I have noticed that there are many people out there who reject the Abhidhamma yet still call themselves Theravadins. This includes a few monks. There are others that take the Sutta and Vinaya as primary but still see some (lesser) value in the Abhidhamma.
Why do you think this is so?
Bankei wrote:Why do you think this is so?
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Bankei,Bankei wrote:Why do you think this is so?
A preference for the words of the Fully Enlightened Buddha with respect to the words of other Elders.
The Elders may have had their own wisdom, but the Buddha is cool.
tiltbillings wrote:But the Theravada claims that the Abhidhamma Pitaka is the Buddha's (except for the Kathavatthu).
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,tiltbillings wrote:But the Theravada claims that the Abhidhamma Pitaka is the Buddha's (except for the Kathavatthu).
tiltbillings wrote:Picky, picky, picky. The Theravada tradition, but as I am writing this I wonder if it is in the actual texts of the AP or is it in the commentaries.
You are probably correct, but then the issue is what weight is given to the commentaries.retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,tiltbillings wrote:Picky, picky, picky. The Theravada tradition, but as I am writing this I wonder if it is in the actual texts of the AP or is it in the commentaries.
I recall it being said that it is a commentarial claim not found within the Abhidhamma Pitaka itself (I may be wrong though).
tiltbillings wrote:The question of why is the Abhidhamma so quickly dismissed by some is an interesting one. Often, it seems to me, ignorance is the answer.
tiltbillings wrote:... but then the issue is what weight is given to the commentaries.
The question of why is the Abhidhamma so quickly dismissed by some is an interesting one. Often, it seems to me, ignorance is the answer.
Primarily, what the texts actually say. Often we see the dhamma notion of the Abhidhamma get portrayed as being ultimate little atom thingies. Piatigorsky, in his studies of the Theravadin Abhidhamma Pitaka texts (THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT 1984, 181) points out dharmas are not substances; they are not 'things' in and of themselves:retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,tiltbillings wrote:The question of why is the Abhidhamma so quickly dismissed by some is an interesting one. Often, it seems to me, ignorance is the answer.
Ignorance of what though, exactly?
Nyanaponika ABHIDHAMMA STUDIES page 41 BPS; page 42 Wisdom wrote: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 is 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 unities. Up to the present time it has been a regular occurrence in the history of physics, metaphysics, and psychology that when the “whole” has been successfully dissolved by analysis, the resultant “parts” themselves come in turn to be regarded as little “wholes.”
Prof. Dr. Y. Karunadasa THE DHAMMA THEORY, page 9 wrote:In the Pali tradition it is only for the sake of definition and description that each dhamma is postulated as if it were a separate entity; but in reality it is by no means a solitary phenomenon having an existence of its own. . . . If this Abhidhammic view of existence, as seen from its doctrine of dhammas, cannot be interpreted as a radical pluralism, neither can it be interpreted as an out-and-out monism. For what are called dhammas -- the component factors of the universe, both within us and outside us -- are not fractions of an absolute unity but a multiplicity of co-ordinate factors. They are not reducible to, nor do they emerge from, a single reality, the fundamental postulate of monistic metaphysics. If they are to be interpreted as phenomena, this should be done with the proviso that they are phenomena with no corresponding noumena, no hidden underlying ground. For they are not manifestations of some mysterious metaphysical substratum, but processes taking place due to the interplay of a multitude of conditions. http://www.zeh-verlag.de/download/dhammatheory.pdf
Harvey in his excellent INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM, characterizes the Theravadin position, page 87 wrote:"'They are dhammas because they uphold their own nature [sabhaava]. They are dhammas because they are upheld by conditions or they are upheld according to their own nature' (Asl.39). Here 'own-nature' would mean characteristic nature, which is not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality, but arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma."
A.K. Warder in INDIAN BUDDHISM, page 323, discussing the Pali Abhidhamma commentarial literature, wrote:"The most significant new idea in the commentaries is the definition of a 'principle' or element (dharma): dharmas are what have (or 'hold', 'maintain', dhr. is the nearest equivalent in the language to the English 'have') their own own-nature (svabhaava). It is added that they naturally have this through conditions."
If it can be argued that it's not the words of the Buddha (even if possibly derived from them) what makes their dismissal any different to the dismissal of the Mahayana Sutras? Why would the teachings of "our elders" be somehow inherently better than the teachings of "their elders"?
tiltbillings wrote:Interesting stuff and actually useful stuff in understanding what the Buddha taught.
tiltbillings wrote:Our elders kept, for the most part, to a particular understanding of the Dhamma; the Mahayanists, ah, well, did something else.
retrofuturist wrote:With all these divergent and conflicting exegeses (or should that be eisegeses?) arising over time, is it any wonder that modern Buddhists increasingly wonder what the Buddha actually taught?
The Buddha is cool.
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