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Abhidhamma Series no 28, The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 5).

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Dear friends, The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 5). The Fifth book of the Abhidhamma is the Kathaavatthu (Translated as “Points of Controversy”). Its
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 11, 2010
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      Dear friends,

      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
      seven books.

      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.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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