Respect for Abhidhamma
I just had a look back at this closed thread for the first time:
The link I provided in the OP included this:
"Despite its relatively 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."
from "Abhidhamma Pitaka: The Basket of Abhidhamma", edited by John T. Bullitt. Access to Insight, 10 February 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/abhi/index.html . Retrieved on 16 February 2012.
So yes, of course there are differing views, as anyone who visited the link I provided would see. I do not believe I was the one attempting to drive a wedge between people, as one of the posters accused me of doing.
It's also difficult for me to understand why a bizarre accusation that I engaged in a pejorative use of the term "hinayana" was made. That comment came completely out of left field.
In my personal view, regardless of what one makes of the story about teaching in the Tusita Heaven and all that stuff, and regardless of whether one thinks the Buddha literally taught the Abhidhamma Pitaka as a big sermon, regardless of any of that, the question is whether the teachings of liberation one finds contained therein are teachings of the Buddha. My understanding, based on what I have seen and heard, is that in general, to the extent it is normally discussed, there is a Theravada perspective that it does contain teachings of the Buddha. Conversely, perhaps there are important figures in Theravada who hold the perspective that the Abhidhamma Pitaka is devoid of any teachings of the Buddha. If so, I imagine that they would still express that view, if they express it at all, in a manner that is respectful to their brothers and sisters who see it differently.
Someone asked if I am an offline Theravadin or Mahayana practitioner. I don't know why that is relevant, and I wish we could have discussions like this in a way that does not so often have people trying to read between the lines for hidden motives. To answer the question, however, my practice to the extent I engage in it stems from a Theravada tradition, but I personally don't identify with any of those labels, and I appreciate teachings from different backgrounds. I suppose that will make these comments seem less valuable to some.
It's amazing to me how personalized these discussions will become. It seems that whatever Buddhism forum or discussion there is on the Internet, there one inevitably finds people acting out against one another, to put it mildly. Why can't we encourage one another and give one another the benefit of the doubt instead? Why can't we build each other up, and where we disagree, do so in a respectful and friendly manner?
The thread referenced above is mild and mostly friendly, yet still, it's obvious to me that some people missed the point of my OP in that thread. I do find it surprising that in "a forum for discussions relating to the Pali Canon and Theravada Buddhism," the teachings found in the Abhidhamma Pitaka were roundly dismissed as "superstitions" without anybody raising another view.
Viewpoints generally are beside the point. We all have viewpoints. They come and go and change over time. I truly hope I do not cling to mine. Best wishes.
Originally Posted by Jechbi
i do not recall getting strongly involved in the discussion but for many, including myself, the Abhidhamma Pitaka is a mystery
for example, i have been around Dhamma for years but never once read the Abhidhamma Pitaka
Last edited by Element; 17 Feb 12 at 11:54.
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