The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:16 pm

Greetings Chris,

I can't recall the exact source of that listing but I remember it being taught in Narada's "A Manual of Abhidhamma" text which later went on to form Bhikkhu Bodhi's "comprehensive" one.

Sorry the names of either escape me right now, but I've got a bus to catch soon!

In fact, I'll take it on the train today and try to find it for you...

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)


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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 » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:28 pm

retrofuturist wrote:I can't recall the exact source of that listing but I remember it being taught in Narada's "A Manual of Abhidhamma" text which later went on to form Bhikkhu Bodhi's "comprehensive" one.

Sorry the names of either escape me right now, but I've got a bus to catch soon!

In fact, I'll take it on the train today and try to find it for you...

Hi Paul, Chris,

It is in the Abhidhamma, Dhammasangani book. But I don't have my copy with me right now for the exact quote. It is from the 17 parts of a cognition.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:47 pm

Hi Paul, David & Chris
The electronic copy of Narada's work should be on the BPS website onlinre library.
If you have trouble locating it - please let me know as i have a version I was proof-reading some months ago and I am happy to email to you.
Kind regards

Ben
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:34 am

Greetings Chris,

I assume you have Bhikkhu Bodhi's "A Compherensive Manual Of Abhidhamma"? If so, it's on page 155 and surrounding pages.

In skimming through it, I found more teachings that are not found in the Sutta Pitaka. Whether you wish me to provide details, page references and such, I will leave at your discretion, should such enquiry be deemed beneficial.

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 cooran » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:48 am

hanks Retro. Yes I do have the text - a commentary from only 800 or 900 years ago ~ not part of the Abhidhamma Pitaka.
I think I'll save any further discussion until Ven. Dhammanando returns. He is returning to this list, isn't he?

metta
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Ben » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:59 am

Yes, as far as I am aware.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:21 am

Greetings Chris,

Well, as David said, the "17 mind moments" analysis is in the Dhammasangani... the first book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. If you have a copy, you may wish to investigate it.

As you doubtlessly know, the Abhidhammattha Sanghaha translates as "the Compendium of Things contained in the Abhidhamma" (p15). Given your reluctance to accept it as a reference indicative of the teachings of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, do you therefore question that the prominent Abhidhammattha Sanghaha is actually a "compendium of things contained in the Abhidhamma" after all?

If you do, then I can go no further in this discussion because I do not possess copies of any of the books from the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

When Mahayanists composed their doctrines well after the Buddha's parinibbana and considered them to be valuable to mankind, they devised intra-traditional methods of justification for treating their doctrines as the literal word of Buddha. We do not accept their traditional explanations... it is useful to reflect on the reasons that we do not personally accept this self-proclaimed authority, and to ask ourselves if we are applying the same level of critical thought and investigation into the traditional explanations behind Theravada doctrines composed after the Buddha's parinibbana that the authors may have considered a valuable blessing to mankind?

To anyone not relying solely on the intra-tradition justifications, the following facts pose severe risks to the authenticity of the Abhidhamma Pitaka as having been genuinely spoken by the Buddha.

* The non existence of the Theravada Abhidhamma in any tradition outside of Theravada itself. Compare with the Sutta Pitaka and Vinaya Pitaka, which exist (or are at least know to have existed, in varying degrees of completeness) in many languages, across many parts of Asia.

* Other early schools alleging that scholar monks of the Theravada tradition were the authors of the Abhidhamma Pitaka

* The absence of reference to the Abhidhamma Pitaka prior to the 3rd Buddhist Council, 294 years after the Buddha's parinibbana

Even lovers of the Abhidhamma such as venerables Bodhi and Nyanatiloka, who have written instructive texts on the Abhidhamma, when faced with this evidence can not bring themselves to accept the traditional explanation for the origins of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. Like these venerables, I do not claim that the Abhidhamma has no value, but my preference in the Dhamma is to follow the words of the Buddha when he spoke as such in the Simsapa Sutta...

SN 56.31 - Simsapa Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.


So even if the Abhidhamma is a completely faithful systematization of the Buddha's teachings, with not a single new thing added, the Buddha himself says that it is unneccessary in the holy life (let alone the lay life).

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 David N. Snyder » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:49 pm

retrofuturist wrote:* The absence of reference to the Abhidhamma Pitaka prior to the 3rd Buddhist Council, 294 years after the Buddha's parinibbana

In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.



And there are no 'secret' teachings in Buddhism. The Buddha was clear about this, so it is not as if some teachings were to be 'saved' for a later time.

"The idea that the Dhamma should be restricted to or monopolized by an ‘in-group’ was repugnant to the Buddha. He perceived the truths he taught as being understandable to all, relevant to all and applicable to all. On one occasion he said, ‘Three things shine openly, not in secret. What three? The orb of the moon, the orb of the sun and the Dhamma and discipline taught by the Tathàgata’ (A.I,283). He reiterated this same point just before his final passing when he said; ‘I have proclaimed the Dhamma without any idea of a hidden and open teaching. I do not have the closed fist of the teacher who holds anything back’ (D.II,100)."
(Ven. Dhammika, Buddhism A to Z, 2007)
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby cooran » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:56 pm

Hello all,

Parts of the Abhidhamma were recited at the earlier Buddhist Councils, and, at the Third Council it became fixed into its present form when the Katthavatthu was added.
Guide Through the Abdhidhamma Pitaka, by Nyanatiloka Mahathera (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1983), p xi.

metta
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:25 pm

Apparently that is the view of a few monks and scholars, but they do not show any evidence of the Abhidhamma being discussed at the first two Councils.

Here is the report from Wikipedia, which is equally inconclusive and full of circular referencing, for example, quoting Encyclopedia Britannica. :P

Origins

Tradition[3] says that the Buddha thought the Abhidhamma out immediately after his enlightenment, but only taught it some years later, to the gods. He then repeated it to Sariputta, who handed it on to his disciples. This tradition is also evident in the Parivara, a very late addition to the Vinaya Pitaka[4], which mentions in a concluding verse of praise to the Buddha that this best of creatures, the lion, taught the three pitakas.[5].

Scholars however generally date the Abhidhamma works to around the third century BCE, 100 to 200 years after the death of the Buddha. Therefore the seven Abhidhamma works are generally claimed by scholars not to represent the words of the Buddha himself, but those of disciples and great scholars[6]. Dr Rupert Gethin however said that important elements of abhidhamma methodology probably go back to the Buddha's lifetime[7]. A. K. Warder and Dr Peter Harvey both suggested early dates for the matikas on which most of the Abidhamma books are based. Abhidhamma started out as elaboration of the suttas,[dubious – discuss] but later developed independent doctrines[8] .

As the last major division of the canon, the Abhidhamma Pitaka has had a checkered history. It was not accepted as canonical by the Mahasanghika school[dubious – discuss][1][9] and several other schools[dubious – discuss][10]. Another school included most of the Khuddaka Nikaya within the Abhidhamma Pitaka[1]. Also, the Pali version of the Abhidhamma is a strictly Theravada collection, and has little in common with the Abhidhamma works recognized by other Buddhist schools[11]. The various Abhidhamma philosophies of the various early schools have no agreement on doctrine[12] and belong to the period of 'Divided Buddhism'[12] (as opposed to Undivided Buddhism). The earliest texts of the Pali Canon have no mention of (the texts of) the Abhidhamma Pitaka[13]. The Abhidhamma is also not mentioned in some reports of the First Buddhist Council, which do mention the existence of the texts of the Vinaya and either the five Nikayas[14] or the four Agamas[15]. Other accounts do include the Abhidhamma.[16]

In the Theravadin Abhidhamma Pitaka, unlike the Abhidharma Pitaka of the Sarvastivada school, ontological theorizing is absent, and the question of ontological status of dharmas remains a moot point. The notion of sabhava (Sanskrit: svabhava) is only utilized in late Theravadin texts.[17] The doctrine of momentariness is also a late addition to Theravada thought.[18] It only appears at the time of Buddhaghosa.[19]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abhidhamma
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:21 pm

Greetings Chris,

Chris wrote:Parts of the Abhidhamma were recited at the earlier Buddhist Councils, and, at the Third Council it became fixed into its present form when the Katthavatthu was added.
Guide Through the Abdhidhamma Pitaka, by Nyanatiloka Mahathera (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1983), p xi.


It would be interesting to know what "parts" meant. Is it talking something structured, such as an Abhidhamma book, or is it talking about, for example, suttas such that those which you listed recently that show Sutta-teachings which went on to become foundational in the Abhidhamma.

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 Ben » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:22 pm

From Bhikkhu Bodhi:
Although modern critical scholarship attempts to explain the formation of the Abhdihamma by a gradual evolutionary process, Theravada orthodoxy assigns its genesis to the Buddha himself. According to the Great Commentary (maha-atthakatha) quoted by Acariya Buddhaghosa, "What is known as Abhidhamma is not the province nor the sphere of a disciple: it is the province, the sphere of the Buddhas". (Asl 410; Expos., p.519)
The commentarial tradition holds, moreover, that it was not merely the spirit of the Abhdihamma, but the letter as well, that was already realised and expounded by the Buddha during his lifetime
--CMA, p.9


More to follow...

Kind regards

Ben
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- Heraclitus


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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:23 pm

Greetings Ben,

In that "more to follow", can you include what Bhikkhu Bodhi says in the intro to SN?

If not, I'll try to get around to it.

Metta,
Paul. :)
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 Ben » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:29 pm

Hi Paul
Yes, I will endeavour to transcribe sections from the introduction to CMA though I am about to go to work and work is crazy this week.
If I get round to it, I'll also include relevent sections from the intro to the SN, and if I can find it, quotes from Nyantiponika Thera in Abhdihamma Studies.
Kind regards

Ben
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- Heraclitus


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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:34 pm

No worries Ben. Actually it turns out it wasn't the intro to SN I was thinking of, though it possibly gives a clue on pages 33/34 as to the "seeds" referred to above.

I would type it now, but I'm off to plant trees down Werribee Gorge / Pentland Hills way for my "Community Leave Day" at work.

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 Ben » Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:17 am

I hope its a nice day out for you Paul. Its clouding over here and I am hoping its going to rain and force the cancellation of an event that will put some considerable work pressure on me over the next 48 hours.

I'll have a look in the intro to the SN anyway, though I may not get around to it for a couple of days.

What I failed to add in my earlier post is that the material that Bhikkhu Bodhi and Nyanaponika Thera provide should give pause for thought for those on all sides of the discussion.
Kind regardds

Ben
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Dmytro » Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:52 am

Hi Retro,

As you doubtlessly know, the Abhidhammattha Sanghaha translates as "the Compendium of Things contained in the Abhidhamma" (p15). Given your reluctance to accept it as a reference indicative of the teachings of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, do you therefore question that the prominent Abhidhammattha Sanghaha is actually a "compendium of things contained in the Abhidhamma" after all?


Abhidhammattha Sangaha was written in the twelfth century, and is very different from Abhidhamma-pitaka.

Dhammasangani is one of the earliest parts of the Abhidhama-pitaka, and there's no cognitive series of mind-moments involved.

Here's a matika of Dhammasangani:

http://www.buddhanet-de.net/ancient-bud ... Matrix.htm

A good comparative overview:

http://books.google.com.ua/books?id=pH8 ... 3#PPA84,M1

It's essential to differentiate Abhidhamma-pitaka from medieval Abhidhamma.

Abhidhamma-pitaka was approved in its present form of seven books on the Theravada Third Council, presided by Moggaliputta Tissa, in 3rd Century BCE. One of the books, Katthavatthu, was compiled by Moggaliputta Tissa himself.

Vimuttimagga, the text of the first century CE, refers to Patisambhidamagga as 'Abhidhamma'. So there are good reason to consider this work, ascribed to Sariputta, to be an essential part of early Abhidhamma.

Metta, Dmytro
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:18 am

Greetings Dmytro,

Dmytro wrote:A good comparative overview:

http://books.google.com.ua/books?id=pH8 ... 3#PPA84,M1


Looking through the section you pointed me to and some other bits, it looks like a very interesting text... I hope to have the time to read a fair bit of it shortly.

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 retrofuturist » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:36 am

Greetings,

A couple of similarly themed discussions from the chat archives of the Internet!

The Place of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, Any real need for controversy? (E-Sangha)
http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... opic=26053

The history of Abhidhamma Pitaka (Web Sangha)
http://www.websangha.org/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=236

Certainly an interesting range of diverse and well-considered options in those topics! A few familiar faces too...

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 retrofuturist » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:06 am

Greetings Ben, all,

retrofuturist wrote:Actually it turns out it wasn't the intro to SN I was thinking of, though it possibly gives a clue on pages 33/34 as to the "seeds" referred to above.

I would type it now, but I'm off to plant trees down Werribee Gorge / Pentland Hills way for my "Community Leave Day" at work.


... and now that I'm back and mildly sunburnt...

Bhikkhu Bodhi, Samyutta Nikaya, pp34-35 wrote:From this way of characterizing the two Nikayas, we might see SN and AN as offering two complementary perspectives on the Dhamma, both inherent in the original teaching. SN opens up to us the profound perspective reached through contemplative insight, where the familiar consensual world of persons and things gives way to the sphere of impersonal conditioned phenomena arising and perishing in accordance with laws of conditionality. This is the perspective on reality that, in the next stage in the evolution of Buddhist thought, will culminate in the Abhidhamma. Indeed, the connection between SN and the Abhidhamma appears to be a close one, and we might even speculate that it was the nonsubstantialist perspective so prominent in SN that directly gave rise to the type of inquiry that crystallized in the Abhidhamma philosophy. The close relationship between the two is especially evident from the second book of the Pali Abhidhamma Pitaka, the Vibhanga, which consists of eighteen treatises each devoted to the analyis of a particular doctrinal topic. Of these eighteen, the first twelve have their counterparts in SN. Since most of these treatises included a "Suttanta Analysis" (suttantabhajaniya) as well as a more technical "Abhidhamma Analysis" (abhidhammabhajinaya), it is conceivable that the Suttanta Analyses of the Vibhanga were the primordial seeds of the Abhidhamma and that it was among the specialists in SN that the idea arose of devising a more technical expository system which eventually came to be called the Abhidhamma.


The Samyutta Nikaya is cool :thumbsup:

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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