Abhidharma

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Abhidharma

Postby waimengwan » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:52 am

Could someone let me know what is Abhidharma and in the context of the Lamrim is it part of the Lamrim.

I have zero idea about Abhidharma if someone can explain to me the 101 of Abhidharma that would be wonderful.

Thank you
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Re: Abhidharma

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:01 am

The Abhidharma teachings are studied by Gelugpas using primarily the text Abidharmakosha by Acariya Vasubandhu. It is one of the five major areas of study for those who wish to become Geshes, and therefore is studied in the Sera, Ganden and Drepung nunneries. With the introduction of the Geshe ma degree for women it is now also being studied at several of the important Gelug monasteries.
•Abhidharma (mngon-par chos, mdzod), special topics of knowledge, covers the physical and mental constituents of limited beings, rebirth states, karma, disturbing emotions and attitudes, paths to liberation, and so on. It is based on A Treasure House of Special Topics of Knowledge (Chos mngon-pa'i mdzod, Skt. Abhidharmakosha) by Vasubandhu (dByigs-gnyen) and is from the Vaibhashika viewpoint.

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... ation.html

It is also taught in the West as part of the FPMT's Master's Program:

Treasury
Main text: Treasury of Manifest Knowledge by Vasubandhu

Treasury of Manifest Knowledge(Abhidharmakosha) by Vasubandhu sets out a detailed presentation of the constituents, faculties, Buddhist cosmology, the six realms, karma, the afflictions and their antidotes, the various types of spiritual practitioners and their paths, and the knowledges, concentrations, and absorptions.

This subject is explained on the basis of the First Dalai Lama’s Clarifying the Path to Liberation: An Explanation of the ‘Treasury of Manifest Knowledge’.

FPMT Master's Program Website

Many of the Abhidharmakosha's teachings are incorporated into the Lam Rim, especially the sections about Karma- cause and effect, the six realms and so forth. Because the text by Vasubhandu is from the Vaibhasika viewpoint, however, the emptiness section of the Lam Rim relies more on other works as its support. Just looking in the index of the first volume of the Lam Rim Chenmo by Lama Tzonkhapa (Snow Lion Edition), the Abdhidharma Kosha is mentioned or quoted from 16 times, its autocommentary, also by Vasubhandu, is mentioned or quoted 12 times.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: Abhidharma

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:44 pm

I would add that if you really want to understand the role of the Abhidharma in the Lam Rim teachings the best thing to do would be to read the Lam Rim Chenmo by Lama Tsongkhapa. You would be able to see where LTK uses quotes from Abhidharma literature in the text, and be able to determine which specific topics he used it as a primary reference for. Then, after the Lam Rim Chenmo you could look at the Kosha itself and understand it in the context of the broader path in terms of the Gelug formulation.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
-Sakya Pandita
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Re: Abhidharma

Postby Tom » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:52 pm

waimengwan wrote:Could someone let me know what is Abhidharma and in the context of the Lamrim is it part of the Lamrim.

I have zero idea about Abhidharma if someone can explain to me the 101 of Abhidharma that would be wonderful.

Thank you


Abhidharma is a huge topic - I thought the chapter outline of the Abhidharmkosa might give you the general feel for the topics and vastness of this material:

Chapters:
1. An explanation of the 18 components that make things up
2. An explanation of the sense faculties and perception
3. An explanation of the different realms and beings
4. An explanation of Karma
5. An explanation of latent tendencies and how they impact our experience
6. An explanation of the path and how wisdom brings liberation
7. A further explanation of wisdom
8. An explanation of different forms of absorptions
9. An Appendix: that provides arguments against the existence of a self

It is really worthwhile studying these subjects many of which are foundational for a good understanding of other topics such as Madhyamaka and even Tantra. I think because the translations available in English are quite poor it is probably necessary to find a Geshe who is willing to take you through the text systematically to get a good grasp on this stuff. Certainly, if you can get teachings on chapter one and four I think this is really important. A trick to really getting understanding in these areas is to supplement them by reading other shorter texts like Pañcaskandhakaprakaraṇa and Karmasiddhiprakaraṇa because they give Vasubandhu’s real positions and are quite concise.
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Re: Abhidharma

Postby waimengwan » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:05 pm

Thank you jkhedrup and Tom.

I have been reading the Lamrim Chenmo by Lama Tsongkhapa.

Thanks for the pointers, if the Abhidharma for the Theravadan tradition similar to the ones in our tradition. The Theravadan forums tend to have quite a huge corpus of teachings associated with the Abhidharma.
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