Abhidhamma & Emptiness

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

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Abhidhamma & Emptiness

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon May 04, 2009 10:35 am

Hi,

What is the relationship between Shunyata and Abhidhamma?

Thanks,

BB
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Re: Abhidhamma & Emptiness

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 04, 2009 10:52 am

Greetings,

I'm happy to be corrected, but I've never heard of sunnata (emptiness) being considered in the Theravada tradition as anything more than a combination of anatta (not-self) and aniccata (impermanence).

To that extent, the Abdhidhamma provides a good framework for better understanding and seeing sunnata.

Metta,
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Re: Abhidhamma & Emptiness

Postby Ben » Mon May 04, 2009 11:37 am

Hi BB
I recommend that you have a look at:
- A Comprensive Manual of the Abhidhamma by Narada Thera
- A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma by Narada Thera and edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi (vastly expanded from Narada Thera's work)
- Abhidhamma Studies by Nyaniponika Thera
- Abhidhamma in Daily Life by Nina Van Gorkom

You might also be interested in this article by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... iness.html
Kind regards

Ben
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Re: Abhidhamma & Emptiness

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon May 04, 2009 4:39 pm

Abhidhamma in Daily Life by Nina Van Gorkom
'

Thanks Ben, I lost this link and I've missed it. It's wonderful.
I don't know what my thing is with Abhidhamma, but I'm fascinated by it. Maybe it's my small background in psychology.

:anjali:

Is there any part of the Abhidhamma in which emptiness is specifically discussed in detail?
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Re: Abhidhamma & Emptiness

Postby Ben » Mon May 04, 2009 9:25 pm

Hi Drolma

Not to my knowledge, however, I am no Abhidhamma expert.
I think the concept of emptiness is instead imputed via the doctrine of anatta, as Retro mentioned earlier.
When I get time, I'll have a look at Abhidhamma Studies by Nyaniponika to see if he talks about it in his essays.
Metta

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Re: Abhidhamma & Emptiness

Postby cooran » Tue May 05, 2009 8:47 am

Hello Drolma, all,

Short extract from "A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas" by K. Sujin Borkharnmanaket (transcribed by Nina van Gorkom) pp37 & 38

"Nibbana paramattha dhamma can be classified according to three characteristics:
Su~n~natta (voidness)
Animitta (signlessness),
Appanihita (desirelessness)
Nibbana is called 'voidness' (su~n~natta), because it is devoid of all conditioned realities (sankhara dhammas). It is called 'signlessness' (animitta) because it is void of signs, or characteristics, of conditioned realities. It is called 'desirelessness' (appanihita) because it is without any basis of desire, namely, it is not condtioned reality.
When someone has developed panna to the degree that he is about to attain enlightenment, he may penetrate the dhammas that appear at those moments as impermanent, as dukkha, or as anatta. Only one of these three general characteristics can be realised at a time. When he attains nibbana his way of emancipation is different depending on which of the three general charactgeristics of conditioned dhammas he has realised in the process during which enlightenment is attained. When he realises dhammas that appear as impermanent he becomes liberated (realises the Four Noble Truths) by the emancipation of signlessness (animatta vimokkha) [8] When he realises dhammas as dukkha he becomes liberated y the emancipation of desirelessness (appanihita vimokkha) [9] When he realises dhammas as anatta (non-self) he becomes liberated byu the emancipation of voidness (su~n~natta vimokkha). [10]
[8] Vimokkha means 'liberation, emancipation'.
[9] Dhammas that arise and fall away are not happiness, they are not worthclinging to, they are dukkha. The person who has realised dukkha when he is about to attain nibbana becomes emancipated by desirelessness.
[10] Dhammas are void of the self."

metta
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