Mentions of the Abhidhamma in Sutta, Vinaya, and Other Sourc

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

Posts: 1315
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Mentions of the Abhidhamma in Sutta, Vinaya, and Other Sourc

Postby Virgo » Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:41 pm

The Attahasalini (expositor) p. 32:

"Which is the Khuddaka Nikaya? The whole of the Vinaya-pitaka, Abhidhamma pitaka and the fifteen divisions excluding the four nikayas" p35 "thus as rehearsed at the [first]council the Abhidhamma is a Pitaka by Pitaka classification, khuddaka -nikaya by Nikaya clasification, veyyakarana by part-classification and constitues two or three thousand units of text by classification of textual units"

Majjhima Nikaya
Mahagosingha sutta
"the talk of two Bhikkhus on the Abhidhamma, each asking and answering the other without faltering is in accord with the Dhamma"

Gulissaani Sutta (M 69)
aaraññikenaavuso, bhikkhunaa abhidhamme abhivinaye yogo kara.niiyo "Friends, by a bhikkhu living the forest effort ought to be made in abhidhamma and abhivinaya"

Vinaya pitaka
"If without any intention of reviling the Vinaya one were to instigate another saying -'pray study the suttas or gathas or Abhidhamma first and afterwards learn the vinaya' there is no offense"
Vinaya iv 344


User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 16878
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Mentions of the Abhidhamma in Sutta, Vinaya, and Other Sourc

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:40 pm


The definition of Abhidhamma, from the Pali Text Society dictionary is as follows...

Abhidhamma ... :1726.pali

Abhidhamma [abhi + dhamma] the "special Dhamma," i. e.,

1. theory of the doctrine, the doctrine classified, the doctrine pure and simple (without any admixture of literary grace or of personalities, or of anecdotes, or of arguments ad personam), Vin i.64, 68; iv.144; iv.344. Coupled with abhivinaya, D iii.267; M i.272. --

2. (only in the Chronicles and Commentaries) name of the Third Piṭaka, the third group of the canonical books. Dpvs v.37; PvA 140. See the detailed discussion at DA i.15, 18 sq. [As the word abhidhamma standing alone is not found in Sn or S or A, and only once or twice in the Dialogues, it probably came into use only towards the end of the period in which the 4 great Nikāyas grew up.]

-- kathā discourse on philosophical or psychological matters, M i.214, 218; A iii.106, 392. See dhammakathā.

As can be seen, the PTS Dictionary cites two clearly distinct definitions for the term abhidhamma and the contexts in which each unique definition is used in different parts of the the Pali Canon and ancient commentaries.

Just as in English where one word can have multiple meanings, so it is in Pali. Classic examples of this in Pali include words like dukkha, dhamma, loka, the prefix abhi- and so on. When one of the words is used, it does not imply each-and-every-possible-definition as applicable or relevant in that instance. Likewise, when the word abhidhamma appears in the texts it does not relate to all possible definitions of that word simultaneously.

Thus, the quotations kindly provided by Kevin above which use the word abhidhamma, should be understood with respect to the definition provided by the Pali Text Society. Thus, they are definitions 2, 1, 1 and 1 respectively. Note also, that the capitalisation of the term in the second and fourth quotations is a little misleading as it is indicative of title case (and thus implying definition 2) when in actuality it is definition 1 that is appropriate as confirmed by the PTS reference.

Retro. :)
"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)

User avatar
Posts: 8498
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Mentions of the Abhidhamma in Sutta, Vinaya, and Other Sourc

Postby cooran » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:33 am

Hello Virgo, all,

You may find this previous thread of interest.

Abhidhanmma in the Suttas

And, additionally, the thread from Dhammastudygroup by RobertK

Textual evidence for the ancient age of the commentary sources ... ssage/3350

with metta
---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 ---

Return to “Abhidhamma”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Crazy cloud, theY, Zom and 3 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine