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

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mikenz66
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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: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:08 pm
mikenz66 wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:06 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 11:41 am Sujato departs radically from other Abhidhammas in that he thinks the Dhamma has no underlying structure or core, and that all of the teachings were always and ever context specific. Still, even on this basis he can’t help but from an Abhidhamma of his own.
Could you provide a quotation for this idea? I don't think it's at all controversial that the Buddha taught differently to people with different inclinations, and at different levels, so some effort is required to work out how the teachings in various suttas fit together (which is what the various strata of Commentary do), but you seem to be suggesting something other than that.

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Mike
That Sujato thinks there is no underlying structure? Sure. I’ll try and dig it out. It’s part of his criticism of the Abhidhamma’s attempts to systemise the teachings.
Thanks for the quotes, but they don't seem to address my question about your statement that:
Sujato departs radically from other Abhidhammas in that he thinks the Dhamma has no underlying structure or core, and that all of the teachings were always and ever context specific.
Of course, as I said, I think it's rather obvious that the Buddha taught in different ways, at different levels, depending on who he was teaching to, and unless one takes that into account, it will seem confusing. However, that's quite a different thing from thinking that the Dhamma itself is just a matter of context.

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

Post by mikenz66 »

mikenz66 wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:27 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:08 pm
mikenz66 wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:06 pm
Could you provide a quotation for this idea? I don't think it's at all controversial that the Buddha taught differently to people with different inclinations, and at different levels, so some effort is required to work out how the teachings in various suttas fit together (which is what the various strata of Commentary do), but you seem to be suggesting something other than that.

:heart:
Mike
That Sujato thinks there is no underlying structure? Sure. I’ll try and dig it out. It’s part of his criticism of the Abhidhamma’s attempts to systemise the teachings.
Thanks for the quotes, but they don't seem to address my question about your statement that:
Sujato departs radically from other Abhidhammas in that he thinks the Dhamma has no underlying structure or core, and that all of the teachings were always and ever context specific.
Of course, as I said, I think it's rather obvious that the Buddha taught in different ways, at different levels, depending on who he was teaching to, and unless one takes that into account, it will seem confusing. The suttas are, as he says, "nuanced and contextual". However, that's quite a different thing from thinking that the Dhamma itself is all just a matter of context.

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

Post by DooDoot »

atipattoh wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:19 am Because Malaysia does not exist yet, until 1963?
Collective past life kamma, maybe
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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: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:27 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:08 pm
mikenz66 wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:06 pm
Could you provide a quotation for this idea? I don't think it's at all controversial that the Buddha taught differently to people with different inclinations, and at different levels, so some effort is required to work out how the teachings in various suttas fit together (which is what the various strata of Commentary do), but you seem to be suggesting something other than that.

:heart:
Mike
That Sujato thinks there is no underlying structure? Sure. I’ll try and dig it out. It’s part of his criticism of the Abhidhamma’s attempts to systemise the teachings.
Thanks for the quotes, but they don't seem to address my question about your statement that:
Sujato departs radically from other Abhidhammas in that he thinks the Dhamma has no underlying structure or core, and that all of the teachings were always and ever context specific.
Of course, as I said, I think it's rather obvious that the Buddha taught in different ways, at different levels, depending on who he was teaching to, and unless one takes that into account, it will seem confusing. However, that's quite a different thing from thinking that the Dhamma itself is just a matter of context.

:heart:
Mike
How do you interpret them? The quote I’m remembering was along the lines of the teachings of the 5 aggregates etc merely being put forward to correct a distorted view, and that if the Buddha was alive today he would have used other concepts. The core teachings then are merely useful concepts, rather than ultimate realities. There is no underlying core, apart from specific conditionality, impermanence etc. I’ll try searching for it when I’m home, as I’m away and am currently using my phone which is crap for trawling through his voluminous posts and his works.

I did say this makes him unique but in thinking about it it makes him sound closer to Prajñaptivāda or possibly even Lokottaravāda, but of course without the cosmic Buddha.
“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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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 »

retrofuturist wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:38 am
The same however cannot be said for sectarian doctrines that the traditions composed themselves.
Versions of the Vibhaṅga, Puggalapaññatti and I believe the Dhātukathā are found in other schools. Based on my reading so far most if not all of the early Buddhist schools, including those of the Mahāsāṃghika, accepted and used the concept of sabhāva and of there being a conventional and ultimate truth, which strongly suggests that all of the early Buddhist schools accepted some version of the Abhidhamma dhamma theory. The Abhidhamma’s are more divergent, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some ideas held in common. That of course suggests that such ideas go back to the very earliest days of Buddhism.

When I’m back home (I’ve been away all week) I’ll make a post listing all of the early Buddhist schools and their sub-traditions and what a few of their doctrinal points were. It may take a while though, as it’s a lot to type. It’s interesting that none of them seem to accept a Buddhadasa type interpretation of the Dhamma, which seems to be a very modern and very sectarian innovation.
“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 Srilankaputra »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:44 am
How do you interpret them? The quote I’m remembering was along the lines of the teachings of the 5 aggregates etc merely being put forward to correct a distorted view, and that if the Buddha was alive today he would have used other concepts. The core teachings then are merely useful concepts, rather than ultimate realities. There is no underlying core, apart from specific conditionality, impermanence etc. I’ll try searching for it when I’m home, as I’m away and am currently using my phone which is crap for trawling through his voluminous posts and his works.
Let me help you with that,
Buddhist teachings are a conceptual map whose purpose is to guide you towards seeing reality in a specific way that is conducive towards letting go and being free from suffering. It is far from “objective”.

In the EBTs, “seeing things according to reality” (yathābhūtañāṇadassana) emerges at quite a late stage in practice, and doctrinally it usually has its full weight only in stream-entry. In that context, the bhūta has a strong sense not just of “truth”, but of “how things came to be the way they are”, i.e. the four noble truths and dependent origination. And that knowledge is inherently inferential. It’s a moment of insight, of realization, that lets you synthesize your prior (conceptual) knowledge. It is meaningful not because it corresponds to an objective truth, but because it genuinely results in a deep and permanent letting go.
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/ar ... y/16545/52

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 »

Srilankaputra wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:02 pm ...
Thanks. I had something else in mind but that’s interesting. It seems Sujato might be something of a Madhyamaka, of sorts.
“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.”


Visuddhimagga
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mikenz66
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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: Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:44 am
mikenz66 wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:27 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:08 pm

That Sujato thinks there is no underlying structure? Sure. I’ll try and dig it out. It’s part of his criticism of the Abhidhamma’s attempts to systemise the teachings.
Thanks for the quotes, but they don't seem to address my question about your statement that:
Sujato departs radically from other Abhidhammas in that he thinks the Dhamma has no underlying structure or core, and that all of the teachings were always and ever context specific.
Of course, as I said, I think it's rather obvious that the Buddha taught in different ways, at different levels, depending on who he was teaching to, and unless one takes that into account, it will seem confusing. However, that's quite a different thing from thinking that the Dhamma itself is just a matter of context.

:heart:
Mike
How do you interpret them? The quote I’m remembering was along the lines of the teachings of the 5 aggregates etc merely being put forward to correct a distorted view, and that if the Buddha was alive today he would have used other concepts. The core teachings then are merely useful concepts, rather than ultimate realities. There is no underlying core, apart from specific conditionality, impermanence etc. I’ll try searching for it when I’m home, as I’m away and am currently using my phone which is crap for trawling through his voluminous posts and his works.

I did say this makes him unique but in thinking about it it makes him sound closer to Prajñaptivāda or possibly even Lokottaravāda, but of course without the cosmic Buddha.
Sorry, doesn't really sound familiar. Thanks anyway!

Perhaps what you are objecting to is the observation that many modern commentators (including Bhikkhu Bodhi) make about the Abhidhamma/Commentary tendency to aim for completeness. So, for example, the aggregates and the sense bases are seen to have to encompass everything (based on statements about "the all", etc, of course). However, in the suttas it's not clear that the aggregates have to include every possible aspect of experience, but the later texts tend to expand the sankhara aggregate to include anything that doesn't fit in the other four.

Personally, I find both views helpful to consider. From a Classical point of view the aggregates and sense bases are alternative ways to analyse all of experience, and that can have value, like looking at something from a different angle. From a more sutta-oriented view, they tend to be taught in particular contexts, so the aggregates tend to appear more often in the context of discussions of not-self (second discourse), and the sense bases in discussions of greed, hatred, aversion (third discourse). However, this is not always the case, and different suttas illuminate in different ways.

There is amazing depth and breadth in the suttas, and the later texts. Considering the analyses of ancient and modern commentators can provide helpful guidance. I am most interested in understanding how to make use of the teachings to reduce greed, aversion and delusion, not to jump to conclusions about what they will ultimately mean.



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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: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:16 pm
Sorry, doesn't really sound familiar. Thanks anyway!
As i say I’ll dig it out when I’m home. I’m determined too now :jumping:
Perhaps what you are objecting to is the observation that many modern commentators (including Bhikkhu Bodhi) make about the Abhidhamma/Commentary tendency to aim for completeness. So, for example, the aggregates and the sense bases are seen to have to encompass everything (based on statements about "the all", etc, of course). However, in the suttas it's not clear that the aggregates have to include every possible aspect of experience, but the later texts tend to expand the sankhara aggregate to include anything that doesn't fit in the other four.

Personally, I find both views helpful to consider. From a Classical point of view the aggregates and sense bases are alternative ways to analyse all of experience, and that can have value, like looking at something from a different angle. From a more sutta-oriented view, they tend to be taught in particular contexts, so the aggregates tend to appear more often in the context of discussions of not-self (second discourse), and the sense bases in discussions of greed, hatred, aversion (third discourse). However, this is not always the case, and different suttas illuminate in different ways.

There is amazing depth and breadth in the suttas, and the later texts. Considering the analyses of ancient and modern commentators can provide helpful guidance. I am most interested in understanding how to make use of the teachings to reduce greed, aversion and delusion, not to jump to conclusions about what they will ultimately mean.



:heart:
Mike
Not quite. More his idea that the core teachings are just useful concepts.
“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.”


Visuddhimagga
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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: 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.
“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 SarathW »

Just a matter of interest:

Are all the monks (Ven Ajahan Braham, Ven Sujato) who reject Abhidhamma accept that the Nibbana is an objective reality?
Does venerable Thannisaro (Dhamma Yutta Nikaya) accept Abhidhamma?
Do all monks in Ajahn Chah linage reject Abhidhamma?

The way I see that rejecting Abhidhamma is nothing to do with early Buddism etc.
What I see is that Abhidhamma has become a threat to this linage as it negate the belief of this tradition.
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Re: Is it compulsory to accept Abhidhamma as a part of doctrine to be considered as Theravada?

Post by Srilankaputra »

SarathW wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:25 am What I see is that Abhidhamma has become a threat
:sage:

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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: Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:25 am What I see is that Abhidhamma has become a threat to this linage as it negate the belief of this tradition.
How would you know if you haven't read it? :shrug:

This sounds like more...

Image

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 12:28 pm Greetings,
SarathW wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:25 am What I see is that Abhidhamma has become a threat to this linage as it negate the belief of this tradition.
How would you know if you haven't read it? :shrug:

This sounds like more...

Image

Metta,
Paul. :)
Out of interest have you read much of it?
“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 12:29 pm Out of interest have you read much of it?
Not much. My greatest exposure to it is through "A Manual Of Abhidhamma", a couple of Nina Van Gorkom's books, and the Visuddhimagga itself. The lists do nothing for me, and there's fundamental issues with the whole enterprise that I disagree with. Can discuss another day if you like.

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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