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'Guide to Conditional Relations' part I, deals with the first 12 pages of 'Conditional Relations'. It explains the Enumeration of the Conditions, the Analytical Exposition of Conditions, the Questions, and the first six chapters of the faultless Triplet included therein.
The General contents of Guide to Conditional Relations, part II are: (i) the Commentary on Chapters I and II and its explanation, (ii) Question Chapter, (iii) Preliminaries to the Six Chapters, (iv) Analytical States for the Answers in the Six Chapters, (v) Summary of the Method of the Six Chapters and (vi) Permutation and Combinations of the Aggregates. Brief accounts of these are given by U Thein Nyun in his Introduction to the Guide To Conditioonal Relations, part I and which will be of great interest to the reader.
The importance of intention's role in action (karma) in Buddhist thought has been something of a truism in many modern textbook renderings of Buddhist ethics, yet little work has been done to see what this might have meant in the canonical sources, not to speak of how it was interpreted at the commentarial level. Texts that richly describe moral phenomenology, chiefly the Abhidhamma literature, have been largely sidelined in the current Theravada studies despite their enormous importance to many Buddhists past and present. Additionally, despite being a monumental figure in the intellectual history of the Theravada, Buddhaghosa (and the commentarial tradition he represents) has been widely neglected, though he offers very pertinent and probing explorations of human experience. And finnaly, modern scholarship remains in the early stages of learning how to read the different genres and layers of Buddhist literature that would help us to lear from them. This book ofers an initial attempt to advance our understanding of Theravada on many of these fronts.
...I wish this investigation to follow. Its specific starting point consists in three basic facts. First, details of the seven sets individually are scattered throughout the Nikayas, but without any firm indication that the seven are associated. Secondly, in a number of Nikayas and Abhidhamma contexts the seben aets are found brought together in a bare sequence, yet without any definite statement as to why. Finally, in the post-canonical literature the seven sets receive the collective appellation 'thirty-seven dhammas that contribute to awakening' and are in some sense explicitly identified with the path. What I want to do is trace the logic behind this state of affairs. What, if any, is the relatioship between the treatment of the seven sets individually in the Nikayas and their final collective designation as 'thirty-seven bodhi-pakkhiya dhamma' equilvalent to the path to awakening?
We should avoid temptation to treat the Abhidhamma as an intellectual exercise (analysis paralysis). The Abhidhamma helps us to "see things as they truly are" in the present moment. Abhidhamma is meant for practical use in following the Eightfold Path, rather than for abstract theorizing. We start by studying the nature of reality. We follow this by putting the theory into practice through sila, samadhi and punna. Punna allows us to directly know the nature of the present moment. Life exist as moments only. Past moments have gone, they cannot be made to come back. The future has not yet come, so it does not yet exist. The present moment is now and is all that really exist. The Abhidhamma helps people with an analytical nature to understand the present moment.
This volume examines the Abhidhamma perspective on the nature of phenomenal existence. It begins with a discussion o f the dhamma-theory
(the theory of real existents) which provides the ontological foundation for the Abhidhama philosophy. It then explains the category of the nominal and the conceptual as the Abhidhamma’s answer to the objects of common-sense realism. Among the other topics discussed are the theory of double truth, analysis of mind, theory of cognition, analysis of matter, the nature of time and space, the theory of momentary being, and conditional relations. The volume concludes with an appendix whose main purpose is to examine why the Theravāda came to be known as Vibhajjavāda, ‘the doctrine of analysis’.]
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