The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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pt1
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by pt1 »

TheDhamma wrote: I don't have my PTS Vinaya copy with me, but know that it is in the Cullavagga, chapter XI where it is recorded that the Patimokkha is recited and the five Nikayas at the First Council and that is it, no mention of any other texts.
Hi David, the only English translation of cullavagga online seems to be the one on sacred-texts by Rhys Davids from 1885:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe20/sbe20119.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

From there:
Thus did the venerable Mahâ Kassapa question the venerable Ânanda as to the occasion of the Sâmañña-phala, and as to the individual concerned. And in like manner did he question him through the five Nikâyas, and as he was successively asked, so did Ânanda make reply.
I guess it's pointless to note the commentary position that "Abhidhamma is Pitaka by Pitaka
classification, Khuddaka-Nikaya by Nikaya classification..." which would mean that it was recited as part of the fifth nikaya... By the way, do modern theravadins accept Petavatthu and Buddhavamsa (from the fifth nikaya) as having been recited at the first council (because there are also abhidhamma-related passages there, but I don't want to bore you guys if you don't consider them first council material either)?

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings pt1,
pt1 wrote:Didn’t realize that, sorry for bothering you retro.
No problems pt1... though I'm certainly interested in seeing what you and David can extract from such resources!

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by DNS »

pt1 wrote: By the way, do modern theravadins accept Petavatthu and Buddhavamsa (from the fifth nikaya) as having been recited at the first council (because there are also abhidhamma-related passages there, but I don't want to bore you guys if you don't consider them first council material either)?
I think most Modern Theravadins see those books as later writings. It is difficult to say conclusively if they were recited at the First Council.

Bhikkhu Bodhi, Dhammavuddho Thera and others have their doubts, as do modern scholars. Modern Theravadins probably hold a slight variety of opinions but probably take one of the following:

1. The first four Nikayas in their entirety are Buddhavacana, plus the following books from the Khuddaka NIkaya: Khuddakapatha, Dhammapada, Udana, Itivutaka, Sutta Nipata, Theragatha, and Therigatha; and the Patimokkha from the Vinaya. (That would still make the Buddhavacana portion of the Tipitaka roughly 30 out of 40 volumes.)

2. All of the above, plus the other books of the KN, plus the other Vinaya books, plus the Abhidhamma, but see them as written by later disciples of the Buddha, who may have been arahants and thus, still worthy to be included in the Canon.

3. All of the Pali Canon as Buddhavacana, but just have some differences in interpretation, where some Suttas are not taken literally because they were not meant to be in some cases (the Buddha specifically states not to take all teachings literally at AN 2.25).

I personally lean toward numbers 2 and 3 above.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by DNS »

I finally was back at my Tipitaka library this past weekend and so had the opportunity to look up the exact passages as translated by the Pali Text Society:

"Then the venerable Kassapa the Great informed the Order, saying: 'Your reverences, let the Order listen to me. If it seems right to the Order I could question Upali on discipline.' Then the venerable Upali informed the Order, saying: 'Honorable sirs, the Order listen to me . . . "

And then the Patimokkha of the Vinaya was recited.

"Then the venerable Kassapa the Great informed the Order saying: 'Honored sirs, let the Order listen to me. If it seems right to the Order I could question Ananda about dhamma.' Then the venerable Ananada informed the Order saying: 'Honored sirs, let the Order listen to me. If it seems right to the Order, I, questioned on the dhamma by the venerable Kassapa the Great, could answer . . . "

And then Kassapa questions Ananda on the first two chapters of the Digha Nikaya and after that we have:

"Then the venerable Kassapa the Great questioned the venerable Ananda as to the provenance of the Samannaphala and he questioned him as to the individual. In this same way he questioned him about the five Nikayas. Constantly, questioned, the venerable Ananda answered."

Vinaya, Cullavagga XI

My emphasis in bold above, notice how that sentence appears to be a summarizing statement, stating all of the rest that was recited at the First Council.

At least from the Canonical account (Tipitaka), there appears to be no indication that the Abhidhamma was recited at the First Council.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by cooran »

Hello all,

From an old thread by RobertIK:

The Attahasalini (expositor) p32
"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 classification, 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

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... ssage/3350" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

metta
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pt1
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by pt1 »

TheDhamma wrote: "Then the venerable Kassapa the Great questioned the venerable Ananda as to the provenance of the Samannaphala and he questioned him as to the individual. In this same way he questioned him about the five Nikayas. Constantly, questioned, the venerable Ananda answered."

Vinaya, Cullavagga XI

My emphasis in bold above, notice how that sentence appears to be a summarizing statement, stating all of the rest that was recited at the First Council.

At least from the Canonical account (Tipitaka), there appears to be no indication that the Abhidhamma was recited at the First Council.
Hi David,

Thanks for the quote. I agree that it looks like a summarizing statement, though we can't know whether abhidhamma (the material that's designated as abhidhamma pitaka nowadays) was included in those days in the 5th nikaya as the commentary says, or not.

That's why it might be useful to examine the different classifications of teachings and when they appeared. From my very limited reading so far, there are 3 classifications:

1. The ninefold division - mentioned many times in the suttas (the materials that are designated as sutta pitaka nowadays), so it seems to co-exist with the life of the Buddha.

2. The 5 nikayas - this classification is mentioned in your quote, so the question is if it existed prior to the first council or not.

3. The 3 pitakas - the questions is whether this classification existed prior to the third council, and if so, when did it appear.

There are other more general classifications like Dhamma and vinaya, sutta and vinaya, but these seem more like generalizations that can mean different things in different contexts.

Anyway, it seems the logical thing to do would be to figure out how all the materials that we currently have in the 3 pitakas were arranged according to different classifications. For example, I think I recall reading somewhere that both vinaya and abhidhamma (the materials we nowadays designate as vinaya and abhidhamma pitakas) were classified as parts of the 5th Nikaya, but I'm pretty sure that was a commentarial explanation. Figuring out this stuff will be pretty hard since whatever info there might be, it's mostly in the commentaries.

Best wishes
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by pt1 »

Hi all, a correction/update of one of my previous posts:
pt1 wrote:on the mind-moments sequence ... - they seem to have been mentioned in written records at the time of abhidhmmatha sangaha (I’m no expert to say whether they were implied in the seven abhidhamma books or not).
It seems all the mind-moments were already spelled out in patthana and dhammsangani, while in abhidhammattha sangaha they were simply put into a sequence-list. The references to the mind-moments were compiled by Alberto on DSG (post #100920):

Some more text references where the Abhidhamma proper spells out the names of
the paramattha dhammas (citta & cetasikas) and their arising order in a sense
door process (mind door ones last less than 17 citta moments, the duration of
rùpa), I have enclosed them in single quotes:

- at least one (no up to limit) 'bhavanga'/life continuum citta, (in
ananantara/contiguity, samanantara/proximity, anantarupanissaya, natthi/absence,
vigata/gone-by paccaya/condition, abyàkata->abyàkata, Patthàna 417, 418, 423,
436, 437),
- plus one 'avajjana'/adverting citta, 'kiriya-mano-dhatu' (same ref. as
'bhavanga' and also at Dhs. 566);
- plus one 'chakku' or ... 'kaya-viññana-dhatu', of the (10, dvi)
'vipàka-pañca-viññana' (Pth.4, 5, 22, 23; Dhs. 431...);
- plus one 'vipaka-mano-dhatu', (sampaticchana, receiving - Dhs. 455.)
- plus one 'vipaka-mano-viññana-dhatu', (santirana, investigating - Dhs. 469,
484);
- plus one votthapana/determining citta as 'kiriya-mano-viññana-dhatu' (Dhs.
568),
- plus several (up to seven) 'kusala' or 'akusala-mano-viññana-dhatu' (javana
cittas, as 'asevana'/repetition condition, Pth 426: kusala -> kusala, akusala ->
akusala, kiriyaabyàkata -> kiriyaabyàkata (i.e. the arahant cittas replacing
kusala ones),
- plus one (or none, up to two) 'vipàka tadàrammanata'/receiving citta /
'vipaka-mano-viññana dhatu' (in àrammana/object condition, Pth. 406. / and Dhs.,
same as santirana).
Best wishes
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by DNS »

pt1 wrote: 1. The ninefold division - mentioned many times in the suttas (the materials that are designated as sutta pitaka nowadays), so it seems to co-exist with the life of the Buddha.
1. Discourses
2. Teachings in verse
3. Predictions
4. Summaries in verse
5. Dependent Origination
6. Instructions by simile
7. Quotations
8. Inspired sayings
9. Stories of previous births

None of the above appear to refer to the Abhidhamma. There are clear examples for the Suttas, Theragatha & Therigatha, even Jataka, but apparently not Abhidhamma.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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pt1 wrote: 3. The 3 pitakas - the questions is whether this classification existed prior to the third council, and if so, when did it appear.
The 3 pitakas quote in the Canon comes from the Parivara, the last book of the Vinaya Pitaka and considered to be a later text. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parivara" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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pt1 wrote: 2. The 5 nikayas - this classification is mentioned in your quote, so the question is if it existed prior to the first council or not.
Hi pt,

By process of elimination, the best possible argument that the Abhidhamma may have been recited at the First Council would come from your no. 2 above. If it could be shown that Abhidhamma was considered a part of the Khuddaka Nikaya at that time, then the statement that the five Nikayas were recited could include the Abhidhamma.

I think some of the early schools did consider the Abhidhamma part of the Khuddaka Nikaya, but not the Theravada. Also, I think the commentaries claim that it was not Ananda, but another monk who recited the Abhidhamma. So if that were the case (Abhidhamma part of KN) then the commentaries would be in contradiction to the Pali Canon, Vinaya account.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Paññāsikhara »

This discussion could benefit an enormous amount by getting out of the "Pali only" fixation and referring more Sanskrit, Chinese and even Tibetan materials. A quite check to see if a passage also appears or not in other versions of the Vinaya or Sutras, for instance, is powerful evidence as to its originality or not.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Paññāsikhara wrote:This discussion could benefit an enormous amount by getting out of the "Pali only" fixation and referring more Sanskrit, Chinese and even Tibetan materials. A quite check to see if a passage also appears or not in other versions of the Vinaya or Sutras, for instance, is powerful evidence as to its originality or not.
Good point. I am not that familiar with the Mahayana and Vajrayana versions, but have heard that there are some similarities, but also some marked differences. I am not sure of the extent of the differences, one big one being that there is no Katthavattu in the Mahayana Abhidharma or Abhidharma-kosa.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Paññāsikhara »

TheDhamma wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:This discussion could benefit an enormous amount by getting out of the "Pali only" fixation and referring more Sanskrit, Chinese and even Tibetan materials. A quite check to see if a passage also appears or not in other versions of the Vinaya or Sutras, for instance, is powerful evidence as to its originality or not.
Good point. I am not that familiar with the Mahayana and Vajrayana versions, but have heard that there are some similarities, but also some marked differences. I am not sure of the extent of the differences, one big one being that there is no Katthavattu in the Mahayana Abhidharma or Abhidharma-kosa.
Who said anything about Mahayana or Vajrayana? I am referring to the Sarvastivada, Mulasarvastivada, Dharmagupta, Mahisasaka, Kasyapiya, Mahasamghika and other traditions.

Apart from Asanga's Samuccaya, and an oblique reference to a Mahayana Abhidharma Sutra Sastra (whatever the heck that possible oxymoron is!), there is really no such thing as a Mahayana Abhidharma.

As for "there is no Katthavatthua in the Mahayana Abhidharma or Abhidharma Kosa", I am confused as to what you may mean. It is a bit like saying "There is no Abhidharma Vijnanakayapada Sastra in the Abhidhammatthasangaha!". Why on earth should there be? Why would anybody want to put it there in the first place?

This very sort of confusion is exactly why I made my earlier comment in the first place.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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pt1 wrote:
Afaik, the classical position regarding abhidhamma pitaka goes like this (someone please correct me if I’m wrong):
1. Buddha preached abhidhamma in Tavatimsa.
2. Then he gave the summaries (matikas) of his Tavatimsa sermons to Sariputta.
3. Sariputta then organized and fleshed out these matikas into their current form and thought it to his disciples – what he thought to his disciples is pretty much what abhidhamma pitaka is today (except for the katthavathu).

The argument is then made that the Buddha was there to correct Sariputta, in case there was something wrong with his recension of abhidhamma pitaka. (Remember that Sariputta died before the Buddha, so if abhidhamma pitaka survived after Sariputta’s death, it seems probable that it had the stamp of approval by the Buddha, like in other cases when Sariputta gave a discourse and the Buddha approved). Nevertheless, it is said that abhidhamma is the provenance of the Buddhas – i.e. it originated with the Buddha, and we in the human realm got it through Sariputta. And then abhidhamma pitaka (as arranged by Sariputta) was sung at the first council, which lasted for 7 months I think. As I remember, Sariputta was (while alive - well before the first council) in charge of organising all of the Buddha’s teachings, not just the abhidhamma pitaka, but other pitakas as well, so he wasn’t called “The Marshal of the Dhamma” for no reason.
That explanation was taken from the Commentaries (Atthasalini). If one accepts this explanation, then 6 out of 7 volumes of the Abidhamma Pitaka should be seen as the words of Ven Sariputta, not the Buddha's words. Similarly, the Kathavatthu of the Abidhamma Pitaka should be seen as the words of Ven Moggaliputta Tissa recorded in the 3rd century BCE (King Asoka's period).

Perhaps this line was taken by the Sarvastivadins with their Abhidhamma collection, available only in Chinese translation (Taisho, volume T26, Abhidhamma Collection). Their 7 Abhidhamma volumes were attributed to the Buddha's direct disciples -- Sariputta, Moggalana, Kaccana -- and monks of later generations.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by BudSas »

Paññāsikhara wrote:
Apart from Asanga's Samuccaya, and an oblique reference to a Mahayana Abhidharma Sutra Sastra (whatever the heck that possible oxymoron is!), there is really no such thing as a Mahayana Abhidharma.
I agree. In the Chinese (Korean/Japanese) Tipitaka, there is a Abhidhamma Collection (Taisho, volumes T26-T29) of 28 Abhidhamma titles (no. 1536-1563) of "pre-Mahayana" schools -- such as Vibhajyavada, Sarvastivada, Vatsiputriya. See a summary at:

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/his ... tripit.htm

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