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

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

Post by BrokenBones »

Bundokji wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:42 pm
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:42 pm ps: I have been wondering why people are attracted to and craved to be identified with the word Theravada despite a core doctrine itself being anathema to them. They should adopt whatever other label they fancy. And, they should just spare Theravada from their projections & distorted identifications. Please leave Theravada alone. Thanks :lol:
I was wondering the same thing. Why would it be important to be designated as Theravadin?
Because there is no other current school that comes close. It's simply a convenient term. Suttavadin is great, but a lot of others wouldn't know what is meant.

When I give dana, I give to a Theravada monk, regardless of whether he takes the Abhidhamma as authentic or not.

Taking the vinaya as authoritative is much more important.

None of that means I have to buy into Abhidhamma.
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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,
SarathW wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:05 am I fear that the Admin will restrict the number of posts a day for me. :tongue:
No fear... such controls do not exist in the system. You are free to discuss Dhamma.

Metta,
Paul. :)
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SarathW
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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: Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:06 pm
SarathW wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:59 pm The only part of Abhidhamma Pitaka I read was Kathavattu.
If anyone rejects Kathavattu is insane, in my opinion.
Well, the other schools would disagree ;) The Sarvāstivādins have their own version of the Kathāvatthu, of sorts, in their Abhidharma. In it the theory of dhammas existing in the 3 times is defended against Ven. Moggaliputta Tissa.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by BrokenBones »

I don't really see the issue with all this. If the suttas are not sufficient, don't teach the path to enlightenment, aren't well presented at the beginning, middle and end; aren't the actual words of the Buddha where he states that he taught with an open hand... then I can understand the Abhidhamma being necessary and people praising and taking refuge in it...
If that's how people see it, then they should pursue it...
Just don't expect everyone to buy into it.
As for classifying 'Theravada'... there are numerous disagreements between monks besides the validity of the Abhidhamma... we wouldn't want to see multiple schisms because of it.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by SarathW »

BrokenBones wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:23 am I don't really see the issue with all this. If the suttas are not sufficient, don't teach the path to enlightenment, aren't well presented at the beginning, middle and end; aren't the actual words of the Buddha where he states that he taught with an open hand... then I can understand the Abhidhamma being necessary and people praising and taking refuge in it...
If that's how people see it, then they should pursue it...
Just don't expect everyone to buy into it.
As for classifying 'Theravada'... there are numerous disagreements between monks besides the validity of the Abhidhamma... we wouldn't want to see multiple schisms because of it.
Good point.
Buddha taught only two Suttas to five ascetics to become Arahants.
Why then he ended up creating such a massive body of teaching?
Because when the world gets more and more ignorant and less and less practice there is a need for further elaboration.
A person like me does not accept anything with Saddha so we need something like Abhidhamma to convince them.
In my opinion, you need Abhidhamma or the vast majority of Sutta only if you want to be a Dhamma teacher.
If you want to attain Nibbana just follow the Noble Eightfold Path.
But this is not a valid reason to reject Abhidhamma. We have to ask why those Arahants decided to incorporate Abhidhamma into Pitaka.
You can't create something like Abhidhamma overnight. I think it is a progression of few hundreds of years.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by BrokenBones »

SarathW wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:36 am
BrokenBones wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:23 am I don't really see the issue with all this. If the suttas are not sufficient, don't teach the path to enlightenment, aren't well presented at the beginning, middle and end; aren't the actual words of the Buddha where he states that he taught with an open hand... then I can understand the Abhidhamma being necessary and people praising and taking refuge in it...
If that's how people see it, then they should pursue it...
Just don't expect everyone to buy into it.
As for classifying 'Theravada'... there are numerous disagreements between monks besides the validity of the Abhidhamma... we wouldn't want to see multiple schisms because of it.
Good point.
Buddha taught only two Suttas to five ascetics to become Arahants.
Why then he ended up creating such a massive body of teaching?
Because when the world gets more and more ignorant and less and less practice there is a need for further elaboration.
A person like me does not accept anything with Saddha so we need something like Abhidhamma to convince them.
In my opinion, you need Abhidhamma or the vast majority of Sutta only if you want to be a Dhamma teacher.
If you want to attain Nibbana just follow the Noble Eightfold Path.
But this is not a valid reason to reject Abhidhamma. We have to ask why those Arahants decided to incorporate Abhidhamma into Pitaka.
You can't create something like Abhidhamma overnight. I think it is a progression of few hundreds of years.
What arahants? Who says?

So the suttas don't convince you but the Abhidhamma does?

You can't accept the suttas on faith but can accept the Abhidhamma on faith (written centuries later and not spoken by the Buddha)?

The Buddha taught a myriad of suttas to connect with people of different understanding & temperament.

The fact that the Abhidhamma was written over centuries points to the differing input that has gone into it... not it's validity.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta »

DNS wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:38 pm ...
Ven. Dhammika is a monk who takes this position and there are many others.
...

I appreciate one aspect of Ven. Dhammika who is particularly & boldly different from those projecting-distorting-Theravada-identifiers is that he kinda 'officially' declared he departed from Theravada, imo. And, another venerable who have mentioned in this thread is Ajahn Brahm (& probably his continued-disciples) who has been excommunicated, regarding an issue not 'legally' possible by Theravada, and & expelled from the Theravada Buddhist monastery of Wat Nong Pah Pong, established by the late Ajahn Chah as the main monastery of the Thai Forest Tradition.





=========================
DNS wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:38 pm ...
A monk can't form a new monastic lineage [in Theravada] as I believe that would be considered schismatic.
  • They don't need to be [in Theravada] like a Trojan horse. That's why I said and was quoted by another:
    • Bundokji wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:42 pm
      Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:42 pm ps: I have been wondering why people are attracted to and craved to be identified with the word Theravada despite a core doctrine itself being anathema to them. They should adopt whatever other label they fancy. And, they should just spare Theravada from their projections & distorted identifications. Please leave Theravada alone. Thanks :lol:
      I was wondering the same thing. Why would it be important to be designated as Theravadin?



umm ... 🐴 Schismatic Trojan Horse 🐴 ... seems a fitting simile for them.


:heart:
Last edited by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta on Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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SarathW
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by SarathW »

he Buddha taught a myriad of suttas to connect with people of different understanding & temperament.
Now you are agreeing with me. :D
So Abhidhamma also appealing and connecting to different people.
Because it is not appealing to Ajahan Braham or Ven. Kiribathgoda Nananada, they can't stop others following it.
If they do it that they are doing a disservice to their students.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by DooDoot »

SarathW wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:36 am Why then he ended up creating such a massive body of teaching?
Because when the world gets more and more ignorant and less and less practice there is a need for further elaboration.
A person like me does not accept anything with Saddha so we need something like Abhidhamma to convince them.
The above idea does not appear to be true. Merely browsing the Kathāvatthu, it appears Abhidhamma was created by one Buddhist sect, namely, the Theravadins, to refute other Buddhist sects, such as Puggalavādin, Sammitiya, Vajjiputtiya, Sabbatthivādin, Mahāsaṅghika, etc.
Sammatīya, ancient Buddhist school or group of schools in India that held a distinctive theory concerning the pudgala, or person. They believed that though an individual does not exist independently from the five skandhas, or components that make up his personality, he is at the same time something greater than the mere sum of his parts. The Sammatīya were severely criticized by other Buddhists who considered the theory close to the rejected theory of atman—i.e., the supreme universal self.

The school apparently had popular support, for the Chinese pilgrim Hsüan-tsang described it in the 7th century as one of the four main Buddhist sects of that time. Its members were also known as Pudgalavādins (“Teachers of the Pudgala”). It had several subschools; the Vātsīputrīyas (presumably named after their teacher, Vātsīputra) are in some accounts referred to as the parent branch of which the Sammatīyas are an offshoot.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Sammatiya
Last edited by DooDoot on Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by SarathW »

I was wondering the same thing. Why would it be important to be designated as Theravadin?
Because "Theravada" is a good brand name.
What others (Ajahn Braham) are trying to do is to sell a fake product under the famous brand name.
Like Dhammika Ajahan Braham also quit Theravada and start his own, but he won't do it because then many people will desert him.
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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: Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:23 am I don't really see the issue with all this. If the suttas are not sufficient, don't teach the path to enlightenment, aren't well presented at the beginning, middle and end; aren't the actual words of the Buddha where he states that he taught with an open hand... then I can understand the Abhidhamma being necessary and people praising and taking refuge in it...
Every single sutta needs some kind of explanation, because they are stripped down teachings. This is part of the reason why we take refuge in the Sangha. To explain the Dhamma. You do take refuge in the Sangha too I assume, not just the Buddha and the Dhamma?
If that's how people see it, then they should pursue it...
Just don't expect everyone to buy into it.
As for classifying 'Theravada'... there are numerous disagreements between monks besides the validity of the Abhidhamma... we wouldn't want to see multiple schisms because of it.
Only monks and nuns can cause a schism, which is why there have never been any actual schisms between anyone in the whole history of Buddhism according to Sujato’s work. According to Sujato what actually happened was that the Sangha stopped short of a formal schism, but being separated by some distance ended up developing in different directions. Others lived side by side in the same monastery with other monks and nuns; Sarvāstivādin with Sautrāntika, or with Mahāyāna. Theravāda seems to have been different, in that the Mahavihāravāsins weren’t shy about denouncing heretics and even calling upon the power of the King to purge them, like the Mahāyāna accommodating Abhayagiri Vihāra. This is possibly why no real Suttavādin tradition developed within Theravāda, until recently.

These 17 sects are schismatic,
only one is non-schismatic.
With the non-schismatic sect,
there are eighteen in all.
Like a great banyan tree,
the Theravāda is supreme,
The Dispensation of the Conqueror,
complete, without lack or excess.
The other sects arose
like thorns on the tree.


— Dīpavaṃsa
“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 DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:08 am Every single sutta needs some kind of explanation, because they are stripped down teachings. This is part of the reason why we take refuge in the Sangha. To explain the Dhamma. You do take refuge in the Sangha too I assume, not just the Buddha and the Dhamma?
The above sounds wrong & idiosyncratic. I think evidence is required for substantiation. As already mentioned, the Buddha said many times his teachings are complete.

Also, the Sangha refuge does not appear to be about the Sangha as Teachers but about the Sangha as both a community of refuge as a monk or nun and also as examples of individuals reaching stages of enlightenment.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:08 am
These 17 sects are schismatic,
only one is non-schismatic.
With the non-schismatic sect,
there are eighteen in all.
Like a great banyan tree,
the Theravāda is supreme,
The Dispensation of the Conqueror,
complete, without lack or excess.
The other sects arose
like thorns on the tree.


— Dīpavaṃsa
sounds like something the Catholic Church would declare :pig:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta »

SarathW wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:05 am
I was wondering the same thing. Why would it be important to be designated as Theravadin?
Because "Theravada" is a good brand name.
...

:goodpost:
& another obvious reason may be:
  • they are desperately in need of the rights to voice ...... "c'mon, why don't we fix the canon according to my liking, because we are theravadins as well, aren't we? And, let's remove Abhidhamma Pitaka, we're theravadins after all"


The following quotes are from another very related thread of:
  • "Those rejecting Abhidhamma Pitaka itself (regardless of commentaries) are not actual Theravadins (nor Vibhajjavadins)"
  • Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote: Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:39 pm Why would one want to be christianed as Theravadin if he thinks his ideology is better than accepted Theravada approach? Why would that one want to be regarded as Theravadin (or at least, is unable to accept when others point out that his understandings are not of Theravadin, even though he may sometimes proudly himself label as Madhyamakan or progressive or reformist or EBT-ist or whatever)?

    May be because he thinks the name "Theravada" is cool (the state which other major traditions no longer enjoy themselves in logical manner, these days) & accordingly he just wants to associate the cool term with his-vada; or just to get attention on a Theravada forum; or to proselytize about his own ideology in disguise of a threavadin; or may act like a Trojan Horse in that to get 007 like liscense to kill and transform pali scriptures whenever the pali is beyond one's wisdom, ending up making nonsensical allegations that "so and so entry" of pali canon is wrong, saying "c'mon, why don't we fix the canon according to my liking, because we are theravadins as well, aren't we? And, let's remove Abhidhamma Pitaka, we're theravadins after all" ...
  • Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:21 pm According to "progressive Theravada" or more commonly, "Modern Theravada" or "Early Buddhism"
    https://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?ti ... _Theravada



    Those who reject Abhidhamma Pitaka itself (regardless of commentaries) are not actual Theravadins (nor Vibhajjavadins), according to this:
    • ... if we look at the earliest definitions of Buddhism, we see that Early Buddhism without the Commentaries was called Theravada:
      Without getting into a discussion of all the various early schools, If we look at a quick timeline of what Buddhism was called, early Buddhism before the Commentaries was called Theravada:
      * The time of the Buddha: "Buddhism" is called Dhamma-Vinaya
      * First Council: Dhamma-Vinaya (483 BCE)
      * Second Council: Dhamma-Vinaya (350 BCE)
      * Third Council: Vibhajjavada ("doctrine of analysis") and shortly thereafter: Theravada (250 BCE)
      * Fourth Council: Theravada (100 BCE)
      The Abhidhamma became a part of the Canon at the Third Council.
      The Commentaries were written from 300 CE to 13 century CE, after the Fourth Council.
      Thus, someone who follows the "Theravada" as it was set to be from the First to Third Councils, would be a "Theravadin" although today they might be known as "Modern Theravada."
    In other words, Abhidhamma pitaka is an essential component in any variant of Theravada. So, "Early Buddhism, alias Modern Theravada" if devoid of Abhidhamma Pitaka is not Theravada. Accordingly, "Early Buddhism/Modern Theravada" topics rejecting Abhidhamma Pitaka should probably belong to connections to other paths, in a "Dhamma of Theravada Buddhism" Website.

    Early Buddhism without rejecting Abhidhamma Pitaka may belong to Theravada, of course.

    ...
.


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

Post by SarathW »

& another obvious reason may be:
This is a systematic destruction of buddha's teaching.
You break one limb at a time.
I have no problem with people who reject Vissuddhimagga and Abhidhamma etc. provided that they are not trying to stop others from studying it.
Buddha very clearly said that Buddhism will be diminished due to internal forces, not external forces.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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