Abhidhamma and Right Understanding – What is the abhidhamma?

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Topic
#555

Dear group, I received off list from a Malaysian friend a very basic
question: what is the Abhidhamma.
She wrote:
and that is true. (See his on Robert¹s
Web ).
You could begin with the two terms nama and rupa, and then very gradually
you could learn more details. When you find out that nama and rupa are
realities of daily life the study will be less burdensome, more interesting.
I could also recommend from Acharn Sujin¹s Survey
of Paramattha Dhammas, see the Web Zolag or the Web Abhidhamma Vipassana.
If you study just a little at a time you will see that it is less
complicated than you thought at first.

With metta, Nina.

P.S. I wish to express my appreciation of Torie’s remarks about her study of
the Abhdiamma, telling us that at first she found it dry and abstract but
now she sees that it is helpful. I rejoice such remarks. I also like Jaran’s
remarks that the real study of Abhidhamma is in daily life, just now. Hallo
Jaran, so nice to hear from you.
I read in the posts about , but I think that some people may
believe that their question is not good enough, too simple. Any question
relating to the Dhamma is good, no matter whether one has not studied much
or has studied already a little more. Anyway, study is never enough, and
this is for all of us.

• Tori Korshak

29 May, 2001
Dear Nina,

Thank you for your encouragement and elaboration. I am very relieved to
hear that memorisation is not necessary! Robert has mentioned how kusala
moments frequently can be rapidly alternating with lobha, so that we may in
fact be fooling ourselves when we think we experience alobha. This seems a
very subtle form of self-deception. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what
we don’t know (unless someone points it out to us).

Metta,
Victoria

At 07:01 PM 5/29/01 +0200, you wrote:

• Purnomo .

Message 3 of 8 , 30 May, 2001
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 think there are many levels of understanding, and that any
understanding cannot be a bad thing. Sila, samadhi, panna. These are
all worthwhile and wholesome seeds, and so would be their fruits..

No need to seek for just one, or avoid another. Twelve (dependant
origination), Four (noble truths), Eight (fold path), who do we
appreciate? It all leads to the same goal.

Metta

Herman

abrennan@yahoo.com
Message 5 of 8 , 31 May, 2001
hello Purnomo.

coud you please elaborate in this:

> > The Buddha said metafisika(abhidhamma) is not important to
achieve
> your holy
> > life.

Do you know of any reference to that in the discourses of Buddha.

I must say I’m no big Abhidhammist myself, but in my limited
knowledge I can see some relationship between the technology of
abhidhamma and the 4 noble truths. I see many of our friends here
using the abhidhmamma system to observe their suffering, to see that
they are suffering to recognise that sufferng has it’s causes to
investigate the causes of this suffering and to practice stopping the
feeding of their suffering.

I don’t disagree with you that the intellectual abstraction of
Buddhas teaching may reduce it’s effectiveness and may for many
perhaps even prevent its effecctive implementation.

Thanks for your time

antony brennan

Hi, Purnomo –

In a message dated 5/31/01 12:29:55 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
purnomo9@… writes:

> 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
>
> >From: Nina van Gorkom
> >Reply-To: dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com
> >To: “dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com”
> >Subject: [DhammaStudyGroup] what is the abhidhamma /
> >Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 19:01:55 +0200
> >
> >Dear group, I received off list from a Malaysian friend a very basic
> >question: what is the Abhidhamma.
> >She wrote:
> > > > >
> >Since this question is interesting for all of us I like to answer it here.
> >
> >Dear Dhamma friend,
> >
> >The Abhidhamma helps you to understand your daily life. Time and again you
> >see or hear and on account of what you see or hear there is bound to be
> >like
> >or dislike. Or you are generous and gives things away, there is generosity.
> >These are realities of your daily life. This is the study of Abhidhamma.
> >The
> >Abhdidhamma explains in detail about all these realities and it shows the
> >conditions for all that happens in your life, it shows cause and effect.
> >Terms are used to explain about realities, but all book learning would be
> >void if you do not verify in your own life the realities explained by these
> >terms. You do not have to learn them by heart and it depends on your own
> >inclination to what extent you want to study them.
> >Would you like to know your mind? We find it difficult to analyse it,
> >because it changes all the time. Is it not true that there are at different
> >times generosity, anger or desire? The Abhidhamma teaches us that when
> >there
> >is generosity there cannot be at the same time anger or desire, they arise
> >at different moments. At each moment there is a different mind. We use in
> >everyday language the word mind, but that term suggests something lasting.
> >The word moment of consciousness (in Pali citta) is more precise.
> >Each citta experiences something, it experiences an object. Seeing
> >experiences what appears through the eyes, visible object. Hearing
> >experiences what appears through the ears, sound. Seeing is a reality, it
> >is
> >dhamma. Seeing does not experiences sound. Hearing experiences sound, it
> >does not experience visible object. Hearing is a reality, it is dhamma.
> >There are dhammas which know or experience an object, these are mental
> >phenomena, or in Pali nama. There are dhammas which do not experience
> >anything such as visible object, sound or hardness, these are physical
> >phenomena, or in Pali rupa.
> >You can verify this in your life and you do not need words or names to
> >verify this, you can experience it. That is the study of Abhidhamma. We
> >tend
> >to cling to an idea of my mind, we take it for self. Why is that? Because
> >we
> >have always been ignorant of dhammas and we have distorted views of them.
> >We
> >have been like that in the past and therefore we are like that today.
> >But the study of dhammas is the condition to develop more understanding of
> >them. It can help us in daily life.
> >You may like to help others or give things away to them. Do you act like
> >that without expecting anything for yourself, such as praise, or are you
> >not
> >expecting anything? If we expect something for ourselves, there are moments
> >of desire, unwholesome moments. We should find out which types of cittas
> >arise in such situations, are they just pure, wholesome moments or are they
> >unwholesome? If we find out more about such moments we are studying
> >Abhidhamma. We do not need to remember terms.
> >You are eating a meal, and when the food tastes good, what kind of citta
> >arises? It may be attachment, but when you appreciate someone¹s efforts who
> >cooked the food there is a wholesome citta. You see that the Abhidhamma
> >teaches many details, but these are of direct benefit for your life. Should
> >we not find out more about ourselves? That is the purpose of the study of
> >the Abhidhamma.
> >
> >Our life consists of physical phenomena, rupa, and mental phenomena, nama.
> >These are real for everybody. The nama which sees is real for everyone, no
> >matter it is the seeing of a dog or a man. Anger, which is another nama, is
> >real for everyone, no matter it is the anger of a king or a beggar.
> >Hardness
> >which is rupa, is real for everyone, no matter it is hardness of the table
> >or hardness of your leg. We used to think by way of many difficult terms of
> >our mind, and the world in which we live, but now we learn that our life is
> >only nama and rupa. The late ven. Dhammadharo used to say < the Dhamma > >uncomplicates our life> and that is true. (See his on
> >Robert¹s
> >Web ).
> >You could begin with the two terms nama and rupa, and then very gradually
> >you could learn more details. When you find out that nama and rupa are
> >realities of daily life the study will be less burdensome, more
> >interesting.
> >I could also recommend from Acharn Sujin¹s Survey
> >of Paramattha Dhammas, see the Web Zolag or the Web Abhidhamma Vipassana.
> >If you study just a little at a time you will see that it is less
> >complicated than you thought at first.
> >
> >With metta, Nina.
> >
> >P.S. I wish to express my appreciation of Torie’s remarks about her study
> >of
> >the Abhdiamma, telling us that at first she found it dry and abstract but
> >now she sees that it is helpful. I rejoice such remarks. I also like
> >Jaran’s
> >remarks that the real study of Abhidhamma is in daily life, just now. Hallo
> >Jaran, so nice to hear from you.
> > I read in the posts about , but I think that some people may
> >believe that their question is not good enough, too simple. Any question
> >relating to the Dhamma is good, no matter whether one has not studied much
> >or has studied already a little more. Anyway, study is never enough, and
> >this is for all of us.
>
===============================
I think that Nina’s exposition is wonderful! As I see it, Abhidhamma
is an intellectual map. If, when going somewhere, a traveller were to confuse
the map with the actual network of roadways, he/she would be deranged. Yet,
there is always a danger for us humans of mistaking a map for what it refers
to. The material of the intellect, and of the Abhidhamma, is concept, and, as
any Abhidhammika will say, conceptual objects are not ultimate realities.
However, the concepts dealt with in Abhidhamma are grounded in the
apprehension of realities and, indirectly, point to them. The Abhidhamma
seems to be a very well drawn map. When used properly, it is a wonderful
source ofunderstanding. When misused, it simply constitutes one more instance
of getting caught in dry, isolated intellectualism. The intellect, and
intellectual tools, if kept in their proper place, can serve as helpful
guides, but it is always the direct apprehension of reality, and especially
so on the Buddha’s path, which is chief. This is my perspective.

With metta,
Howard

/Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)

Robert Kirkpatrick

Message 7 of 8 , 31 May, 2001
Thank you Howard. Exactly so.
robert
> ===============================
> I think that Nina’s exposition is wonderful! As I see
> it, Abhidhamma
> is an intellectual map. If, when going somewhere, a traveller
> were to confuse
> the map with the actual network of roadways, he/she would be
> deranged. Yet,
> there is always a danger for us humans of mistaking a map for
> what it refers
> to. The material of the intellect, and of the Abhidhamma, is
> concept, and, as
> any Abhidhammika will say, conceptual objects are not ultimate
> realities.
> However, the concepts dealt with in Abhidhamma are grounded in
> the
> apprehension of realities and, indirectly, point to them. The
> Abhidhamma
> seems to be a very well drawn map. When used properly, it is a
> wonderful
> source ofunderstanding. When misused, it simply constitutes
> one more instance
> of getting caught in dry, isolated intellectualism. The
> intellect, and
> intellectual tools, if kept in their proper place, can serve
> as helpful
> guides, but it is always the direct apprehension of reality,
> and especially
> so on the Buddha’s path, which is chief. This is my
> perspective.
> With metta,
> Howard
> /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at
> dawn, a bubble
> in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a
> flickering lamp, a
> phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)

Kom Tukovinit

Message 8 of 8 , 31 May, 2001
Dear Howard,

Thanks for the useful comparison. Another comparison is, for those drawn
to the 4th-grade science teaching, the model (theory) and the realities.
The model tells us what the realities might be and it may even tell us
what to look for, not to look for, but we would never know the realities as=

they truly are just by studying the theory alone.

kom

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