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Compendium of Matter (rūpa). Dr. Rewata Dhamma.
Essence and references to page-numbers of "A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma", edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi, published by BPS.
, Detailed explanation of the 100 duplets according to Atthakathakanda, commentary to Dhammasangani. Ashin Kusaladhamma.
, Editorial committee, DPPS, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Myanmar.
Supplied by http://www.nibbana.com (PDF)
, Detailed explanation of the 22 triplets according to Atthakathakanda, commentary to Dhammasangani. Ashin Kusaladhamma.
Abhidhamma and Vipassanā. Sītagū Sayadaw U Ñāṇissara.:
'Abbhidhamma' means dhamma which is exceedingly subtle, deep, difficult to comprehend, and vast in scope. 'Dhamma' means reality and truth. It means the law of cause and effect, the essence of things and the way things are by nature. It means knowable reality; a reality in which there are no beings, and which is fixed in the order of its manifestations. In short, 'Dhamma' means Reality and Truth in the absolute sense.
That exceedingly subtle, deep, difficult, excellent and wide Abhidhamma, which is real and correct because it speaks of the selflessness of beings and the natural essential condition of things, was taught by the Buddha in the realm of the gods. Because no distracting objects or hindrances interrupted the mental continua of the gods, they could immediately listen to this very difficult dhamma with undivided attention and fully comprehend it. In the human realm, the nuisances of having to eat, sleep and defecate, etc., interrupt and obstruct the performance of every task. And because whenever we focus our thoughts upon any given endeavor, physical weariness, the call of nature, and hunger and thirst always intervene, our concentration becomes broken even while we work. For this reason, there would have been no benefit in teaching piecemeal a doctrine so deep as the Abhidhamma in the realm of human beings.
The time-scale in the ream of the gods is vastly different from our own. One hundred human years equals only one day in Tavatiṃsa heaven, Because of this, the times for eating and sleeping, for example, are separated by extremely long intervals. Moreover, the gods neither defecate nor urinate, and they feel no bodily aches or weariness. Therefore, they were able to listen to the entire exposition of the Abhidhamma in a single sitting, and - for what was to them only fifteen minutes - to attend to the discourse with a stream of thought that was undivided and continuous. In contrast, it took the Venerable Sāriputta, who was the most intelligent of the Buddha's disciples, ninety days and ninety separate trips to Tavatiṃsa to learn and then preach in the human realm that Abhidhamma which was taught to the gods in one uninterrupted sitting.
The Abhidhamma which the Venerable Sāriputta heard in brief from the Buddha he preached to his five hundred disciples in a way that was neither brief nor extended. The monks who learned the Abhidhamma from the Venerable Sariputta were newly ordained, having entered the Order on the day the Buddha ascended to Tavatimsa heaven. These five hundred sons-of good-family took ordination at that time - the full moon day of 'Waso' - because they were inspired to faith by a display of miracles performed at the foot of a white mango tree. On the following day, they listened to the Abhidhamma; and it was this Abhidhamma which became for those monks their Vipassanā.
And why was this? Those five hundred monks, all of whom became arahants during the rains-retreat of that year (the seventh rains-retreat of the Buddha), also became by the end of the retreat, masters of the seven books of the Abhidhamma (abhidhammika sattapakaranika). The Buddha first assembled the entire Dhamma and taught it all together (as the Dhammasaṅgaṇī). He then analyzed it into separate parts and taught (the Vibhaṅga). He further analyzed it in detail according to elements (producing thereby, the Dhātukatha). Again he assembled it together and again analyzed it into minute parts, this time in relation to individuals, (and so taught the Puggalapaññatti). After that, the Buddha examined and compared the different doctrines existing in the world and taught (the Kathavatthu). Thereupon, he examined and taught the Dhamma in pairs (Yamaka); and finally, taught the doctrine of causal relations in detail (Paṭṭhāna).
The seven methods of examining Dhamma presented in the seven books of the Abhidhamma; that is to say, 1) the analysis of mind (citta), mental factors (cetasika) and matter (rūpa) when taken together, 2) the analysis of the same when distinguished into parts, 3) the analysis of elements, 4) the analysis of individuals, 5) the comparison of doctrines, 6) the analysis of Dhamma into pairs, and 7) the examination of causal relations, are in truth none other than seven exceedingly deep methods of Vipassanā practice. For this reason it can be said that the day the five hundred monks mastered the Abhidhamma - this being the teaching of Abhidhamma-Vipassanā they had listened to since their ordination - was the very day they mastered the practice of Vipassanā
Vipassanā is a method of wisdom that searches for truth and peace in diverse ways by observing, inquiring into, and penetrating the nature, the essence, the set order, the absence of being, the selflessness and the ultimately reality of mind and matter. For example, one method of Vipassanā accomplishes this goal through ten kinds of knowledge whereby one comes to understand the nature of matter as producing effects in mutual dependence on matter; and similarly, the nature of mind as producing effects in mutual dependence on mind. Another method which achieves the same end; that is, the seeking out and penetration of reality, relies on an ascent through the seven purifications. In both instances, Vipassanā and Abhidhamma are identical.
Since Vipassanā meditation takes the Abhidhamma as its sole object of contemplation, Vipassanā and Abhidhamma cannot be separated. And while it may not be said that one can practice Vipassanā only after one has mastered the Abhidhamma, Vipassanā meditation and the study of Abhidhamma remain one and the same thing. Because mind, mental factors and matter are forever bound up with this fathom-long body, the study and learning of this subject, and the concentrated observation of the nature of mind, mental factors and matter are tasks which cannot be distinguished.
Since at the very least one would have to say that there can be no Vipassanā without an understanding of mind and matter, surely then it is not possible to separate Abhidhamma and Vipassanā. It is explained in the Abhidhamma that the root causes giving rise to the seven elements of mind and matter are ignorance (avijjā), craving (taṇhā) and volitional action (kamma). It is further pointed out that the supporting conditions for these same seven elements are kamma, mind, climate (utu) and nutriment (ahāra). Only by grasping these abhidhammic truths will one possess the knowledge which comprehends conditional relations (paccayapariggahañāṇa), and achieve the purification of mind necessary for overcoming doubt. These excellent benefits are pointed out by paṭiccasamuppāda and paṭṭhāna. Therefore, since it is the case that Vipassanā and Abhidhamma are not separate but are mutually dependent, it is rightly submitted that Vipassanā yogis ought not let go of that wise method of learning about the human condition called the Abhidhamma.
A talk by Venerable Sītagū Sayadaw, translated into English by the Department of Research and Compilation,
Sītagū International Buddhist Academy, Sagaing Hill, Myanmar
Abhidhamma Pitaka. The Basket of Abhidhamma. Jayasuriya. W. F.:
The seven books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, the third division of the Tipitaka, offer an extraordinarily detailed analysis of the basic natural principles that govern mental and physical processes. Whereas the Sutta and Vinaya Pitakas lay out the practical aspects of the Buddhist path to Awakening, the Abhidhamma Pitaka provides a theoretical framework to explain the causal underpinnings of that very path. In Abhidhamma philosophy the familiar psycho-physical universe (our world of "trees" and "rocks," "I" and "you") is distilled to its essence: an intricate web of impersonal phenomena and processes unfolding at an inconceivably rapid pace from moment to moment, according to precisely defined natural laws.
According to tradition, the essence of the Abhidhamma was formulated by the Buddha during the fourth week after his Enlightenment.1 Seven years later he is said to have spent three consecutive months preaching it in its entirety in one of the deva realms, before an audience of thousands of devas (including his late mother, the former Queen Maya), each day briefly commuting back to the human realm to convey to Ven. Sariputta the essence of what he had just taught.2 Sariputta mastered the Abhidhamma and codified it into roughly its present form. It was then passed down orally through the Sangha until the Third Buddhist Council (ca. 250 BCE), when it finally joined the ranks of the Vinaya and Sutta, becoming the third and final Pitaka of the Pali Canon.
Despite its late entrance into the Canon, the Abhidhamma stands as an essential pillar of classical Theravada Buddhist thought. Its significance does, however, vary considerably across regional and cultural boundaries. In Thai Buddhism, for example, the Abhidhamma (and, for that matter, many of the Commentaries as well) play a relatively minor role in Buddhist doctrine and practice. In Sri Lanka and Myanmar (Burma), however, they hold the same venerated status as the Vinaya and Sutta Pitakas themselves. The modern Burmese approach to the teaching and practice of Satipatthana meditation, in particular, relies heavily on an Abhidhammic interpretation of meditative experience. Regardless of the Abhidhamma's position on the shelf of Buddhist canonical texts, the astonishing detail with which it methodically constructs a quasi-scientific model of mind (enough, by far, to make a modern systems theorist or cognitive scientist gasp in awe), insures its place in history as a monumental feat of intellectual genius.
The Abhidhamma Pitaka is divided into seven books, although it is the first (Dhammasangani) and last (Patthana) that together lay out the essence of Abhidhamma philosophy. The seven books are:
Dhammasangani ("Enumeration of Phenomena"). This book enumerates all the paramattha dhamma (ultimate realities) to be found in the world. According to one such enumeration these amount to:
52 cetasikas (mental factors), which, arising together in various combination, give rise to any one of...
...89 different possible cittas (states of consciousness)
4 primary physical elements, and 23 physical phenomena derived from them
Availability of English translations:
Buddhist Psychological Ethics, translated from the Pali by C.A.F. Rhys Davids (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1900).
Vibhanga ("The Book of Treatises"). This book continues the analysis of the Dhammasangani, here in the form of a catechism.
Availability of English translations:
The Book of Analysis, translated from the Pali by Ven. U Thittila (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1969).
Dhatukatha ("Discussion with Reference to the Elements"). A reiteration of the foregoing, in the form of questions and answers.
Availability of English translations:
Discourse on Elements, translated from the Pali by Ven. U Narada (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1962).
Puggalapaññatti ("Description of Individuals"). Somewhat out of place in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, this book contains descriptions of a number of personality-types.
Availability of English translations:
A Designation of Human Types, translated from the Pali by B.C. Law (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1922).
Kathavatthu ("Points of Controversy"). Another odd inclusion in the Abhidhamma, this book contains questions and answers that were compiled by Moggaliputta Tissa in the 3rd century BCE, in order to help clarify points of controversy that existed between the various "Hinayana" schools of Buddhism at the time.
Availability of English translations:
Points of Controversy, translated from the Pali by S.Z. Aung and C.A.F. Rhys Davids (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1915).
Yamaka ("The Book of Pairs"). This book is a logical analysis of many concepts presented in the earlier books. In the words of Mrs. Rhys Davids, an eminent 20th century Pali scholar, the ten chapters of the Yamaka amount to little more than "ten valleys of dry bones."
Availability of English translations: None.
Patthana ("The Book of Relations"). This book, by far the longest single volume in the Tipitaka (over 6,000 pages long in the Siamese edition), describes the 24 paccayas, or laws of conditionality, through which the dhammas interact. These laws, when applied in every possible permutation with the dhammas described in the Dhammasangani, give rise to all knowable experience.
Availability of English translations:
Conditional Relations (vol I), translated from the Pali by Ven. U Narada (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1969). Part I of the Tika-patthana section of the Patthana.
Conditional Relations (vol II), translated from the Pali by Ven. U Narada (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1981). Part II of the Tika-patthana section of the Patthana.
A Guide to Conditional Relations, translated from the Pali by Ven. U Narada (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1978). An introduction and guide to the first 12 pages (!) of the Patthana.
The Abhidhamma Pitaka has a well-deserved reputation for being dense and difficult reading. The best way to begin studying Abhidhamma is not to dive right into its two key books (Dhammasangani and Patthana), but to explore some of the more modern — and readable — commentarial texts. These will help you get oriented to the Abhidhamma's challenging terrain:
Buddhist Philosophy of Relations, by Ven. Ledi Sayadaw (Wheel publication No. 331; Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1986). An excellent introduction to the Patthana, the most difficult of the Abhidhamma books, which explains each of the 24 conditional relations by which the dhammas interact.
Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, A: The Abhidhamma Sangaha of Acariya Anuruddha, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, ed. (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1993). This book, an expanded treatment of Ven. Narada's classic A Manual of Abhidhamma (see below), should be required reading for every Abhidhamma student. It gives a remarkably lucid and insightful overview of Abhidhamma philosophy. Even if you read no further than the Introduction, your efforts will be well rewarded.
Dhamma Theory, The: Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma, by Y. Karunadasa (Wheel publication No. 412/413; Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1996). The Dhamma Theory is the fundamental principle on which the entire Abhidhamma is based: that all empirical phenomena are made up of a number of elementary constituents — dhammas — the ultimate realities that lie behind manifest phenomena. This short book offers a good overview of the philosophical and analytical methods used in Abhidhamma.
Guide Through the Abhidhamma Pitaka, by Ven. Nyanatiloka Mahathera (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1983).
Manual of Abhidhamma, A: The Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Anuruddhacariya (fourth edition), translated from the Pali by Ven. Narada Maha Thera (Kuala Lumpur: Buddhist Missionary Society, 1979). Available online at » BuddhaSasana. A classic work that provides an excellent introduction to the essentials of Abhidhamma study. Largely superseded by Bhikkhu Bodhi's expanded and more thoroughly annotated A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma: The Abhidhamma Sangaha of Acariya Anuruddha (see above) but useful in its compactness.
Psychology and Philosophy of Buddhism, The: An Introduction to the Abhidhamma, by Dr. W.F. Jayasuriya (Kuala Lumpur: Buddhist Missionary Society, 1988).
1. Handbook of Pali Literature, by Somapala Jayawardhana (Colombo: Karunaratne, 1994), p. 1.
2. From the Atthasalini, as described in Great Disciples of the Buddha, by Nyanaponika Thera and Hellmuth Hecker (Somerville: Wisdom Publications, 1997), pp. 45-46.
Immoral Mental Concomitants, Dr. Mehm Tin Mon:
Enumeration, grouping, explanation.
PDF Download (75 KB): Immoral Mental Concomitants
Introduction to the Abhidhamma, Dr. Rewata Dhamma:
Introduction to meaning, origin, original books, commentaries, etc. by Sayadaw Dr. U Rewata Dhamma
PDF Download (100 KB): Introduction to the Abhidhamma
Khandha - Characteristic, Function, Manifestation & Proximate Cause, Pa Auk Sayadaw (various PDFs):
Definitions of the aggregates (khandha) by characteristic, function, manifestation & proximate cause. Pāli and English. (PDF)Matter aggregate (rūpakkhandha)
- 28 kinds of materiality Feeling aggregate (vedanākkhandha) + perception aggregate (saññākkhandha)Formation aggregate (saṅkhārakkhandha)
- universal, occasional, wholesome and unwholesome mental factors.Consciousness aggregate (viññāṇakkhandha)
- Consciousness according to function in the mental process.The Factors of Dependent Origination (Paṭiccasamuppāda)
Paticcasamuppāda - Realization of Dependent Origination, Pa Auk Sayadaw (various PDFs):
, Realizing Paṭicca Samuppāda penetratively by means of the 3 Pariññā Ñāṇa. 59 pages.(PDF, 301 KB)The Factors of Dependent Origination (Paṭiccasamuppāda)
, Definition by characteristic, function, manifestation & proximate cause. Pāli and English. (PDF, 49 KB)
Paṭṭhāna - conditional relations. Agganyani.:
PAṬṬHĀNA - CONDITIONAL RELATIONS
The 24 conditions explained in groups as they occur with examples, diagrams, extracts from the Visuddhimagga and related Paccayaniddesa.
Object-group: Paṭṭhāna - Ārammaṇa-group
(PDF - 456 kB)
Conascence-group: Paṭṭhāna - Sahajāta-group
(PDF - 1,114 kB)
- others will follow...
Paṭṭhāna - Paccayaniddesa. Agganyani.:
New English translation : Paṭṭhāna-Paccayaniddesa translation
The chantings-texts in Pāli with translation into English by Agganyāni: Paṭṭhāna-Paccayaniddesa (Pali - English)
Listen to the chanting of these texts by Sayadaw Dr. Nandamālābhivaṃsa:Paṭṭhāna-Chantings - Sayadaw Dr. Nandamāla
Paṭṭhāna (Conditional relations) and Buddhist Meditation. Pyi Phyo Kyaw.:
The Paṭṭhāna (Conditional Relations) and Buddhist Meditation: Application of the Teachings in the Paṭṭhāna in Insight (Vipassanā) Meditation Practice
Conference paper by Pyi Phyo Kyaw, King's College London, 2012:The Paṭṭhāna (Conditional Relations) and Buddhist Meditation
In the beginning of her paper, Pyi Phyo Kyaw writes:
"This paper will explore relevance and roles of Abhidhamma, Theravāda philosophy, in meditation practices with reference to some modern Burmese meditation traditions. In particular, I shall focus on the highly mathematical Paṭṭhāna, Pahtan in Burmese, the seventh text of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, which deals with the functioning of causality and is regarded by Burmese as the most important of the Abhidhamma
traditions. I shall explore how and to what extent the teachings in the Paṭṭhāna are applied in insight (vipassanā) meditation practices, assessing the roles of theoretical knowledge of ultimate realities (paramattha-dhammā) in meditation. In so doing, I shall attempt to
bridge the gap between theoretical and practical aspects of Buddhist meditation. (…)"
Sublimity of Abhidhamma, U Pannadipa:
from the book "Buddha Desana" by Kaba Aye Sayadaw U Paññādīpa
PDF Download (49 KB): The Sublimity of Abhidhamma
What is Abhidhamma? U Ko Lay.:
is the third great division of the Piṭaka (Scripture). It is a huge collection of systematically arranged, tabulated and classified doctrines of the Buddha, representing the quintessence of his Teaching. Abhidhamma means Higher Teaching or Special Teaching; it is unique in its abstruseness, analytical approach, immensity of scope and conduciveness to one's liberation.
The Buddha Dhamma
has only one taste, the taste of liberation. But in the Suttanta discourses, the Buddha takes into consideration the intellectual level of his audience, and their attainments in pāramī (perfections). He therefore teaches the Dhamma in conventional terms (vohāra vacana), making references to persons and objects as I, we, he, she, man, woman, cow, tree etc. But in the Abhidhamma the Buddha makes no such concessions; he treats the Dhamma entirely in terms of the ultimate reality (paramattha sacca). He analyses every phenomenon into its ultimate constituents. All relative concepts such as man, mountain etc. are reduced to their ultimate elements which are then precisely defined, classified and systematically arranged
Having resolved all phenomena into ultimate components
analytically (as in Dhammasaṅgaṇī and Vibhaṅga) it aims at synthesis by defining inter-relationships (paccaya) between the various constituent factors (as in Paṭṭhāna). Thus Abhidhamma forms a gigantic edifice of knowledge relating to the ultimate realities which, in its immensity of scope, grandeur, subtlety, and profundity, properly belongs only to the intellectual domain of the Buddha.
The Suttanta Piṭaka
also contains discourses dealing with analytical discussions and conditional relationship of the five aggregates. Where the need arises subjects such as the five aggregates, āyatanas, etc. are mentioned in the sutta discourses. But they are explained only briefly by what is known as the Sutta Method of Analysis (Suttanta bhājanīya), giving bare definitions with limited descriptions. For example khandhas, the five aggregates, are enumerated as the corporeal aggregate, the aggregate of perception, the aggregate of mental formations (volitional activities) and the aggregate of consciousness.... The Sutta Method of Analysis does not usually go further than this definition.
But the Abhidhamma approach
is more thorough, more penetrating, breaking down each corporeal or mental component into the ultimate, the most infinitesimal part... Then each constituent part is minutely described with its properties and qualities and its place in the well arranged system of classification is defined.
A complete description of things requires also a statement of how each component part stands in relation to the other component parts. This entails therefore a synthetical approach as well, to study the inter-relationship between constituent parts and how they are related to ocher internal or external factors.
From: 'Guide to Tipitaka" compiled by U Ko Lay, Yangon 1986.