Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries
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Eko Care
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Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Eko Care »

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:25 pm Just recently, a thought occured to me that it is very fortunate for me to have some chances to get in touch with a little bit of Abhidhamma, making things really easy regarding interpretations of Dhamma readings. This thought formed after seeing the instances that even those very great minds of these (and recent) days who seemed not wanting to rely on abhidhamma usually ended up walking hazardously & laboriously on explanation about the attainments, on the verge of apparently contradicting the Buddha's teachings.
robertk wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:40 am
Eko Care wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:25 am They are not just list of synonyms. They are the definitions. They are the interpretations of the words mentioned in all 3 Pitakas.

If one doesn't know the correct interpretation and definition, there is a risk for him to get caught up by incorrect and tricky interpretations.

The definitions make the understanding clearer.

Both the Theory and Practical are necessary in any field.
You mean like knowing the difference between killing someone and... maybe not killing them?...
Killing does seem obvious but look at the debates we see about abortion or killing insects.

In the Introduction to the Vibhanga Iggelden writes:

It is all very well to say ‘I know what needs to be done to break
the continuity of rebirth and death’. In fact very few people know of
even the most elementary reasons for the continuity of process, let
alone of breaking it.
It is the detailed description, analysis and
reasons given for this cyclic process that the scriptures spend so
much care in putting before us.
It is all very well to say ‘What do I want to know all these
definitions of terms for, it only clutters the mind?’ The question is,
though, how many people when they seriously ask themselves as to the
extent and range of some such apparently simple terms as greed,
hatred and ignorance, can know their full and proper implications and
manifestations within their own thoughts and actions…This the
scriptures are at pains to make clear to even the dullest
reader
…”.

He goes on in a similar vein for pages.

The Dhamma is above all for daily life but if not informed by correct theory one can follow paths that come to dead ends.
Yes, I like to say it again
"It is all very well to say ‘I know what needs to be done to break the continuity of rebirth and death’.
In fact very few people know of even the most elementary reasons for the continuity of process,
let alone of breaking it".

Have I understood the the importance of Commentaries and Abhidhamma correctly?
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Ontheway
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Ontheway »

Definitely I shared the same sentiment with user Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta there. I am glad that I opened my heart to both Abhidhamma Pitaka and Atthakatha.

But one thing is true though, Abhidhamma canon texts are so long, detailed, repetitive.... Many times I almost fall asleep reading the texts. :zzz:

Even when I recite Paṭṭhāna text (both paccayuddeso and paccayaniddeso) during my daily chanting activity, I have to really force myself to stay awake. But once I finish the recitation, I was like back to normal.

I guess it has something to do with lacking of merits? :embarassed:
"The self tries so hard. Like the wooden boy Pinocchio, this fictional entity passionately wants to become a living soul. With its many self-hoods, this long-nosed puppet is desperate to become the real you."

- Kate Gustin
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Ceisiwr »

Ontheway wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 3:11 pm Definitely I shared the same sentiment with user Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta there. I am glad that I opened my heart to both Abhidhamma Pitaka and Atthakatha.

But one thing is true though, Abhidhamma canon texts are so long, detailed, repetitive.... Many times I almost fall asleep reading the texts. :zzz:

Even when I recite Paṭṭhāna text (both paccayuddeso and paccayaniddeso) during my daily chanting activity, I have to really force myself to stay awake. But once I finish the recitation, I was like back to normal.

I guess it has something to do with lacking of merits? :embarassed:
A lot of people find it boring. I do too.
“In faith, recollect the immeasurable Buddha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Dhamma!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Saṅgha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy”


Tekicchakārittheragāthā 6.2
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Eko Care
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Eko Care »

Ontheway wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 3:11 pm Definitely I shared the same sentiment with user Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta there. I am glad that I opened my heart to both Abhidhamma Pitaka and Atthakatha.

But one thing is true though, Abhidhamma canon texts are so long, detailed, repetitive.... Many times I almost fall asleep reading the texts. :zzz:

Even when I recite Paṭṭhāna text (both paccayuddeso and paccayaniddeso) during my daily chanting activity, I have to really force myself to stay awake. But once I finish the recitation, I was like back to normal.

I guess it has something to do with lacking of merits? :embarassed:
I have heard from the videos of the Patthana Expert Venerable Upasama at IIT that a certain degree of courage is needed for mastering Patthana. He says that it feels taste-less only until the learner hasn't pass a certain milestone. But after that milestone, where the learner gets to know the taste, it becomes a very interesting subject, he says.
Monk wrote: The whole notion of EBT and Suttanta is that escaping saṃsāra is super easy and the commentaries which are based on the Abhidhamma complicate things (aka making enlightenment difficult).
The Buddha was very clear that it was not so simple and criticized ven ānanda.


One young and naïve monk who was about to leave na-uyana said that enlightenment is like baking a cake, you follow the instructions and you stick it in an oven.
The problem is that suttanta is like reading the ingredients of a candy bar wrapper and expecting to make it at home.

He was a typical suttanta. New to Buddhism and parroting the other suttantas. He later changed his mind, but in the end, he is a lay person now. I think he wants to ordain again, or may have done so already.
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Eko Care
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Eko Care »

Ceisiwr wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 3:26 pm
Ontheway wrote: I guess it has something to do with lacking of merits? :embarassed:
A lot of people find it boring. I do too.
Was that because of the above mentioned reason?
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Ceisiwr »

Eko Care wrote: Wed May 04, 2022 1:22 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 3:26 pm
Ontheway wrote: I guess it has something to do with lacking of merits? :embarassed:
A lot of people find it boring. I do too.
Was that because of the above mentioned reason?
I found it to be very repetitive and not all that relevant.
“In faith, recollect the immeasurable Buddha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Dhamma!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Saṅgha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy”


Tekicchakārittheragāthā 6.2
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Eko Care
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Eko Care »

Ceisiwr wrote: Wed May 04, 2022 1:31 pm I found it to be very repetitive and not all that relevant.
So you're repeating the below?
‘What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for, it only clutters the mind?’
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Ontheway
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Ontheway »

Well, Suttas, even Dhammapada stanzas are often repetitive. It is Mukhapada style.
"The self tries so hard. Like the wooden boy Pinocchio, this fictional entity passionately wants to become a living soul. With its many self-hoods, this long-nosed puppet is desperate to become the real you."

- Kate Gustin
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Eko Care
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Eko Care »

Ontheway wrote: Thu May 05, 2022 8:57 am Well, Suttas, even Dhammapada stanzas are often repetitive. It is Mukhapada style.
It is natural that analytical subjects are found difficult by the learners.
But what the people who have already learnt say is that it makes interpretation very easier than before.
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:25 pm Just recently, a thought occured to me that it is very fortunate for me to have some chances to get in touch with a little bit of Abhidhamma, making things really easy regarding interpretations of Dhamma readings. This thought formed after seeing the instances that even those very great minds of these (and recent) days who seemed not wanting to rely on abhidhamma usually ended up walking hazardously & laboriously on explanation about the attainments, on the verge of apparently contradicting the Buddha's teachings.
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Ontheway »

I memorising Patthana (summary and exposition) and still going on.

I find it challenging and quite easy once I found the way to memorise it (but still need much effort).

Reading through these texts, I think there is only one clear message the Buddha want to tell us: All things are conditionally arise and cease, there is nothing found to be independent and permanent. It is all Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta.
"The self tries so hard. Like the wooden boy Pinocchio, this fictional entity passionately wants to become a living soul. With its many self-hoods, this long-nosed puppet is desperate to become the real you."

- Kate Gustin
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Ceisiwr »

Ontheway wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:18 am I memorising Patthana (summary and exposition) and still going on.

I find it challenging and quite easy once I found the way to memorise it (but still need much effort).

Reading through these texts, I think there is only one clear message the Buddha want to tell us: All things are conditionally arise and cease, there is nothing found to be independent and permanent. It is all Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta.
According to Theravāda there is one such dhamma. Nibbāna is a real existent which is independent and permanent.
“In faith, recollect the immeasurable Buddha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Dhamma!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Saṅgha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy”


Tekicchakārittheragāthā 6.2
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Ontheway
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Ontheway »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:32 am
Ontheway wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:18 am I memorising Patthana (summary and exposition) and still going on.

I find it challenging and quite easy once I found the way to memorise it (but still need much effort).

Reading through these texts, I think there is only one clear message the Buddha want to tell us: All things are conditionally arise and cease, there is nothing found to be independent and permanent. It is all Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta.
According to Theravāda there is one such dhamma. Nibbāna is a real existent which is independent and permanent.
Yes, it doesn't contradict. For Nibbana is Asankhata Dhatu. Or I shall say:

All Sankhata things are conditionally arise and cease, there is nothing found to be independent and permanent. It is all Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta.
"The self tries so hard. Like the wooden boy Pinocchio, this fictional entity passionately wants to become a living soul. With its many self-hoods, this long-nosed puppet is desperate to become the real you."

- Kate Gustin
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by Ceisiwr »

Ontheway wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:47 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:32 am
Ontheway wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:18 am I memorising Patthana (summary and exposition) and still going on.

I find it challenging and quite easy once I found the way to memorise it (but still need much effort).

Reading through these texts, I think there is only one clear message the Buddha want to tell us: All things are conditionally arise and cease, there is nothing found to be independent and permanent. It is all Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta.
According to Theravāda there is one such dhamma. Nibbāna is a real existent which is independent and permanent.
Yes, it doesn't contradict. For Nibbana is Asankhata Dhatu. Or I shall say:

All Sankhata things are conditionally arise and cease, there is nothing found to be independent and permanent. It is all Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta.
All conditioned dhammas arise and cease, yes. Nibbāna is a dhamma, but the only one which is permanent and independent although it can still be a condition/cause for other dhammas.
“In faith, recollect the immeasurable Buddha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Dhamma!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy.

In faith, recollect the immeasurable Saṅgha!
Your body soaked with rapture; you’ll always be full of joy”


Tekicchakārittheragāthā 6.2
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analysis
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by analysis »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 2:32 am According to Theravāda there is one such dhamma. Nibbāna is a real existent which is independent and permanent.
If we take the extinguishing of a flame as a simile to attaining nibbana at the death,
we can say the state of extinguished is nibbana.

So "that state" can be considered a real existent.

It is independent because "that state" doesn't depend on causes (fuel).

Therefore "that state" can be considered permanent in the sense that it doesn't cease by a re-arising of the previous flame.

Am I correct?
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Re: Abhidhamma - It is all very well to say "What do I want to know all these definitions of terms for?"

Post by dharmacorps »

Seems to not be necessary to know the abhidhamma in order to reach liberation, which may be the achilles heel for most Buddhists.
Which is fortunate, because I too find it boring.

All the people in the pali canon who reached the noble attainments did so without the benefit of it as far as we know.

If you like it, good for you, but "bible thumping" the abhidhamma to other buddhists is likely to have little effect to those who it doesn't appeal to for those reasons.
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