The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:54 pm

pt1 wrote:Hi, I think the origin of commentaries and their alleged dates of creation are probably the main controversial point here because both camps use it in their arguments, but to completely opposite ends (to be clear - when saying "commentaries", the reference is to atthakathas, not to tikas and other later derivative works).


I think I may have found it! I have done some more looking over at RobertK's discussion and this is what he (RobertK) posted:

I found this in the attakattha to the Dhammasangani (first book of the Abhidhamma) the Atthasalini, (from the introductory discourse):

"The ancient commentary therof was sang By the First council, Mahakassapa Their leader, and later again by seers, Mahinda bought it to the peerless isle, Ceylon,.." endquote.


Robert then goes on to say that he is not sure which "commentary" is referred to by Buddhaghosa.

Buddhaghosa wrote that commentary around 4th to 5th century CE (AD).

Does anyone know of any other references, if any, that might suggest a First Council reciting? The above is still a little vague, but provide some evidence.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:02 pm

From the introduction to the Mahavamsa (not in the Mahavamsa) translation by Geiger:

"There is, besides, an account in the second volume of the Dulva, the Tibetan Vinaya of the Sarvastivadin sect. The fixing of the canon took place, according to this source, in the following order: 1) Dharma, by Ananda; 2)Vinaya, by Upali; 3)Matrka (i.e.Abhidarma) by Mahakasyapa himself.....


(The Tibetan version of the Vinaya)

Matrka is Sanskrit for Matikas (summaries), which could be Abhidhamma summaries.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:45 pm

pt1 wrote:Apologies if I'm wrong there, but if I'm right, then that view seems to go against "classical theravada" position, what basically says that your view is based on some sources that you consider more reliable than the ancient accounts of the Theras in the atthakathas.


Peter wrote:You seem to be missing pt1's point.
Or alternatively, "Why do you, TheDhamma, believe later claims over earlier one's on this matter?"


Hi pt, Peter,

I was responding to pt's other point earlier, so now I will get to this other point you both make.

I don't accept modern scholars over the Theras, but as somewhat of a scholar myself, I like to look at all available evidence. :juggling:

Yes, the scholars are further removed from the time of Buddha. Some of them are not Buddhist. The fact that they are not Buddhist gives them somewhat of an edge in that they don't get accused of sectarian bias. The accounts of the Theras is certainly important too, but which ones? There have been many schisms and disagreements over the centuries.

Often and usually, the scholars don't provide new information. They are simply examining the ancient texts written by the Theras. They are examining the Visudhimagga, the Canon, the Atthakathas, etc. Sometimes they are simply noticing some inconsistencies the rest of us did not notice. An example is Ven. Analayo, Ph.D. and Ven. Dhammananda, Ph.D., both monastic and both are scholars who have noticed some inconsistencies in regard to the 8 garudhammas and the Buddha's alleged reluctance to ordain women. They were not providing any new information, just a scholarly study of the existing texts.

In the same way, we can look at what modern scholars have to say, but without ignoring the relevance, importance, and respect the Theras deserve.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:55 pm

Hi Dhamma
I think I have the same if not similare opinion to you here, I prefer to look at the texts myself, and use the comentators what ever the time frame to see if there is something I missed took wrongly or if there is another angle I didn't consider, or just simply for 'scolarly' curiousity, not that I am a scholor or anything, more an (overly) enthusiastic layman.

TheDhamma wrote:
pt1 wrote:Apologies if I'm wrong there, but if I'm right, then that view seems to go against "classical theravada" position, what basically says that your view is based on some sources that you consider more reliable than the ancient accounts of the Theras in the atthakathas.


Peter wrote:You seem to be missing pt1's point.
Or alternatively, "Why do you, TheDhamma, believe later claims over earlier one's on this matter?"


Hi pt, Peter,

I was responding to pt's other point earlier, so now I will get to this other point you both make.

I don't accept modern scholars over the Theras, but as somewhat of a scholar myself, I like to look at all available evidence. :juggling:

Yes, the scholars are further removed from the time of Buddha. Some of them are not Buddhist. The fact that they are not Buddhist gives them somewhat of an edge in that they don't get accused of sectarian bias. The accounts of the Theras is certainly important too, but which ones? There have been many schisms and disagreements over the centuries.

Often and usually, the scholars don't provide new information. They are simply examining the ancient texts written by the Theras. They are examining the Visudhimagga, the Canon, the Atthakathas, etc. Sometimes they are simply noticing some inconsistencies the rest of us did not notice. An example is Ven. Analayo, Ph.D. and Ven. Dhammananda, Ph.D., both monastic and both are scholars who have noticed some inconsistencies in regard to the 8 garudhammas and the Buddha's alleged reluctance to ordain women. They were not providing any new information, just a scholarly study of the existing texts.

In the same way, we can look at what modern scholars have to say, but without ignoring the relevance, importance, and respect the Theras deserve.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:59 am

This whole thread is starting to puzzle me. It seems clear that the translation of many technical points in the Suttas is only possible with a careful reading of commentaries and a lifetime of study. "Just reading the Suttas" is therefore not an option for most of us. One is actually reading the interpretations of the translator, so in my opinion it would be sensible to read what the translator says about the commentary and how he/she has used the commentary to tease out the meaning.

Similarly, there is the idea that the ancient commentators and Venerable Buddhagosa were completely confused about the meaning of the Tipitika is rather odd. But modern Venerables such as Ajahn Chah, or people who have spent a few years reading translations, have derived a clear vision from the Suttas that surpasses the understanding of the ancient Sangha...

There is certainly a place scholarship on these issues, and it is of course possible that modern translators have misinterpreted the ancient commentators, and more analysis of their views is necessary. But simply rejecting the Abhidhamma and Commentaries because they are "later" than the Suttas seems to me a rather odd attitude. A little like insisting that everyone since Newton has misunderstood Calculus...

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby pt1 » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:01 am

TheDhamma wrote:I have done some more looking over at RobertK's discussion and this is what he (RobertK) posted:

Hi, yes, I'd suggest going over robertk's discussion several times as it has quite a bit of detail that might be overlooked due to it's length.

TheDhamma wrote:
I found this in the attakattha to the Dhammasangani (first book of the Abhidhamma) the Atthasalini, (from the introductory discourse):

"The ancient commentary therof was sang By the First council, Mahakassapa Their leader, and later again by seers, Mahinda bought it to the peerless isle, Ceylon,.."

Robert then goes on to say that he is not sure which "commentary" is referred to by Buddhaghosa.


I'll reproduce here the whole bit about it from robertk's discussion as it seems useful to get different perspectives on the translation:
Robert:

I found this in the attakattha to the Dhammasangani (first book of the Abhidhamma) the Atthasalini, (from the introductory discourse):

"The ancient commentary therof was sang By the First council, Mahakassapa Their leader, and later again by seers, Mahinda bought it to the peerless isle, Ceylon,.." endquote.

_______

I am not sure, but I believe this is referring to the actual > Dhammasangani[not the commentary].

_______

Robert:

I asked a friend, who is a pali scholar, to look over the passage in the atthasalini. He wrote that it is indeed a reference to the ancient commentary:

The Pali of verse 13 on page 1 is:

13. Yaa Mahaakassapaadiihi vaasiih'a.t.thakathaa puraa
sa"ngiitaa anusa"ngiitaa pacchaa pi ca isiihi yaa

My translation runs like this:

"The commentary which was earlier recited by the residents beginning with Mahaakassapa and later recited again by the sages also . . ."

This is only part of a long sentence. The mulatika interprets "anusa"ngiitaa" as meaning: recited again at the second and third councils. It is not yet clear to me which commentary was being recited and how much of
it is preserved in the Atthasalini or other texts. I understand that the ancient commentaries were handed down and ended up surviving in Sinhalese texts which Buddhaghosa then restored back into their Pali originals with some editing and cleaning up. I notice that on page 109 at the beginning of part III of The Expositor, there's a reference to the Great Commentary as the source of the Discourse on Doors but I don't know if this is the same commentary recited at the first council.


TheDhamma wrote:Buddhaghosa wrote that commentary around 4th to 5th century CE (AD).

TheDhamma wrote: do you know the dating of that atthakatha?


As far as I know, in scholarly terms - commentaries, suttas and everything else was brought to Sri Lanka starting with Mahinda (3 century BCE), and then written down on palm leaves around the 1st century BCE. Whether it was done in Pali or Sinhala or both, I don't know. Either way, when Buddhagosha was translating and editing that written material into Pali in the 4-5 century CE, he kept referring to "The great commentary", which was, supposedly, the exact same commentary that was written down with the suttas and everything else. The great commentary is now considered lost, so we can't know for sure in scholarly terms anymore. Perhaps Buddhagosha did such a good job that the old version simply fell into disuse. Kind of like when Bhikkhu Bodhi does the editing of the suttas or ACM, and then nobody reads the old translations by Narada or Rhys Davids anymore.

TheDhamma wrote:Does anyone know of any other references, if any, that might suggest a First Council reciting?

There were those three mentioned in robert's post as far as I could notice - Atthasalini, the Tibetan source and the Chinese source. I'll try and see if there's anything else in the next few days, and I'll ask on dsg about the [first] insertion, whether it's really there in Pali or not.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby pt1 » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:12 am

Hi, from robert's post - on sutta and vinaya mentioning abhidhamma:

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


TheDhamma wrote:And thus, we have this conversation, because it is not overtly mentioned in the Dhamma and Vinaya (as the Buddha referred to the Dhamma and Discipline) as his teachings.

Could you please explain why do you consider the term "Dhamma" to only include the suttas, and not abhidhamma and commentaries as well? I mean, why didn't the Buddha then say for example "sutta and vinaya" instead of "dhamma and vinaya"? Thanks.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:07 pm

pt1 wrote:Could you please explain why do you consider the term "Dhamma" to only include the suttas, and not abhidhamma and commentaries as well? I mean, why didn't the Buddha then say for example "sutta and vinaya" instead of "dhamma and vinaya"?


In general, that is how it has been defined:

"Similarly, bhikkhus, there are eight wonderful and marvellous qualities in this Dhamma and Discipline, seeing which bhikkhus delight in this Dhamma and Discipline. What are the eight?

(1) "Just as the great ocean gradually shelves, slopes, and inclines, and there is no sudden precipice, so also in this Dhamma and Discipline there is a gradual training, a gradual course, a gradual progression, and there is no sudden penetration to final knowledge. Since, in this Dhamma and Discipline there is a gradual training,... this is the first wonderful and marvellous quality in this Dhamma and Discipline, seeing which bhikkhus delight in this Dhamma and Discipline."
. . . . . .
(7) "Just as the great ocean contains many precious substances, various precious substances... so also this Dhamma and Discipline contains many precious things, various precious things, such as these: the four foundations of mindfulness, the four right endeavors, the four bases for successful accomplishment, the five faculties, the five powers, the seven enlightenment factors, and the Noble Eightfold Path. This is the seventh wonderful and marvellous quality in this Dhamma and Discipline..."

Udana 5.5


From access to insight:

It helps to keep in mind that the name the Buddha gave to the spiritual path he taught was "Dhamma-vinaya" — the Doctrine (Dhamma) and Discipline (Vinaya) — suggesting an integrated body of wisdom and ethical training. The Vinaya is thus an indispensable facet and foundation of all the Buddha's teachings, inseparable from the Dhamma, and worthy of study by all followers — lay and ordained, alike. Lay practitioners will find in the Vinaya Pitaka many valuable lessons concerning human nature, guidance on how to establish and maintain a harmonious community or organization, and many profound teachings of the Dhamma itself. But its greatest value, perhaps, lies in its power to inspire the layperson to consider the extraordinary possibilities presented by a life of true renunciation, a life lived fully in tune with the Dhamma.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/vin/index.html

Whereas, the Abhidhamma is generally referred to as 'higher-doctrine' and has its own basket, it would seem fitting to have its own name in the saying Dhamma-Vinaya, which is only two parts. A more appropriate: Dhamma-Vinaya-Abhidhamma seems logical if the Buddha was referring to all three baskets.

As a point for your argument, 'Abhidhamma' is sometimes referred to as "pertaining to Dhammas" instead of 'higher Dhamma.' But I have mostly seen 'Abhidhamma' being used to describe a 'higher' (abhi) doctrine.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Ben » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:29 pm

Hi David

I don't think you've answered pt's question.
Udana 5.5 nor does the extract from Bullitt's argument separate the Abhidhamma from the Dhamma.
Are you able to cite anything else that can give credence to your conjecture?
Many thanks

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Sep 05, 2009 11:02 pm

Greetings Ben, pt1, David, all,

If the Buddha was actually thinking of the abhidhamma as a subset of the Dhamma, he would have been thinking of it as per definition 1, as was used in the Suttas and the Vinaya...

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :1726.pali

Abhidhamma [abhi + dhamma] the "special Dhamma," i. e., 1. theory of the doctrine, the doctrine classified, the doctrine pure and simple (without any admixture of literary grace or of personalities, or of anecdotes, or of arguments ad personam), Vin i.64, 68; iv.144; iv.344. Coupled with abhivinaya, D iii.267; M i.272. -- 2. (only in the Chronicles and Commentaries) name of the Third Piṭaka, the third group of the canonical books. Dpvs v.37; PvA 140. See the detailed discussion at DA i.15, 18 sq. [As the word abhidhamma standing alone is not found in Sn or S or A, and only once or twice in the Dialogues, it probably came into use only towards the end of the period in which the 4 great Nikāyas grew up.]


... in a similar way to how abhivinaya is understood to be a subset of Vinaya...

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :1900.pali

Abhivinaya [abhi + vinaya] higher discipline, the refinements of discipline or Vinaya; combd. with abhidhamma, e. g. D iii.267; M i.472; also with vinaya Vin v.1 sg.


In other words, the finer or deeper aspects of the Dhamma and Vinaya... that which goes beyond the conventional.

That the abhidhamma (def #1) was later codified, arranged, systematized and presented at the 3rd Council as the first components of the 3rd basket (def #2) is generally happily accepted by those who do not consider the Abhidhamma Pitaka itself to be the literal word of the Buddha. No one is suggesting the Abhidhamma Pitaka miraculously appeared out of thin air, with no rhyme or reason about it.

Metta,
Retro. :)

P.S. Out of interest, does anyone know what DA i.15, 18 sq. is how we might be able to view it? Is it the commentary to the Digha Nikaya?
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:01 am

retrofuturist wrote:P.S. Out of interest, does anyone know what DA i.15, 18 sq. is how we might be able to view it? Is it the commentary to the Digha Nikaya?


Some use different abbreviation systems, but usually DA refers to the commentary on the Digha Nikaya, known as the Sumangalavilasini. I'm not sure if there is one available online yet.

Here is a hard copy set, but still a little pricey: http://www.pariyatti.org/Bookstore/prod ... sku=132501 because it so big.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby pt1 » Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:If the Buddha was actually thinking of the abhidhamma as a subset of the Dhamma, he would have been thinking of it as per definition 1, as was used in the Suttas and the Vinaya...

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :1726.pali

Abhidhamma [abhi + dhamma] the "special Dhamma," i. e., 1. theory of the doctrine, the doctrine classified, the doctrine pure and simple (without any admixture of literary grace or of personalities, or of anecdotes, or of arguments ad personam), Vin i.64, 68; iv.144; iv.344. Coupled with abhivinaya, D iii.267; M i.272. -- 2. (only in the Chronicles and Commentaries) name of the Third Piṭaka, the third group of the canonical books. Dpvs v.37; PvA 140. See the detailed discussion at DA i.15, 18 sq. [As the word abhidhamma standing alone is not found in Sn or S or A, and only once or twice in the Dialogues, it probably came into use only towards the end of the period in which the 4 great Nikāyas grew up.]


Thanks retro, I was hoping someone would reproduce this as it represents the modern view on the matter, I think.

How does the above explanation apply to that vinaya quote for example, which seems to clearly differentiate between suttas, gathas and abhidhamma? Here's the quote once again (originally came from robertk's post):

"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


Here's the "classical" view on the first council and what does "dhamma" mean - this is from a post 9464 on DSG list:
‘the Inception of Discipline
(or the Historical Introduction) and The Vinaya Nidaana’, Jayawickrama’s
translation of the Baahiranidaana of Buddhaghosa’s Samantapaasaadikaa, the
Vinaya commentary.

The first chapter discusses the ‘First Great Convocation’, in other words the
First Council of arahats who rehearsed the ‘Dhamma and the Vinaya’.Just to
clarify, Dhamma and Vinaya, includes the Abhidhamma texts:

<quote> “Thus this Word of the Buddha which is uniform in sentiment...was
rehearsed together.and not only this, but other divers distinctions in
compilation to be met with in the Three pitakas...have been determined when it
was thus rehearsed together in seven months” (Smp.33)

Jayawickrama, in his introduction says ‘Ultimately Buddhaghosa traces the
vinaya, as well as the rest of the sayings of the Buddha <inc. Abhidhamma> in
their present form, to the first Great convocation and explains the meanings of
the words, “by whom was it said, when and for what reason?” (Smp.34) In dealing
with the significance of the words, “by whom this was retained in mind, handed
down by whom and established in whom” he traces the history of the Vinaya from
the Tathagata (Smp.35) in successive stages, to each of the 3 Convocations and
finally to the Vinaya Recital of Maha-Arittha in Ceylon under the presidentshop
of Mahinda (Smp.106) His primary aim is to establish that it is the Vinaya in
its pristine purity that he is commenting upon. Therefore it is imperative that
the stages by which it has reached him should be traced. The succession of
Teachers from Upali brought it down to the time of the 2nd convocation and the
Theras “again rehearsed the entire Dhamma and the Vinaya..even in the same
manner as it was rehearsed by the elder Mahakassapa” (Smp.38) <end quote>

Back to the text itself and the ‘First Great Convocation’:

<quote> ‘....For it has been said, “Thereupon the venerable Mahakassapa
adressed the monks...........Subsequently he said, “Let us, friends, rehearse
the Dhamma and the Vinaya......” The monks rejoined, “If that be so, Sir, may
the Elder select the monks (for the Convocation).”

The Elder rejected many hundreds and thousands of monks in the categories of
wordling, Stream-Entrant, Once-Returner, Non-Returner, and Dry Visioned Arahant
and canker-waned Arahant, all of whom were versed in the Teachings consisting
of the entire ninefold Dispensation of the Teacher and chose 499 canker-waned
monks who alone were proficient with regard to the learning in all aspects of
the Teachings in the entire Three Baskets, had attained mastery in analytical
knowledge, were of no mean achievement, and for the greater part were
classified by the Exalted One as an expert each in his field in the distinct
spheres of the threefold knowledge. Regarding them it has been said,
“Thereupon the venerable Mahakassapa selected five hundred Arahants less one.”<quote>


Also notice the "ninefold dispensation" that 500 arahats were required to know - the same 9 divisions mentioned in the vinaya as per robertsk's post.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:52 am

Greetings pt1,

pt1 wrote:How does the above explanation apply to that vinaya quote for example, which seems to clearly differentiate between suttas, gathas and abhidhamma? Here's the quote once again (originally came from robertk's post):

"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


I would say that gathas are a subset of suttas, as is (def #1) abhidhamma... collectively they form Dhamma.

Much like how abhivinaya is a subset of Vinaya.

It feels like we need some Venn diagrams here... :tongue:

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: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:43 am

.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby imagemarie » Sun Sep 06, 2009 4:09 pm

:clap: :goodpost:
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby pt1 » Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:53 pm

retrofuturist wrote:It feels like we need some Venn diagrams here... :tongue:


Yeah, I'm actually confused now:

If first you say that:
retrofuturist wrote:abhidhamma as a subset of the Dhamma

and then:
retrofuturist wrote:abhivinaya is understood to be a subset of Vinaya...


then by that logic:
retrofuturist wrote:I would say that gathas are a subset of suttas, as is (def #1) abhidhamma... collectively they form Dhamma.


seems really wrong, because a subset of sutta should then by your logic be "abhisutta", i.e. not gatha and not ahidhamma

(how come there's no blinking smiley on dhamma wheel? you know the one on e-sangha that has one eye blinking larger than the other - that one's really great in expressing confusion -i'm not sure what to use now instead of it - maybe :alien: )
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:19 pm

pt1 wrote:(how come there's no blinking smiley on dhamma wheel? you know the one on e-sangha that has one eye blinking larger than the other - that one's really great in expressing confusion -i'm not sure what to use now instead of it - maybe :alien: )

I always like the head-scratching one, myself.
- Peter

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:18 pm

retrofuturist wrote:It feels like we need some Venn diagrams here... :tongue:


How's this one: :tongue:

Image

The Suttas and the Vinaya overlap quite a bit with historical and biographical material, whereas the Abhidhamma overlaps with the Suttas a little more than the Vinaya where there is talk of higher doctrines and analysis in SN and AN. Also there are some places where the abhidhamma term is used, but the context of that is still under debate for many, as to if it was referring to the Pitaka or not.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:42 pm

Greetings pt1,

pt1 wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:I would say that gathas are a subset of suttas, as is (def #1) abhidhamma... collectively they form Dhamma.


seems really wrong, because a subset of sutta should then by your logic be "abhisutta", i.e. not gatha and not ahidhamma


No... no need for abhisutta. Thankfully such a concept did not exist. Well, not within Theravada circles anyway ;)

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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: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby pt1 » Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:12 am

Okay, I’m obviously pretty bad in making jokes (“abhisutta” seemed really hilarious at the time it popped into my head), so I’ll stick to the serious discussion:

I think we have to be careful about the context when using different terms like “sutta, dhamma, abhivinaya” etc.

For example, as mentioned before, please remember the “ninefold dispensation”, i.e. what constitutes “dhamma”. If you don’t trust the commentary, here's the same thing from MN22 for example:

"Here, bhikkhus, some misguided men learn the Dhamma - discourses, stanzas, expositions, verses, exclamations, sayings, birth stories, marvels, and answers to questions - but having learned the Dhamma, they do not examine the meaning of those teachings with wisdom."


The pali for the above 9 divisions of the Dhamma is:
sutta, geyya, veyyakarana, gatha, udana, itivuttaka, jataka, abbhutadhamma, and vedalla.


So by that definition, gatha certainly isn’t a subset of suttas. Accordignly, there’s no “abhidhamma” in the above nine angas, so to say that abhidhamma is a subset of suttas is also confusing. According to the commentary, the stuff that abhidhamma pitaka is made of seems to fall under “expositions” - “veyyakarana”. Here’s that Atthasalini quote again (please notice the veyyakarana term in both the above sutta and below commentary quotes):
"Thus as rehearsed at the council, the Abhidhamma is Pitaka by Pitaka classification, Khuddaka-Nikaya by Nikaya classification, Veyyakarana by part classification and constitutes two or three thousand untis of text by the classification of textual units"


Of course, it would be great if that Vinaya IV, 344 quote said, “study suttas, gathas and veyyakarana” as then we would know exactly what context it’s referring to, but instead it says “study suttas, gathas and abhidhamma", so it’s a bit uncertain from a scholarly point, but it seems unlikely (to me at least) that the context for the Vinaya quote refers to the following classification (which seems closer to what retro and David advocate, though still wider):

There is a classification when “sutta” is really meant to stand for more than just suttas of the ninefold division: I asked on DSG list about the term “sutta and vinaya”, this is a reply (post #100522) by robertk quoting Ven.Dhammanando (please notice that “sutta” includes all 3 pitakas, while “dhamma” is even wider!):

Robert:
Sometimes the terms 'sutta and vinaya', sutta means Dhamma as whole.
Venerable Dhammando explained:

Dhammanado: They are:

"1) The "well-said" (sutta), defined as the whole of the Tipi?aka.
2) The "conforming to the well-said" (suttanuloma), meaning utterances than can
be shown to be Dhamma or Vinaya by using either of the two sets of four great
standards.
3) The "disquisition on meaning", "commentary" (atthakatha), meaning the works
preserved in Sinhalese that the Mahavihara commentators used as their source
texts. The contents of these were held to date from the First Council, and so
were viewed as authoritative unless contradicted by sutta or suttanuloma.
4) The "personal opinion [of an acariya]" (attanomati), said to be the weakest
source of authority""
end quote by Dhammanando


So anyway, let’s be a bit more careful about the context for the sake of clarity.

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