A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO ABHIDDHAMMA PHILOSOPHY
By Honorary Professor Venerable Dr. Ashin Pannadipa, B.A, M.A, Ph.D, D.A.S ( Honorary Professor of World University of Advance Studies, California, U.S.A)( Former Abbot of Ratana Parami International Buddhist Temple, Washington State, U.S.A)( Vipassana Meditation Master of Vipassanapanna University, Yangon, Myanmar)(The Proposed Abbot of Kyeik Thi Mon Buddhist Temple, Ye Town, Mon State, Myanmar) (Member of World Buddhist Sangha Youth, Taipei, Taiwan) (Member of Sakya Beneficience International Association, Taichun, Taiwan) ( Former Buddhism Instructor And Insight Meditation Master At Tibetan Cultural Centre, Indiana, U.S.A) (Former Dhamma Instructor And Insight Meditation Master at Wat Jotanaram/Khmer Buddhist Society, Inc, Bronx, New York, U.S.A) (Former Dhamma Teacher of Wat Bangsaodhong Buddhist Sunday School at Wat Bangsaodhong, Bangkok, Thailand in the year of 2005).
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The Abhidhamma Philosophy, also known as The Buddhist Philosophy and Psychology expounded in Tavatimsa Realm by the Buddha about 2600 years ago, is called “Abhidhamma Pitaka in Pali which was regarded as the third division of Pali Canon. The Abhidhamma Pitaka, the Basket of the Higher Teaching of the Buddha, has been playing an important role in South-East Asian Theravada Buddhist Countries, especially in Myanmar (Formerly known as Burma) and also very difficult to understand its teachings in nature because of its profundity in meaning. By the way, Myanmar Country is known as the Land of Abhidhamma Studies and also as the Land of Pagodas.
The Abhidhamma Pitaka, regarded as the highest esteem in Theravada Buddhist Countries, especially in the country of Myanmar, has been contained the most profound teachings of the historical Buddha and also has the ability to lead the human beings to achieve their goal as a final emancipation from all forms of suffering or the cycle of birth and death. Since the Third Buddhist Council which was held at Pataliputta, also known as Patna now, in India in the 3 Century B.C, Abhidhamma Pitaka has been discussed and added.
The Abhidhamma Philosophy, one of the three Baskets, was expounded the ultimate realities, the profound teachings of the Buddha, the Buddhist Meditations, all types of consciousness, the planes of existence, the wholesome dhammas, the unwholesome dhammas and the indeterminate dhammas. It is in combination of two words of Abhi+Dhamma. Abhi means Higher or sublime and Dhamma means teachings or doctrines. So, Abhidhamma means the higher teachings of the Buddha or the sublime doctrines of the Buddha.
The Ahidhamma Basket, also known as the Buddhist Philosophy and Psychology, has a real capacity to interest all scholars through out the world. It was explained the conditioned dhammas (Sankhata Dhammas in Pali) and the unconditioned dhammas (Asankhata Dhammas in Pali). The Abhidhamma Pitaka has been studying in the world, especially in the Buddhist worlds by the Buddhists and Non-Buddhists alike.
However, The Gotama Buddha, on the seventh years after achieving his enlightenment, known as Buddhahood, went to Tavatimsa Heaven by his powerful levitation or supernormal power and delivered the “Abhidhamma Pitaka” for three human months, the rain retreats (Vassana in Pali) to his royal mother Deva (who was died on the seven day after the birth of Prince Siddhattha) and was reborn in Tusita Realm as a male Deva called “Santussita”, together with the other Devas. Many Devas led by his mother Deva known as Santussita, after hearing the Abhidhamma lectures expounded by the historical Buddha, were achieved the different stages of enlightenment such as becoming the stream-winners (Sotapanna in Pali), the once-returners (Sakadagami in Pali) and the non-returners (Anagami in Pali).
The historically Omniscient Buddha, after delivering his Abhidhamma lectures in Tavatimsa Deva Realm, came down back to the human world at Late Anottata on the Himalaya Mountain or at the city of “Sankassa” (by his supernormal power) where his chief disciple, Venerable Sariputta was looking forward to hearing the daily summary of his Abhidhamma Lectures. The Venerable Sariputta delivered the Abhidhamma lectures to the newly ordained Bhikhu Monks on the day which the Buddha came down back to the earth and the Abhidhamma Pitaka is studied, taught and spread out in the human world until today by the Venerable Sariputta.
The Abhidhamma Pitaka, the sublime doctrines of the Buddha, was divided into seven books as below:
1. Dhammasangani, the classification or enumeration of dhamma.
2. Vibhanga, the book of analysis or divisions.
3. Dhatukatha, the discourse on elements.
4. Puggala Pannatti, the book on individuals.
5. Kathavatthu, the points of controversy.
6. Yamaka, the book of pairs.
7. Patthana, the book of causal relations.