The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

User avatar
legolas
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:58 am

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby legolas » Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:21 pm


User avatar
robertk
Posts: 2407
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby robertk » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:13 pm


phil
Posts: 788
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby phil » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:41 pm

Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:53 pm


User avatar
legolas
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:58 am

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby legolas » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:32 am


User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby daverupa » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:04 am

Commentarial authors are perhaps closer to Pali idiom and a more natural use of that language (yes? no?) than modern folk, and perhaps therefore able to explicate the Suttas with otherwise lost detail, but my approach now is to see the Commentaries as comparable to modern monastics: wrong in some ways, or perhaps with a turn of phrase that isn't skillful for me, and so on.

One question, hopefully germane to this thread: are the Commentaries coextensive with the abhidhamma? I thought the abhidhamma was an earlier textual period, and that the Commentarial authors had access to it but were writing after the Tipitaka was closed. Maybe the Commentaries are a larger corpus of which the abhidhamma is only a part? In any case, I can clarify my own concerns as being to do with the abhidhamma, and the Commentaries then only insofar as they rely on abhidhammic material.

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:12 am

Greetings Dave,

The Abhidhamma Pitaka is part of the Pali Canon, first formalised at the Third Council. Tradition has it that it was taught by the Buddha to his mother in Tusita Heaven.

There are many commentaries based on the Abhidhamma. The most common one used by Abhidhamma practitioners nowadays seems to be Abhidhammattha Sangaha by Acariya Anuruddha, translated by Ven. Narada as "A Manual of Abhidhamma" and fleshed out further by Bhikkhu Bodhi to form "A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma".

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:44 am

Hi Retro,

I don't think that the Abhidhammattha Sangaha can really be classified as a commentary. It seems to me to be a brief quick-reference guide, written at least 1500 years after the Buddha, which summarises key points from the Abhidhamma and its Commentaries.

There are extensive ancient commentaries in Pali:
http://www.palitext.com/subpages/comm.htm
but, as with the sutta commentaries, the vast majority are not available in English.

Perhaps someone with better historical knowledge than me can explain whether the Adhidhamma Commentaries were assembled by Ven. Buddhaghosa, or by someone else.

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:05 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:24 am


Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby Nyana » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:01 am


phil
Posts: 788
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby phil » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:46 am

I think there is doubt about the word "realities" so is "dhammas" less problematic? I personally prefer dhammas.

And I ask again, is there any difference between seeing-consciousness and form as described for example in SN35 on the ayatanas and seeing consciousness and visible object as described in Abhihdamma or commentaries? If there is a significant difference, I need to know, please advise, thanks.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

User avatar
legolas
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:58 am

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby legolas » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:00 am


phil
Posts: 788
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby phil » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:40 am

ok,thanks anyways Legolas...can anyone else clarify in which ways seeing consciousness and its object are taught differently in Abhidhamma and the commentaries than in the suttas? I chose seeing as it is certainly a form of consciousness that we all have unlimited opportunities to develop understanding of...if Abhidhamma and the commentaries steer us away from rather than towards a better understanding of the Buddha's teaching on the sense doors it should be clarified explicitly, thanks!
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

phil
Posts: 788
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby phil » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:28 pm

Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:43 am

An interesting title for a thread.

As far as the commentaries, other tradtions, other meditation techniques, other philosophies, science, psychology, etc have to go, there is IMHO, a question to ask.

Is it possible for anyone in the centuries following the Buddha to have a good idea?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

pabhaata
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:35 am

Re: The Commentaries are unreliable: I know better

Postby pabhaata » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:25 am

commentaries are very useful when we are trying to study the suttas. the commentaries give a more detailed or more clear explanation of some terms that are used in the suttas. they bring about a depth in understanding a sutta that one is trying to analyse/ comprehend - this happens 99% of the time ( at least in my case). so what matters is that it allows me to savour the taste of the sutta much more.
in the beginning, one can just refer to the commentaries to find a more detailed explanation of some word in the sutta that one has difficulty in understanding. then they can make more and more use of the commentaries as they get comfortable with it.
i think it is better to use the commentaries as reference books to comprehend the terms used in the main canon.

regarding abhidhammattha sangaha - it is a sub commentary (tika). it was complied by Aniruddha thera in Kaveripattanam ( now near Chennai in South India). you can refer the Wheel Publication No. 124/ 125. the thorough study of abhidhammattha sangaha gives a good foundation to proceed to learn the other books of Abhidhamma. otherwise it is very cumbersome. it is like a briefing given before the major venture into the big books of Abhidhamma.


Return to “Classical Theravāda”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine