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What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice? - Dhamma Wheel

What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

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phil
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What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby phil » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:35 pm

Hi all

One thing that confuses me these days is Abhidhamma and what role it can play in practice for people of limited understanding. How can objects of such fleeting nature be objects of awareness for us? Is it actually nimatta that is object of awareness, the after image that if I understand correctly is kind of copied and goes on after the objects have risen and fallen away in a flash? I'm thinking that Abhidhamma can only be understood as a model of how the most profoundly developed minds could cognize objects and for the rest of us, it is just theory.

I'm posting this question in this corner because I'd rather not invite responses from people who reject Abhidhamma, or belittle its importance. I'm particularly curious to hear from pt1 (?) who I noticed asked very excellent questions about Abhidhamma at DSG, but who is a meditator. I was impressed by your ability to continue to learn from Nina and others despite differences in attitudes towards practice. Or from Chris or others who are meditators but keen on Abhidhamma as well.

So how do you (all) see Abhidhamma within your practice? What are you finding from it that you don't find fully served by the suttanta? Again, I'm not asking this to dispute Abhidhamma. I'm hoping to have my Abhidhamma studies kick-started again.

Metta,

Phil
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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mikenz66
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:13 pm

Hi Phil,

From a practice point of view the Burmese teachers (such as Mahasi Sayadaw/U Pandita, U Ba Kin/Goenka, Pa Auk Sayadaw, etc) use terminology ("sense doors", "mind moments", etc) and maps ("stages of insight") that is heavily based on the Abhidhamma, Commentaries, and Visuddhimagga. A lot of "insight" teachers in the west are using some sort of derivative of the Mahasi approach. As are many Thai and Malaysian teachers. Therefore, I find it useful to have some idea of the structure that they are working from.

Of course the Khun Sujin students at DSG have their own particular "practise can't be controlled since there is no self" interpretation. Of course, this correct in an ultimate sense, as all teachers I have any respect for teach, and it is something meditators start to get glimpses of for themselves after a while. But in my view their argument overlooks the fact that until we have some awakening we are mostly working with concepts and a self. See my thread on "conceptual and non-conceptual" .

Metta
Mike

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mikenz66
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:29 pm

In addition, the link that Bodom posted in this thread about the Visuddhimagga: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3174 is relevant.

At http://www.sirimangalo.org/ you'll find Mahasi-derived meditation teachings http://www.sirimangalo.org/vipassana and talks on the Visuddhimagga and Abdhidhamma http://www.sirimangalo.org/audio_index by Ven Silandanda.

Metta
Mike

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puthujjana
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby puthujjana » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:22 pm

I have only read the first two chapters of yet and I found it very helpful in my practice.

The most helpful for me was to learn what is meant by sati. When the Buddha was talking about mindfulness, he didn't meant simple attention, but a beautiful cetasika rooted in (at least) non-greed and non-hate.

Further, I liked the ethical teachings which one can derive from reading all the lists about cittas and cetasikas.

I think that there are a lot of informations in the Abhidhammapitaka which can be used in (meditation-) practice. :smile:

:anjali:
"Once you understand anatta, then the burden of life is gone. You’ll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy."

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retrofuturist
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:27 pm

"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

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puthujjana
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby puthujjana » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:51 pm

"Once you understand anatta, then the burden of life is gone. You’ll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy."

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bodom
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby bodom » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:02 am

As far as textual study it doesn't. I prefer to read my own mind than read about it.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Cittasanto
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:07 am

Attachments
Satipatthanavibhanga.pdf
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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mikenz66
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:58 am


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Cittasanto
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:07 am

Hi Mike read my quote above which is a direct quote from the Abhidhamma Vibhanga


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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mikenz66
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:24 am


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Ben
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:57 am

Hi everyone

Some years ago I embarked on some Dhamma study to satisfy my own hunger for an intellectual understanding of the Dhamma to complement my own practice-based understanding. In my opinion, bhavana-maya-panna, the wisdom that arises from the direct penetration of the nature of mind and matter through mental cultivation is pre-eminent in importance, but as my teacher says, patipatti (practice) and pariyatti (study) should go hand-in-hand. One's practice is more effective when combined with study. As part of my study and with the recommendation of Ajahn Dhammanando, I read 'A comrehensive manual of the Abhidhamma' edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi and I continue to refer to it. It was brilliant as it illuminated so many things about the Dhamma for me. Has it directly effected my practice? Probably not directly, but indirectly - definitely. I should also point out that the ACM is not Abhidhamma Pitaka proper, as it is a commentary based on the ancient commentary Abhidhammatthasangaha attrubuted to Acariya Anuruddha. But as Ajahn mentioned to me, it is an excellent gateway to the Abhidhamma Pitaka.
I also recommend ACM to anyone serious about the Dhamma. Even if one feels that the Abhidhamma is 'surplus to needs', I still feel it would be a beneficial exercise for you to at least develop a rudimentary understanding of concepts and theories contained within the Abhidhamma Pitaka.
Kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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bodom
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby bodom » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:30 am

Thanks for the post Ben. ACM by Bodhi has been on my wishlist for quite sometime now. I look forward to reading it.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Ben
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby Ben » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:35 am

Hi Bodum
If you were living closer, I would loan you my copy.
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

pt1
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby pt1 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:43 am


pt1
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby pt1 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:47 am


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mikenz66
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:51 am


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tiltbillings
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:27 am


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cooran
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby cooran » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:40 am

---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 ---

phil
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Re: What role does Abhidhamma play in your practice?

Postby phil » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:11 am

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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