Abhidhamma Series, no 25. The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 2)
- Dear friends,
The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 2).
The second book of the Abhidhamma is the Vibha�nga, the Book of
Analysis, and its commentary is the �Sammoha Vinodanii , translated
as the �Dispeller of Delusion� (P.T.S.). The Vibha�nga gives an
explanation of the khandhas (aggregates), aayatanas (sense bases),
dhaatus (elements), and several other subjects.
It gives explanations according to the Suttanta method, by way of
conventional terms, and the Abhidhamma method, by way of ultinmate
realities. It also has sections of interrogation.
The aim is, as is the case of the whole of the Abhidhamma, to develop
right understanding of naama and ruupa as they appear in daily life.
This book helps one to know more about the deeper lying motives of
one�s thoughts and actions. One may take them for wholesome, but in
fact there are very often selfish motives that are unnoticed. The
section on �the Small Items� (Khuddakavatthu Vibha�nga) is most
revealing in the descriptions of akusala such as conceit. It gives an
impressive list of all the objects on account of which conceit may
arise (832), namely: pride of birth, of clan, of health, of youth, of
life, of gain, of being honoured, of being respected, of prominence,
of having adherents, of wealth, of appearance, of erudition, of
intelligence, of being a knowledgeable authority....
Conceit is compared to hoisting a banner; at the moment of conceit
one finds oneself important. There are many definitions of akusala,
but the purpose is to know them when they arise through the
development of satipa.t.thaana. We read in the section of �the Heart
of the Teaching� (1031): �The three bad roots are to be known fully,
are to be comprehended, are to be abandoned...� Abandonment can only
be accomplished by fully known them and comprehending them.
Among the many word explanations we read about understanding (here
translated as awareness, 525): � Therein what is awareness? That
which is wisdom, understanding, investigation, research, truth
investigation, discernment, discrimination, differentiation,
erudition, proficiency, subtlety, analysis, consideration, breadth,
sagacity, guidance, insight, awareness, goad, wisdom, controlling
faculty of wisdom, power of wisdom, sword of wisdom, tower of wisdom,
light of wisdom, lustre of wisdom, splendour of wisdom, jewel of
wisdom, absence of dullness, truth investigation, right view...�
It is well worth to consider these definitions. When we read about
the subtlety of wisdom we are reminded that the teachings are very
subtle and have to be carefully considered. Only thus there can be
the lustre and splendour of wisdom that causes the darkness of
ignorance to disappear.
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