Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma

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Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma

Postby Mr. G » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:46 pm

Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma Philosophy

by Ven. Paññobhāsa Bhikkhu

Originally published as an Appendix I of the Essay on the Aggregates of Mind

1. In the only canonical account of the first Buddhist council (Vinaya Cullavagga Ch.12 it is stated that the venerable Upāli recited Vinaya, then the venerable Ānanda recited the five nikāyas (i.e., the Suttantas), after which the council was brought to a close. Abhidhamma is mentioned not at all in the entire account (nor is it mentioned in the canonical account of the second council). The general consensus of Western scholars is that the traditional account of the first council is largely fiction; nevertheless, it does indicate that at the occasion of its composition (presumably some time before the third council) Abhidhamma philosophy was either unknown or considered to be unworthy of mention. Ven. Buddhaghosa in his commentary to the Dīgha Nikāya tried to rectify the omission by simply changing the details of the story, which is a rather unconvincing device. The standard Burmese explanation of the conspicuous absence of Abhidhamma in the oldest ecclesiastical histories is that it is included in the Khuddaka Nikāya of the Suttanta Pltaka, but this assertion receives no support from the ancient texts themselves. (The Burmese also consider Vinaya to be included in the Khuddaka Nikāya, thereby rendering the fifth Nikāya—“The Small Collection” or “Collection of the Small”—very much larger and more comprehensive than the entire remainder of the Canon and reducing the Buddhist scriptures to a single Piṭaka.)

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    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:07 pm

After reading the article my initial reaction is: "So what?" But then again, I am a Vajrayanaist, so any later relevant addendums to Dharmic literature are a non-issue for me. I mean, for example, the teachings of Nagarjuna are not in the "original" Canon either, does that mean they are not BuddhaDharma?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma

Postby Greg » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:42 pm

Even the other Sravaka schools in ancient times did not believe that the Abhidharma was spoken by the Buddha. It's amazing that this could still be an issue for anyone now, given what we know now.
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Re: Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma

Postby pueraeternus » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:07 pm

Greg wrote:Even the other Sravaka schools in ancient times did not believe that the Abhidharma was spoken by the Buddha. It's amazing that this could still be an issue for anyone now, given what we know now.


As far as I am aware, only Theravada attributes their Abhidharma directly to the Buddha. The other schools attribute their own compilation to various Arhats.
When I set out to lead humanity along my Golden Path I promised a lesson their bones would remember. I know a profound pattern humans deny with words even while their actions affirm it. They say they seek security and quiet, conditions they call peace. Even as they speak, they create seeds of turmoil and violence.

- Leto II, the God Emperor
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Re: Some Evidence Suggesting the Spurious Nature of Abhidhamma

Postby Anders » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:52 pm

Greg wrote:Even the other Sravaka schools in ancient times did not believe that the Abhidharma was spoken by the Buddha. It's amazing that this could still be an issue for anyone now, given what we know now.


Pretty much.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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