The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:38 am

Greetings,

Speaking of synthesis and analysis, here's a tract of text from a book I like. It's not specifically about Abhidhamma, but it seems like food for thought...

Follow Your Heart, Andrew Matthews, p119-120 wrote:
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." (John Muir).

Since the seventeenth century, science has taken the (Sir Isaac) Newtonian approach, i.e. if you want to understand anything, you break it into pieces, and examine the pieces. If you still don't understand, break it into smaller bits... go from molecules and atoms to electrons, to quarks and bozons... and eventually you'll understand the universe. Really?

Take a Wordsworth poem and divide it into prepositions and pronouns, then break the words into letters. What more do you understand about the poem? Analyse the "Mona Lisa" into brushstrokes.

Science has done wonders for us, but it's one side of the spectrum. Science dissects. The intellect pulls things apart. The heart brings things together.

There are questions to which information and intelligence have no answers. When you analyse your friends, you lose sight of their beauty. When you analyse and dissect the universe, you separate yourself. When you empathise, you see the larger picture, and you feel closer. Care and you are instantly connected. Everything in the cosmos is connected. The more we break things down, the more we lose the essentials.

The opposite of analysis is synthesis. Health comes from looking at things as a whole - looking at your body as a whole, looking at humanity as a whole.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby daverupa » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:47 pm

Once again, I heartily recommend Noa Ronkin's Early Buddhist Metaphysics as it pertains directly to these issues. It can be heavy reading, but it's well worth the haul.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby phil » Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:16 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Speaking of synthesis and analysis, here's a tract of text from a book I like. It's not specifically about Abhidhamma, but it seems like food for thought...

Follow Your Heart, Andrew Matthews, p119-120 wrote:
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." (John Muir).

Since the seventeenth century, science has taken the (Sir Isaac) Newtonian approach, i.e. if you want to understand anything, you break it into pieces, and examine the pieces. If you still don't understand, break it into smaller bits... go from molecules and atoms to electrons, to quarks and bozons... and eventually you'll understand the universe. Really?

Take a Wordsworth poem and divide it into prepositions and pronouns, then break the words into letters. What more do you understand about the poem? Analyse the "Mona Lisa" into brushstrokes.

Science has done wonders for us, but it's one side of the spectrum. Science dissects. The intellect pulls things apart. The heart brings things together.

There are questions to which information and intelligence have no answers. When you analyse your friends, you lose sight of their beauty. When you analyse and dissect the universe, you separate yourself. When you empathise, you see the larger picture, and you feel closer. Care and you are instantly connected. Everything in the cosmos is connected. The more we break things down, the more we lose the essentials.

The opposite of analysis is synthesis. Health comes from looking at things as a whole - looking at your body as a whole, looking at humanity as a whole.[/quote

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro
I
"Looking at your body as a whole" is an exercise in delusion, it isn't connected to any kind of Buddhist wisdom, it's a kind of vipalassa, The Buddha spares us from that sad trap, even in the suttanta. Abhidhamma helps take us even further away
from that, thanfully.
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)

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:23 am

Greetings Phil,

phil wrote:"Looking at your body as a whole" is an exercise in delusion, it isn't connected to any kind of Buddhist wisdom

Really?

What about this from the Anapanasati Sutta, then? http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.... He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.'"

"On whatever occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world, on that occasion his mindfulness is steady & without lapse. When his mindfulness is steady & without lapse, then mindfulness as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development."

Or this from the Kayagata-sati Sutta - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Furthermore, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He permeates & pervades, suffuses & fills this very body with the rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal. Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again & again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within & without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates... this very body with the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal. And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, grows unified & centered. This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body.

"And furthermore, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. He permeates & pervades, suffuses & fills this very body with the rapture & pleasure born of composure. Just like a lake with spring-water welling up from within, having no inflow from the east, west, north, or south, and with the skies supplying abundant showers time & again, so that the cool fount of water welling up from within the lake would permeate & pervade, suffuse & fill it with cool waters, there being no part of the lake unpervaded by the cool waters; even so, the monk permeates... this very body with the rapture & pleasure born of composure. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture & pleasure born of composure. And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, grows unified & centered. This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body.

"And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' He permeates & pervades, suffuses & fills this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture. Just as in a lotus pond, some of the lotuses, born & growing in the water, stay immersed in the water and flourish without standing up out of the water, so that they are permeated & pervaded, suffused & filled with cool water from their roots to their tips, and nothing of those lotuses would be unpervaded with cool water; even so, the monk permeates... this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded with pleasure divested of rapture. And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, grows unified & centered. This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body.

"And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. He sits, permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness. Just as if a man were sitting covered from head to foot with a white cloth so that there would be no part of his body to which the white cloth did not extend; even so, the monk sits, permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by pure, bright awareness. And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, grows unified & centered. This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body.

"Monks, whoever develops & pursues mindfulness immersed in the body encompasses whatever skillful qualities are on the side of clear knowing. Just as whoever pervades the great ocean with his awareness encompasses whatever rivulets flow down into the ocean, in the same way, whoever develops & pursues mindfulness immersed in the body encompasses whatever skillful qualities are on the side of clear knowing.

So... is that synthesis or analysis?

When devoted to analysis over synthesis, is it any wonder that some Abhidhammikas are so insistent about the virtual impossibility of jhana in the current age?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby fragrant herbs » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:14 pm

I am reading the book, Buddhist Warfare. The use of the Abhidharma has been used by Thai monks to support the belief that they can kill. My question is, if Buddha in other texts says that it is wrong to go to war, such as this one below, can we then say that perhaps the Abhidharma is not Buddha'sf words? (Please, no Mahayana teachings in for a reply. thanks)

“When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, his mind is already seized, debased, & misdirected by the thought: 'May these beings be struck down or slaughtered or annihilated or destroyed. May they not exist.' If others then strike him down & slay while he is thus striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the hell called the realm of those slain in battle. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb."- Buddha (Samyutta Nikiya XL11 Pali Canon)

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Alex123 » Fri May 04, 2012 4:28 pm

I found an interesting article

    Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma Philosophy

1. In the only canonical account of the first Buddhist council (Vinaya Cullavagga Ch.12 it is stated that the venerable Upāli recited Vinaya, then the venerable Ānanda recited the five nikāyas (i.e., the Suttantas), after which the council was brought to a close. Abhidhamma is mentioned not at all in the entire account (nor is it mentioned in the canonical account of the second council). The general consensus of Western scholars is that the traditional account of the first council is largely fiction; nevertheless, it does indicate that at the occasion of its composition (presumably some time before the third council) Abhidhamma philosophy was either unknown or considered to be unworthy of mention. Ven. Buddhaghosa in his commentary to the Dīgha Nikāya tried to rectify the omission by simply changing the details of the story, which is a rather unconvincing device. The standard Burmese explanation of the conspicuous absence of Abhidhamma in the oldest ecclesiastical histories is that it is included in the Khuddaka Nikāya of the Suttanta Pltaka, but this assertion receives no support from the ancient texts themselves. (The Burmese also consider Vinaya to be included in the Khuddaka Nikāya, thereby rendering the fifth Nikāya—“The Small Collection” or “Collection of the Small”—very much larger and more comprehensive than the entire remainder of the Canon and reducing the Buddhist scriptures to a single Piṭaka.)

2. The word “abhidhamma” is very seldom found in the Vinaya and Suttanta (according to one authority eleven times), and when it is found it is usually paired with the term “abhivinaya.” Since there is and never was an Abhivinaya Piṭaka the context implies that “abhidhamma” here means simply “about Dhamma,” not “higher Dhamma.” In the very few cases where the term clearly refers to the philosophy of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka it is found in relatively very late canonical exegesis of older texts—for example, the Vinaya Suttavibhaṅga and the Mahāniddesa.

3. Very many of the terms which play integral, central roles in Abhidhamma philosophy (cetasika, citta-vīthi, bhavaṅga, javana, kiriya-citta, rūpakalāpa, etc. etc.) are either entirely lacking in the Sutlanta or are found there rarely and in a radically different context. The elaborate doctrine of citta-vīthi, for example, which is essential to traditional abhidhammic psychology and is taught in even the most elementary of Abhidhamma courses, is entirely foreign to the first two Piṭakas (and, curiously, is mentioned only briefly and obscurely in the third). Abhidhamma philosophy is claimed by orthodox authorities to be the most profound and important part ofthe teachings ofthe Buddha; but there is not a single narrative episode in the Canon, believable or otherwise, which clearly indicates that he ever taught it to anyone; and furthermore, much of the supposed “highest teachings of Buddha” (e.g., the theory of rūpakalāpas) is non-canonical—not even to be found in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka itself.

4. Kathāvatthu, the fifth book of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, deals exclusively with dogmatic controversies with schismatic sects of Buddhism that existed around the time of the third council (i.e., the mid-third century B.C.). Also, it is believed that the compiler of the work was a bhikkhu named Moggaliputtatissa, who according to ven. Buddhaghosa presided over the third council. Some fundamentalism claim that the Buddha, foreseeing the doctrinal disputes and schism: that would arise after his death, laid down the general outline of the Kathāvatthu, and more than two centuries later ven. Moggalīputtatissa merely elaborated upon it. Although this cannot be categorically disproved it is, needless to say, rather unlikely. (Incidentally, considering that one of the main purposes of the third council was to purge the Saṅgha of heretics and champion what one faction, presumably led by ven. Moggalīputtatissa, believed to be Right View, it may be assumed that the Canon was edited and infused with new material favoring the views of the prevailing faction.)

5. Among the many ancient schools of Buddhism there were at least two versions of the Abhidhamma or Abhidharma Piṭaka, one being of the Theravadins, another being of the Sarvastivadins. Both of these versions consist of seven books, but this is almost their only resemblance, and they obviously are not based upon a common precursor. Other sects possessed of an Abhidharma Piṭaka, including the Mahayanists, tended to modify or borrow outright the version of the Sarvastivadins; but many schools, particularly thou which diverged from the Theravada/Sarvastivada lineage prior to around the beginning of the third century B.C., had none. Now it would be absurd to suggest that all of the ancient schools of Buddhism that broke away from the Theravadin line were so foolish as to throw out an entire Piṭaka, which many Theravadins claim is the most profound and most important of the three, that the Sarvastivadins subsequently concocted another one from scratch, and that some of the other schools then adopted the counterfeit in place of the original. lt would be much more reasonable to assume that there simply was no Abhidhamma Piṭaka in the earliest days of Buddhism, the trend for composing such abstract, technical philosophy beginning in the Theravada/Sarvastivada lineage shortly before the occurrence of the schism that divided them. This one point is sufficient to convince most Buddhistic scholars in the West that Abhidhamma philosophy was never taught by the Buddha.

6. Regardless of the age and authorship of Abhidhamma there remains the serious fact that many of its tenets are in bald contradiction to quite elementary and uncontroversial observations of science. Although hundreds of examples of abhidhammic nonscience and illogic could be given, for the sake of brevity only two of the more outstanding cases will be discussed.

a) It is readily apparent that the authors of Abhidhamma philosophy were completely ignorant of the function, even the existence, of the human nervous system. Sensory consciousness is claimed to occur in the sense organs themselves, not in the brain; for example, visual consciousness supposedly arises in seven layers of (elemental and ultimately real) visually sensitive matter located on the anterior surface of the eyeball. Rather than relying upon the presence of sensory nerve endings, the material basis of tactile sensation (also one of the 82 “ultimate realities”) is said to uniformly pervade the body like oil soaking a tuft of cotton wool, being everywhere except in hair, nails, and hard, dry skin. The Pali word “matthaluṅga,” i.e., “brain,” is conspicuously absent in the canonical Abhidhamma texts (while in the commentarial literature the brain is declared to be a large lump of inert bone marrow and the source of nasal mucus); according to the Abhidhamma scholars, thought arises not in the brain but in a small quantity of variously colored blood contained in a chamber of the heart. This belief is closely interrelated with the fundamental concept that all mentality is strictly linear, only one specific image at a time existing in the mind, arising and passing away spontaneously through the metaphysical power of kamma. The generally prevalent and empirically consistent concept of a complex, physical generator of feeling and thought is quite foreign to Abhidhamma, and modern attempts to reconcile the two result in what is essentially doublethink.

b) The classical abhidhammic theory of matter primarily deals with 28 supposed elemental qualities which are never found alone, but are always combined in or associated with quasi-atomic particles called “rūpakalāpas.” The naïve realism underlying this philosophy is manifest, and furthermore has been scientifically obsolete for centuries. As an example the four (“ultimately real”) secondary material qualities supposedly present in all rūpakalāpas—color, odor, flavor, and nutritional essence—will be very briefly considered. The formulators of the theory evidently did not perceive that color, as such, exists only in the mind and is merely a symbolic interpretation of a certain bandwidth of electromagnetic radiation; and that furthermore the hypothetical rūpakalāpa is much smaller than the smallest wavelength of visible light. An individual rūpakalāpa, unless, perhaps, it could somehow be identified with a photon, could be endowed with color only potentially and even then in a very abstract sense. The formulators also evidently did not perceive that odor and flavor exist only in the mind, and are the result of molecules and ions of certain configurations interacting with specific neurosensory receptor sites. And the formulators quite obviously did not perceive the vast complexity of human nutrition. A hydrogen atom, for example, if contained in a molecule of sucrose is endowed with a certain nutritional value; if in a molecule of ascorbic acid, another; if in a molecule of cholesterol, yet another; if in a molecule of cellulose, is non-nutritive; and if in a molecule of cyanide, is poisonous. In the case of nutrition, even more markedly than in the preceding cases, the configuration and interaction of complex groups of elementary particles is of primary importance in determining the attributes in question. Just as a single nail does not contain within it the absolute element of “houseness,” even so a single subnuclear quantum of matter does not contain within it odor, flavor, or nutritional value. And finally, although rūpakalāpas are declared by the authorities to be ubiquitous and of appreciable size by modern scientific standards (roughly the size of an electron according to one authority), no physicist or chemist in a normal, waking state of consciousness has ever experimentally isolated or otherwise verified the existence of one.
"dust to dust...."

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 21, 2012 4:49 am

Greetings,

A brief article of relevance...

Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma Philosophy
by Ven. Paññobhāsa Bhikkhu

http://pathpress.wordpress.com/2012/04/ ... sophy-2-2/

Shared with us courtesy of ven Ñāṇasuci, here: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=12483

EDIT: Whooops, this is the one Alex posted just above. :lol: Sorry about that... well, at least you know who the author is now.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby cooran » Mon May 21, 2012 7:37 am

Realising that the Venerable had limited knowledge of the Abhidhamma, I posted on Dhammastudygroup where there are many members and scholars who are very well versed in the Abhidhamma Pitaka (as well as the other two Pitakas) - including the highly respected author Nina van Gorkom. The discussion is below:

Hello all,

I wonder if those with a little more knowledge than I have would please read and
comment on this article:

Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma Philosophy
by Ven. Paññobhāsa Bhikkhu
http://pathpress.wordpress.com/2012/04/ ... -spurious-\
nature-of-abhidhamma-philosophy-2-2/

with metta
Chris
=======================
Hi Christine,

That is the type of article on the Dhamma that must be expected from a writer
who has no understanding of anatta.

Rather than exposing holes in the Theravada Dhamma, as he has set out to do, he
has exposed only his own lack of understanding.

For example, belief in the absolute reality of the the outer layers of the eye
is atta belief and wrong understanding. That is what this writer obviously has,
so how can he be taken seriously?

For another example, suttas can, in some cases, be taught when the Abhidhamma
has not been taught in the same lifetime. That is because the Abhidhamma has, in
those cases, been taught in previous lifetimes. The writer of your article seems
to think the opposite. He seems to think the teaching of conventional-language
suttas prior to the teaching of Abhidhamma proves that the Abhidhamma was not
part of the Dhamma.

But think of the single-sentence sutta that enlightened Sariputta. According to
this writer's logic, the existence of that sutta would prove there were no other
genuine suttas.

As absurd as the article is, it is no more absurd than any other article on the
Dhamma that is written without right understanding of anatta.

Ken H
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... age/124403
===============================
Re: [dsg] ''Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma Philosophy''

Dear Christine,
I thought of an answer and I think I can send it also to the
venerable one's website.
N: The main question is, how does one see the Abhidhamma: as a book
of abstract classifications or as the study of our life at this
moment? If one merely thinks of a book of classifications doubts may
arise as to the fact whether it is the Buddha's teaching. One may try
to find out its history and there will be no end to argumentations
and discussions.
I would like to have more understanding of my life and I find the
Abhidhamma most helpful in my search for the truth. The Abhidhamma is
not a theory one finds in a textbook; the teaching of the Abhidhamma
is about all the realities that appear at this moment. The Abhidhamma
teaches about seeing, about thinking of what was seen, about all the
defilements arising on account of what is experienced through the
senses and the mind-door.
While we are studying the different mental phenomena (namas) and
physical phenomena (rupas) and while we are pondering over them, we
can be reminded to be aware of the nama and rupa which appear at
that moment. In this way we will discover more and more that the
Abhidhamma explains everything which is real, that is, the
‘worlds’ appearing through the six doors of the senses and the mind.

In the ultimate sense life exists only in one moment, the present
moment. At the moment of seeing the world of visible object is
experienced, at the moment of hearing the world of sound, and at the
moment of touching the world of tangible object. Life is actually one
moment of experiencing an object.

When we are thinking about the world and all people in it, we only
know the world by way of conventional truth. It seems that there is
the world full of beings and things, but in reality there is citta
experiencing different dhammas arising and falling away very rapidly.
Only one object at a time can be cognized as it appears through one
doorway. Without the doorways of the senses and the mind the world
could not appear. So long as we take what appears as a ‘whole’, a
being or person, we do not know the world.

The teaching of the Abhidhamma is mainly by way of ultimate
realities, paramattha dhammas. In order to have understanding of the
Abhidhamma it is essential to know the difference between ultimate
realities, paramattha dhammas, and concepts, pannatti, such as a
person or a tree.

Through the Abhidhamma we are reminded all the time that there is no
person who clings, no person who suffers, that only citta and the
accompanying cetasikas experience different objects, be these
unpleasant or pleasant. There is no person who develops
understanding; understanding, panna, is a cetasika that can only
arise when there are the appropriate conditions for it.

The Abhidhamma teaches us that realities are anattaa, like the whole
of the Tipi.taka. Its teaching is not different from the Suttanta.
With satipa.t.thaana we study the reality appearing at the present
moment. This will lead to detachment.

The prefix ‘abhi’ in abidhamma is used in the sense of
‘preponderance’ or ‘distinction’. ‘Abhidhamma’ means
‘higher Dhamma’ or ‘Dhamma in detail’. We have accumulated so
much ignorance, we need many details in order to understand the truth.
The Seventh book of the Abhidhamma, the book on conditional relations
is of great help to understand that our life is conditioned
realities. Each conditioned reality can exist just for an extremely
short moment. When we understand this it will be easier to see that
there is no self who can exert control over realities.
The sixth book, the Yamaka, has a section on the latent tendencies.
These are accumulated defilements that do not arise but that can
condition the arising of akusala citta. They are called subtle
defilements because they do not arise with the akusala citta, but
they are powerful. Since they have not been eradicated they can
strongly condition and influence our behaviour. They lie dormant in
the citta like microbes infesting the body. So long as they have not
been eradicated we are like sick people, because they can condition
the arising of akusala citta when there are the appropriate
conditions.They can condition the arising of akusala citta even to
the degree of transgression of si¬la at any time, and thus, more
defilements are accumulated again and added to the latent tendencies.
The teaching of the latent tendencies helps us to see why the
defilements in our life are so tenacious, arising again and again,
and why their arising is unforeseeable and uncontrollable.

All the texts of the Tipit¬aka , including the Abhidhamma, are not
meant merely for intellectual study or memorizing, they are directed
to the practice, the development of vipassana. All the
classifications of cittas, cetasikas and rupas are terse reminders of
the truth, they are an exhortation to develop understanding of what
appears at this moment. This is the development of the eightfold Path
leading to the eradication of all defilements.

---------

Nina.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... age/124405
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 21, 2012 8:55 am

Greetings Chris,

Thanks for sharing the perspectives of these Abhidhamma-inspired practitioners.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby cooran » Wed May 30, 2012 7:24 am

Hello all,

Another response worth considering:


Have just got around to reading the article.

The bulk of the article (paragraphs 1 to 5) deals with the evidence supporting
the proposition that "there was no Abhidhamma Piṭaka in the earliest days
of Buddhism" and, accordingly, that "Abhidhamma philosophy was never taught by
the Buddha" (end of paragraph 5).

As a general comment, I would say that the second of those propositions.
("Abhidhamma philosophy not taught by the Buddha") does not necessarily follow
from the first ("no Abhidhamma Piṭaka in the earliest days of Buddhism").

As I see it, regardless of the view one takes on the compilation of the
Abhidhamma Pitaka, there is still the question of whether or not the details of
the Abhidhamma philosophy are a correct description of the way things are. And
this question involves a consideration of whether or not those details are fully
consistent with the other 2 baskets of the Tipitaka.

As the arguments cited in support of the main proposition have all been aired
here before, I'll move on to the rest of the article.

In the final paragraph (paragraph 6) of his article, the Venerable goes on to
assert that certain aspects of the Abhidhamma are contradicted by observations
of science. To support this contention the Ven. considers the Abhidhammic
notions of (a) sense-door consciousness and the manner by which the 5 sense-door
objects are experienced and (b) the rupa-kalapas.

The Ven. seems to prefer modern scientific observations over the Abhidhamma, and
in doing so he also seems to equate certain dhammas with their conventional
counterparts, which in my view is not how they are meant to be understood. I
have selected below one or two passages from paragraph 6 of the article.

In the course of his discussion under (a) (sense-door consciousness), the Ven.
says the following:

"Sensory consciousness is claimed [by the Abhidhamma scholars] to occur in the
sense organs themselves, not in the brain" and "according to the Abhidhamma
scholars, thought arises not in the brain but in a small quantity of variously
colored blood contained in a chamber of the heart."

It seems that the Ven. accepts without question the modern scientific view that
all consciousness arises in the brain. He rejects the possibility of citta
having a base ("vatthu") other than the brain, yet he does not explain why this
could not possibly be the case.

The Ven. goes on to say:
"This belief [of the Abhidhamma scholars] is closely interrelated with the
fundamental concept that all mentality is strictly linear, only one specific
image at a time existing in the mind, arising and passing away spontaneously
through the metaphysical power of kamma. The generally prevalent and empirically
consistent concept of a complex, physical generator of feeling and thought is
quite foreign to Abhidhamma, . .

Here the Ven. seems to reject the Abhidhammic notion of one citta (and one
object) at a time, in favour of the current scientific notion of a "complex,
physical generator of feeling and thought". Again, though, there is no
consideration as to why the Abhidhammic notion could not be the case.

In his discussion under (b) (rupa-kalapas), the Ven. says:

"color, as such, exists only in the mind and is merely a symbolic interpretation
of a certain bandwidth of electromagnetic radiation; . . . odor and flavor exist
only in the mind, and are the result of molecules and ions of certain
configurations interacting with specific neurosensory receptor sites"

The idea that sense-door objects "exist only in the mind" seems to run counter
to the inclusion of those objects among the rupa-khandhas, dhatus and ayatanas
that feature so extensively in the suttas. The Ven. does not say what he
understands the significance of the references to sense-door objects in the
suttas to be.

Specifically, the Ven. does not seem to allow for the possibility of a 5
sense-door object being that which is actually experienced at a moment of
sense-door consciousness and having a unique characteristic (and, as such, not
equivalent to scientific/conventional notions of colour, sound, smell, etc.).

Finally, the Ven. comments on the lack of scientific confirmation of the
existence of rupa-kalapas. He says:
"although rūpakalāpas are declared by the authorities to be ubiquitous
and of appreciable size by modern scientific standards (roughly the size of an
electron according to one authority), no physicist or chemist in a normal,
waking state of consciousness has ever experimentally isolated or otherwise
verified the existence of one"(!!)

Again, modern science as the way to go ...

It seems to me the Ven. may not fully appreciate the significance of the
sense-door objects as pertaining to the present moment and of their
classification in the suttas by way of the khandhas, dhatus, ayatanas, etc.
What is clear, however, is that he is not impressed with the "authorities" or
the "Abhidhamma scholars" (whoever these may be!).

Jon

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... age/124585

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 30, 2012 8:12 am

Hi Cooran, thanks for Jon's comment.

jon wrote:It seems to me the Ven. may not fully appreciate the significance of the
sense-door objects as pertaining to the present moment and of their
classification in the suttas by way of the khandhas, dhatus, ayatanas, etc.
What is clear, however, is that he is not impressed with the "authorities" or
the "Abhidhamma scholars" (whoever these may be!).

I think this makes an extremely important point.

The Venerable appears to be using the following sleight-of-hand:
1. Interpreting something as "scientific" and then:
2. Pointing out a contradiction with current scientific theories.

In this case he is applying the argument to the Abhidhamma classifications but the argument could be applied equally well to the aggregates, elements, sense bases, etc, as described in the Suttas.

This would be a rather odd thing to argue...

:anjali:
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Nyana » Wed May 30, 2012 10:05 am

cooran wrote:The teaching of the Abhidhamma is mainly by way of ultimate
realities, paramattha dhammas. In order to have understanding of the
Abhidhamma it is essential to know the difference between ultimate
realities, paramattha dhammas, and concepts, pannatti, such as a
person or a tree.

IMO it's a pity that this sort of language gets mistaken for the Abhidhamma. This type of conceptual realism does more to hinder a pragmatic appreciation of the Abhidhamma amongst newbies than all of the Abhidhamma critics combined.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 30, 2012 10:25 am

Greetings Geoff,

Are you talking about an evolution of Abhidhamma away from phenomenological cartology, and towards its establishment as a philosophical treatise of ontological views?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Nyana » Wed May 30, 2012 4:40 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Are you talking about an evolution of Abhidhamma away from phenomenological cartology, and towards its establishment as a philosophical treatise of ontological views?

Yes, away from path processes and towards substantive entities.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 30, 2012 7:38 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Are you talking about an evolution of Abhidhamma away from phenomenological cartology, and towards its establishment as a philosophical treatise of ontological views?

Yes, away from path processes and towards substantive entities.

And this is very much related to the point I was making. People who dislike Abhidhamma (such as the Venerable) claim that it is talking about "things" (or whatever) then criticise it on the basis of that interpretation. [Or claim that people are interpreting it that way, then criticise that.]

All of these criticism can just as well be applied to interpreting elements and aggregates as "things".

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby daverupa » Wed May 30, 2012 7:57 pm

mikenz66 wrote:All of these criticism can just as well be applied to interpreting elements and aggregates as "things".


Yes, Sue Hamilton writes on that issue.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 30, 2012 8:31 pm

Hi Dave,
daverupa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:All of these criticism can just as well be applied to interpreting elements and aggregates as "things".


Yes, Sue Hamilton writes on that issue.

Do you have an easily-accessible reference?

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby daverupa » Wed May 30, 2012 10:01 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Dave,
daverupa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:All of these criticism can just as well be applied to interpreting elements and aggregates as "things".


Yes, Sue Hamilton writes on that issue.

Do you have an easily-accessible reference?

:anjali:
Mike


It came up recently in the Early Buddhism Resources thread; she looks at, in that case, the five aggregates and concludes they are to be understood as components of a process, not separable things to be understood in isolation. It's a poor paraphrase, but will do in this context. Confusion on this point is the difference between "what is vinnana?" and "how does vinnana X, how can vinnana Y?", for example.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Nyana » Thu May 31, 2012 4:07 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Yes, away from path processes and towards substantive entities.

And this is very much related to the point I was making. People who dislike Abhidhamma (such as the Venerable) claim that it is talking about "things" (or whatever) then criticise it on the basis of that interpretation. [Or claim that people are interpreting it that way, then criticise that.]

Well, the post-canonical "abhidhamma" commentaries do explicitly move more and more towards greater reification of ultimately real, invariable entities. This is never explicit nor implied in the suttas, nor even in the Abhidhammapiṭaka.* So reading the post-canonical "abhidhamma" commentaries as referring to substantive entities doesn't require interpretation, it's rather explicit.

The poor ol' Abhidhammapiṭaka is rarely allowed to speak for itself: Many people are wont to read latter commentarial elaborations into anything having to do with "abhidhamma," and many others dismiss everything having to do with "abhidhamma" as equivalent to these later commentarial accretions. A more precise and accurate understanding of doctrinal development will appreciate that there are more layers to the Abhidhamma than this.


* Except for one passage in the Kathāvatthu, but it was a controversy even in Buddhaghosa's time whether or not the Kathāvatthu rightly belonged in the Abhidhammapiṭaka. Moreover, based on text-critical analysis a number of modern scholars have come to the conclusion that the Kathāvatthu was still open to additions long after the rest of the canon was considered closed.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 31, 2012 5:56 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Well, the post-canonical "abhidhamma" commentaries do explicitly move more and more towards greater reification of ultimately real, invariable entities. This is never explicit nor implied in the suttas, nor even in the Abhidhammapiṭaka.* So reading the post-canonical "abhidhamma" commentaries as referring to substantive entities doesn't require interpretation, it's rather explicit.

Well, yes, there is a tendency to "thingness". However, I think we agree that the problem is that "thingness" not the Abhidhamma itself (since one can assign "thingness" to the sutta classifications as well). And it's not a universal opinion amongst commentators on the Abhidhamma. See for example:
Abhidhamma Studies
Nyanaponika Thera, Page 71 in the PDF vesion.

By arranging the mental factors in relational
groups a subordinate synthetical element has been
introduced into the mainly analytical Dhammasangani.
By so doing, the danger inherent in purely
analytical methods has been avoided. This danger
consists in erroneously taking for genuine separate
entities the “parts” resulting from analysis, instead
of restricting their use to sound practical method
with the purpose of classifying and dissolving composite
events wrongly conceived as ultimate uni-
ties.
Up to the present time it has been a regular
occurrence in the history of physics, metaphysics
and psychology that when a Whole has been successfully
dissolved by analysis, the resultant “parts”
themselves come again to be regarded as little
“Wholes”.

I could add that it is also partly a problem of language. It is actually difficult to discuss the analysis of phenomena in either (sutta or abhidhamma) "paramattha" terms without sounding like one is assigning "thingness" to khandas, cittas, etc.

:anjali:
Mike


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