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Abhidhamma Series, no 25. The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 2)

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 10, 2010
      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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