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Abhidhamma Series, no 27. The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 4)

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Dear friends, no 27. The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 4) The fourth book of the Abhidhamma is the Puggala pa~n~natti (Translated as ‘A Designation of
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      Dear friends,

      no 27. The Seven Books of the Abhidhamma (part 4)

      The fourth book of the Abhidhamma is the Puggala pa~n~natti
      (Translated as �A Designation of Human Types�). This book deals with
      the cittas and the different accumulated tendencies of individuals.
      Some people are easily inclined to anger, whereas others are full of
      mettaa. We read about an angry person:

      �What sort of person is angry? What then is anger?

      That which is anger, and the state of being angry, hatred, hating,
      hatefulness, malice, the act of being malicious, maliciousness,
      hostility, enmity, rudeness, abruptness, resentment of heart-this is
      called anger. He who has not got rid of this anger is said to be an
      angry person.�

      In this definition we read about the �state of being angry�, and this
      teaches us that anger is not a person, that it is a dhamma which is
      conditioned. We think of an angry person, but anger, after it has
      arisen, is gone completely, it does not last. The contents of this
      book is the evil and good qualities of individuals, but actually
      these are cetasikas, mental factors arising because of conditions.
      Thus, we are constantly reminded that these are not persons, they are
      impermanent and not self.

      We read (II, 17) about a person who is guarded as to the �sense-
      doors�. There is no person who is guarding the sense-doors, but the
      realities of sati and pa~n~naa. When there is mindfulness and
      understanding of visible object appearing through the eye-door, of
      sound appearing through the ear-door, of the other sense objects
      appearing through the other sense-doors, one is not enslaved by these
      objects but one learns to see these realities as they are:
      impermanent and non-self. At such moments there is no opportunity for
      akusala cittas rooted in lobha, dosa and moha.

      Some persons are able to attain jhaana, others do not. We read (1,
      30): �Which is the person who is twice-liberated (ubhatobhaaga-
      vimutta)? It is one who, in his own person, has attained to the eight
      liberations (jhaanas), and through wise penetration his taints
      (aasavas) have come to extinction.�

      (1, 31) �Which is the person who is liberated by wisdom (pa~n~naa-
      vimutta)? It is one who has not attained, in his own person, to the
      eight liberations, but through wise penetration his taints have come
      to extinction.�

      When we read about the attainments of different individuals we should
      not forget that these are citta and cetasikas that have developed
      pa~n~naa.

      *******

      Nina.


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