Four Great References


Sarah Abbott from dhammastudygroup kindly found this for me.

From the Commentary to the Parinibbana Sutta:

“But in the list [of four things] beginning with sutta, sutta means the three baskets [Suttanta, Vinaya, Abhidhamma] which the three Councils recited.

Accordance with sutta’ means legitimate by being in accord [with what is explicitly legitimate].

The word of a teacher’ means the commentary.

One’s own opinion’ means one’s own illumination through grasping an analogy or one’s consequent understanding.

Of these, sutta should not be rejected, for he who rejects that rejects the Buddha himself. If what is legitimate by being in accord agrees with the sutta, it should be accepted, but otherwise not. If the word of a teacher agrees with the sutta, it should be accepted, but otherwise not.

One’s own opinion is weakest of all, but if it agrees with the sutta, it should be accepted, but otherwise not.

The three Councils’ are the one of five hundred monks, the one of seven hundred, the one of a thousand. Only a sutta transmitted through them is authoritative; any other is a contemptible sutta, not to be accepted. Even though words and syllables appear in the latter, they should be knownas ones which do not appear in the Sutta, are not found in the Vinaya.’”



Dear Robert,

this is the quote from the commentary. And I readily accept it – if this quote is encouraging and helping you to understand and practice the noble eightfold path in your personal life.

But in my case, whenever I read only a little bid of the commentaries or the Abhidhamma: I either don’t know why anyone would elaborate so complicated on something so clearly spoken by the Tathagata, and become bored – but overall I become totally discouraged.
That is why I stick to the practical Dhamma of the Suttas, which I really can enact.

I practiced once in Burmese monastery, where also Abhidhamma is practically known & seen in a very sophisticated Vipassana-style. I met there monks who have studied Abhidhamma their whole monks life. But only now – with this particular and complicated method – were able to put it, to the letter, into practice!

But as I already wrote elsewhere: Such monk’s manner of behavior and personality – having been only scholars and rarely having put their vast knowledge into practice – compared to monks who pragmatically followed the Suttas their whole life – did not convince me at all, though there are exceptions;

– I am really so glad that my path started with practical Vipassana, and through my need to understand my experiences there better: to my limited study of the Suttas. Further on… to be really able to take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma (meanwhile leaving Abhidhamma aside, because practically it is not helping me to enact the noble 8fold path) and the Sangha.

Nevertheless, my highest respect to every other particular approach to the understanding of the Dhamma.

Dear Wolfgang,
Abhidhamma has always seemd to me to be entirely direct and pratical, but I know some people do think it is theory and study it as if it were an academic subject.
This is from Sitagu Sayadaw
http://www.abhidhamm…agu sayadaw.htm

Sitagu Sayadaw
Since Vipassana meditation takes the Abhidhamma as its sole object of contemplation, Vipassana and Abhidhamma cannot be separated. And while it may not be said that one can practice Vipassana only after one has mastered the Abhidhamma, Vipassana meditation and the study of Abhidhamma remain one and the same thing. Because mind, mental factors and matter are forever bound up with this fathom-long body, the study and learning of this subject, and the concentrated observation of the nature of mind, mental factors and matter are tasks which cannot be distinguished.
Since at the very least one would have to say that there can be no Vipassana without an understanding of mind and matter, surely then it is not possible to separate Abhidhamma and Vipassana. It is explained in the Abhidhamma that the root causes giving rise to the seven elements of mind and matter are ignorance (avijja), craving (tanha) and volitional action (kamma). It is further pointed out that the supporting conditions for these same seven elements are kamma, mind, climate (utu) and nutriment (ahara). Only by grasping these abhidhammic truths will one possess the knowledge which comprehends conditional relations (paccayapariggahanana), and achieve the purification of mind necessary for overcoming doubt. These excellent benefits are pointed out by paticcasamuppada and pathana. Therefore, since it is the case that Vipassana and Abhidhamma are not separate but are mutually dependent, it is rightly submitted that Vipassana yogis ought not let go of that wise method of learning about the human condition called the Abhidhamma

And this thread is relevant , you might like to comment in it.


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