The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 5).
The Fifth book of the Abhidhamma is the Kathaavatthu (Translated as
�Points of Controversy�). Its commentary has been translated as �The
Debates Commentary�, P.T.S.) This book which is a treatise against
schismatic monks has been composed by Moggali-putta-tissa. It was
recited at the third Buddhist Council.
The First Buddhist Council was held by 500 Arahants headed by the
Venerable Mahaakassapa in Raajagaha shortly after the Buddha passed
away. Here the Abhidhamma Pi.taka was also included along with the
Vinaya and Suttanta. The Second Buddhist Council was held by seven
hundred arahats headed by the Venerable Mahaayasa one century after
the Buddha�s passing away. The version of the Texts in the First
Buddhist Council was re-approved or re-affirmed.
The Third Buddhist Council was convened by King Asoka at
Pata.liputta, about 240 B.C. Thousand Arahants were headed by
Moggaliputta-Tissa Thera who preached the Kathavatthu treatise.
Thereupon, the Abhidhamma-Pi.taka reached its completeness and became
The Kathaavatthu is a treatise against schismatic monks. At that time
there were seventeen schismatic schools. This book consists of
questions and answers, it is a dialogue between the sakavaadin
(theravada) and the opponent.
For example, the first question is: �Is there, in the absolute sense,
any personality (puggala) to be found?�. In the teachings the term
person is used in figurative speech, in conventional sense, but in
the ultimate sense there is no person. Schismatic monks believed that
a person really existed. Similar questions about the person or the
world are raised today. We read, for instance, about questions on
rebirth. The opponent thinks: �the person transmigrates�. The
Sakavaadin asks whether it is the identical person who transmigrates
or a different person. Or, the question is asked (Ch VIII, 75)
whether there is an intermediate stage between two rebirths.
This book covers a wide range of subjects, and each question is
viewed from various angles. We read about speculative questions with
regard to the Dependent Origination, the four Truths, kamma and
result, emancipation, arahats, the future and the present, destinies,
impermanence, jhaana attainments, insight and many other subjects.
Such questions can remind us that so long as understanding of the
dhamma appearing at this moment is not being developed stage by
stage, there will always be doubt and ignorance of the truth.
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