspect and congruence. (There is also a) fivefold (presentation). 
(Skt.) cittaṃ mano 'tha vijñānamekārthaṃ cittacaitasāḥ / sāśrayā lambanākārāḥ saṃprayuktāśca pañcadhā // 
(Tib.) sems dang yid dang rnam shes ni/ /don gcig sems-dang sems-byung-dang rten-dang dmigs-dang rnam-bcas-dang mtshungs-pa ldan-pa’ang rnam-pa lnga.

Vasubandhu explains the system of four factors shared in common by a primary consciousness and its accompanying mental factors in Autocommentary (Gretil ed. 62.5-7, Derge Tengyur vol. 140, 70A):

A (primary) mind and its (accompanying) mental factors are said to (1) both have the (same) reliance, because of (both) being things that rely on (the same) cognitive sensor (the photosensitive cells of the eyes, sound-sensitive of the ears, and so on). (2) They (both) have the (same) focal object, because of (both) being things that cognitively take the (same) cognitive object. (3) They (both) have the same aspects, because of (both) being things that differentiate individually each feature of their (shared) focal object. (4) They (both) have the (same) congruence, because of (both) being things with the same congruence (of time).
(Skt.) ta eva hi cittacaittāḥ sāśrayā ucyante indriyāśritatvāt / sālambanā viṣayagrahaṇāt / sākārāstasyaivālambanasya prakāraśa ākaraṇāt / samprayuktāḥ samaṃ prayuktatvāt / 
(Tib.) sems-dang sems-las byung-ba de-dag gnyis dbang-po-la rten-pa’i phyir rten-dang bcas-pas-pa dag ces bya’o. yul-la ‘dzin-pa’i phyir dmigs-pa dang bcas-pa dag-go. dmigs-pa de-nyid-la rnam-pa re-re-nas bye-brag-tu gcod-pa’i phyir rnam-pa-dang bcas-pa dag-go. mnyam-par ldan-pa’i phyir mtsungs-par ldan-pa dag-go. 

Vasubandhu goes on to explain the system of five congruent features: 

Suppose you ask, “Which individual features are the same, by which they are congruent?” (They are) fivefold. It (the fivefold congruence) is by means of five features of sameness, (namely) by means of a sameness of reliance, focal object, aspect, time, and substantial entity (rdzas, Skt. dravya). What is this sameness of substantial entity? (It is that) just as the (primary) mind constitutes one (substantial entity), likewise each of the mental factors as well (constitutes) one (substantial entity). 
(Skt.) kena prakāreṇa samaṃ parayuktā ityāha/ pañcadhā/ pañcabhiḥ samatāprākārairāśrayālambanākārakāladravyasamatābhiḥ / keyaṃ samatā / yathaiva hyekaṃ cittamevaṃ caittā apyekaikā iti /
(Tib.) /rnam pa gang dag gis mtshungs par ldan zhe na/ rnam pa lngas/ mtshungs-pa rnam-pa lnga-po rten-dang dmigs-pa-dang rnam-pa dus-dang rdzas mtshungs-pa dag-gi mtshungs-par ldan-no. rdzas mtshungs-pa gang zhes-na ji-ltar sems-gcig kho-na yin-pa de-bzhin-du sems-las byung-pa-rnams-kyang re-re yin-pa’o.

This system of five congruent features is also accepted by the Sautrantika, Sautrantika-Svatantrika and Prasangika systems. In these tenet systems, however, congruent aspect (rnam-pa, Skt. ākara) refers to both the primary minds and their accompanying mental factors giving rise to the same mental hologram (mental aspect) of their focal object. A focal object (dmigs-pa, Skt. alambana) is the external object that a primary mind and its accompanying mental factors aim at when cognizing that object. Since Vaibhashika does not assert that ways of being aware of something cognize their focal objects by giving rise to mental holograms of them, it explains “aspects” as physical aspects of the external focal object, such as the color of a sight or the volume of a sound, while the other tenet systems take them to be mental aspects.

Since Prasangika does not assert substantial entities, it accepts this fivefold system, but asserts that congruence of substantial entities refers to primary minds and their accompanying mental factors sharing the same slant (ris) – they fit harmoniously together. 

In addition to asserting this congruence of the mental factor of an urge with the primary consciousness that it accompanies and affects, Vasubandhu identifies an urge with a karmic impulse of the mind. Chim Jampeyang then identifies the karmic impulse of the mind with, out of the twelve cognitive stimulators (skye-mched, Skt. āyatana), the mind that is a cognitive stimulator – in other words, the cognitive stimulators that are the mind sensors (yid-kyi dbang-po’i skye-mched). They refer to any of the six types of primary consciousness – eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind consciousness – in the moment immediately preceding a cognition. 

A mental urge that is a karmic impulse of the mind may affect the mental consciousness to engage in a karmic action of the mind to think about enacting something with body or speech. If that karmic action of the mind reaches its finale by deciding either to enact it or not to enact it, the karmic impulse of the mind that brought it on was an inciting karmic impulse. If the karmic action of mind does not reach a conclusion about enacting it – perhaps because there never was an intention to enact it, such as simply thinking with covetousness about some object – it was simply a karmic action of the mind and the karmic impulse of the mind that brought it on was not an inciting karmic impulse.

A mental urge that is a karmic impulse of the mind may also affect one of the five types of sensory consciousness, focused with a disturbing emotion or attitude at some external object, to cause the revealing form of the body or speech to arise to implement a method for committing a karmic action of body or speech directed at that object. Such a karmic impulse, although being a karmic impulse of the mind, is not an inciting karmic impulse.

Thus, mental urges and karmic impulses of the mind are totally pervasive – if something is one, it is also the other, and vice versa. Inciting karmic impulses are pervasive with karmic impulses of the mind; but karmic impulses of the mind are not pervasive with inciting karmic impulses. For instance, the karmic impulse of the mind that affects a sensory consciousness to give rise to a revealing form of body or speech, and the karmic impulse of the mind that moves the mind consciousness to engage in an action of the mind that does not decide either to enact or not enact an action of body or speech – both of these are karmic impulses of the mind, but not inciting karmic impulses.

Thus, although there is the division of karmic impulses into inciting and incited ones, this division is not a dichotomy. Not only are there karmic impulses that are one or the other, but there are also karmic impulses that are neither.

Differentiating the Three Types of Karmic Impulse

In his Autocommentary (Gretil 192, Derge 140, 175A), Vasubandhu gives three possible criteria for differentiating karmic impulses of the body, speech and mind. He follows that with one interpretation of these criteria, whereby each criteria renders all three types of karmic impulses into only one type, with each criterion rendering the three into a different single type. He then gives the Vaibhashika interpretation of these criteria, which implicitly rejects this interpretation:

Further, suppose you ask, “What is it that is called ‘a karmic impulse?’ It is a mental urge and what has been enacted by it.” It says from a sutra, “There are  two (types of) karmic impulses: inciting karmic impulses and incited (ones)” Incited ones are those that are enacted by inciting ones. Those two (types of) karmic impulses become three: karmic impulses of body, speech and mind.  
How is the classification of these three (made)? It could perhaps be (from the point of view of what they come from): from their foundation (rten, Skt. āśraya), from their essential nature (ngo-bo-nyid, Skt. svabhāva) or from their motivator (kun-nas slong-pa, Skt. samutthāna; literally, “what causes them to arise.”)
[1] If it is from their foundation, they (all) come down to (being) one, (namely) karmic impulses of the body, because of their all being things that have the body as their foundation (on which they occur). 
[2[ If it is from their essential natures, they (all) come down to (being) one, (namely) things that are karmic impulses of the speech, because of their all being things in the essential nature of a karmic impulse (that comes) from a command. 
[3] If it is from their motivator, all of them come down to (being) things that are karmic impulses of the mind, because of their all being things that have been motivated (literally, “caused to arise”) by the mind.
The Vaibhashikas, however, say that they are (set) by means of the three causes in accord with their order. 
Further, out of these, an inciting karmic impulse is a karmic impulse produced from the mind and so it is known as “an inciting karmic impulse of the mind.” It gives rise to karmic impulses of the body and speech. That which an inciting karmic impulse has given rise to is called “an incited karmic impulse.” Karmic impulses of the body and speech are to be known as that.   
(Skt.) kiṃ punastatkarmetyāha cetanā tatkṛtaṃ ca tat / sūtra uktaṃ dve karmaṇī cetanā karma cetayitvā ceti, yattaccetayitvā cetanākṛṭaṃ ca tat, te ete dve karmaṇī trīṇi bhavanti, kāyavāṅmanaskarmāṇi, kathameṣāṃ karmaṇāṃ vyavasthānam, kimāśrayataḥ āhosvit svabhāvataḥ samutthānato vā, āśrayataścedekaṃ kāyakarma prāpnoti, sarveṣāṃ kāyāśritatvāt svabhāvataścedvākkarmaikaṃ prāpnoti, vacasaḥ karmasvabhāvatvāt, samutthānataścenmanaskarmaikaṃ prāpnoti, sarveṣāṃ manaḥ samutthitatvāt, yathākramaṃ tribhiḥ kāraṇaistrayāṇāmiti vaibhāṣikāḥ. tatra punaḥ cetanā mānasaṃ karma cetanā manaskarme ti veditavyam. tajjaṃ vākkāyakarmaṇī yattaccetanājanitaṃ cetayitvā karmetyuktaṃ kāyavākkarmaṇī te veditavye.
(Tib.) /las de yang gang zhig ce na/ de ni sems pa dang des byas/ /mdo las ni gnyis te/ sems pa dang bsams pa'i las so zhes gang gsungs pa la/ bsams pa gang yin pa de ni/ sems pas byas pa de yin no/ /las gnyis po de dag ni gsum yin te/ lus dang ngag dang yid kyi las rnams so/ /las 'di dag ji ltar rnam par gzhag ci rten las sam/ 'on te ngo bo nyid las sam/ 'on te kun nas slong ba las gal te rten las yin na ni thams cad lus la brten pa'i phyir lus kyi las gcig pur 'gyur ro/ /gal te ngo bo nyid las yin na ni de dag gi las gcig pur 'gyur ro/ /gal te kun nas slong ba las yin na ni thams cad kyang yid kyi kun nas bslang ba'i phyir yid kyi las gcig pur 'gyur ro zhe na/ bye brag tu smra ba rnams na re rgyu gsum gyis go rims bzhin du gsum rnam par gzhag go zhes zer ro/ /de la/ sems pa yid kyi las yin no/ /sems pa ni yid kyi las yin no zhes bya bar rig par bya'o/ /des bskyed lus dang ngag gi las/ /sems las skyes pa gang yin pa bsams pa'i las zhes gsungs pa de dag ni lus dang ngag gi las su rig par bya'o/ 

The Vaibhashika position is as follows. 

  • In general, all three types of karmic impulses rely on the body as the foundation on which they occur. But only the karmic impulses of the body, being the revealing and nonrevealing forms of the body, actually are aspects of the body that a karmic impulse of the mind gives rise to. 
  • In general, all three have the essential nature of coming from a command – namely, the command of the consciousness they accompany, together with the emotion that also accompanies the consciousness, and which cause these karmic impulses to arise as (motivates them to be) destructive, constructive or unspecified. But only the karmic impulses of speech actually have the essential nature of being a command. 
  • All three come from motivators – as in the previous case, all three are caused to arise (motivated) by a consciousness with an accompanying emotion. But only the karmic impulses of the mind are directly caused to arise by this motivator. The karmic impulses of the body and speech are indirectly caused to arise by them, through the intermediary of a karmic impulse of the mind.

Jinaputra Yashomitra (Gretil ed. 345, Derge Tengyur vol. 104, 2A) states this Vaibhashika position clearly regarding these three criteria:

As for “by means of the three causes,” they are “from the foundation, from the essential nature and from the motivator (of the three).” As for “of the three,” they are of the karmic impulses of the body, speech and mind. 
[1] The one that is (a karmic impulse) from its foundation is a karmic impulse of the body. In other words, (as was said), “A karmic impulse that has the body as its foundation is a karmic impulse of the body.” 
[2] The one that is (a karmic impulse) from its essential nature is a karmic impulse of speech. (As was said), “Speech itself is actually a karmic impulse.” 
[3] The one that is (a karmic impulse) from its motivator is a karmic impulse of the mind. In other words, as was said, “What the mind has motivated.” They are being determined (like this). 
(Skt.) tribhiḥ kāraṇair iti. āśrayataḥ svabhāvataḥ samutthānataś ceti. trayāṇām iti. kāyavāṅmanaskarmaṇām. āśrayataḥ kāyakarma. kāyāśrayaṃ karma kāyakarmeti. svabhāvato vākkarma. vāg eva karmeti. samutthānato manaskarma. manaḥsamutthitam iti kṛtvā.
(Tib.) /rgyu gsum gyis zhes bya ba ni rten dang ngo bo nyid dang kun nas slong bas so/ /gsum zhes bya ba ni/ lus dang / ngag dang / yid kyi las rnams so/ /rten las ni lus kyi las te/ lus la rten pa'i las ni lus kyi las zhes bya'o/ /ngo bo nyid kyi las ni ngag gi las te/ ngag nyid ngag gi las zhes bya'o/ /kun nas slong ba las ni yid kyi las te/ yid kyis kun nas bslang ba'i phyir ro/

Sanghabhadra (Gretil ed., commentary to verse 158) discusses the same three criteria for differentiating the three types of karmic impulse and explicitly rejects the interpretation whereby all three types of karmic impulse become one: 

How is the classification of these three (types of karmic impulse made)? (If) from their foundation, there would be a oneness of all (three types) because of having the body as their foundation. If from their essential nature, they would become one as a karmic impulse of speech. If from their motivation (what makes them arise), they would all become one as a karmic impulse of the mind. But Vaibhashika says, “It is in fact by the three.” 
Further, the first two of these are divided into two, two for each of the karmic impulses by themselves. How? They are delineated like this [in my Lamp for Topics of Knowledge, verse 158]: 
“The former two have revealing and nonrevealing (forms). For the karmic impulse of the body, (there are) indeed the revealing (form) of the body and the nonrevealing (form) of the body. For the karmic impulse of speech, (there are), as well, the revealing (form) of speech and the nonrevealing (form) of speech. The third karmic impulse, a mental urge, is a function of the mind.”
It has been said by the One Who Overcame and Gained All, “(There is) an inciting karmic impulse and an incited (one).” Further, it was said that (karmic impulses) are threefold, “(There is) a karmic impulse of the body, a karmic impulse of speech, and a karmic impulse of the mind.” 
How much more can the essential nature of a karmic impulse of the body be than the essential nature of the body? That which is a karmic impulse of speech is in the essential nature of speech. How can a mental impulse of the mind, which is something other than (a mental impulse) of the body, be anything other than a mental impulse of the mind? 
(Skt.) kathaṃ punareṣāṃ trayāṇāṃ karmaṇāṃ vyavasthānam ? yadyāśrayataḥ, sarveṣāṃ kāyāśritatvādekatvam | svabhāvataścet, vākkarmaivaikaṃ prāptam | samutthānataścet, manaḥkarmaikaṃ prāptam | sarveṣāṃ manasotthāpitatvāt | tribhirapīti vaibhāṣikāḥ || te punarete prathame dve karmaṇī pratyekaṃ dviprabhede | katham ? tadapadiśyate, pūrve vijñaptyavijñaptī kāyakarma khalu kāyavijñaptiḥ kāyāvijñaptiśca | vākkarmāpi vāgvijñaptirvāgavijñaptiśca | tṛtīyaṃ tu karma cetanā mānasī kriyā //  uktaṃ hi bhagavatā- "cetanā karma cetayitvā |" tatpunastridhoktam- "kāyakarma vākkarma manaskarma ca" iti | kiṃ svabhāvaṃ punaridaṃ kāyakarma kiṃ tāvatkāyasvabhāvam ? yathā vākkarma vāksvabhāvam, āhosvitkāyādanyadyathā manaskarma manasonyadityetadāha | 

Sthiramati (Derge Tengyur vol 210, 10B-11B) elucidates how Sanghabhadra’s terse rejection of the interpretation of the three criteria as rendering all karmic impulses of body, speech and mind into one is actually a rejection of the Sautrantika position. However, instead of each criteria rendering all three into a different type of karmic impulse, all three render them into karmic impulses of the mind:

[As for the Sautrantika position:] It is not that (a karmic impulse) that abides in the body is the one that is labeled in accord with (the statement), “A karmic impulse that depends on (brten-pa) the body is a karmic impulse for (an action of) the body.” What is referred to as, “(a karmic impulse that) depends on the body” is one that is focused on the body. This (karmic impulse) is asserted as the mental urge that makes (the mind) be involved with the body (so as to cause the body to implement a method for committing a karmic action of the body). This is because the scrutinizing mental urge needs to be differentiated out, because both the mental urge that scrutinizes (dpyod-pa) and the one that will enact (bya-ba) (the implementation of a method) have the body as their focus. 
Suppose you ask, “Which one (of these two), this or that, is the mental urge that makes the involvement with the body?” It needs to be filled in that it is the one that is the initiating involver (rab-tu ‘jug-pa) (of the mind with the body). 
Suppose you ask, “How are the karmic impulses for (actions of) speech and mind to be understood in a similar fashion?” A karmic impulse that depends on the speech (as its focal object) is a karmic impulse for (an action of) speech. In other words, it (such a karmic impulse) is the mental urge that makes (the mind) involved with speech. A karmic impulse that is congruent with the mind is a karmic impulse of the mind. 
But being like that, then since the karmic impulses for (actions of) both the body and speech are also congruent with a mind, the absurd conclusion is that they too are karmic impulses for (an action of) the mind. However, [according to Sautrantika] they are not like that. This is because, although the karmic impulses for (actions of) the body and speech are congruent with a mind, their being involvers (of the mind) for (actions of) the body and speech is stipulated differently. 
Leaving aside the mental urges that make (the mind) involved with the body and speech, all mental urges, whether tainted or untainted, are established as karmic impulses of the mind, because they are congruent with a mind. But, if you expand (the range of) “Which mental urges (are like that)?” then if you explain the karmic impulses for (actions of) the body and speech as being only mental urges, then being like that, there would no such thing as an incited karmic impulse. 
But then (the question arises), “How is this not in contradiction with the sutra from which comes the line, ‘There are inciting and incited karmic impulses?’” You would elaborate by saying, “It is (the mental urge) that thinks after that (inciting karmic impulse), ‘I shall do like that.’ It (is a karmic impulse that has been incited) because, being held by (the force of) the scrutinizing mental urge (namely, the inciting karmic impulse) that thinks, “Should I do like this and this?” another mental urge arises later, thinking, “I shall enact it” and is the subsequent involver (rjes-su ‘jug-pa) (of the mind with the body) at the time of enacting (the impulse). That which involves (the mind) with the body is the incited karmic impulse.
This lengthy explanation is in accord with the intention of Sanghabhadra to repudiate this (Sautrantika) interpolation and I think it is enough of an explanation. And since I feared this text would become too lengthy, I have not clarified each word (of his text).  
(Tib.) /lus la brten pa'i las ni lus kyi las so zhes de ltar 'dogs kyi lus la gnas pa ni ma yin no/ /lus la brten pa zhes bya ba ni lus la dmigs pa ste/ de yang lus 'jug par byed pa'i sems la mngon par 'dod do/ /dpyod pa dang bya ba'i sems pa gnyis ka lus la dmigs pa'i phyir na dpyod pa'i sems pa gcad par bya ba'i phyir/ de dang der lus 'jug par byed pa'i sems pa gang yin pa'o zhes bya ba smos te rab tu 'jug par byed pa zhes bya ba'i tha tshig go/ /de bzhin du ngag dang yid kyi las dag la yang ci rigs par zhes bya ba la/ ngag la brten pa'i las ni ngag gi las te/ ngag 'jug par byed pa'i sems pa gang yin pa'o/ /yid dang mtshungs par ldan pa'i las ni yid kyi las so/ /de ltar na lus dang ngag gi las dag kyang yid dang mtshungs par ldan pa'i phyir yid kyi las nyid du thal lo zhe na/ de ni de lta ma yin te/ lus dang ngag gi las gnyis ni yid dang mtshungs par ldan pa yin yang lus dang ngag 'jug par byed pa nyid kyi khyad par du byas pa'i phyir ro/ /lus dang ngag 'jug par byed pa'i sems ma gtogs pa'i sems pa zag pa dang bcas pa 'am/ zag pa med pa gang yin pa de thams cad ni/ yid dang mtshungs par ldan pa'i phyir yid kyi las so zhes bya bar grub po/ 'o na gang sems pa zhes bya ba rgyas par 'byung ste/ 'dir lus dang ngag gi las ni sems pa kho na la bshad na/ de lta yin na bsam pa'i las gang yin pa de med pas/ sems pa dang bsam pa'i las so zhes 'byung ba'i mdo 'di dang ji ltar mi 'gal zhe na/ de'i phyir 'di lta bu zhig bya'o snyam zhes bya ba rgyas par smos so/ /dpyod pa'i sems pa 'di dang 'di lta bu zhig bya'o snyam du sems par bzung nas/ phyi nas gzhan bya ba'i sems pa 'byung ste/ bya ba'i tshe rjes su 'jug pa'i phyir ro/ /gang gis lus 'jug par byed pa de ni bsam pa'i las zhes bya ba'o/ /'dir 'dus bzang gis sgro btags pa sun 'byin par dgongs nas mang du bshad pa de yang rnam par bshad pa 'di nyid kyis bsams zin te/ gzhung mangs pa'i 'jigs pas tshig re re nas bsal ba ma byas so/ 

According to Sautrantika, then, and asserted by Chittamatra as well, not only the inciting karmic impulses of the mind but also the karmic impulses for the body and speech are all mental urges that focus on the body or speech as what they depend on. Inciting ones are accompanied by the mental factor of scrutiny for thinking over and deciding to do something with the body or say something with the speech. Incited ones activate the body or speech to do or say what has been decided upon.

Implicit in Sthiramati’s explanation is that, according to Sautrantrika and Chittamatra, all three types of karmic impulses, as mental urges, are also commands. They all command the consciousness and its accompanying mental factors to initially or subsequently engage with their objects. Further, they all are motivators of the consciousnesses in that they cause the consciousnesses to involve themselves with their objects. 

Summary

The Vaibhashika position is clear, however, that the karmic impulses of the mind are mental urges that include:

  • Those mental urges that move the mental consciousness to the mental action of thinking, with scrutiny, whether to commit an action of body or speech, and which may or may not come to a decision to commit it, and even if they reach that conclusion, may or may not lead to the enactment of that decision with the body or speech. (1) If the mental action comes to the decision to commit the action of body or speech, it is an inciting karmic impulse, the initiating involver of the mind with the body or speech, whether or not the decision is enacted. (2) If the mental action does not come to a decision, the mental urge that brought it on is simply a karmic impulse of the mind, but not an inciting karmic impulse.
  • Those mental urges that move the sensory consciousness to engage the revealing form of the body or speech into an action, and which may or may not have been brought on by an inciting karmic impulse of the mind. (1) If such a mental urge has been brought on by an initiating involver of the mind, it is a subsequent involver of the mind with the body or speech. The revealing and initial nonrevealing forms of karmic impulses of body or speech it gives rise to are incited karmic impulses of the body or speech. (2) If such a mental urge is not brought on by an inciting karmic impulse, the revealing forms and initial nonrevealing forms of body or speech it gives rise to are simply karmic impulses of body or speech, but not incited karmic impulses of body or speech.
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