Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

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zan
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Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by zan » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:02 pm

I noticed something interesting about the Abhidhamma in general through the summary of it found in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha:

The compilers of the Abhidhamma did not seem to consider vinnanam anidassanam a unique consciousness because it is not found in the list of 89 nor the list of 121 consciousnesses.

The full term is completely absent from the Abhidhammattha Sangaha and a word search of the Abhidhamma itself does not bring up any results either (the word "vinnanam" is used many times in different meanings and contexts and so is the word "anidassanam", again in different meanings and contexts, but they are never together). So it seems that the term is not mentioned at all in the Abhidhamma.

Since it is not found as a separate entry in the list of consciousnesses, it seems the compilers considered it to be classified as one of the already enumerated consciousnesses (or is it possible that, at the time of the composition of the Abhidhamma, the term was considered Brahmanical and not connected to the Dhamma directly at all and therefore not listed?)

There are two possible candidates:

One is vinnanancayatana-kusalacittam (highly likely considering the context that the term is used in, and the fact that it shares the word "vinnana").

The other is lokuttara-kusalacittani (unlikely).

Both are explicitly described as conditioned and temporary and so we have it that the Abhidhamma compilers did not consider vinnanam anidassanam to be nibbana itself. The term is also never connected to any discussion or definition of nibbana in any way in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha, not even part of the term, not even indirectly or through implication. Nibbana, in fact, is listed as a nama in the sense of the word nam meaning "to bend", because it causes supramundane consciousness to bend on to it, it is never listed as a citta[1]. In reference to lokuttara-kusalacittani it is the object of a citta and not the citta itself.

In summary:

Nibbana is never said to be a citta (nor a vinnana) in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha.
Vinnanam adinassanam is never mentioned at all in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha and I cannot find it in the Abhidhamma as a whole.
All cittas (and vinnana) are listed in the Abhidhamma and all are said to be temporary; Nibbana is detailed under nama and is not temporary.
Therefore, the Abhidhamma does not support vinnanam adinassanam being nibbana.

1.)A Manual of Abhidhamma, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Chapter VIII guide to 29: "The four immaterial aggregates are called nama, "name", in the sense of bending (namana) because they bend towards the object in the act of cognizing it. They are also called nama in the sense of causing to bend (nāmana) since they cause one another to bend on to the object. Nibbana is called nāma solely in the sense of causing to bend. For Nibbana causes faultless states-that is, the supramundane cittas and cetasikas-to bend on to itself by acting as an objective predominance condition5."
note 5:"There is a word-play here that cannot be reproduced in English: the word nāma, "name" or "mind", is derived from a verbal root nam meaning "to bend."
Last edited by zan on Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

SarathW
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by SarathW » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:52 am

The compilers of the Abhidhamma did not seem to consider vinnanam anidassanam a unique consciousness because it is not found in the list of 89 nor the list of 121 consciousnesses.
Perhaps it is anidassana you can't see it!
:tongue:

By the way it is a good observation.
But Nibbana is mentioned as a consciousness.
So someone can argue that in fact Nibbabana is a consciousness as per Abidhamma.
Perhaps Abhidhamma is the first culprit who came up with the idea that Nibbana is a consciousness.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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robertk
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by robertk » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:29 am

because (of course!!) it is not a type of consciousness.

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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:21 pm

zan wrote:I noticed something interesting about the Abhidhamma in general through the summary of it found in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha:

The compilers of the Abhidhamma did not seem to consider vinnanam anidassanam a unique consciousness because it is not found in the list of 89 nor the list of 121 consciousnesses[1].
Though the matter isn’t discussed in his extant writings, Anuruddha would almost certainly have gone along with the commentarial understanding of viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ. The commentators did not regard viññāṇaṃ in this context as having anything to do with any sort of consciousness. Rather, they considered viññāṇaṃ in the sense of ‘consciousness’ and viññāṇaṃ in ‘viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ’ as being two homonyms (i.e., words identical in sound and spelling but different in meaning). And so according to this view, the one is a noun and the other a modified form of viññātabbaṃ (“should be known”). If we translate viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ according to this understanding, then the correct rendering would be: “the non-manifestive [= Nibbāna] should be known”, rather than the familiar rendering of “non-manifestive consciousness”.

zan
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by zan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:15 pm

SarathW wrote:
The compilers of the Abhidhamma did not seem to consider vinnanam anidassanam a unique consciousness because it is not found in the list of 89 nor the list of 121 consciousnesses.
Perhaps it is anidassana you can't see it!
:tongue:

By the way it is a good observation.
But Nibbana is mentioned as a consciousness.
So someone can argue that in fact Nibbabana is a consciousness as per Abidhamma.
Perhaps Abhidhamma is the first culprit who came up with the idea that Nibbana is a consciousness.
Nibbana is absolutely not mentioned as a consciousness anywhere in Abhidhamma works that I can find.

Can you provide an Abhidhamma reference for your statement to the contrary?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

zan
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by zan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:24 pm

robertk wrote:because (of course!!) it is not a type of consciousness.
Thank you. I agree with this.

I read what Venerable Dhammanando is referencing about the commentary to MN 4 where vinnanam adinassanam is called nibbana because it "can be cognized" and so did some research into the Abhidhamma to see if it is listed as such there to see if I could infer how the commentary writers must have been interpreting the word considering they held the Abhidhamma authoritative. Since the Abhidhamma did not consider nibbana a kind of consciousness then I deduced that the commentary writers must have meant something along the lines of what the Venerable wrote above.

The commentary writers did not seem to see nibbana as consciousness except for in reference to that one vague and poetic/metaphorical statement so this had to come out this way and makes perfect sense that it did. Vinnanam is a homonym and so an exception of sorts; nibbana is not consciousness, even in that phrase.
Last edited by zan on Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

zan
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by zan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:34 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
zan wrote:I noticed something interesting about the Abhidhamma in general through the summary of it found in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha:

The compilers of the Abhidhamma did not seem to consider vinnanam anidassanam a unique consciousness because it is not found in the list of 89 nor the list of 121 consciousnesses[1].
Though the matter isn’t discussed in his extant writings, Anuruddha would almost certainly have gone along with the commentarial understanding of viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ. The commentators did not regard viññāṇaṃ in this context as having anything to do with any sort of consciousness. Rather, they considered viññāṇaṃ in the sense of ‘consciousness’ and viññāṇaṃ in ‘viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ’ as being two homonyms (i.e., words identical in sound and spelling but different in meaning). And so according to this view, the one is a noun and the other a modified form of viññātabbaṃ (“should be known”). If we translate viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ according to this understanding, then the correct rendering would be: “the non-manifestive [= Nibbāna] should be known”, rather than the familiar rendering of “non-manifestive consciousness”.

Thank you so much Venerable! A homonym! I never would have considered that! I know little of Pali grammar and so this is extremely helpful and illuminating for me. That clears it up perfectly. I suspected that there must be some simple explanation that would clear it up so neatly because the commentary calling it consciousness and assuming it meant the same as always would be a firm and glaring contradiction against the rest of the commentarial understanding as well as the Abhidhamma.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

SarathW
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by SarathW » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:19 pm

zan wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:
zan wrote:I noticed something interesting about the Abhidhamma in general through the summary of it found in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha:

The compilers of the Abhidhamma did not seem to consider vinnanam anidassanam a unique consciousness because it is not found in the list of 89 nor the list of 121 consciousnesses[1].
Though the matter isn’t discussed in his extant writings, Anuruddha would almost certainly have gone along with the commentarial understanding of viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ. The commentators did not regard viññāṇaṃ in this context as having anything to do with any sort of consciousness. Rather, they considered viññāṇaṃ in the sense of ‘consciousness’ and viññāṇaṃ in ‘viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ’ as being two homonyms (i.e., words identical in sound and spelling but different in meaning). And so according to this view, the one is a noun and the other a modified form of viññātabbaṃ (“should be known”). If we translate viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ according to this understanding, then the correct rendering would be: “the non-manifestive [= Nibbāna] should be known”, rather than the familiar rendering of “non-manifestive consciousness”.

Thank you so much Venerable! A homonym! I never would have considered that! I know little of Pali grammar and so this is extremely helpful and illuminating for me. That clears it up perfectly. I suspected that there must be some simple explanation that would clear it up so neatly because the commentary calling it consciousness and assuming it meant the same as always would be a firm and glaring contradiction against the rest of the commentarial understanding as well as the Abhidhamma.
Agree.
I can't recall reading this interpretation before.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

SarathW
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by SarathW » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:25 pm

zan wrote:
SarathW wrote:
The compilers of the Abhidhamma did not seem to consider vinnanam anidassanam a unique consciousness because it is not found in the list of 89 nor the list of 121 consciousnesses.
Perhaps it is anidassana you can't see it!
:tongue:

By the way it is a good observation.
But Nibbana is mentioned as a consciousness.
So someone can argue that in fact Nibbabana is a consciousness as per Abidhamma.
Perhaps Abhidhamma is the first culprit who came up with the idea that Nibbana is a consciousness.
Nibbana is absolutely not mentioned as a consciousness anywhere in Abhidhamma works that I can find.

Can you provide an Abhidhamma reference for your statement to the contrary?
Please read supermundane 8 or 40 Cittas in the following link. (P377-378)
I wish to know the opinion of Ven. Dhammanando why supermundane is listed as Citta.

file:///C:/Users/Sarath/Downloads/Comprehensive%20Manual%20of%20Abhidhamma%20(3).pdf
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

zan
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by zan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:00 pm

SarathW wrote:
Please read supermundane 8 or 40 Cittas in the following link. (P377-378)
I wish to know the opinion of Ven. Dhammanando why supermundane is listed as Citta.

file:///C:/Users/Sarath/Downloads/Comprehensive%20Manual%20of%20Abhidhamma%20(3).pdf
See this post:https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 20#p418709

I explained and posted references from the Abhidhammattha Sangaha, which is what you are suggesting in your link, along with commentary by Bhikkhu Bodhi. In short, supramundane citta is a temporary, conditioned citta created when the mind sense makes contact with nibbana. The mind sense and the citta are temporary, conditioned and mundane but they have the permanent supramundane nibbana as object.

All references and sources are in the linked thread.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by SarathW » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:28 pm

Thank you Zan

I see your point.
But this is my personal opinion.
The Arahant is not traceable even in this life.
However Abhidhamma analysis may applicable to other path and fruits. (Sotapanna, Sakdhagami and Anagami)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

zan
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by zan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:16 pm

SarathW wrote:Thank you Zan

I see your point.
But this is my personal opinion.
The Arahant is not traceable even in this life.
However Abhidhamma analysis may applicable to other path and fruits. (Sotapanna, Sakdhagami and Anagami)
The paths and fruits you mention are the supramundane consciousnesses. The Abhidhamma analysis of them is that they are temporary. There is no permanent consciousness mentioned in the Abhidhamma nor in the commentaries to my knowledge. The final result of the paths and fruits is parinibbana which, according to the Abhidhamma and commentaries, is not consciousness either.

See this post where I attempted to explain this and provided orthodox author quotes, commenary quotes, Abhidhammattha Sangaha quotes and so forth.

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 68#p418668
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by SarathW » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:42 pm

SarathW wrote:Thank you Zan

I see your point.
But this is my personal opinion.
The Arahant is not traceable even in this life.
However Abhidhamma analysis may applicable to other path and fruits. (Sotapanna, Sakdhagami and Anagami)
Someone raised this question from Bikkhu Bodhi in his Abhidhamma work shop. (2015)
He said he will discuss this later but never brought it up again.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

zan
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by zan » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:27 am

SarathW wrote:
SarathW wrote:Thank you Zan

I see your point.
But this is my personal opinion.
The Arahant is not traceable even in this life.
However Abhidhamma analysis may applicable to other path and fruits. (Sotapanna, Sakdhagami and Anagami)
Someone raised this question from Bikkhu Bodhi in his Abhidhamma work shop. (2015)
He said he will discuss this later but never brought it up again.

Interesting. I imagine the Venerable's words on the topic would be interesting. However I do not believe there is any doubt in the matter with regards to the Abhidhamma and so I would imagine any talk he would give would focus on the suttas. The compilers of the Abhidhamma were very careful and classified things in very specific, highly systematized ways. One could question a very small number of suttas, despite the fact that the vast majority leave little to no doubt nor room for interpretation, as there are some poetic and metaphorical angles about these small few of them but not so with the Abhidhamma. We have 89 or 121 cittas, all are temporary. We have nibbana, it is not a citta. There is not much interpretation to be done with lists that are clearly classified into specific categories.

Having said that, in regards to the suttas (Nikayas) Bhikkhu Bodhi had this to say:
...nowhere in the Nikayas is Nibbana described as consciousness...
-MN notes

And he had this to say about supramundane consciousness in the Abhidhamma:
Each path consciousness arises only once, and endures only for one mind-moment; it is never repeated in the mental continuum of the person who attains it. The corresponding fruition consciousness initially arises immediately after the path moment, and endures for two or three mind-moments. Subsequently it can be repeated, and with practice can be made to endure for many mind-moments, in the supramundane absorption called fruition attainment.
-A Manual of Abhdhamma

And this about consciousness (citta) as a whole:
...citta is nothing other than the act of cognizing, and that act is necessarily impermanent marked by rise and fall.
-A Manual of Abhidhamma
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by robertk » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:26 am

SarathW wrote:
I wish to know the opinion of Ven. Dhammanando why supermundane is listed as Citta.

file:///C:/Users/Sarath/Downloads/Comprehensive%20Manual%20of%20Abhidhamma%20(3).pdf
do you have a quote: nibbana is classified under nama, but I would like to see where it is classified as citta.

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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by SarathW » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:16 am

robertk wrote:
SarathW wrote:
I wish to know the opinion of Ven. Dhammanando why supermundane is listed as Citta.

file:///C:/Users/Sarath/Downloads/Comprehensive%20Manual%20of%20Abhidhamma%20(3).pdf
do you have a quote: nibbana is classified under nama, but I would like to see where it is classified as citta.
I meant 89 type of consciousness as I mention in a previous link.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by robertk » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:55 am

SarathW wrote:
robertk wrote:
SarathW wrote:
I wish to know the opinion of Ven. Dhammanando why supermundane is listed as Citta.

file:///C:/Users/Sarath/Downloads/Comprehensive%20Manual%20of%20Abhidhamma%20(3).pdf
do you have a quote: nibbana is classified under nama, but I would like to see where it is classified as citta.
I meant 89 type of consciousness as I mention in a previous link.
ah you mean the lokuttura cittas,- of course they are cittas. BUT NIBBANA is not a citta.

zan
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by zan » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:07 pm

robertk wrote:
SarathW wrote:
I wish to know the opinion of Ven. Dhammanando why supermundane is listed as Citta.

file:///C:/Users/Sarath/Downloads/Comprehensive%20Manual%20of%20Abhidhamma%20(3).pdf
do you have a quote: nibbana is classified under nama, but I would like to see where it is classified as citta.
After reading this I realized I need to edit a few posts where I erroneously said that nibbana is classified under matter :?

I am confused though by its inclusion under chapter VI (matter) paragraph 30 in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha and it's explanation as nama later in chapter VIII (conditionality) paragraph 29. Could you please explain?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by robertk » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:54 pm

zan wrote:[

After reading this I realized I need to edit a few posts where I erroneously said that nibbana is classified under matter :?

I am confused though by its inclusion under chapter VI (matter) paragraph 30 in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha and it's explanation as nama later in chapter VIII (conditionality) paragraph 29. Could you please explain?
the reason IMO that it is tacked on in the last paragraph of that section is because they are differentiating between khandha parinibbana and kilesa parinibbana.
The latter depends of the aggregates - including rupa - as they are the basis, as it were, for the arising of the lokutarra cittas which experience nibbana.

What is key is to understand that nibbana is unconditioned, but the path to it is conditioned.
Nibbana has no light, no dark, no space. no citta, no cetasika. it doesnt arise and doesnt fall away.

zan
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Re: Interesting thing about the Abhidhammattha Sangaha

Post by zan » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:30 pm

robertk wrote:
zan wrote:[

After reading this I realized I need to edit a few posts where I erroneously said that nibbana is classified under matter :?

I am confused though by its inclusion under chapter VI (matter) paragraph 30 in the Abhidhammattha Sangaha and it's explanation as nama later in chapter VIII (conditionality) paragraph 29. Could you please explain?
the reason IMO that it is tacked on in the last paragraph of that section is because they are differentiating between khandha parinibbana and kilesa parinibbana.
The latter depends of the aggregates - including rupa - as they are the basis, as it were, for the arising of the lokutarra cittas which experience nibbana.

What is key is to understand that nibbana is unconditioned, but the path to it is conditioned.
Nibbana has no light, no dark, no space. no citta, no cetasika. it doesnt arise and doesnt fall away.
So, technically speaking, nibbana, while it can be said what categories it does not fit into, it ultimately can't be put into a category at all? Is this why it is a nama? Because it can be conceptualized but ultimately cannot be categorized at all; it is neither mind, mental process nor matter? Or am I misunderstanding the meaning of the word "nama"?

I think I understand why you are saying it is classified under rupa in that section: because nibbana with residue requires the aggregates - including rupa - for the arising of the lokutarra cittas?

Could you please elaborate on why it is a nama?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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