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