Abhidharma

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
Post Reply
avatamsaka3
Posts: 388
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Abhidharma

Post by avatamsaka3 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:52 am

Is Abhidharma in conflict with Madhyamaka? Does it assume that phenomena exist inherently?

User avatar
Wayfarer
Former staff member
Posts: 5095
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: AU

Re: Abhidharma

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:45 am

No, As I understand it, Abhidharma still forms part of the curriculum of scholastic Buddhist studies. It’s not as if it rejected by Mādhyamika, but that any tendency towards ‘reifying dharmas’, or according them ultimate truth, is criticised on the basis that ‘dharmas are lacking in own-being’. But a critique is not a rejection. I think the Mādhyamikas are saying, don’t construe the Abhidharma as an ultimate truth; but even so it is still a valuable source of insight and something that needs to be understood thoroughly.

Interested in others’ comments but that is my understanding of it.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7665
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Abhidharma

Post by Astus » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:11 am

dolphin_color wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:52 am
Is Abhidharma in conflict with Madhyamaka? Does it assume that phenomena exist inherently?
Abhidharma is not a single doctrine. What needs to be looked at is whether what you call "Abhidharma" upholds the same definition of inherent existence that is refuted by Nagarjuna.

For the Sarvastivadin version, see Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma by Venerable Professor K.L. Dhammajoti, chapter 3.5.
For the Theravadin version, see The Dhamma Theory: Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma by Y. Karunadasa
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

avatamsaka3
Posts: 388
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Re: Abhidharma

Post by avatamsaka3 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:07 pm

Abhidharma is not a single doctrine.
Is it doctrine-less, or a bundle of doctrines?
What needs to be looked at is whether what you call "Abhidharma" upholds the same definition of inherent existence that is refuted by Nagarjuna.
Can this be answered with respect to the Abhidharmakośakārikā, and commentaries on it?

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 7665
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Abhidharma

Post by Astus » Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:57 pm

dolphin_color wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:07 pm
Is it doctrine-less, or a bundle of doctrines?
There are several texts within the Abhidharma-pitaka, and there are more then one such collections.
Can this be answered with respect to the Abhidharmakośakārikā, and commentaries on it?
That depends on how one interprets the Kosha about svabhava (I.18) and paramartha (VI.4), and of course what one understands by Nagarjuna's refutation of svabhava and that only emptiness is paramartha. For instance, apart from the three unconditioned ones, all dharmas are understood to be impermanent, therefore they cannot be qualified by saying that svabhava is necessarily permanent.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Virgo
Former staff member
Posts: 3825
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:47 am
Location: Uni-verse

Re: Abhidharma

Post by Virgo » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:46 pm

dolphin_color wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:52 am
Does it assume that phenomena exist inherently?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abhidharma
Svabhava
The Abhidharmikas often used the term svabhāva (Pali: sabhāva) to explain the causal workings of dharmas. This term was used in different ways by the different Buddhist schools. This term does not appear in the sutras. The Abhidharmakośabhāṣya states: “dharma means ‘upholding,’ [namely], upholding intrinsic nature (svabhāva)” while the Theravādin commentaries holds that: “dhammas are so called because they bear their intrinsic natures, or because they are borne by causal conditions.”[32] Dharmas were also said to be distinct from each other by their intrinsic/unique characteristics (svalaksana). The examination of these characteristics was held to be extremely important, the Sarvastivada Mahavibhasa states "Abhidharma is [precisely] the analysis of the svalaksana and samanya-laksana of dharmas".[36]

According to Peter Harvey, the Theravadin view of dharmas was that "'They are dhammas because they uphold their own nature [sabhaava]. They are dhammas because they are upheld by conditions or they are upheld according to their own nature' (Asl.39). Here 'own-nature' would mean characteristic nature, which is not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality, but arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma."[37]

The Visuddhimagga of Buddhaghosa, the most influential classical Theravada treatise, states that not-self does not become apparent because it is concealed by "compactness" when one does not give attention to the various elements which make up the person. [38] The Paramatthamañjusa Visuddhimaggatika of Acariya Dhammapala, a later Theravada commentary on the Visuddhimagga, refers to the fact that we often assume unity and compactness in phenomena and functions which are instead made up of various elements, but when one sees that these are merely empty dhammas, one can understand the not-self characteristic:

"when they are seen after resolving them by means of knowledge into these elements, they disintegrate like froth subjected to compression by the hand. They are mere states (dhamma) occurring due to conditions and void. In this way the characteristic of not-self becomes more evident."[38]

The Sarvastivadins saw dharmas as the ultimately 'real entities' (sad-dravya), though they also held that dharmas were dependently originated. For the Sarvastivadins, a synonym for svabhava is avayaya (a 'part'), the smallest possible unit which cannot be analyzed into smaller parts and hence it is ultimately real as opposed to only conventionally real (such as a chariot or a person).[39] However, the Sarvastivadins did not hold that dharmas were completely independent of each other, as the Mahavibhasa states: "conditioned dharmas are weak in their intrinsic nature, they can accomplish their activities only through mutual dependence" and "they have no sovereignty (aisvarya). They are dependent on others."[40] Svabhava in the early Abhidhamma texts was then not a term which meant ontological independence, metaphysical essence or underlying substance, but simply referred to their characteristics, which are dependent on other conditions and qualities. According to Ronkin: "In the early Sarvāstivāda exegetical texts, then, svabhāva is used as an atemporal, invariable criterion determining what a dharma is, not necessarily that a dharma exists. The concern here is primarily with what makes categorial types of dharma unique, rather than with the ontological status of dharmas."[32] However, in the later Sarvastivada texts, like the Mahavibhasa, the term svabhava began to be defined more ontologically as the really existing “intrinsic nature” specifying individual dharmas.[32]

Other Abhidharma schools did not accept the svabhava concept. The 'Prajñaptivadins' denied the ultimate reality of all dharmas and held that everything, even dharmas, is characterized by Prajñapti (provisional designation or fictitious construction). The Vainasikas held that all dharmas were without svabhava.[41] This view that dharmas are empty or void is also found in the Lokanuvartana Sutra (‘The Sutra of Conformity with the World’) which survives in Chinese and Tibetan translation, and may have been a scripture of the Purvasailas, which was a sub-school of the Mahasamghika.
Virgo

User avatar
Lucas Oliveira
Posts: 418
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:09 pm

Re: Abhidharma

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:45 pm

Virgo wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:46 pm
dolphin_color wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:52 am
Does it assume that phenomena exist inherently?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abhidharma
Svabhava
The Abhidharmikas often used the term svabhāva (Pali: sabhāva) to explain the causal workings of dharmas. This term was used in different ways by the different Buddhist schools. This term does not appear in the sutras. The Abhidharmakośabhāṣya states: “dharma means ‘upholding,’ [namely], upholding intrinsic nature (svabhāva)” while the Theravādin commentaries holds that: “dhammas are so called because they bear their intrinsic natures, or because they are borne by causal conditions.”[32] Dharmas were also said to be distinct from each other by their intrinsic/unique characteristics (svalaksana). The examination of these characteristics was held to be extremely important, the Sarvastivada Mahavibhasa states "Abhidharma is [precisely] the analysis of the svalaksana and samanya-laksana of dharmas".[36]

According to Peter Harvey, the Theravadin view of dharmas was that "'They are dhammas because they uphold their own nature [sabhaava]. They are dhammas because they are upheld by conditions or they are upheld according to their own nature' (Asl.39). Here 'own-nature' would mean characteristic nature, which is not something inherent in a dhamma as a separate ultimate reality, but arise due to the supporting conditions both of other dhammas and previous occurrences of that dhamma."[37]

The Visuddhimagga of Buddhaghosa, the most influential classical Theravada treatise, states that not-self does not become apparent because it is concealed by "compactness" when one does not give attention to the various elements which make up the person. [38] The Paramatthamañjusa Visuddhimaggatika of Acariya Dhammapala, a later Theravada commentary on the Visuddhimagga, refers to the fact that we often assume unity and compactness in phenomena and functions which are instead made up of various elements, but when one sees that these are merely empty dhammas, one can understand the not-self characteristic:

"when they are seen after resolving them by means of knowledge into these elements, they disintegrate like froth subjected to compression by the hand. They are mere states (dhamma) occurring due to conditions and void. In this way the characteristic of not-self becomes more evident."[38]

The Sarvastivadins saw dharmas as the ultimately 'real entities' (sad-dravya), though they also held that dharmas were dependently originated. For the Sarvastivadins, a synonym for svabhava is avayaya (a 'part'), the smallest possible unit which cannot be analyzed into smaller parts and hence it is ultimately real as opposed to only conventionally real (such as a chariot or a person).[39] However, the Sarvastivadins did not hold that dharmas were completely independent of each other, as the Mahavibhasa states: "conditioned dharmas are weak in their intrinsic nature, they can accomplish their activities only through mutual dependence" and "they have no sovereignty (aisvarya). They are dependent on others."[40] Svabhava in the early Abhidhamma texts was then not a term which meant ontological independence, metaphysical essence or underlying substance, but simply referred to their characteristics, which are dependent on other conditions and qualities. According to Ronkin: "In the early Sarvāstivāda exegetical texts, then, svabhāva is used as an atemporal, invariable criterion determining what a dharma is, not necessarily that a dharma exists. The concern here is primarily with what makes categorial types of dharma unique, rather than with the ontological status of dharmas."[32] However, in the later Sarvastivada texts, like the Mahavibhasa, the term svabhava began to be defined more ontologically as the really existing “intrinsic nature” specifying individual dharmas.[32]

Other Abhidharma schools did not accept the svabhava concept. The 'Prajñaptivadins' denied the ultimate reality of all dharmas and held that everything, even dharmas, is characterized by Prajñapti (provisional designation or fictitious construction). The Vainasikas held that all dharmas were without svabhava.[41] This view that dharmas are empty or void is also found in the Lokanuvartana Sutra (‘The Sutra of Conformity with the World’) which survives in Chinese and Tibetan translation, and may have been a scripture of the Purvasailas, which was a sub-school of the Mahasamghika.
Virgo
:anjali:
I participate in this forum using Google Translator. https://translate.google.com.br/

http://www.acessoaoinsight.net/

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Matt J and 66 guests