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The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate - Page 4 - Dhamma Wheel

The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:49 am

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Ben » Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:29 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:07 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:03 pm

Good information in those links and it appears that all references to the story of the Buddha ascending to heaven to teach Abhidhamma and for the Abhidhamma being recited before the Third council are also from the commentaries.

Here is a blog entry from Ven. Dhammika on this subject:

http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/search?q=abhidhamma

Note that the story / legend is not in the Suttas, but it is in the later commentaries.

In my next post I will present some summaries and conclusions (from my opinion).
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:06 pm

Based on the discussions here so far, I have created a new DhammaWiki page which is still evolving, but here it is so far:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... ma_origins

Some summaries and conclusion (so far):

Arguments that it may not be Buddhavacana include:

* 1. The Abhidhamma was not recited at the First Buddhist council.
* 2. The Abhidhamma was not recited at the Second Buddhist council and it was not until the Third Buddhist council before it was made official.
* 3. The story of the Buddha ascending to heaven it is not in the Suttas.
* 4. The story of the Buddha ascending to heaven is not even in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, but rather in later commentaries.
* 5. It is not mentioned as one of the nine branches of the teachings (navanga, AN, II.103).
* 6. It contains information and a style not found in the Suttas and Vinaya.

Of the above arguments, number 6 is probably the weakest, because if it did not contain new information, what would be the use of it? If it just repeated what is already in the Suttas, we would have the three baskets of Suttas, Vinaya, and re-printing of the Suttas. So it is natural to expect the information to be different.

Arguments that it may be Buddhavacana include:

* 1. The term Abhidhamma is mentioned in the Suttas at various places.
* 2. It has the stamp of single mind.
* 3. Who but the Buddha could have fathomed the Abhidhamma.
* 4. There would have had to be a lengthy plot involving hundreds of monks actively lying and claiming that it was the Buddha Dhamma when it wasn't - and that is heavy kamma. I don't get that feeling about the ancient monks and nuns of Theravada. It is of course immaterial who taught it if we can apply it and see its truths.
* 5. The commentaries show that the Abhidhamma was recited at the First council and confirm the story of Buddha ascending to heaven to teach the Abhidhamma.
(from: RobertK, Abhidhamma.org)

Of the above arguments, from a scholarly and historical position, number 5 is probably weakest because it utilizing data hundreds of years after the fact to confirm events which are not recorded from those events.

In spite of the many arguments for and against the Abhidhamma as Buddhavacana or not, we can use Theravada Saddha (Faith) and personally study and test the principles and see if they are beneficial and match and are compatible with the Dhamma.
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:15 pm

Greetings TheDhamma,

Nice summary... both here and at the wiki page you created.

If you wanted even more arguments to list, I think there may well have been more in those E-Sangha and WebSangha topics referenced above.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:23 pm

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:48 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:56 pm

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:05 am

it struck me that the Dhammapada verse 'whoever sees the Dhamma sees me' (or something like that) may be talking about Buddhavacana

but

:woohoo:

I made a good point

EDIT - yes I am in one of my funny moods


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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retrofuturist
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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:21 am

Greetings,

I've read somewhere (could have been a forum, an article, alas I have no idea now) that what consistutes Buddhavacana may have extended from beyond the literal mouth of the Buddha over time, justified by suttas where the Buddha states that one of the monks has spoken well.. and that if he were to have explained the matter, he would have done so in the same way (apologies I cannot find a sutta link, either). If you've read a few suttas though, doubtlessly you'll have come across such words and the end of a sutta, in praise of Sariputta or someone else.

For me though, this application of Buddhavacana is a slippery slope. I'm all for the Buddha declaring he would have spoken in such a way, but once people who aren't Sammasambuddhas start declaring that the now-deceased Buddha would have spoken in such a way... then I think things start to go awry. Subtleties and profundity get missed, and the process repeats ad infinitum until what remains is not Buddhavacana by anyone's definition.

For this reason, in the interests of the preservation of the Buddha's teachings, I'd rather keep the dominion of the Buddha word exclusively in the hands of the Buddhas.

Further reading:

Liberation - Relevance of Sutta-Vinaya by Dhammavuddho Thera
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha163.htm

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:33 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:35 am

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