The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
Virgo
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Virgo » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:38 pm

Friends:

The following is a good discussion which I highly recommend. Please enjoy it.

http://www.abhidhamma.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=4

Sincerely,

Kevin

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daverupa
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by daverupa » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:12 pm

It's odd to take paramatha sacca as a given when comparing the suttas and the abhidhamma, as that discussion seems to do. I find the abhidhamma's premise that the suttas are in conventional language while it itself is in ultimate language to be woefully unsupported.

I see these abhidhammas as being records of the sorts of discussions Buddhist virtuosos were having amongst themselves as time went on. They respond to context, and in this differ little from any book on the Dhamma which is trying to explain it for a particular audience in a different space-time matrix than the specifically 'Nikayan' worldview.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Kumara
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Re: Ajahn Buddhadasa on Abhidhamma

Post by Kumara » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:38 am

flaneur9 wrote:2. The word “abhidhamma” is very seldom found in the Vinaya and Suttanta (according to one authority eleven times), and when it is found it is usually paired with the term “abhivinaya.” Since there is and never was an Abhivinaya Piṭaka the context implies that “abhidhamma” here means simply “about Dhamma,” not “higher Dhamma.” In the very few cases where the term clearly refers to the philosophy of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka it is found in relatively very late canonical exegesis of older texts—for example, the Vinaya Suttavibhaṅga and the Mahāniddesa.
Well said. But don't bother trying to convince the abhidhammikas!

Here's what I think: Vinaya simply means discipline. By "abhivinaya", I believe that the Buddha was referring to a higher form of discipline, which is not about mere confirming to rules, but a higher inner discipline. So, parallel to that, "abhidhamma" should mean a higher form of dhamma, but we need not let orthodox thinking influence us to confine our understanding to some sort of mere technical-philosophy. I see it as higher practicable, realisable dhamma.

I sometimes find it funny that while Abhidhammatthasangaha enthusiasts think that they are studying ultimate reality, it is obvious that they are getting themselves involved with more concepts.
I'm not just a monk. I'm a human being. — Sayadaw U Jotika

thomaslaw
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by thomaslaw » Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:32 am

Dear Dhamma friends,

Regarding the notion/concept of Paramattha shown in Abhidhammattha Sangaha 'Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma', p. 25, I consider that it is very likely that the teachings of Paramattha (and its connection with Pa~n~natti 'Concept') are 'not' supported by the suttas, particularly the SN suttas (cf. Choong MK, The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism, pp. 54, 92, 138 (on 'pa~n~naapeti'), 154).
E.g. the five aggregates (according to the SN suttas) should be seen as they really are as 'void (without reality, rittaka), insubstantial (tucchaka), and lacking essence (asaaraka)' (SN 22.95: PTS, iii, 140-143), because they are phenomena (dhammas) arisen by causal condition ('not' by their own right as 'irreducible' realities/components of existence), having the nature (dhamma) of anicca 'impermanence', nirodha 'cessation' (SN 12.20: PTS ii, 25-27).

Regards,

Thomas

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Alex123
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Re: Ajahn Buddhadasa on Abhidhamma

Post by Alex123 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:42 am

Kumara wrote:By "abhivinaya", I believe that .
Just like Abhivinaya does not mean abhivinaya pitaka, same with abhidhamma.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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lionking
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by lionking » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:44 am

Well, the Buddha insisted on keeping things simple. He said he will only divulge the things essential for enlightenment.

The Dhamma in many ways runs counter to normal human intuition. For example, it says give up creature comforts in order to be free from suffering.

Many struggle to understand the reasoning behind such thinking even now. It does not help confusing more with complexity those who are already confused.

The Pali Tripitaka represents the bare essentials to be on the path. Although over his lifetime many of the wiser monks would have learnt and perhaps inferred the mechanics just by listening to Buddha. Perhaps a select few were taught the higher principles by the Buddha himself.

The first council did not even acknowledge Abhidhamma following Buddha’s policy on keeping it simple. Although by the 3rd council some felt it would be worthy of preservation for future generations.

An example is the 6th sense base – “Thinking”. The Abhidhamma explains the mechanics of "Thinking". It reveals thinking emerges from the heart.

Prevailing mainstream science does not acknowledge thinking as a sensory activity. It considers thinking to be a cognitive function isolated to the brain.

This has been challenged, however. It appears the heart is not only a sensory organ it has a cognitive function.
Recent work in the relatively new field of neurocardiology has firmly established that the heart is a sensory organ and an information encoding and processing center, with an extensive intrinsic nervous system that’s sufficiently sophisticated to qualify as a heart brain. Its circuitry enables it to learn, remember, and make functional decisions independent of the cranial brain. To everyone’s surprise, the findings have demonstrated that the heart’s intrinsic nervous system is a complex, self-organized system; its neuroplasticity, or ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections over both the short and long term, has been well demonstrated.
http://noeticsi.com/thinking-from-the-h ... n-science/
So the Pali Tripitaka is akin to a driving manual. The Abhidhamma is the manual on combustion engine and its principles. All you need for the journey is the driving manual. Although if curiosity arises one may take a peek at the mechanics with the Abhidhamma too.
grr ..

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cjmacie
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by cjmacie » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:14 am

postby lionking » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:44 pm

"Well, the Buddha insisted on keeping things simple. He said he will only divulge the things essential for enlightenment."
As the Buddha saw fit, out of expediency, to concentrate for teaching purposes on a "handful of leaves" compared to all the rest of the forest compost, the vast details of his experience and knowledge, my view is that Abhidhammikers were attempting to "reverse engineer" the distilled teachings towards getting a sense of the whole forest of leaves – at least mapping-out that territory. (Some see the abhidhamma as claiming to be exhaustive, hence hopelessly complex; other modern commentators, e.g. Rupert Gethin, hold that it was understood as illustrative, as demonstration of methodology.)

"So the Pali Tripitaka is akin to a driving manual. The Abhidhamma is the manual on combustion engine and its principles. All you need for the journey is the driving manual. Although if curiosity arises one may take a peek at the mechanics with the Abhidhamma too."
A corrolary viewpoint might be that driving, say, a Formula 1 machine involves a more refined awareness of and sensitivity to the technicalities.

Though the commentaries and sub-commentaries do seem to often spin off in rather dubious directions, obscure corners of esoterica, my sense is the basic abhidhamma texts can be useful supports to bhavana-practice, especially for the more intellectually inclined. That it's all seems extraneously heady, impractical to some doesn't mean that it can't be an aid to refining insight for others.

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lionking
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by lionking » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:10 am

cjmacie wrote:That it's all seems extraneously heady, impractical to some doesn't mean that it can't be an aid to refining insight for others.
Most certainly. In the case of Abhidhamma it easier to learn it from someone who has already read and understood the material.

Ven Bikkhu Bodhi (101 Abhidhamma) - 1 of 15 in the series of video (The Accompanying Book (Free Download))
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSL1N5caXZM

Ven Bikkhu Bodhi (202 Abhidhamma) - 1 of 26 in the series of video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFuVmcXTikw

Ven Thiththagalle Anandasiri. The young monk here explains it quite well in Sinhala. This video is 1/40 in the series.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt9O4eZEUtQ
grr ..

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by theY » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:37 am

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 99#p434599
Zom wrote:
45 years of buddha time was enough for buddha to taught abhidhamma to sāriputta
However, the truth is, he didn't teach it. That is, if we take unbiased (scientific) approach to texts. But if we blindly follow tradition, yes, we will have to think that he taught it. Just like mahayanists who are sure that Nagarjuna brought mahayana sutras from Naga Realm - because this is said in their sacred texts.

Commentary already said "buddha taught a summary of abhidhamma to sāriputta, then sāriputta taught and described that abhidhamma to his students" (Abh.Saṅ.Com. Intro). But the western professors never focus on it. It is your professor's mistake for through 200 years ago. The commentary clearly wrote the history from 0 buddhist era, but your professors biased and distort it like commentary never said this history to discredit abhidhamma and commentary through 200 years ago.

Another, especially, more than 40 years, that sāriputta lived in buddha age and taught abhidhamma to his students (mahāgosiṅgasāla-sutta), include the memorizers in 1st saṅgāyanā such as ānanda, upāli, kassapa, and anuruddha, this period was very enough to prove that buddha and saṅgha very agree with abhidhamma of sāriputta. Also, buddha announced by himself that sāriputta was the best teacher who can taught 4 noble truths like him (A.N. Ekapuggalavagga).
Above message maybe out of date. Latest update will be in massage's link.
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bahussuto nāma tividho hoti – nissayamuccanako, parisupaṭṭhāpako, bhikkhunovādakoti.
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Zom
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Zom » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:48 pm

Another, especially, more than 40 years, that sāriputta lived in buddha age and taught abhidhamma to his students (mahāgosiṅgasāla-sutta), include the memorizers in 1st saṅgāyanā such as ānanda, upāli, kassapa, and anuruddh
Oh, by the way, do you know that Abhidhamma is never mentioned in theravadin canonical texts about 1st Council and even 2nd one, which happened roughly 100 years after Buddha's demise? The answer is simple and obvious: nothing is said about it in there because there was no such thing as Abhidhamma 8-) All 5 nikayas are mentioned, even particular suttas. Vinaya is mentioned. But that's it, no even a tiny hint about so called "3rd pitaka". And this very word "ti-pitaka" appeard only after 3rd council.

The massive inclusion of Abhidhamma books into Buddhist Canons was so bold move, that even whole protesting school appeared - Sautrāntika. These monks just plainly denied Abhidhamma - not because they didn't understand it or didn't like it - but because this was not said by the Buddha. There were no schools which denied Suttanta, no schools which denied Vinaya. But yes, there were ancient monks who denied Abhidhamma, and this is understandable.

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Sovatthika
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by Sovatthika » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:33 am

sharing some thoughts from a friend: "I think the structure and philosophical/metaphysical assumptions or maybe just the entirety of the metaphysics in the abhidhamma is at conflict with the suttas
Especially

sabhāva in abhidhamma
sabhāva=self-being, own-being
& the paramatthadhammā
4 paramatthadhammā nibbāna, form/rūpa, mind/citta, mental factors/cetasika
In abhidhamma
Paramatthadhammā is ultimate realities
Suttas to me seem to say only nibbāna is paramatthadhamma
Sabhāva
Wait first
Also those four don't appear together in suttas cetasika & citta aren't used like this in suttas

This is big thing in abhidhamma it has its own set of terms & their groupings
But yeah so sabhāva
Abhidhamma asserts that elementary, momentary (& they give a specific amount of time for a moment) phenomena have sabhāva real true nature/existence
Whereas the phenomena composed of them do not"
"imo basically everything in the abhidhamma is unique to the abhidhamma but there are some major philosophicallly fundamental examples like mind moments & elementary dhammas & svabhava self-nature

also the root conditions of the paṭṭhāna & even the dhammasaṅganī on which the abhidhammattha sangaha [another friend on facebook] mentions is based contains a whole lot not in the suttas it's just the relations & the specific enumerations that are unique to the abhidhamma as opposed to the specific concepts of various wholesome & unwholesome citta based on presence or absence of kilesa"
"from a classical theravāda perspective, yes, from an early buddhist perspective, no
it is even recorded - i'm not sure where, i think it is in the canon though, but definitely postdating the buddha's death - by the theravāda school that there was an instance where a monk in the early phase of theravāda denied that the Abhidhamma was spoken by the Buddha
so you can see that there was dissent from the beginning
& abhidhamma didn't show up in any Buddhist school until after the rest of the tipiṭaka & all the early buddhist schools had drastically different abhidhammas whereas they shared suttas & vinaya

also abhidhamma never mentioned in suttas, vinaya, or record of first council"
""There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

To the fore (parimukham): The Abhidhamma takes an etymological approach to this term, defining it as around (pari-) the mouth (mukham). In the Vinaya, however, it is used in a context (Cv.V.27.4) where it undoubtedly means the front of the chest. There is also the possibility that the term could be used idiomatically as "to the front," which is how I have translated it here."
"not saying it is revisionist through & through & yes saying parts of it might not be

vinaya is monastic discipline. the Buddhadhamma throughout suttas is referred to often as dhammavinaya or doctrine & discipline (one reason suggesting abhidhamma fake)"

"abhidhamma is attributed to the Buddha the traditional story is that the Buddha taught it to devas & then relayed it back to sariputta after leaving deva realms every day for like a month but
it doesn't add up & is very very similar of how mahayana justifies their texts saying "humans weren't prepared for it at the time so it was stored away with higher beings until later point"
seems esoteric
& then historically is not supported abhidhamma appeared way later & all the early schools of Buddhism had their own abhidhammas for most part & they all contradicted each other

But they all had identical suttas & vinayas for most part
pretty sure just result of attempt to formulate specific metaphysics
but idk
rly complicated
i mean i will not say with certainty it's fake but it that's what evidence seems to suggest"

me, personally, i've made no attempts to understand the abhidhamma or read it; i avoid it on reasonable suspicion that it's not authentic. i understand that's not good enough for some, but there is plenty of sufficiently liberating content in the early buddhist texts
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mikenz66
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:35 am

Sovatthika wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:33 am
Abhidhamma asserts that elementary, momentary (& they give a specific amount of time for a moment) phenomena have sabhāva real true nature/existence ...
It seems to be a very common error to mix up the Abhidhamma Pitaka and later Comentaries. Mind moments are a much later development than the Abhidhamma...

Here's a nice introduction that's being constructed for Sutta Central:
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/sc ... hamma/7034
While they introduced a number of new terms and methods, the canonical Abhidhamma texts are doctrinally conservative. Many of the concepts familiar from later Abhidhamma are not found—ultimate vs. conventional truth, mind moments, kalāpas, the idea that each phenomena is defined by its sabhāva or indvidual essence. While some new terms are found, for the most part they seem to have been introduced in order to clarify and disambiguate the terminology, and weren’t intended to convey specific new concepts. That is not to say that there are no new ideas, just that they play a fairly minor role overall.

:heart:
Mike

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