Abhidhamma and Noble Truths

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Topic
#554

I’m not agree what you said. How could you say understand abhidhamma help
your daily life. I think The Buddha said that The Four noble truth is most
important and nothing else. The Buddha said metafisika(abhidhamma) is not
important to achieve your holy life. May Those used to you and all. Thank,
be happier, be better every day metta,
Purnomo

Dear Purnomo, I like your question, it is straightforward and deep.
You may think that Abhidhamma is metaphysics, something abstract, beyond our
daily life. You are right to point to the four noble Truths which are the
essence of the Buddha¹s teaching. The Buddha taught Dhamma to people so
that they would develop understanding and eventually realize the four noble
Truths. What is the connection between the Abhidhamma and the four noble
Truths?
The fourth noble Truth is the eightfold Path, the development of rright
understanding of all realities in daily life. What is our daily life? We see
and hear pleasant and unpleasant things and we think about them. On account
of what we see and hear we often have attachment and aversion. They arise
already before we realize it. Because of these defilements we may commit bad
deeds, we may steal or become agressive and harm other people. This is
Abhidhamma.
Abhidhamma means higher dhamma or dhamma in detail. This should not put us
off. The Abhidhamma is not merely theory, the Buddha taught it so that
people could develop understanding of their life. We think of and
other people, other people hurt us, they are unpleasant to us. The
Abhidhamma is higher dhamma because it teaches us what is really there: no
self, no person, only elements which are impermanent. When a cow has been
cut up, you do not have the idea of cow, cow does not really exist, there
are only elements. Our life is: experiencing objects through eyes, ears,
nose, tongue, bodysense and mind, through six doors. There is no self who
experiences, there are only elements. That is Abhidhamma. Seeing now just
sees, it is not committing any deed. It is result, vipaka, result of past
kamma. Even though we do not know whether seeing now experiences a pleasant
object or an unpleasant object, it is the result of kusala kamma or akusala
kamma. We receive reults of past kamma, time and again. The Abhidhamma
teaches us cause and result in life, it teaches us how everything in life
arises because of the appropriate conditions. When understanding has been
developed we shall realize that there is no self, that there are only
elements, mental phenomena, nama, and physical phenomena, rupa.
You may like to read suttas, but also in the suttas there is Abhidhamma. The
Buddha taught suttas to people with different accumulations, he used words
adapted to their level of understanding; and he used similes to explain the
truth: that there is no self, only elements. That visible object, sound and
the other sense objects are experienced one at a time through the six doors.
We cannot understand the deep meaning of the suttas without a basic
understanding of the Abhidhamma. This does not mean that everybody has to
read all seven Books of the Abhidhamma and know all details. That depends on
the personal inclination of the individual. Also in the Vinaya there is
Abhidhamma: the Buddha explained different degrees of defilements to the
monks. He explained how causes bring about their results accordingly. The
Abhidhamma, the Suttanta and the Vinaya are one, they are the teaching of
the Buddha.
Now I come back to the four noble Truths. The first Truth is dukkha,
suffering. This is not merely pain, it means: the arising and falling away
of nama and rupa, their impermanence. Seeing now is dukkha, hearing now is
dukkha. The Abhidhamma teaches us about seeing, hearing, and all other
realities. If their different characteristics can be understood one at a
time, their arising and falling away can be realized later on. It is a long
process of developing understanding to penetrate the Truth of dukkha. Seeing
arises at a moment different from hearing; seeing experiences visible object
and hearing sound; seeing arises at the eyesense and hearing at the
earsense. Again, the teaching of seeing, hearing and the different
conditions which make them arise, is the teaching of the Abhidhamma, the
teaching of all that happens in our daily life. The aim of the study of the
Abhidhamma is nothing else but the practice: the development of
understanding of nama and rupa as they appear one at a time, at this moment.
This is the only way to eventually understand that they are dukkha. The
practice is the development of the eightfold Path, the development of
satipatthana. The development not of theoretical understanding but of direct
understanding of all that is real. This leads to the direct realisation of
the four noble Truths.
The second noble Truth is the origin of dukkha: craving. This shows us the
condition for our life now which is dukkha. In the teaching on the Dependant
Origination the Buddha taught us in detail about all the conditions for our
going around in the cycle of birth and detah. Again, this is Abhidhamma. We
cannot seperate the teaching of the Abhidhamma from the teaching about the
four noble Truths. The third noble Truth, the cessation of dukkha, nibbana,
can only be realized by panna, understanding, which has been developed, but
this is a long process.
If you have more questions, you are welcome, I like your way of questioning.
With metta, Nina van Gorkom.

srnsk@aol.com

01 Jun, 2001
Hi Nina,

I read your mail during my lunch. Hard not to respond. I really appreciate
reading your response in the mail. Just reading it made me feel really good.

Hope seeing you more.

Anumodhana.

Num

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

• Tori Korshak

01 Jun, 2001
Dear Nina,

Thank you for this very clear explanation.

Metta,
Victoria

At 07:18 PM 6/1/01 +0200, you wrote:

• Purnomo .

04 Jun, 2001
Thank for your detail.
May I ask once again ?
I mean that however we be smart about Abhidhamma, but we don’t approach
Samadhi(meditation) so we be smart for theory only. My point is practice not
theory. I know, Abhidhamma is important but you have to know that abhidhamma
born from pracrice/experience. Don’t you change, theory then practice. And
it’s most important that The Buddha Sakyamuni have found dhamma on his
effort and experince. So, we could find that what all The Buddha told are
based on his experince. So, we can find dhamma not from theory(Abhidhamma)
but from your effort by meditation. And we must know, every body have got
experience theirself. Remember, we have the same of goal, but we have
different way to achieve it. These sentences macth what The Buddha said.
Be happier, be better everyday
Metta,

Purnomo

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• Nina van Gorkom

Message 5 of 5 , 08 Jun, 2001
op 05-06-2001 08:13 schreef Purnomo . op purnomo9@…:

N: Dear Purnomo, can we practice without listening first to the teachings?
Is the beginning of the development of understanding not listening and
considering? We are not like the Buddha who found the Truth all by himself.
We need to listen first. That is: learning, considering, verifying in our
own life what we hear. As you say, everybody has to experience the truth
himself. If we just sit in mmeditation but do not know our own cittas, how
can we be sure that we practise in the right way? For example, we may wish
to develop the meditation subject of metta, lovingkindness, but if we do not
know the different moments of citta we may confuse attachment to a person
and unselfish love. As the Visuddhimagga explains, attachment is the near
enemy of metta. This is just an example to show that there cannot be the
right meditation without learning what the Buddha taught about the different
cittas and other phenomena of our life.
What is our goal? The Buddha taught that only right understanding of
realities can eradicate ignorance and the other defilements. First clinging
to self has to be eradicated. We can learn that whatever arises is just a
conditioned reality, non-self. You say that we have different ways to
achieve the goal. It is very useful to remember that whatever we do is only
a conditioned reality. Suppose someone likes to sit in meditation and
believes that he can develop a calm state of mind. Why is that? Because it
is his accumulated inclination, he has done this before. If this is so, let
him than realize that it is not self who is doing this, only a conditioned
nama. He could also consider what his purpose is and what he comes to know
by sitting. Is there a subtle attachment to calm? Does he come to know his
own citta? Whatever you do, develop more understanding of your own citta,
that is the Abhidhamma in the practice. We have to be very sincere and find
out when we are clinging to the self. Not only when sitting but also when
working, talking or eating.
Thank you for your good wish to become better everyday. How? only by
understanding more my own citta. And evenso, there are ups and downs all the
way, don’t you find that?
Many religions teach: do good, do good. Only the Buddha taught the way:
understanding of realities. No matter he spoke about sila, the development
of calm, or vipassana, the development of understanding of realities was
always implied in his teachings. From beginning to end. Only the Buddha
could teach the true nature of realities, only the Buddha could teach that
realities are non-self.
With metta, Nina.
Dear Nina,

Thank you for this very clear explanation.

Metta,
Victoria

At 07:18 PM 6/1/01 +0200, you wrote:

Purnomo .

04 Jun, 2001
Thank for your detail.
May I ask once again ?
I mean that however we be smart about Abhidhamma, but we don’t approach
Samadhi(meditation) so we be smart for theory only. My point is practice not
theory. I know, Abhidhamma is important but you have to know that abhidhamma
born from pracrice/experience. Don’t you change, theory then practice. And
it’s most important that The Buddha Sakyamuni have found dhamma on his
effort and experince. So, we could find that what all The Buddha told are
based on his experince. So, we can find dhamma not from theory(Abhidhamma)
but from your effort by meditation. And we must know, every body have got
experience theirself. Remember, we have the same of goal, but we have
different way to achieve it. These sentences macth what The Buddha said.
Be happier, be better everyday
Metta,

Purnomo

_________________________________________________________________________
Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com.

• Nina van Gorkom

Message 5 of 5 , 08 Jun, 2001
op 05-06-2001 08:13 schreef Purnomo . op purnomo9@…:

N: Dear Purnomo, can we practice without listening first to the teachings?
Is the beginning of the development of understanding not listening and
considering? We are not like the Buddha who found the Truth all by himself.
We need to listen first. That is: learning, considering, verifying in our
own life what we hear. As you say, everybody has to experience the truth
himself. If we just sit in mmeditation but do not know our own cittas, how
can we be sure that we practise in the right way? For example, we may wish
to develop the meditation subject of metta, lovingkindness, but if we do not
know the different moments of citta we may confuse attachment to a person
and unselfish love. As the Visuddhimagga explains, attachment is the near
enemy of metta. This is just an example to show that there cannot be the
right meditation without learning what the Buddha taught about the different
cittas and other phenomena of our life.
What is our goal? The Buddha taught that only right understanding of
realities can eradicate ignorance and the other defilements. First clinging
to self has to be eradicated. We can learn that whatever arises is just a
conditioned reality, non-self. You say that we have different ways to
achieve the goal. It is very useful to remember that whatever we do is only
a conditioned reality. Suppose someone likes to sit in meditation and
believes that he can develop a calm state of mind. Why is that? Because it
is his accumulated inclination, he has done this before. If this is so, let
him than realize that it is not self who is doing this, only a conditioned
nama. He could also consider what his purpose is and what he comes to know
by sitting. Is there a subtle attachment to calm? Does he come to know his
own citta? Whatever you do, develop more understanding of your own citta,
that is the Abhidhamma in the practice. We have to be very sincere and find
out when we are clinging to the self. Not only when sitting but also when
working, talking or eating.
Thank you for your good wish to become better everyday. How? only by
understanding more my own citta. And evenso, there are ups and downs all the
way, don’t you find that?
Many religions teach: do good, do good. Only the Buddha taught the way:
understanding of realities. No matter he spoke about sila, the development
of calm, or vipassana, the development of understanding of realities was
always implied in his teachings. From beginning to end. Only the Buddha
could teach the true nature of realities, only the Buddha could teach that
realities are non-self.
With metta, Nina.

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