How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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dumb bonbu
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by dumb bonbu » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:47 pm

i find it useful for mindfulness in day to day life. i was, and still am to tell the truth, a bit daunted by it but i think if you take it steadily then it's not quite as intimidating as you may initially believe.
Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding.
MN 21

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bodom
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by bodom » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:49 pm

dumb bonbu wrote:i find it useful for mindfulness in day to day life. i was, and still am to tell the truth, a bit daunted by it but i think if you take it steadily then it's not quite as intimidating as you may initially believe.
I dont find it intimidating, just excessive or redundant.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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dumb bonbu
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by dumb bonbu » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:53 pm

hmm, i'm not sure if i'd used the word excessive though there a lot of terms and groupings that i often lose my way in. redundant...imo, i've found it helpful...i never really got a grip on rebirth (ofcourse, i don't mean to imply that i somehow now have complete understanding, i realise i have a lot to learn) until i read about the cittas.
Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding.
MN 21

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clw_uk
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by clw_uk » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:31 pm

Found a good quote by Ajahn Chah in relation to this thread, thought id share

One day, a famous woman lecturer on Buddhist metaphysics came to see Achaan Chah. This woman gave periodic teachings in Bangkok on the abhidharma and complex Buddhist psychology. In talking to Achaan Chah, she detailed how important it was for people to understand Buddhist psychology and how much her students benefited from their study with her. She asked him whether he agreed with the importance of such understanding.

"Yes, very important", he agreed.

Delighted, she further questioned whether he had his own students learn abhidharma.

"Oh, yes, of course."

And where, she asked, did he recommend they start, which books and studies were best?

"Only here," he said, pointing to his heart, "only here."
:namaste:
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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retrofuturist
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:56 pm

Greetings,

Some thoughts from Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda
The question is also raised whether the Abhidhamma is essential for Dhamma practice. The answer to this will depend on the individual who undertakes the practice. People vary in their levels of understanding, their temperaments and spiritual development. Ideally, all the different spiritual faculties should be harmonized, but some people are quite contented with devotional practices based on faith, while others are keen on developing penetrative insight. The Abhidhamma is most useful to those who want to understand the Dhamma in greater depth and detail. It aids the development of insight into the three characteristics of existence -- impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self. It is useful not only for the periods devoted to formal meditation, but also during the rest of the day when we are engaged in various mundane chores. We derive great benefit from the study of the Abhidhamma when we experience absolute reality. In addition, a comprehensive knowledge of the Abhidhamma is useful for those engaged in teaching and explaining the Dhamma. In fact the real meaning of the most important Buddhist terminologies such as Dhamma, Kamma, Samsara, Sankhara, Paticca Samuppada and Nibbana cannot be understood without a knowledge of Abhidhamma.
Source: http://www.budsas.org/ebud/whatbudbeliev/67.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:03 am

I really wish to study Abhidhamma seriously. I am not a Theravadan by name but I believe that Abhidhamma is really worthwhile. And as a bonus it's very interesting. I think it was Elohim who gave me a good link that I'd like to post here:
http://www.palikanon.com/english/sangaha/sangaha.htm

Just my two cents Image

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retrofuturist
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:08 am

Greetings Drolma,

Not to dissuade you or anything, it's more of a 'heads up' actually... the Theravadin Abhidhamma is significantly different to the Abhidharma recognised by some of the Maha/Vajra traditions. Don't get confused!

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Ngawang Drolma.
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:11 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Drolma,

Not to dissuade you or anything, it's more of a 'heads up' actually... the Theravadin Abhidhamma is significantly different to the Abhidharma recognised by some of the Maha/Vajra traditions. Don't get confused!

Metta,
Retro. :)
Ohhhhhh. Thank you very much! I did have the two confused.

:namaste:

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cooran
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by cooran » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:25 am

Hello all,

Loppon Namdrol (from esangha ) said there are small difference, but that the two Abhidhamma/Abhidharmas teach basically the same thing.

Ven. Nyanaponika Thera says: there is a good chance that the Abhidhamma may again become a living force which stimulates thought and aids the meditative endeavour for the mind's liberation. To achieve that, it is necessary, however, that the Abhidhamma teachings, which are extremely condensed in parts, are not merely accepted and transmitted verbally, but that they are carefully examined and contemplated in their philosophical and practical implications. This again requires the devotion of searching and imaginative minds; and as they will have to work on neglected and difficult ground, they should not lack the courage to make initial mistakes, which can be rectified by discussion and constant reference to the teachings of the Sutta Pitaka.
As to the relation of the teachings of the Abhidhamma to those of the Sutta Pitaka, two very apt comparisons given in a conversation by the late Venerable Pelene Vajiranana, Maha-Nayakathera of Vajirarama, Colombo, may be added, in conclusion:
The Abhidhamma is like a powerful magnifying-glass, but the understanding gained from the Suttas is the eye itself, which performs the act of seeing. Again, the Abhidhamma is like a medicine container with a label giving an exact analysis of the medicine; but the knowledge gained from the Suttas is the medicine itself which alone is able to cure the illness and its symptoms, namely craving rooted in ignorance, and the suffering caused by it.
http://www.buddhanet.net/abhidh10.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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kiss
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by kiss » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:04 pm

hello all, just to share a small excerpt from Nina van Gorkom's Buddhism in Daily Life
Question: Do you not find it difficult to think in terms of “mental states”? Thinking of one’s own mental state might seem an ego-centric attitude.

Nina: Thinking of one’s own mental states is very realistic, because it is the different mental states which make us act in this way or that. Only if we study our mental states and the many factors which cause them to be like this or that, will we be able to understand the deepest motives of our behaviour. We have to start by being aware of our own mental states. This is not egocentric, because we have to understand ourselves first, before we can understand other people.

Through the study of the Abhidhamma one can begin to have more understanding of one’s own mental states. The Abhidhamma is that part of the Buddhist teachings which analyses the different states of mind and which explains in detail about everything which is real. The study of the Abhidhamma helps us to understand which causes bring which effects in our life and in the lives of other people.

Question: Do you find that you can verify the Abhidhamma in your daily life?

Nina: It was a great discovery for me to find that the Abhidhamma can be verified in daily life, although one can in the beginning experience only part of the realities the Abhidhamma explains. At first one might think that the Abhidhamma is too subtle and one might doubt whether it is useful to study the many different degrees of ignorance and wisdom, but one learns that each of these different degrees brings its corresponding result. In studying the Abhidhamma one learns to understand more about other people as well. One learns that people are different because of different accumulations of experiences in the past. Because of these different accumulations people behave differently. At each moment one accumulates new experiences and this conditions what one will be like and what one will experience in the future.

When we understand more about the different accumulations of different people, we are less inclined to judge other people. When we see people paying respect to the Buddha with apparently very little understanding we know that their accumulations are thus and that they are performing a wholesome act according to their ability.
keep it simple, stupid~ my lifehack

keeping it simply said: 'i'm learning from Buddha to be wise and kind'

Bhikkhu Tissa dispels some doubts - an invaluable piece of advice to learn from, time to time.

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cooran
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by cooran » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:31 pm

Thank you kiss. I have met Nina many times in Bangkok and India. She is a lovely person, well versed in the Suttanta, Vinaya and Abhidhamma.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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kiss
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Re: How necessary is Abhidhamma study?

Post by kiss » Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:55 am

Chris wrote:Thank you kiss. I have met Nina many times in Bangkok and India. She is a lovely person, well versed in the Suttanta, Vinaya and Abhidhamma.

metta
Chris
wow.. that's so lucky of you. i've read her "Buddhism in Daily Life" and i really need to go through the book a couple of times more because i cannot fully grasp the teachings. Abhidhamma is really too subtle for beginners like me. wonder when i'm able to get to her another book "Abhidhamma in Daily Life" :tongue:
keep it simple, stupid~ my lifehack

keeping it simply said: 'i'm learning from Buddha to be wise and kind'

Bhikkhu Tissa dispels some doubts - an invaluable piece of advice to learn from, time to time.

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