early school who rejected abhidhamma entirely?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

early school who rejected abhidhamma entirely?

Postby alan... » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:45 am

i remember reading about a school who rejected the abhidhamma and possibly even their name means "it ends at the sutta pitaka" although that part may be way off.

basically they had the vinaya and sutta pitakas and quit there.

anyone know what i'm talking about?
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Re: early school who rejected abhidhamma entirely?

Postby Bakmoon » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:07 am

alan... wrote:i remember reading about a school who rejected the abhidhamma and possibly even their name means "it ends at the sutta pitaka" although that part may be way off.

basically they had the vinaya and sutta pitakas and quit there.

anyone know what i'm talking about?


There was a school called the Sarvastivada which rejected the idea that the Abhidhamma was the word of the Buddha and was instead a summary of the teaching written by later hands, but they regarded their Abhidhamma as being part of their canon.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
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Re: early school who rejected abhidhamma entirely?

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:12 am

The Sarvāstivādins acknowledged that their canoncial Abhidharma texts were composed by disciples but still generally considered them to be the word of the Buddha (buddhavacana). Saṃghabhadra's Abhidharmanyāyānusāra:

    As the abhidharma [texts] were compiled by the great disciples on the basis of the Buddha's teaching, they are approved by the Buddha; they are also buddha-vacana. As they are in accord with the knowledge which knows fully the causes and effects of defilement and purification, they are like the sūtra-s. If what has been approved by the Buddha is not called buddha-vacana, then innumerable sūtra-s would have to be abandoned!

That is, all of the suttas spoken by Sāriputta, etc., would also have to be dismissed if one is going to dismiss everything that wasn't spoken directly by the Buddha.

It was the Dārṣṭāntika and Sautrāntika authors who didn't accept the Abhidharma as the word of the Buddha, although they often still used similar abhidharma concepts and categories. It seems that the earliest extant text that refers to Sautrāntika ideas and interpretations by name is Vasubandhu's auto-commentary on his Abhidharmakośa called the Abhidharmakośabhāsya. However, these Sautrāntika ideas likely predate Vasubandhu's auto-commentary.
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Re: early school who rejected abhidhamma entirely?

Postby alan... » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:16 am

Bakmoon wrote:
alan... wrote:i remember reading about a school who rejected the abhidhamma and possibly even their name means "it ends at the sutta pitaka" although that part may be way off.

basically they had the vinaya and sutta pitakas and quit there.

anyone know what i'm talking about?


There was a school called the Sarvastivada which rejected the idea that the Abhidhamma was the word of the Buddha and was instead a summary of the teaching written by later hands, but they regarded their Abhidhamma as being part of their canon.


didn't they also accept some mahayana scriptures? odd that they would reject abhidhamma but keep the others.
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Re: early school who rejected abhidhamma entirely?

Postby alan... » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:16 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The Sarvāstivādins acknowledged that their canoncial Abhidharma texts were composed by disciples but still generally considered them to be the word of the Buddha (buddhavacana). Saṃghabhadra's Abhidharmanyāyānusāra:

    As the abhidharma [texts] were compiled by the great disciples on the basis of the Buddha's teaching, they are approved by the Buddha; they are also buddha-vacana. As they are in accord with the knowledge which knows fully the causes and effects of defilement and purification, they are like the sūtra-s. If what has been approved by the Buddha is not called buddha-vacana, then innumerable sūtra-s would have to be abandoned!

That is, all of the suttas spoken by Sāriputta, etc., would also have to be dismissed if one is going to dismiss everything that wasn't spoken directly by the Buddha.

It was the Dārṣṭāntika and Sautrāntika authors who didn't accept the Abhidharma as the word of the Buddha, although they often still used similar abhidharma concepts and categories. It seems that the earliest extant text that refers to Sautrāntika ideas and interpretations by name is Vasubandhu's auto-commentary on his Abhidharmakośa called the Abhidharmakośabhāsya. However, these Sautrāntika ideas likely predate Vasubandhu's auto-commentary.


okay thanks much. i'm still not sure where i heard that or what the exact title was.
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Re: early school who rejected abhidhamma entirely?

Postby Bankei » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:59 am

Puggalavadins - see the book on them by the Canadian scholar whose name escapes me now.
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Re: early school who rejected abhidhamma entirely?

Postby Anders » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:33 am

alan... wrote:i remember reading about a school who rejected the abhidhamma and possibly even their name means "it ends at the sutta pitaka" although that part may be way off.

basically they had the vinaya and sutta pitakas and quit there.

anyone know what i'm talking about?


Most of the schools that had abidhammas had their own version different from the other schools' and typically the content would vary greatly between different schools. And most of those did not attribute abidharma to the Buddha.

But there were also quite a few that did not have one at all. The abidharma project, though influential, was not one adopted by the majority of early Buddhist schools. Only around seven of the major schools were at it.

Of the three most dominant schools, only the Sarvastivadins really emphasised it. The Pudgalavadins did not have one and the Mahasanghikans' interest was seemingly tertiary.

But I think the school you are thinking of are the Sautrantrikas, "sutra reliers" - an offshoot of the Sarvastivadins who felt they had gone off the deep end with the Abidharma.
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Re: early school who rejected abhidhamma entirely?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:07 am

Interestingly, I was getting my hopes up about the Sautrantika's but then I came across the part that mentions that they believed in multiple Buddha's existing at the same time.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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