Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 1009
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by Matt J »

Any good, pithy resources on Abhidharma? Short and practical rather than long and in-depth.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
PSM
Posts: 297
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by PSM »

Mipham's "Gateway to Knowledge" is brilliant. Really clear condensation of various topics.
User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21590
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by Grigoris »

Matt J wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 3:31 pm Any good, pithy resources on Abhidharma? Short and practical rather than long and in-depth.
Glimpses of Abhidharma by Chogyam Trungpa.

It is a decent enough gateway text.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
Malcolm
Posts: 32848
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by Malcolm »

Grigoris wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 6:44 pm
Matt J wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 3:31 pm Any good, pithy resources on Abhidharma? Short and practical rather than long and in-depth.
Glimpses of Abhidharma by Chogyam Trungpa.

It is a decent enough gateway text.
Yeah, I don't agree.
User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21590
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by Grigoris »

Malcolm wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 6:46 pmYeah, I don't agree.
Can you think of a simpler introduction?

I can't.

Maybe "Abhidhamma Studies" by Ven. Nyanaponika Thera, for a Theravada view?

"Mind in Buddhist Psychology" (The Necklace of Clear Understanding) by Ye-shes rGyal-mtshan?

I still prefer Trungpa's lecture for a complete beginner.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
Norwegian
Posts: 1929
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:36 pm

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by Norwegian »

If you don't want to deal with the root text, the commentary, and similar, I guess the best is to go with Mipham's Gateway to Knowledge (4 volumes).

But if even that is too much for you, then the Arthaviniscaya Sutra with its commentary: https://shop.dharmapublishing.com/colle ... e-meanings

And perhaps also Khenpo Shenga's "Six Topics that all Buddhists Learn": https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073NB1RS/ might be useful in combination with the above.
"The Guru is the Buddha, the Guru is the Dharma,
The Guru is the Sangha too,
The Guru is Śrī Heruka.
The All-Creating King is the Guru."

-- The Secret Assembly Tantra
Varis
Posts: 320
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by Varis »

Ways of Enlightenment from Dharma Publishing, it's a summary of Ju Mipham's Gateway to Knowledge. Far easier to read and digest than the original.
User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 1009
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by Matt J »

I appreciate the responses. Abhidharma has been my weakness, even when I was doing a lot of Theravada retreats. I've been a bit inspired by people who read the Bible in 90 days. If you do that, it is only 12 pages a day. I thought I should do something like that. What sort of long, often boring, but necessary text can I break up into bite sized chunks? Abhidharma! But then I thought, well, more concepts is the last thing I need, and you can get lost for days in that stuff.

Looks like the focus is on Mipham. I do have the 4 volumes. I often pull them from the shelf, determined to read them only to put them back. Perhaps in conjunction with some of the commentaries, plus my current aspiration to gain a more developed view of the experience of grasping, I can digest them.

Mind is Buddhist Psychology is good--- simple, not too complicated, a bit more in depth.

Feel free to keep the recommendations coming, I'm sure I'm not the only one who will find this thread useful.

:anjali:
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Malcolm
Posts: 32848
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by Malcolm »

Matt J wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 8:57 pm I appreciate the responses. Abhidharma has been my weakness, even when I was doing a lot of Theravada retreats. I've been a bit inspired by people who read the Bible in 90 days. If you do that, it is only 12 pages a day. I thought I should do something like that. What sort of long, often boring, but necessary text can I break up into bite sized chunks? Abhidharma! But then I thought, well, more concepts is the last thing I need, and you can get lost for days in that stuff.

Looks like the focus is on Mipham. I do have the 4 volumes. I often pull them from the shelf, determined to read them only to put them back. Perhaps in conjunction with some of the commentaries, plus my current aspiration to gain a more developed view of the experience of grasping, I can digest them.

Mind is Buddhist Psychology is good--- simple, not too complicated, a bit more in depth.

Feel free to keep the recommendations coming, I'm sure I'm not the only one who will find this thread useful.

:anjali:
Avoid the debates, focus on the descriptive material.
Malcolm
Posts: 32848
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by Malcolm »

Grigoris wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 6:59 pm
Malcolm wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 6:46 pmYeah, I don't agree.
Can you think of a simpler introduction?

I can't.
I think it is very inaccurate and misleading.
User avatar
tobes
Posts: 1822
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by tobes »

I think the best approach is to focus on specific topics. Just reading from front to the back of one text is probably not likely to be fruitful.

So, start with something like karma, or the skandhas etc, and make this the object of your study. Then you can read different sources and build up at least a rough understanding of how they are treated.

On the Trungpa question, I kind of agree with Malcolm. I suspect they would have been good teachings to receive in the flesh, because they are infused with all kinds of elements that are very particular to his approach - and if he's your teacher, this context would make sense. But this is also a reason why they may be misleading for someone who just wants to study abhidharma directly.
User avatar
Könchok Thrinley
Former staff member
Posts: 2358
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: Abhidharma for Dummies, er... Yogis

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

What do you guys think about this? Would it be a good intro to abhidharma?

https://dharmaebooks.org/abhidharma-jew ... cNWGPhJczU
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.
Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”