Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

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asahi
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by asahi »

The more one understand early buddhism the more closer one get to pre sectarian dhamma . Therefore , naturally incompatibility of abhidhamma with the suttas would be revealed . It is not something simply wanting to rejecting it .
Nothing there in examining the dhamma are like a threat but merely your imagination .
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by Srilankaputra »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:36 pm
mikenz66 wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:16 pm ...
Remembered where I read it:
Note that these are rationalizing definitions, i.e. they are intended to distance nāmarūpa from magical/mystical thinking and show that they are amenable to rational, psychological analysis. They are part of a discourse, an argument spread over many centuries about the nature of the mind, the soul, the body, and how all these things are related. It is critical to understand the dialectical nature of such teachings, so that they are not reified into any so-called “ultimate reality” beloved by the Abhidhammists.

Compare with how we use language in modern times. Say someone is suffering from paranoid delusions. They believe that the government is spying on them through their television. Oh, wait, that’s neither paranoid nor deluded. Okay, so they think I’m spying on them through their television. (I’m not, I promise!) So you say to them, “Don’t worry, that is not real. It’s just in your head; it’s all just thoughts and fears, making you see things that aren’t there.”

The point of saying this is not to make some definitive, final, and absolute list of everything that is, in fact, going on; it is to eliminate the delusion that is creating suffering. The Buddha’s re-definition of nāmarūpa is similar. This is why we find it treated differently in different places: it is not to define some underlying thing, but to address the specific kinds of misunderstandings and delusions that the Buddha encountered.

This all has a rather interesting implication. If nāmarūpa is a dialectical term, then the Buddha would assuredly not have used it if he was alive today. Rather, he would have addressed the actual misunderstandings that he encountered, such as the mind/body problem, the Turing test, and so on.
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/wh ... upa/4600/7

The core concepts, five aggregates and so on, are merely that. Concepts. There is no core structure to the Dhamma, other than conditionality and impermanence etc. This is what makes Sujato’s Abhidhamma different, and makes him quite close to Prajñaptivāda or Lokottaravāda, on this point at least.
Seems to me like an attempt to rehash the Sutta Pitaka in to hegelian philosophy.

Wish you all success in all your endeavours. Goodbye!
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by Ceisiwr »

I am seeing a pattern. People who strongly disagree with the Abhidhamma tend not to have read anything of the Abhidhamma. I’ve seen the same with the Visuddhimagga. Ajahn Sujato has of course, although I sometimes wonder if he didn’t misunderstand certain concepts such as sabhāva. He seems to read it in a Sarvāstivādin way.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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But here there is no human being to be found,
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll—
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks.”


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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by BrokenBones »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:48 pm I am seeing a pattern. People who strongly disagree with the Abhidhamma tend not to have anything of the Abhidhamma. I’ve seen the same with the Visuddhimagga. Ajahn Sujato has of course, although I sometimes wonder if he didn’t misunderstand certain concepts such as sabhāva. He seems to read it in a Sarvāstivādin way.
I assume the missing word is 'read'.

Isn't it simply that a lot of people see the suttas as complete and well suited to actually walking the path and see no use in endless lists, Vedic atoms, pretty kasinas and scholarly endeavour that is so convoluted it makes like the oozlum.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by Ceisiwr »

BrokenBones wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:26 pm
I assume the missing word is 'read'.
Yes thanks.
Isn't it simply that a lot of people see the suttas as complete and well suited to actually walking the path and see no use in endless lists
These are also in the suttas.
Vedic atoms,
This shows that you don’t know what it is you are criticising.
pretty kasinas
These are in the suttas.
and scholarly endeavour that is so convoluted it makes like the oozlum.
What Ven. Buddhaghosa did is not much different from what Thanissaro does. What most well known monks do. It’s all commentary. You see a convoluted mess, I see clarity. And of course, there is more Dhamma in Ven. Buddhaghosa than what is found in some of the rambling and fallacious idiosyncratic interpretations that pass for “Dhamma” on this forum by some members.

Once again, you haven’t the foggiest idea what you are talking about. Are you new to the Dhamma perhaps?
“The mental and material are really here,
But here there is no human being to be found,
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll—
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks.”


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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by Dhammavamsa »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:48 pm I am seeing a pattern. People who strongly disagree with the Abhidhamma tend not to have read anything of the Abhidhamma. I’ve seen the same with the Visuddhimagga. Ajahn Sujato has of course, although I sometimes wonder if he didn’t misunderstand certain concepts such as sabhāva. He seems to read it in a Sarvāstivādin way.
True, I think lay people will just listen to their modern monastic teacher blindly without investigation. :? I was once like that too.

I remember that when I was a Samanera, there is a trend among the temple members accusing Visuddhimagga for not
being real Dhamma. Mainly they said Ven Buddhaghosa burnt the Sinhala commentary books and make aspiration to Tusita Heaven. Or say the sign of light cannot occurred, the earth Kasina is weird, or rebirth linking consciousness is wrong. And Buddhaghosa was a brahmin student, so he is possibly a spy that wanted to destroy Buddhism from within.

I was convinced that by reading or listening to Sutta we can be Saints, at least Luang Phor Dhammavuddho said so in his YouTube Dhammatalk recordings. But the problem is, people nowadays can twist the meaning of the Suttas and redefine them in various ways. And that's why Luang Phor Dhammavuddho in Singapore and Malaysia said there is a real everchanging Soul in all living beings waiting for rebirth after death....while on the other hand, Buddhadasa in Thailand said no concern for rebirth. This whole modern neo-buddhism thing created so much confusion. :shrug:

But also due to this reason, recently I started to read Visuddhimagga (bought it but never touch it for at least 5 years), especially the Panna bhumi part. And to my surprise, no contradiction was found with the Suttas I have been going through. Some points I noted: The story that Buddhaghosa burnt the books, was only recorded in Buddhaghosuppapatti, a Burmese rather fictional novel on Buddhaghosa with a lot of myths that holds no historical significance. The aspiration made by Buddhaghosa was not about Tusita Heaven, in fact, Buddhaghosa stated he wished to dedicate his merit to all gladdened people to achieve Success (in gaining Enlightenment). The aspiration for Tusita was written by later generations. The earth Kasina method that making circle of soil, in fact, just a systematic advice or suggestion from Mahavihara tradition for remembering the sign, but it is the sign that later we will meditate upon, like in the sutta. For Rebirth linking consciousness or Patisandhi citta, I browse my Anguttara Nikaya book and immediately found Bhava sutta where Buddha mentioned that:

"Thus kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture.[2] The consciousness of living beings hindered by ignorance & fettered by craving is established in/tuned to a lower property. Thus there is the production of renewed becoming in the future." - Bhava sutta

The consciousness the Buddha mentioned here in the Sutta was exactly similar to the nature of Visuddhimagga's patisandhi Vinnanam. Furthermore, Buddhaghosa devoted a few pages long to explain how this Paticca Samuppada rejects Eternalism and Nihilism, only bring forth the Middle Way. Buddhaghosa also acknowledge the momentarily death and conventional death. So the explanation in Visuddhimagga is not only for three times model but also momentary model. Yet people are stubborn enough to say it promotes Eternalism or Hindu idea of reincarnation. And Buddhaghosa was a brahmin, but so is Maha Kassapa Arahant, Brahmayu Anagami, brahmin Sela Arahant, and Nagasena Arahant. These ancient monks were Brahmins too. All these Brahmins came and take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, and practice well and virtuous. I don't see any reason why we should be Brahmin-racist. :)

In fact, either people too fast to arrive at conclusion with prejudice or the ego is so big that they think they are better than ancient Asian monks.

Imo, the Abhidhamma and commentaries existed during the times of Arahantas, the Arahantas examined it and approved of them. This can be verified from the third council where Arahant Moggaliputta Tissa along with other Arahant monks establishing the orthodoxy and dismiss the heretical views. Later Ven. Mahinda Thera Arahanta with His fellow Arahant monks brought the Pali Tipitaka in verbal form along with commentaries to Lankadipa and render the commentaries in Sinhalese language. And that time in Sri Lanka there were Arahantas too, old and new. Ven. Mahinda Arahant Thera established the authoritative Mahavihara and all teachings were kept there authentic with the Arahants. While Arahant Mahinda establish Bhikkhusangha, his sister, the Arahant Sanghamitta Theri establish Bhikkhunisangha in Lankadipa.

Then occurred another great schism in Sri Lanka mainly due to the action of evil Chola male Bhikkhu Sanghamitta, and in due time separate the Buddhism into three groups: original Mahavihara, Abhayagiri, and later the Jeta sect.

Later Mahavihara compiled the scriptures render into texts and Buddhaghosa comes later to translate all commentaries back to Magadhan tongue. So, the teachings were compact and unbroken from first council to now. So if the Arahantas of the ancient accepted Abhidhamma Pitaka for its usefulness, so I too accept it as Dhamma too.
Dhammapada (78)
Na bhaje pāpake mitte, na bhaje purisādhame.
bhajetha mitte kalyāṇe, bhajetha purisuttame.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by mikenz66 »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:48 pm I am seeing a pattern. People who strongly disagree with the Abhidhamma tend not to have read anything of the Abhidhamma. I’ve seen the same with the Visuddhimagga. Ajahn Sujato has of course, although I sometimes wonder if he didn’t misunderstand certain concepts such as sabhāva. He seems to read it in a Sarvāstivādin way.
Well, personally, I like the various conversations about how to approach the Dhamma,
from ancient and modern commentators. Why the need to pidgeon-hole them? There is a lot to learn in the path of letting go of greed, hatred, and delusion.

In a more classical vein, here are some classic quotes from Tiltbillings regarding interpretations (and, in particular overinterpretations) of Abhidhamma and Commentaries, from some people who have studied it in detail:
tiltbillings wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:49 pm
Anders Honore wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Why must we assume a Mahayana definition is the arbiter of what is what?


Sigh, this is like feeding biscuits to a parrot.
A childish comment.
This was in fact why I asked, as a point of genuine curiosity, how does the Theravadin abidhamma reconcile what seems to be counterintuitive - that fundamental particles can be dependedly originated?
I’ll be happy to give you a reading list.

It is important to understand that Buddhism (here meaning Theravada) is not doing science. It is not commenting on the nature of the “external” world. It is dealing with what is experienced. A “fundamental particle” of experience is hardly an unchanging, unconditioned thing. It is a way of talking about the flow of experience that our senses can give us which we can call this or that.

Ven Nyanamoli in a footnote in his PATH OF PURIFICATION, pages 317-8, states: "In the Pitakas the word sabhaava seems to appear only once...," it appears several times in Milindapanha, and it is used quite a bit in the PoP and it commentaries. He states it often roughly corresponds to dhaatu, element and to lakkhana, characteristic. An interesting passage from the PoP reads:

"On the contrary, before their rise [the bases, aayatana] they had no individual essence [sabhaava], and after their fall their individual essence are completely dissolved. And they occur without mastery [being exercisable over them] since they exist in dependence on conditions and in between the past and the future." Page 5overinterpretations51 XV 15.

Piatigorsky (In his study of the Pitaka Abhidhamma texts, THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, p 182) puts it: “From the point of view of consciousness, it can be said that, when consciousness is conscious of one’s mind, thought, or consciousness directed to their objects, then it is ‘being conscious of’ that may be named ‘a state of consciousness’ or a dharma.”

Piatigorsky (THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, p 146) explains: “the meaning of each abhidhammic term [dhamma] consists (or is the sum) of all its positional meanings and of all positional meanings of its connotations.”

Nyanaponika quotes a sub-commentary to an Abhidhamma text: "There is no other thing than the quality borne by it." (na ca dhaariyamma-sabhaavaa an~n~o dhammo naama atthi). Abhidhamma Studies, page 40. Which is to say: We simpy cannot say that 'a dharma is... (a predicate follows)', because a dharma, in fact, 'is' no thing, yet [it is] a term denoting (not being) a certain relation or type of relation to thought, consciousness or mind. That is, dharma is not a concept in the accepted terminological sense of the latter, but a purely relational notion. -- Piatigorsky, THE BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT, page 181.

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 http://www.zeh-verlag.de/download/dhammatheory.pdf 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 realoverinterpretationsity 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.

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. This is of significance as it makes the Mahayana critique of the Sarvastivadin's notion of own-nature largely irrelevant to the Theravada."

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."


Dhammas are "ultimate things" only as a way of talking about aspects of the relational flow of experience, not in terms of describing static realities. In other words, dhammas are empty of self.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by SarathW »

Well, personally, I like the various conversations about how to approach the Dhamma,
from ancient and modern commentators. Why the need to pidgeon-hole them? There is a lot to learn in the path of letting go of greed, hatred, and delusion.
Agree.
This is exactly the point of this thread.
In my opinion, monks such as Ajahan Braham and Ven. Sujato is trying to Pidgeon-hole Abhidhamma followers.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by Ceisiwr »

mikenz66 wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:28 pm

In a more classical vein, here are some classic quotes from Tiltbillings regarding interpretations (and, in particular overinterpretations) of Abhidhamma and Commentaries, from some people who have studied it in detail:
I agree. I don’t see anyone here doing that though? Some great quotes there by the way. I’ve argued the same myself.
“The mental and material are really here,
But here there is no human being to be found,
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll—
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks.”


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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:11 pm I agree. I don’t see anyone here doing that though? Some great quotes there by the way. I’ve argued the same myself.
Commentarial Abhidhamma itself is an over-interpretation... and I rarely see anyone speaking Canonical Abhidhamma, so...

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by Ceisiwr »

retrofuturist wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:41 pm Commentarial Abhidhamma itself is an over-interpretation... and I rarely see anyone speaking Canonical Abhidhamma, so...

Metta,
Paul. :)
How would you know the difference, if you’ve never read the texts?
“The mental and material are really here,
But here there is no human being to be found,
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll—
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks.”


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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:44 pm How would you know the difference, if you’ve never read the texts?
I've read the Visuddhimagga and the Abhidhammattha Sangaha. That's enough.

Would you like me to compose an all guns blazing annihilation of the project? I don't intend to, but I will if that will cut to the chase.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by SarathW »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:44 pm
retrofuturist wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:41 pm Commentarial Abhidhamma itself is an over-interpretation... and I rarely see anyone speaking Canonical Abhidhamma, so...

Metta,
Paul. :)
How would you know the difference, if you’ve never read the texts?
Agree.
Good point.
This is my point.
People do not read and understand the difference in both but quick to reject or criticize them.
The drawback here is they discourage others or prohibit other to make up their own mind.
It is impossible for someone to go straight to canonical Abhidhamma Pitaka without reading the commentarial Abhidhamma.
As Bhikkhu Bodhi said that reading canonical Abhidhamma is like eating grass. :D
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by asahi »

Lets take an example : essentially how both below quote of internal external are differents ? What does personal, self-referable, one’s own, individual meant ? Or do you find it confusing ?
Therein what is internal form? That form which, for this or that being, is personal, self-referable, one’s own, individual and is grasped (by craving and false view), (i.e.) the four great essentials and the material qualities derived from the four great essentials. This is called internal form.

Therein what is external form? That form which, for this or that other being, for other persons, is personal, self-referable, one’s own, individual and is grasped, (i.e.) the four great essentials and the material qualities derived from the four great essentials. This is called external form.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by SarathW »

asahi wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 1:14 am Lets take an example : essentially how both below quote of internal external are differents ? What does personal, self-referable, one’s own, individual meant ? Or do you find it confusing ?
Therein what is internal form? That form which, for this or that being, is personal, self-referable, one’s own, individual and is grasped (by craving and false view), (i.e.) the four great essentials and the material qualities derived from the four great essentials. This is called internal form.

Therein what is external form? That form which, for this or that other being, for other persons, is personal, self-referable, one’s own, individual and is grasped, (i.e.) the four great essentials and the material qualities derived from the four great essentials. This is called external form.
Please give the source reference.
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