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Abhidhamma Series no 29, The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 6).

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Dear friends, The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 6). The Sixth Book of the Abhidhamma is the ‘Yamaka”, the Book of Pairs. This book and its commentary
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 22, 2010
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      Dear friends,

      The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 6).

      The Sixth Book of the Abhidhamma is the �Yamaka�, the Book of Pairs.
      This book and its commentary has not been translated into English.
      Venerable Nyanatiloka renders a summary of it in his �Guide through
      the Abhidhamma Pi.taka�. This book consists of questions and answers
      about subjects such as the roots (muula), the khandhas, the
      aayatanas, the dhaatus, the four noble truths, the conditions and the
      anusayas, latent tendencies. These questions and answers can correct
      misunderstandings that may arise about the terms used in the sriptures.
      For instance, one may think that with regard to the first noble
      Truth, the truth of dukkha, dukkha is the same as unhappy feeling.
      Dukkha is often translated as sorrow and this is misleading. We learn
      that the Truth of dukkha does not only refer to painful feeling but
      to all phenomena that arise because of conditions and fall away.
      Since they are impermanent they cannot be of any refuge and are
      therefore dukkha.
      The text of this book is rather compact and therefore it is most
      helpful to study it together with its commentary. We shall see that
      the subjects of this book are not theoretical but that they pertain
      to daily life.

      When we, for example, read about the latentent tendencies, there are
      short lists, but the commentary goes very deeply into this subject,
      it is most revealing. As we have seen, the latent tendencies are
      sense desire, aversion, conceit, wrong view, doubt, craving for
      existence and ignorance. In the text we read: �Where does the bias of
      sensuous craving adhere? To the two feelings�. These are happy
      feeling and indifferent feeling.
      The commentary states: �When the latent tendency of sense desire
      arises it is conascent with unwholesome pleasant feeling or
      indifferent feeling, and it can also take these two feelings as
      object. It can also take as object the feelings that accompany kusala
      citta, vip�kacitta and kiriyacitta of the sense-sphere.�
      We read in the commentary: �When the latent tendency of sense desire
      arises...� We should know that the word �arisen� (�uppanna�) has
      several meanings. In the context of the latent tendencies, it is
      said: �arisen� in the sense of �having obtained a
      soil� (bhumiladdhuppanna), which means: not cut off. �Arisen in the
      sense of having obtained a soil� refers to the defilements which have
      not been eradicated and which have obtained a soil. Thus, the latent
      tendencies do not arise with the citta, they condition the arising of
      akusala citta.

      We also read in the commentary: �Surely, the latent tendency of sense
      desire that adheres to an object, does not merely adhere to these two
      feelings and to the dhammas that are conascent with them. It also
      adheres to visible object that is desirable, and so on. The Buddha
      taught in the �Book of Analysis� (Ch 16, Analysis of Knowledge, 816,
      And what is the latent tendency of beings?):
      �That which in the world is a lovely thing, pleasant thing
      (piyaruupa.m, saataruupa.m), the latent tendency of sense desire of
      beings adheres to this... � �
      Thus, desirable naama dhammas and ruupa dhammas can be the objects of
      sense desire. When sense desire arises and has as object desirable
      naamas and ruupas, the accumulation of the latent tendency of sense
      desire continues.
      Whenever there is a pleasant object sense desire clings. We can
      verify this in daily life. The only dhammas that are not objects of
      clinging are the nine lokuttara dhammas of nibbaana and the eight
      lokuttara cittas.

      *******

      Nina.







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