Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

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Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

Postby Coyote » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:10 pm

Quick question I hope. How much of the technical knowledge contained, for example, in the Abhidhamma, would an Arahant (or lesser) understand directly from being an Ariya? At first thought I thought no - but surely they would know each dhamma as it arises?
If not, would they be able to verify Abhidhamma concepts by study and comparison to their direct experience? Or can only a Buddha understand on the level of the Abhidhamma?

:anjali:
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Re: Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

Postby robertk » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:08 pm

Coyote wrote:Quick question I hope. How much of the technical knowledge contained, for example, in the Abhidhamma, would an Arahant (or lesser) understand directly from being an Ariya? At first thought I thought no - but surely they would know each dhamma as it arises?
If not, would they be able to verify Abhidhamma concepts by study and comparison to their direct experience? Or can only a Buddha understand on the level of the Abhidhamma?

:anjali:

Great question. Apparently only a Buddha could know all the details.
An Arahat would see clearly the difference between Nama and rupa and some conditions only. Some Arahats like sariputta see more than others though.
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Re: Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

Postby Coyote » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:17 pm

robertk wrote:
Coyote wrote:Quick question I hope. How much of the technical knowledge contained, for example, in the Abhidhamma, would an Arahant (or lesser) understand directly from being an Ariya? At first thought I thought no - but surely they would know each dhamma as it arises?
If not, would they be able to verify Abhidhamma concepts by study and comparison to their direct experience? Or can only a Buddha understand on the level of the Abhidhamma?

:anjali:

Great question. Apparently only a Buddha could know all the details.
An Arahat would see clearly the difference between Nama and rupa and some conditions only. Some Arahats like sariputta see more than others though.


Thanks Robert. If you have time, could you point me to your sources?
:anjali:
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Re: Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

Postby theY » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:05 am

Hello

Only buddha can understand whole abhidhamma without any teacher teaching because the buddha has sabbaññutañāṇa. Paccekabuddha, too. But Paccekabuddha can understand only part of abhidhamma themselves.

But everybody can learn and understand abhidhamma as much as their paññā and viriya can get the knowledge.
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Re: Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

Postby Ayu » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:46 am

theY wrote:...

But everybody can learn and understand abhidhamma as much as their paññā and viriya can get the knowledge.


What are the requirements of knowledge a person must have to be able to study the Abhidhamma?

My friend tells, it is the "higher teaching" and I would not be able to understand it even if i try.
But i sense reading Abhidhamma as helpful for me.
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Re: Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:51 am

Ayu wrote:What are the requirements of knowledge a person must have to be able to study the Abhidhamma?

My friend tells, it is the "higher teaching" and I would not be able to understand it even if i try.
But i sense reading Abhidhamma as helpful for me.

I wouldn't regard someone as a friend if they put me down like that. To fully understand the Abhidhamma may be beyond most of us, but anyone of average intelligence can benefit by studying it.

A Manual of Abhidhamma (Abhidhammatthasangaha) is a good introduction to the subject. See the Buddhanet Library for a PDF of that book, among others on the Abhidhamma.
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Re: Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

Postby Ayu » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:23 pm

Thank you, you are very kind.

Right now i read "Abhidhamma in daily Life" from Ashin Janakabhivamsa. It is written in an easily understandable language, translated into German.
Later i would like to start with "Jewels from the treasurehouse" by Vasubandhu and Wangtshuk Dorje - Mahayana-verses about Abhidharma. But this will be in English - there's no translation available.

I think the difficulty that my dharmafriend fears is: he worries i would assume wrong throughts by misunderstanding.

Is it possible to prevent such false comprehension by meditation?
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Re: Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

Postby hopedhamma » Thu May 02, 2013 12:09 pm

Hi, This is my first time here in this forum and I've been studying Abhidhamma for about a year now and first of all I would like to rejoice with you all merit. I don't know much about Pali to English but I know Thai to Pali and so there might be mistakes along the text that I'm about to write.

Before asking if Buddha is the only person who understand Abhidhamma, you need to know the real meaning of it.

Abhidhamma is the master of Dhamma, Abhi = great, big, majority, Dhamma = Everything which is real. Buddha has classified AbhiDhamma into 4

1. Jitra (Cita) or the knowing
2. Jetasikka or the knowing that happens every time jitra happens
3. Rupa, the not knowing condition
4. Nipana - the condition with no appearing and no defunct

Dhamma is everything real, and everything real is dhamma. The seeing is dhamma, the hearing is dhamma, smelling is dhamma, tasting is dhamma, feeling of touch is dhamma. The things being seen is also dhamma, voice being heard is dhamma and etc..

The question is, is there only Buddha "tathakod" understand Abhidhamma? When Dhamma is everything real, everyone who understand the right teaching can understand Abhidhamma. Our Buddha had been performing 10 types of merit and nurturing his knowledge of dhamma for 4 Asongkai Saen Kup ( Very very long time ). We, as the listener and as the student, need to cultivate those understanding to be able to understand what dhamma or Abhidhamma really is.

Studying Abihidhamma is not just in the tripitaka, because there are 3 level of studying, Pariyat (knowing the theory), PatiPati ( Let Dhamma do the dhamma ), and Pativetha ( Enlightened, completely understood the dhamma in different level ) The main objective is to abandon Lopa, Tosa, and Moha. However, as the beginner in studying dhamma, many have been wanting to abandon all the 3 right away, but the abandon has to be in stages

Sodaban Ariya - Abandon the self, abiding of self, and the misunderstanding that there are really human, objects, animals, etc.. But Sodaban Ariya is still having full of Lopa, Tosa, and Moha

Sakathakame and Anakame can only abandon rough lopa and tosa accordingly, and Arahat Ariya can abandon all passion.

In conclusion, we can understand Abhidhamma but we need to cultivate our understanding, day by day, month by month, year by year, and life by life until we fully and thoroughly understand from the practice.
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Re: Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

Postby lkearns » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:03 am

Ayu wrote:Thank you, you are very kind.

Right now i read "Abhidhamma in daily Life" from Ashin Janakabhivamsa. It is written in an easily understandable language, translated into German.
Later i would like to start with "Jewels from the treasurehouse" by Vasubandhu and Wangtshuk Dorje - Mahayana-verses about Abhidharma. But this will be in English - there's no translation available.

I think the difficulty that my dharmafriend fears is: he worries i would assume wrong throughts by misunderstanding.

Is it possible to prevent such false comprehension by meditation?


I read "Abhidhamma in daily life" at the moment. Very good, I find, the emphasis on understanding Pali terms without direct English translations adds a lot of depth to understanding.
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Re: Can only a Buddha understand Abhidhamma?

Postby Kumara » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:03 am

Since the Buddha is supposed to have taught the Abhidhamma to devas, can we assume that the devas could understand?
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