bodom wrote:I have ordered Bhikkhu Bodhi's A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma and am looking forward to starting my studies on the Abhidhamma. I have heard or read somewhere that Abhidhamma is the highest or most profound wisdom offered in the Buddhasasana, though I cant recall where. For those familiar with Abhidhamma would you agree with this? Could it be said the third training in panna consists of realisation of Abhidhamma? I understand that the training in panna includes realisation of the Noble Truths, kamma etc. but am curious where Abhidhamma fits in with right view and thinking as defined by the Buddha in the Noble Path.
I'd say that the highest wisdom in theravada would stand for insight that realises directly the four noble truths, dependent origination, anatta, etc. Abhidhamma I think is a name for the third pitaka, though there are occasions I think when the prefix abhi is used to signify a deeper understanding of a particular subject. Anyway, imo the way that the teachings are presented in the third pitaka (in particular the dhammasangani, vibhanga, dhatukatha and patthana) is as close as possible to the way that the "world" would be experienced by someone with developed insight.
In the commentaries, it's mentioned that vinaya pitaka is most useful for establishing sila, sutta pitaka for establishing samadhi, and abhidhamma pitaka for establishing the right view (wisdom), although of course all three pitakas cover all these matters in their own way. So, I think abhidhamma is all about the right view (wisdom), and thus, insight. In my case, I couldn't really understand what's meant by insight until starting with abhidhamma studies.
Anyway, ACMA is a great book to start with. If on occasions it seems too dry/technical, you can also try reading some of Nina Van Gorkom's books parallel to ACMA reading, as her books cover almost the same territory in a bit easier language. In particular:Abhidhamma in daily life
deals mostly with different types of cittas and general subjectsCetasikas
is all about individual cetasikasPhysical Phenomena
is all about different types of rupas.