Abhidharma-kosa

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
PaulD
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:40 am

Abhidharma-kosa

Postby PaulD » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:36 am

Hi all,

Is the Abhidharma-kosa text accepted by Theravadin Buddhists? Are there any contradictions between the Pali Canon and Abhidharma-kosa?

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 22305
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:22 am

PaulD wrote:Hi all,

Is the Abhidharma-kosa text accepted by Theravadin Buddhists? Are there any contradictions between the Pali Canon and Abhidharma-kosa?

The Kosha presents the doctrines of the Sarvasivadin school and the Abhidharma-kosa-bhasya, its commentary, critiques the Kosha from the standpoint of the Sautrantika school. Both are attributed to Vasubandu.

Where one finds significant differences between the Pali Canon of the Theravadins and the canon of the Sarvastivadins as reflected in the Kosha, is going to be in the Abhidhamma/Abhidharma Pitakas. Rupert Gethin's THE FOUNDATIONS OF BUDDHISM, an inexpensive book well worth getting, will give you a very good idea of the differences.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Contact:

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:44 am

tiltbillings wrote:
PaulD wrote:Hi all,

Is the Abhidharma-kosa text accepted by Theravadin Buddhists? Are there any contradictions between the Pali Canon and Abhidharma-kosa?

The Kosha presents the doctrines of the Sarvasivadin school and the Abhidharma-kosa-bhasya, its commentary, critiques the Kosha from the standpoint of the Sautrantika school. Both are attributed to Vasubandu.

Where one finds significant differences between the Pali Canon of the Theravadins and the canon of the Sarvastivadins as reflected in the Kosha, is going to be in the Abhidhamma/Abhidharma Pitakas. Rupert Gethin's THE FOUNDATIONS OF BUDDHISM, an inexpensive book well worth getting, will give you a very good idea of the differences.


Probably most of the differences between the Theravada and Sautrantika-Sarvastivada (ie. the Kosa & Bhasya) views are indeed due to their different Abhidhamma / Abhidharma texts.

However, some are due to different suttas / sutras. For example, things like the "intermediate being" (anantarabhava) and "essential purity of mind" (cittaprabhasa).

But, because the Kosa & Bhasya goes for a Vibhajyavada position, ie. that only the present exists, but future and past do not, which is against the Sarvastivada idea and in step with the Theravada, then you'll find a lot of common points between the Theravada and Kosa. After all, a lot of the Sarvastivada ideas and other doctrines all hinge on their "three times exist" (sarvasti) theory. Once the Kosa rejects that, it takes up other positions. For example, the way in which karma is explained over time and multiple lives.

This period of sectarian Buddhism is enormously complex, and it seems that you will seldom find two texts (even in the same school) which are entirely in agreement with each other. Let alone between two groups separated by thousands of miles of the Indian sub-continent.

Happy Kosa-ing. :)
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

User avatar
Kare
Posts: 720
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:58 am
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby Kare » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:00 am

A more detailed comparison is found in Herbert V. Guenther, "Philosophy and Psychology in the Abhidharma", which compares the Theravada abhidhamma, the Abhidharmakosha and the Abhidharmasamuccaya.
Mettāya,
Kåre

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 22305
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:05 am

Kare wrote:A more detailed comparison is found in Herbert V. Guenther, "Philosophy and Psychology in the Abhidharma", which compares the Theravada abhidhamma, the Abhidharmakosha and the Abhidharmasamuccaya.
Which is one of his easier to read books, though out of print. A good place to start, however, would be with Gethin's book.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Contact:

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:36 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

pt1
Posts: 416
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:30 am

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby pt1 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:09 am

Thanks very much for giving the sources on differences between abhidhamma/abhidharma.

Best wishes

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3006
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Phrao, Chiang Mai

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby Dhammanando » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:36 am

PaulD wrote:Are there any contradictions between the Pali Canon and Abhidharma-kosa?


As well as those mentioned by early posters, there are significant differences in the descriptions of the various paramattha dhammas. Mindfulness, for example, is held by the Theravada to be a beautiful mental factor that arises only with kusala cittas in non-arahants and kriya cittas in arahants. But Vasubandhu treats it as an ethically indifferent factor that may be present with both kusala and akusala cittas.

Dhammanando
    Yathā bubbuḷakaṃ passe, yathā passe marīcikaṃ,
    Evaṃ lokaṃ avekkhantaṃ, maccurājā na passati.

    One should see it as a bubble;
    One should see it as a mirage.
    Who regards the world thus
    The King of Death sees him not.
    (Dhammapada 170)


    ผู้ที่มองเห็นโลก ว่าไม่จีรังและหาสาระอะไรมิได้
    เช่นเดียวกับคนมองฟองน้ำและพยับแดด
    คนเช่นนี้พญามารย่อมตามหาไม่พบ ฯ
    (ธรรมบท ๑๗๐)

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Contact:

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:47 am

Dhammanando wrote:
PaulD wrote:Are there any contradictions between the Pali Canon and Abhidharma-kosa?


As well as those mentioned by early posters, there are significant differences in the descriptions of the various paramattha dhammas. Mindfulness, for example, is held by the Theravada to be a beautiful mental factor that arises only with kusala cittas in non-arahants and kriya cittas in arahants. But Vasubandhu treats it as an ethically indifferent factor that may be present with both kusala and akusala cittas.

Dhammanando


And even more potentially shocking for Theravadin (and Sarvastivadin) Abhidhamma types - nirvana is not a dharma.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 22305
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:55 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
And even more potentially shocking for Theravadin (and Sarvastivadin) Abhidhamma types - nirvana is not a dharma.

Shocking, even from the standpoint of the suttas.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Paul Davy
Posts: 16138
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby Paul Davy » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:04 am

Greetings,

Dhammanando wrote:But Vasubandhu treats it as an ethically indifferent factor that may be present with both kusala and akusala cittas.


I guess it's the old "mindfulness of the sniper" argument.

Metta,
Retro. :)
What is the final conviction that comes when radical attention is razor-edge sharp? That the object of the mind is mind-made (manomaya). (Ven. Ñāṇananda)

Having understood name-and-form, which is a product of prolificity,
And which is the root of all malady within and without,
He is released from bondage to the root of all maladies,
That Such-like-one is truly known as 'the one who has understood'.
(Snp 3.6)

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 22305
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:59 am

retrofuturist wrote:
I guess it's the old "mindfulness of the sniper" argument.

Which Mahayanist Alan Wallace tries to use against the Theravada vipassana tradition.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3006
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Phrao, Chiang Mai

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:18 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:
PaulD wrote:Are there any contradictions between the Pali Canon and Abhidharma-kosa?


As well as those mentioned by early posters, there are significant differences in the descriptions of the various paramattha dhammas. Mindfulness, for example, is held by the Theravada to be a beautiful mental factor that arises only with kusala cittas in non-arahants and kriya cittas in arahants. But Vasubandhu treats it as an ethically indifferent factor that may be present with both kusala and akusala cittas.

Dhammanando


And even more potentially shocking for Theravadin (and Sarvastivadin) Abhidhamma types - nirvana is not a dharma.


For me that disagreement, though it may historically have generated the more noise, nonetheless seems not as momentous as the one regarding mindfulness.

One practising rightly will sooner or later know for herself whether nibbana is the mere absence of kilesas and dukkha (as the Sautrantikas held) or a real dhamma cognized by a supramundane consciousness (as the Theravada holds). An accurate grasp of nibbana isn't needed for realizing it, but only for avoiding mistaking experiences that are not nibbana for nibbana.

But with a wrong conception of sati one won't practise rightly at all.
    Yathā bubbuḷakaṃ passe, yathā passe marīcikaṃ,
    Evaṃ lokaṃ avekkhantaṃ, maccurājā na passati.

    One should see it as a bubble;
    One should see it as a mirage.
    Who regards the world thus
    The King of Death sees him not.
    (Dhammapada 170)


    ผู้ที่มองเห็นโลก ว่าไม่จีรังและหาสาระอะไรมิได้
    เช่นเดียวกับคนมองฟองน้ำและพยับแดด
    คนเช่นนี้พญามารย่อมตามหาไม่พบ ฯ
    (ธรรมบท ๑๗๐)

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 22305
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:30 am

Dhammanando wrote:
But with a wrong conception of sati one won't practise rightly at all.
Bhante, If you and Ven Paññāsikhara could outline the difference between the Theravada and the Kosa position on sati, I would greating appreciate it. I think it would be considerable interest to others as well.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Contact:

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:02 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:
But with a wrong conception of sati one won't practise rightly at all.
Bhante, If you and Ven Paññāsikhara could outline the difference between the Theravada and the Kosa position on sati, I would greating appreciate it. I think it would be considerable interest to others as well.


Would that necessitate the whole background of how each perceives the basic functioning of mental events, too, in relation to mind, objects, etc.?
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: Huifeng's Prajnacara Blog.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 22305
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Abhidharma-kosa

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:17 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:
But with a wrong conception of sati one won't practise rightly at all.
Bhante, If you and Ven Paññāsikhara could outline the difference between the Theravada and the Kosa position on sati, I would greating appreciate it. I think it would be considerable interest to others as well.


Would that necessitate the whole background of how each perceives the basic functioning of mental events, too, in relation to mind, objects, etc.?
Geez. That sound like work. A lot of work, so maybe not.

This is a thingie by Alan Wallace. Curious as to whether he is presenting a kosha view of things

http://www.tricycle.com/a-mindful-balance

whatever the case, it is a shot across the bow of the Theravadin vipassana movement.
.


++++++++++++++++
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723


Return to “General Theravāda discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: identification and 35 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine

cron