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How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:16 pm
by frank k
How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist, i.e. the 7 books of abhidhamma pitaka?

Do Burmese, Thai, Sri Lankan all have slightly different versions, similar to how their pali suttas have some slight differences?

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:26 am
by Dhammanando
frank k wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:16 pm Do Burmese, Thai, Sri Lankan all have slightly different versions, similar to how their pali suttas have some slight differences?
The differences between different regional recensions of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka are much slighter than those in the different recensions of the other two Piṭakas. Just randomly select any page from any of the seven books and you'll see for yourself that the variant readings are very seldom anything but the same word spelled different ways.

For example, these are the 23 variants in the
Kāmāvacarakusala section of the Dhammasaṅgaṇī's Cittuppādakaṇḍa. Of these 20 are just variant spellings, two are obvious misspellings, and one is a different but synonymous word.

vīriyindriyaṁ → viriyindriyaṁ (bj, sya-all, pts-vp-pli1)

vīriyabalaṁ → viriyabalaṁ (bj, sya-all, pts-vp-pli1)

kāyapassaddhi → kāyappassaddhi (sya-all)

cittapassaddhi → cittappassaddhi (sya-all)

kāyujukatā → kāyujjukatā (bj, pts-vp-pli1, mr)

cittujukatā → cittujjukatā (bj, pts-vp-pli1, mr)

cetayitattaṁ → sañcetayitattaṁ (sya-all); saṁcetayitattaṁ (pts-vp-pli1)

anusandhānatā → anusandhanataṁ (si, mr); anusandhanatā (sya-all, pts-vp-pli1)

vīriyārambho → viriyārambho (bj, sya-all, pts-vp-pli1)

ussoḷhī → ussoḷhi (bj, pts-vp-pli1)

vīriyabalaṁ → viriyabalaṁ (bj, sya-all, pts-vp-pli1)

asammussanatā → apammussanatā (bj); asammusanatā (sya-all)

bhūrī → bhūri (si)

iriyanā → irīyanā (bj)

hirī → hiri (bj, pts-vp-pli1)

paṭipassaddhi → paṭippassaddhi (bj, sya-all)

paṭipassambhanā → paṭippassambhanā (bj, sya-all)

paṭipassambhitattaṁ → paṭippassambhitattaṁ (bj, sya-all)

adussanā adussitattaṁ → adūsanā adūsitattaṁ (sya-all)

abyāpajjo → avyāpajjho (bj); abyāpajjho (cck); avyāpajjo (pts-vp-pli1)

ujukatā → ujjukatā (bj, pts-vp-pli1)

cittujukatā → cittujjukatā (bj, pts-vp-pli1)

ṭhapetvā → thapetvā (mr)

https://suttacentral.net/ds2.1.1/pli/ms

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:37 pm
by frank k
Dhammanando wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:26 am ...
Thanks Bhante.
Is there any article or book that discusses how Te Ab (pali) changed through the ages?
Did it go through some revisions, additions, through the 6 councils?

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:49 am
by Dhammanando
frank k wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:37 pm Is there any article or book that discusses how Te Ab (pali) changed through the ages?
Did it go through some revisions, additions, through the 6 councils?
The main sources for the Theravādin emic view are the introductions to the Dhammasaṅgaṇī and Kathāvatthu commentaries. The said view is that six of the seven books never changed - they're the same now as they were when recited at the First Council. The exception is the Kathāvatthu, which at the First Council was recited only in summary form (i.e., a prediction of what heresies would arise and outline accounts of how to refute them) and assumed it's current expanded form only at the Third Council when the debates had taken place and the heresies had been refuted.

The etic views (i.e., those of academic scholars and monks influenced by them) are many and various, but afaik nobody has proposed that the Abhidhamma Piṭaka underwent any further revision after the Third Council, with the exception of the Kathāvatthu which is held to consist of an early stratum of pre-Ashokan heresies and a later stratum of (mainly proto-Mahayana) heresies that arose later. The Abhidhamma Piṭaka as a whole is held to be chronologically stratified (e.g., the Dhammasaṅgaṇī and Vibhanga are early, the Yamaka and Patthāna late), but afaik nobody posits any stratification within any of the Piṭaka's books, with the exception of the Kathāvatthu.

Three influential sources of etic opinion are

Fumimaro Watanabe, Philosophy and Its Development in the Nikāyas and Abhidhamma

David Kalupahana, A History of Buddhist Philosophy: Continuities and Discontinuities

Erich Frauwallner, Studies in Abhidharma Literature and the Origins of Buddhist Philosophical Systems

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:30 pm
by frank k
Dhammanando wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:49 am ...
The main sources for the Theravādin emic view are the introductions to the Dhammasaṅgaṇī and Kathāvatthu commentaries. The said view is that six of the seven books never changed - they're the same now as they were when recited at the First Council. ...
Thanks Bhante, that's helpful. But how could 6.5 books of Abhidhamma pitaka be recited at first council, which is Mahakassapa leading the sangha right after Buddha's death?
Didn't Buddha supposedly teach that secretly to devas and Sariputta? And Sariputta would have been dead before this first council as well?

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:34 am
by Dhammanando
frank k wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:30 pm Didn't Buddha supposedly teach that secretly to devas and Sariputta? And Sariputta would have been dead before this first council as well?
In the Atthasālinī's account (see the link below) it was taught to devas who'd gathered from ten thousand world-systems, so hardly secretive. Ven. Sāriputta was taught an abridged version and transmitted this to his five hundred pupils. Ven. Ānanda recited it at the First Council, but whether he learned it from Ven. Sāriputta or from one of his pupils isn't stated in the Atthasālinī.

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dl ... 5/mode/2up

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:09 pm
by frank k
Dhammanando wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:34 am
frank k wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:30 pm Didn't Buddha supposedly teach that secretly to devas and Sariputta? And Sariputta would have been dead before this first council as well?
In the Atthasālinī's account (see the link below) it was taught to devas who'd gathered from ten thousand world-systems, so hardly secretive. Ven. Sāriputta was taught an abridged version and transmitted this to his five hundred pupils. Ven. Ānanda recited it at the First Council, but whether he learned it from Ven. Sāriputta or from one of his pupils isn't stated in the Atthasālinī.

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dl ... 5/mode/2up
Thanks Bhante.
I didn't know that (according to Theravada) Ananda recited Te Abhidhamma at the first council.
Does any Theravadin truly believe that?
Why have an Abhidhamma pitaka at all then?
Ananda would have just faithfully recounted all the Dhamma the Buddha taught, no need to segregate into a separate pitaka.
You would also expect to see some core group of Abhidhamma teaching that's consistent in all the various schools of Abhidharma, as you find with EBT suttas.
But of the many various schools of Abhidharmas out there, they're significantly different.
The other Abhidharmas also have various "authors", and some of them classify Abhidharma as commentary, not word of the Buddha.
Do any other Abhidharmas claim the Buddha taught it and Ananda recited (their version of Abhidharma) it at the first council?

Interestingly, some Mahayana schools also claims their sutras were recited at the first council. They say that a month after the first council where the EBT suttas were recited, they secretly convened and recited the mahayana sutras. This was told to me by a Pure Land monk of 20 years in that tradition.

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 3:54 pm
by Dhammanando
frank k wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:09 pm I didn't know that (according to Theravada) Ananda recited the Abhidhamma at the first council.
Does any Theravadin truly believe that?
In Theravādin Asia the account of the Buddha teaching Abhidhamma in Tāvatimsa is widely known and widely believed. In Burma it's almost ubiquitously believed.

The account of the First Council, in both it's Vinaya Piṭaka form and its more expansive commentarial form, is rather less well known. However, of those who are familiar with it, I would suppose that if they accept the Tāvatimsa narrative then they'll most probably accept the commentarial First Council narrative too.
frank k wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:09 pmWhy have an Abhidhamma pitaka at all then?
See the Atthasālinī's introduction that I linked to earlier.
frank k wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:09 pmBut of the many various schools of Abhidharmas out there, they're significantly different.
Yes, the Theravādin commentaries maintain that the canons of the paravādin Buddhist schools were poorly preserved.
frank k wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:09 pmThe other Abhidharmas also have various "authors", and some of them classify Abhidharma as commentary, not word of the Buddha. Do any other Abhidharmas claim the Buddha taught it and Ananda recited (their version of Abhidharma) it at the first council?
In the case of the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma Piṭaka, each of its seven books is attributed to some named ācariya. I don't know what the other schools claimed regarding theirs.

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:10 pm
by Coëmgenu
Dhammanando wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 3:54 pmIn the case of the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma Piṭaka, each of its seven books is attributed to some named ācariya. I don't know what the other schools claimed regarding theirs.
The Pali narrative is that the Abhidhamma is the teaching of the Buddha in the aforenamed heaven relayed by that same Buddha to Ven Sariputta, if I'm not mistaken (am I mistaken here, bhante? Please correct me if this is wrong because AFAIK this is the narrative).

The Sarvastivadin "orthodox" account, as far as I'm able to relay it accurately, is that these sages authored the specific books of their Abhidharmapitaka.

Dharmaskandha --> Ven Śāriputra (according to the Tibetan translation)
--> Ven Maudgalyāyana (according to the Chinese translation)
Jñānaprasthāna --> Ven Kātyāyanīputra
Prakaraṇapāda --> Vens Vasumitra & various unnamed Káśmīra Arhats
Vijñānakaya --> Ven Devasarman
Prajñāptiśāstra --> Ven Maudgalyāyana
Dhātukāya --> Ven Purna (according to Tibetan translations)
--> Ven Vasumitra (according to Chinese translations)
Sangītiparyāya --> Ven Mahakausthila (according to Tibetan translation)
--> Ven Śāriputra (according to the Chines translation)
Mahāvibhāṣa (post-canonical) --> Vens Katyāyāniputra & numerous others

So between extant Chinese and Tibetan translations of their material, there is no consensus on the authorship of several of their Abhidharma texts.

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:29 pm
by Coëmgenu
Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:10 pm
Dhammanando wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 3:54 pmIn the case of the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma Piṭaka, each of its seven books is attributed to some named ācariya. I don't know what the other schools claimed regarding theirs.
The Pali narrative is that the Abhidhamma is the teaching of the Buddha in the aforenamed heaven relayed by that same Buddha to Ven Sariputta, if I'm not mistaken (am I mistaken here, bhante? Please correct me if this is wrong because AFAIK this is the narrative).
Apologies. Somehow, I missed you talking about this literally a few posts up from this.

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:25 am
by Dhammanando
Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:10 pm The Pali narrative is that the Abhidhamma is the teaching of the Buddha in the aforenamed heaven relayed by that same Buddha to Ven Sariputta, if I'm not mistaken (am I mistaken here, bhante?
Yes, the account has the Buddha descending each day to teach the Abhidhamma to Ven. Sāriputta in a form that's digestible to humans (who unlike devas can't sit still for three months). While doing this he leaves behind a mind-made replica of himself that continues teaching the devas.

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:52 am
by Dhammavamsa
Dhammanando wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:25 am
Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:10 pm The Pali narrative is that the Abhidhamma is the teaching of the Buddha in the aforenamed heaven relayed by that same Buddha to Ven Sariputta, if I'm not mistaken (am I mistaken here, bhante?
Yes, the account has the Buddha descending each day to teach the Abhidhamma to Ven. Sāriputta in a form that's digestible to humans (who unlike devas can't sit still for three months). While doing this he leaves behind a mind-made replica of himself that continues teaching the devas.
Dear Bhante, I pay respect to you.

May I know what is your opinion on this Abhidhamma Pitaka origin story? May I know what is your lineage's take on this matter?

Some claimed it was a desperate lie. If that is so, then Arahants will not take it as the third Pitakas, if we assumed the Arahants capable to differentiate Dhamma from Adhamma. If that is the case (lying), then one might even suggested that those Arahants that carry Abhidhamma doctrine such as Arahant Mahinda, are bogus and fake Arahants?

Perhaps we can hear Bhante's point of view?

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 11:45 am
by DooDoot
Dhammavamsa wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:52 am Some claimed it was a desperate lie. If that is so, then Arahants will not take it as the third Pitakas, if we assumed the Arahants capable to differentiate Dhamma from Adhamma.
Blind allegiances to names & schools won't resolve such matters. I, for example, have made many posts from Abhidhamma of late, comparing such quotes to Sutta. This is the method.

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:52 pm
by frank k
Dhammanando wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 3:54 pm ...
The account of the First Council, in both it's Vinaya Piṭaka form and its more expansive commentarial form, is rather less well known. However, of those who are familiar with it, I would suppose that if they accept the Tāvatimsa narrative then they'll most probably accept the commentarial First Council narrative too.
frank k wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:09 pmBut of the many various schools of Abhidharmas out there, they're significantly different.
Yes, the Theravādin commentaries maintain that the canons of the paravādin Buddhist schools were poorly preserved.
...
That seems like a reasonable assumption (that if Theravadins accept the Buddha teaching devas Abhidhamma, they'd accept Ananda reciting Abhdhamma at first council).

Two big problems with that:
1. Since the Sarvastivadins preserved a core EBT 95%+ similar to Theravada, and supposedly Ananda recited Abhdihamma and EBT, then how could Sarvastivada Abhidhamma be poorly preserved? You would expect the Sarvastivada EBT to be poorly preserved as much as their Abhidhamma. Not to mention all the other very different Abhidhamma lineages out there. Nobody in their right mind would dare corrupt (what is accepted as) the original words of the Buddha. That's like signing up for an instant passport to hell. So the fact that there are so many radically different Abhidharmas, and a consistent EBT core of suttas across several early schools tells us Abhidhamma is not part of that time period where there was a consistently preserved EBT. And so Ananda could not have recited Abhidhamma or Abhidharma at the first council, or that would be be preserved as accurately as the vinaya and Dhamma across the different schools, varying only in their commentary and interpretations.

2. What's really disturbing to me, there are many powerful meditators with divine eye, who could converse with devas who were around at the time of the BUddha and confirm whether the origin story (Buddha supposedly teaching Abhidhamma to devas) is actually true. And some of these same meditators publicly claim the Abhidhamma to be authentic word of the Buddha, and jataka tales to be true. So what's really going on? Do they know the truth and don't want to say publicly? Buddhism is not a blind faith divine revelation type of religion. It's based on verifiable truths. Once they start lying about origin stories, Jataka tales, what else are they lying about?

Re: How many versions of canonical Theravada Abhidhamma exist?

Posted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:55 pm
by frank k
Dhammanando wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:25 am
Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:10 pm The Pali narrative is that the Abhidhamma is the teaching of the Buddha in the aforenamed heaven relayed by that same Buddha to Ven Sariputta, if I'm not mistaken (am I mistaken here, bhante?
Yes, the account has the Buddha descending each day to teach the Abhidhamma to Ven. Sāriputta in a form that's digestible to humans (who unlike devas can't sit still for three months). While doing this he leaves behind a mind-made replica of himself that continues teaching the devas.
This doesn't make sense. I could believe brahma realm devas sitting for 3 months straight, but tavatimsa devas are known for delighting in the many kinds of heavenly sensual pleasures.