Thread: Abhidhamma - Word of the Buddha, or later addition?

  1. #1
    Forums Member clw_uk's Avatar
    United Kingdom

    I was just wondering what your thoughts are on the Abdhidhamma. Do you consider it to be from the Buddha or a later addition based on monks and nuns attempt to understand Dhamma?

    I have always doubted the Adhidhamma myself. It seems to markedly different from the Suttas. However I read this article that made me doubt it even more

    The releveant passage is here

    The contributions of the schools are mostly limited to fixing the final arrangement of the texts and standardizing the dialect. Interpolations of sectarian ideas are few and usually readily recognizable. To pick one random example of an apparent sectarian statement, let’s consider what the Saṁyutta of the Theravādins and the Saṁyukta of the Sarvāstivādins tell us about how the four noble truths are realized in time. The Theravāda says that one who sees any one of the four noble truths also sees the others (SN 56.30). This sutta, which has no counterpart in the Sarvāstivāda, implies that the four truths are realized all at once. In contrast, a number of Sarvāstivāda suttas, which have no Theravāda counterparts, say that one will come to know each of the four noble truths in sequence, one after the other (SA 435-437). This relates to the disputed question of sudden (ekabhisamaya) versus gradual (anupubbabhisamaya) attainment.

    Appropriately, the Theravāda was a classic ekabhisamaya school, and in their Abhidhamma they developed the theory that all the four noble truths were realized in one mind moment. The Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma argued the contrary position, that the truths were realized gradually. This dispute became one of the major sectarian battlegrounds in later Chinese Buddhism, but its roots appear already in the Saṁyuttas. Notice that, while the two schools do differ on this point, the very fact that they share the doctrine of the four noble truths is what makes this dialogue meaningful. If they didn’t share the basic teachings in common, they couldn’t argue about the details of interpretation.

    It seems to me that the Abdhidhamma was an outgrowth of the sectarian disputes that were arising at the time. That is to say each Abdhidhamma was put together in an attempt to justify what each school interpreted from the Suttas


  2. #2
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
    Under the Bodhi Tree
    I have experienced the one mind moment when going thorugh the Four Noble Truths. When the Eightfold Noble Path is reached the mechanism is given into light but "to see it into light" happend because that "one mind moment". But for some people can happen in a gradual fashion.

    About the Abdhidhamma I can not tell much about it.

  3. #3
    The dhamma in the suttas has absolute clarity and verifiability for the most part, just like the Buddha would have taught his disciples. It doesn't taste like the little I have read in Abhidhamma. Why would two types of texts taste differently if they were spoken by the same person?

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