What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

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What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby Sein » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:14 am

When buddha refer to his teaching, he call it dhamma vinaya.
His disciples attain arahat, ...sotapatti doesn't need abhidhamma too (They just listen,and practice according to the sutta,).
And abhidhamma is very difficult to understand. And I find it no benefit in apply into practice. Because I hear my teacher said the citta and cetasika appear and disappear thousands times in a second. The process of mind happens so fast, that even you pay attention to it, you find only a general feeling, thought,.... If you don't have enough concentration to be aware of it (say, the four jhana), you can also find it helpful, but you missing the meaning of abhidhamma (like using mediation to relax).
What do you think about abhidhamma and it's benefit?
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:22 am

Greetings,

Sein wrote:What do you think about abhidhamma and it's benefit?

MOD NOTE: Since this topic is seeking personal opinion, it will be moved out of the Discovering Theravada section.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:19 am

Personally, I have found it very beneficial to have some knowledge of the Abhidhamma. It has improved my understanding of the Nikayas as well as understanding the scholarly and practice contexts of the Theravada and the particular lineage in which I practice.
kind regards,

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saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby pulga » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:30 am

Sein wrote:What do you think about abhidhamma and it's benefit?


It's just my personal opinion, but I consider the Abhidhamma a form of delusion, and I think your doubts about it are well warranted. But seeing that you have a teacher, the matter has to be dealt with with extreme delicacy. If your teacher is kind and you feel that you're making progress spiritually by knowing him it is probably best for the time being to keep your doubts to yourself and to focus your practice on what the Sutta Pitaka has to teach you.

The Ven. Bodhi has written an essay that might be of benefit to you.

http://bodhimonastery.org/spiritual-friendship.html
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby Kare » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:52 am

Ben wrote:Personally, I have found it very beneficial to have some knowledge of the Abhidhamma. It has improved my understanding of the Nikayas as well as understanding the scholarly and practice contexts of the Theravada and the particular lineage in which I practice.
kind regards,

Ben


I would have said exactly the same, but Ben beat me to it. :anjali:
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby cooran » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:22 am

Ben wrote:Personally, I have found it very beneficial to have some knowledge of the Abhidhamma. It has improved my understanding of the Nikayas as well as understanding the scholarly and practice contexts of the Theravada and the particular lineage in which I practice.
kind regards,

Ben


Sadhu! Well said, Ben! :bow:

With metta
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby daverupa » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:40 am

I consider the various scholastic abhidhammas to be early forum posts about the suttavinaya materials, really...

It's all the voice of another; how's your attention?

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    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:04 pm

Greetings,

daverupa wrote:I consider the various scholastic abhidhammas to be early forum posts about the suttavinaya materials, really...

:jumping:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby Sein » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:21 pm

Personally, I have found it very beneficial to have some knowledge of the Abhidhamma. It has improved my understanding of the Nikayas as well as understanding the scholarly and practice contexts of the Theravada and the particular lineage in which I practice.

I still don't understand how abhidhamma could help you understand the Sutta or Vinaya. Would you like to explain more?
Abhidhamma seem to me a theoretic way of understanding the nature of the mind. How abhidhamma help you into practice?
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:25 pm

I think Abhidhamma can be very helpful if one regards it less as doctrine and far more as an interesting historical example of how people have, in the past, attempted to understanding and conceptualize the Blessed One's teachings. Equating the Abhidhamma with the suttas can be very dangerous, but if one sees it as a collection of ideas, some helpful and some not, put together by fallible humans, it can be a helpful tool for understanding some of the more esoteric or frustrating parts of the Dhamma.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:22 am

We can find Abhidhamma in the Suttas too, e.g. see A Discourse on the Cūlavedalla Sutta.

Its normal for any advanced field of knowledge to have its own technical terms. To the uninitiated, it may seem like just so much jargon, but if you want to be precise, it cannot be avoided.

Pali terms come with the territory when studying the Buddha's teachings. Although you can read all of the Suttas in English translations, unless you know the original Pali terms used you may lose some or most of the meaning, depending on the skill of the translator. A single Pali term like Citta or Sankhārā can have different meanings in different contexts, so we cannot always translate them with the same English words. The English words "consciousness" or "mental formations" may also mean different things to different readers.

There's even more room for error in a talk. I remember one talk by Ajahn Amaro where he was talking about just knowing the seen in the seen. One member of the audience thought he meant "knowing the scene in the scene."

Be patient, and don't try to run before you can walk. If some suttas are beyond your current level of understanding, then read others. Practice meditation more, and question different teachers face to face if possible.
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby Sein » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:51 pm

We can find Abhidhamma in the Suttas too, e.g. see A Discourse on the Cūlavedalla Sutta.

Its normal for any advanced field of knowledge to have its own technical terms. To the uninitiated, it may seem like just so much jargon, but if you want to be precise, it cannot be avoided.

Pali terms come with the territory when studying the Buddha's teachings. Although you can read all of the Suttas in English translations, unless you know the original Pali terms used you may lose some or most of the meaning, depending on the skill of the translator. A single Pali term like Citta or Sankhārā can have different meanings in different contexts, so we cannot always translate them with the same English words. The English words "consciousness" or "mental formations" may also mean different things to different readers.

There's even more room for error in a talk. I remember one talk by Ajahn Amaro where he was talking about just knowing the seen in the seen. One member of the audience thought he meant "knowing the scene in the scene."

Be patient, and don't try to run before you can walk. If some suttas are beyond your current level of understanding, then read others. Practice meditation more, and question different teachers face to face if possible.

Thank you Bhante.
Is abhidhamma necessary to attain Stream-enter? As I read, I see a some people don't have the ability to remember the sutta the budha taught, or can't bear the complexity of the Vinaya, they seem to just need to practice, and not likely I think they can learn abhidhamma, yet they attain Arahat.
Is it need jhana to begin learning abhidhamma ?
Can we "check" abhidhamma ? You know, like when the Buddha said breathing meditation can help you overcome sadness, grief,grow concentration,.... You can just sit, and later can check if the buddha said is truth or not...
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby SarathW » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:51 am

Hi Sein
I agree that Abhidhamma is not easy to read and understand. I do not think that the knowledge of Abhidhamma is necessary to realise Nirvana. I also think that Abhidhamma is compiled by someone almost like an Arhant. I consider Abhidhamma as a good road map which help someone to find the destination quickly and easily.
As a child, when I want to learn English I try to read the dictionary and got frustrated. Latter I learn how to make use of the dictionary. Think Abhidhamma as a dictionary do not spent too much time reading it.
The easiest way to understand Abhidhamma is first to read in summary, of which two sources given below.
I found Abhidhamma to be an invaluable to my understanding of Buddhism. :)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el322.html

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/s-abhidham/s-abhi08.htm
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby cherrytigerbarb » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:17 pm

Incidentally, does anyone know where to get an online copy of the Abhidhamma in English? I can only find "A Manual of Abhidhamma" by Ven Narada rather than the thing itself. Thanks.
"The foolish reject what they see, not what they think. The wise reject what they think, not what they see." - Huang Po.
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby cooran » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:48 pm

cherrytigerbarb wrote:Incidentally, does anyone know where to get an online copy of the Abhidhamma in English? I can only find "A Manual of Abhidhamma" by Ven Narada rather than the thing itself. Thanks.

The Abhidhamma was never written as one book - like the Suttas it was a collation of ongoing teachings and explanations.
You may find this thread of assistance:
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=826

With metta
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby Kare » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:22 am

cherrytigerbarb wrote:Incidentally, does anyone know where to get an online copy of the Abhidhamma in English? I can only find "A Manual of Abhidhamma" by Ven Narada rather than the thing itself. Thanks.


An English copy of the Abhidhamma would not be of much use, since the Abhidhamma is written in a quite technical and specialized language. It should be read in Pali. The Manual by Narada is the best introduction to Abhidhamma (there is a fairly good introduction by Bhikkhu Bodhi as well, but I prefer the one by Narada). It is in English and Pali with good explanations of the Pali terminology. If you read this Manual and memorize the Pali text of the first two chapters, you are well prepared for reading the first book of the Abhidhamma, the Dhammasangani, in Pali, for then you will already know the main framework of the text so that you can begin to understand what is going on there.
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby cherrytigerbarb » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:06 am

Thanks guys. :D
"The foolish reject what they see, not what they think. The wise reject what they think, not what they see." - Huang Po.
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby Nyorai » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:43 pm

In Abhidhamma philosophy the familiar psycho-physical universe (the world of "trees" and "rocks," "I" and "you") is distilled to its essence. This is necessary for understanding before favorable practice could achieve its intended goal, nibbana. And dhamma talks by monks/nuns etc is important which was the reason for buddha's 49 years of dhamma lecture then.
Abhidhamma is not directly from Buddha, but is a discourse in elaboration of both the essence of sutta / vinaya by enlightened monks, in much more simplicity to facilitate realization of nibbana. And the dhamma talks by monks is also a form of Abhidhamma or normally known as exegesis, to explain the sutta, vinaya or Abhidhamma.

Vinaya Pitaka', 'Sutta Pitaka' and 'Abhidhamma Pitaka' – collectively known as the 'Tripitaka'. Abhidhamma is a collective volumn that in it contains various types of Abhidhamma.

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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby Alex123 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:19 pm

Sein wrote:What do you think about abhidhamma and it's benefit?


If it helps you, then, great. If it doesn't, then focus on meditation instead.

Abhidhamma Pitaka is one thing. Commentary to it adds new and questionable metaphysical elements.
"dust to dust...."
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Re: What is the benefit of learning Abhidhamma

Postby alan... » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:18 am

pulga wrote:
Sein wrote:What do you think about abhidhamma and it's benefit?


It's just my personal opinion, but I consider the Abhidhamma a form of delusion, and I think your doubts about it are well warranted. But seeing that you have a teacher, the matter has to be dealt with with extreme delicacy. If your teacher is kind and you feel that you're making progress spiritually by knowing him it is probably best for the time being to keep your doubts to yourself and to focus your practice on what the Sutta Pitaka has to teach you.

The Ven. Bodhi has written an essay that might be of benefit to you.

http://bodhimonastery.org/spiritual-friendship.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


as far as i can tell that article is on friendship but i'm curious to read bodhi's talk on abhidhamma, do you have the link? unless i overlooked it, even a ctrl+f search found only one mention of the word abhidhamma and it's a link on the side for a book.
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