Here the suttas are reworked into a schematized system of general principles that might be called 'Buddhist Psychology'. In the Abhidhamma , the generally dispersed teachings and principles of the suttas are organized into a coherent science of Buddhist doctrine. The Abhidhamma Pitaka is one of several surviving examples of Abhidharma literature, analytical and philosophical texts that were composed by several of the early Buddhist schools of India. One text within the Abhidhamma Pitaka addresses doctrinal differences with other early Buddhist schools. The Abhidhamma Pitaka is also an important part of Theravada Buddhist liturgy that is regularly recited at funerals and festivals.

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Early Buddhist texts, translations, and parallels. It takes the terms and ideas found in the Discourses, and organizes and analyzes them systematically. As is the case with the Discourses, the Pali texts have received the most study and attention. Unlike the Suttas and Vinaya, the Abhidhamma texts of the different schools are not closely related.

It seems likely, in fact, that these were some of the formative texts in establishing the different schools. Nevertheless, Erich Frauwallner in his Studies in Abhidharma Literature and the Origins of Buddhist Philosophical Systems has identified certain core features of Abhidhamma that are common between the traditions.

Despite their differences, however, it would be a mistake to see the canonical Abhidhamma texts as presenting strongly sectarian positions. The word abhidhamma is found occasionally in the early texts, usually alongside the parallel term abhivinaya. The traditions vary in how they see the origin of the Abhidhamma. The Chinese and Tibetan traditions typically ascribe each Abhidhamma book to a disciple of the Buddha. The long-standing consensus among historical scholars is that the books of the Abhidhamma were compiled in the centuries after the Buddha.

It is not possible to determine definite dates. But the bulk of the content must have been developed after this time. A number of details, such as the fact that the works were accepted as canonical in the Milinda, around BCE, suggests that they were completed before this time. While the belief that the books were composed by immediate students of the Buddha is untenable, it does point to something in how they might have developed.

The major disciples would have established teaching lineages, or styles of learning, that reflected the specialties of the different masters. Over time, the explanations of various teachers became systematized and codified. The actual books as they exist today, however, are the products of schools, composed under the guidance of leading monks.

Presumably they would have been taught by experienced teachers in monasteries, who would have drawn out, explained, and illustrated the abstruse texts. Eventually such explanations were codified and recorded in the Pali commentaries. While they introduced a number of new terms and methods, the canonical Abhidhamma texts are doctrinally conservative. Many of the concepts familiar from later Abhidhamma are not found—ultimate vs.

That is not to say that there are no new ideas, just that they play a fairly minor role overall. Most of these are doctrinal terms familiar from the suttas, although some are specialized Abhidhamma terms. The first classifies dhammas into 22 sets of three tika , and the next two use sets of two duka , pairs for Abhidhamma terms, and 42 for Sutta terms. The first of the triple sets is the momentous group: wholesome, unwholesome, and undetermined.

This serves as a framework for classifying all the various phenomena. While it seems simple enough, even this detail was controversial, as some schools rejected the existence of the undetermined, or morally neutral, category.

Most of the chapters have a threefold structure. A few sections, such as Vb 18 Dhammahadaya, do not fit this system. They may have originated as independent treatises. It is organized according to fourteen methods. The main concern is to classify personal or psychological tendencies as they relate to the development of the Buddhist path. These consist of a debate between unnamed protagonists. Each relies either on logic or quotations from the suttas to support their arguments. Some of the discussions concern central problems in Buddhist philosophy, such as the nature of not-self, or the problem of continuity and impermanence.

Many, however, are very minor. While the text does not identify the points of view, most of them may be identified with the doctrines held by various Buddhist schools. Note that none of the controverted points deal with Brahmanical, Jaina, or other non-Buddhist views. Nor are there any significant differences in the suttas referred to; each debater assumes that they share a common sutta basis.

The core of the work probably formed then, but it grew substantially over time. The Yamaka Pairs consists of ten chapters on different topics, starting with the roots of wholesome or unwholesome conduct.

It applies a series of pairs of questions, with the object of fully determining the scope of application of terms. While method and the details have expanded considerably, the approach can be seen as a detailed application of the underlying principles of dependent origination. Accordingly, while the Abhidhamma texts of most schools have disappeared, these texts were taken to China and preserved there in translation. In addition, there are some passages found in Sanskrit fragments and Tibetan texts.

The Chinese recension was translated by Xuanzang. It is maintained today in a complete Chinese and partial Sanskrit version.

The Chinese edition was translated by Xuanzang. Composed by Purna according to Sanskrit and Tibetan sources , or Vasumitra according to Chinese sources. It was translated into Chinese by Xuanzang. It was composed by Devasarman and translated into Chinese by Xuanzang. Composed by Vasumitra, and translated by Xuanzang T , with another partial translation by Gunabhadra and Bodhiyasa at T Whereas the other schools maintained multiple Abhidhamma texts, this single text covers much of the same ground, and seems to contain the entire Abhidhamma system of the Dharmaguptakas.

Throughout the years, the study of Abhidhamma has been held in high esteem by the Buddhist traditions. This is a living tradition, which boasts an unbroken series of publications down to modern times.

In all regions, however, contemporary Abhidhamma study primarily relies on later treatises, and the canonical texts are usually not directly studied in depth. As well as study, Abhidhamma has been a formative influence on several modern schools of meditation. In particular, the Burmese meditation schools, including Mahasi, Goenka, and Pa Auk, all rely closely on Abhidhamma concepts.

Perhaps unexpectedly, Abhidhamma is not restricted to monastic or scholarly circles. It is frequently taught to or by lay people, and is popular throughout Southeast Asia. The Abhidhamma itself is a critical system, developed to clarify understanding of fundamental concepts and relations. Underlying this project is the assumption that such clarification is needed, which implies that not everyone understands things the same way.

However, they all must have had some comparable works of analysis and explanation. However, most of the debate in the schools concerns the interpretation of Abhidhamma, not the validity of the project itself. This critical tradition continues in the present day.

Division title. Monastic Law. Origins The word abhidhamma is found occasionally in the early texts, usually alongside the parallel term abhivinaya. Analysis according to the suttas: this quotes a key passage from the suttas on the relevant topic and offers a modest analysis. Yamaka The Yamaka Pairs consists of ten chapters on different topics, starting with the roots of wholesome or unwholesome conduct.

Abhidhamma in Buddhist Traditions Throughout the years, the study of Abhidhamma has been held in high esteem by the Buddhist traditions. Criticism The Abhidhamma itself is a critical system, developed to clarify understanding of fundamental concepts and relations.

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Abhidhamma Piṭaka






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