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Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 2:06 pm
by Indrajala
I was wondering if anyone on the forum would be interesting in doing an Abhidharmakosa study group here?

I was thinking we could distribute the English translation while referring if need be to the Sanskrit as well as Chinese and Tibetan if need be. We might have a thread for each chapter where we highlight the key points and discuss the contents.

For beginners it would be good to read the Abhidharmakosa as it is a kind of foundational textbook of sorts that was read everywhere from India to Japan and is still commonly used as a reference book. It is a bit overwhelming at first perhaps, but if we have a public forum here where we can discuss the more difficult sections and people can freely ask questions, it might prove very useful. The contents of Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosa are not only quite comprehensive, but also quite useful in understanding a lot of core ideas of Buddhist philosophy.

So, if there is interest I might get the ball started. Hopefully the moderators could pin the threads and keep the discussions on topic.

If there is enough interest I'll get the ball started by introducing some key background information on the text and author as well as uploading the .pdf files of an English translation for public download.

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 2:44 pm
by Yogicfire
Interesting idea. What kind of time frame do you envisage as being adequate for reading each chapter?

Off topic, are you studying at Komazawa university by any chance?

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 2:57 pm
by Indrajala
Whatever amount of time is fine. I don't think all the chapters are of the same time and a lot of it gets very detailed and thick in discourse.


And yes I am at Komazawa. Where are you in Nippon? :smile:

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 4:48 pm
by Ngawang Drolma
I would be very interested! It's difficult for me to make time to keep up with study groups because my days are dominated by my young child. When it's finally her bedtime practice is my priority.

But I've been wanting to study the Abhidharmakosha for years and I've been even buying books in hopes of being able to do it. So I guarantee that if nothing else I'd be very interested in following along with the group even if I wind up not being able to contribute much.

Best,
Laura

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 5:44 pm
by Mr. G
I would be interested. Are we using Poussin's translation by Pruden?

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 6:10 pm
by Astus
Sounds fascinating. But I don't promise any participation except for occasionally looking at what is going on.

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group!

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 7:48 pm
by Nicholas Weeks
Sounds good to me. Pruden's version will be used?

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 8:37 pm
by Luke
This sounds interesting, but I don't think I have time to be part of a study group now.

...But I would like to get my greedy little paws on the pdf files! :jumping:

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 1:22 am
by Indrajala
It would be Poussin's translation by Pruden I guess as no other translation in full exists to my knowledge.

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 9:45 am
by muni
:namaste: It will be very interesting to read here.

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 9:51 am
by Huifeng
The Kosa is a large and complex text. It requires some method in studying it. One really can't just open at page one, and take it from there. (Well, okay one can, but realistically speaking, how far will that go?)

Do you have a guide to lead through the key points, so that things don't get bogged down in inessentials and difficult areas?

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 10:08 am
by Indrajala
Huifeng wrote:The Kosa is a large and complex text. It requires some method in studying it. One really can't just open at page one, and take it from there. (Well, okay one can, but realistically speaking, how far will that go?)

Do you have a guide to lead through the key points, so that things don't get bogged down in inessentials and difficult areas?
I have a copy (on loan from the library :smile: but nobody else I think would ever use it but me) of Analytical Study of the Abhidharmakosa by Sukomal Chaudhuri (1983) which details and summarizes the text chapter by chapter and also provides a good introduction.

If anyone else could find materials (articles and such) and present them, that'd be welcome too.

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 2:01 pm
by kirtu
Huseng wrote:I was wondering if anyone on the forum would be interesting in doing an Abhidharmakosa study group here?
Yes, definitely. :twothumbsup:

Kirt

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 7:03 pm
by Nicholas Weeks
Huifeng wrote:The Kosa is a large and complex text. It requires some method in studying it. One really can't just open at page one, and take it from there. (Well, okay one can, but realistically speaking, how far will that go?)

Do you have a guide to lead through the key points, so that things don't get bogged down in inessentials and difficult areas?
As a Bhikshu you probably have some ideas or maybe even a text that gives a way to handle all the information. I have tried to read it from page one, but gad, what a tremendous amount of difficult-ness.

Namdrol started an online study of it, but never followed through. Wonder what he is up to now?

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 7:05 pm
by Mr. G
Huseng wrote:It would be Poussin's translation by Pruden I guess as no other translation in full exists to my knowledge.
Unfortunately, it's too expensive for me to pick up right now. :(

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:28 am
by Indrajala
mr. gordo wrote: Unfortunately, it's too expensive for me to pick up right now. :(

The download link for the .pdf files in a .zip file is here:


http://www.megaupload.com/?d=YHU99QTQ" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It is just under 50 megabytes.

I've also included Asanga's work as another reference work one might make use of.

If you're interested please download the file. The introduction is long and will give some good background information on the text.

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:36 am
by Indrajala
Will wrote:
Huifeng wrote:The Kosa is a large and complex text. It requires some method in studying it. One really can't just open at page one, and take it from there. (Well, okay one can, but realistically speaking, how far will that go?)

Do you have a guide to lead through the key points, so that things don't get bogged down in inessentials and difficult areas?
As a Bhikshu you probably have some ideas or maybe even a text that gives a way to handle all the information. I have tried to read it from page one, but gad, what a tremendous amount of difficult-ness.

Namdrol started an online study of it, but never followed through. Wonder what he is up to now?

That's a good question...

Venerable Huifeng, is there a way students in the monastery approach the text?

At my university we just take a chapter and read it from the first page together in the Sanskrit with reference to multiple translation including Paramartha and Xuanzang. We're pretty much expected to prepare everything on our own.

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 3:00 am
by Huifeng
Huseng wrote:
Will wrote:
Huifeng wrote:The Kosa is a large and complex text. It requires some method in studying it. One really can't just open at page one, and take it from there. (Well, okay one can, but realistically speaking, how far will that go?)

Do you have a guide to lead through the key points, so that things don't get bogged down in inessentials and difficult areas?
As a Bhikshu you probably have some ideas or maybe even a text that gives a way to handle all the information. I have tried to read it from page one, but gad, what a tremendous amount of difficult-ness.

Namdrol started an online study of it, but never followed through. Wonder what he is up to now?

That's a good question...

Venerable Huifeng, is there a way students in the monastery approach the text?
We don't study this at my monastery, but only at post-grad level, maybe. But the way to approach any such text, is under the direct guidance of a teacher who has studied that text in depth. That's the point I was hoping to make.
At my university we just take a chapter and read it from the first page together in the Sanskrit with reference to multiple translation including Paramartha and Xuanzang. We're pretty much expected to prepare everything on our own.
Do you really think that this method is the best way to do it online? Don't mean to rain on the party, but ... for ex. how many read Skt and Chinese here?

Maybe first try to find a modern book that covers some key points. And / or, perhaps focus on just one issue (not necessarily starting from pg. 1). Chp. 9 may be good in this regard.

If you just start from pg. 1, and work from there, after a year or two, you'll still just be looking at the dhatus. That'll miss such key points as the whole structure of the text, which follows the four aryan truths.

There are some other texts earlier than the Kosa, on which it was actually modeled, such as the Amrta-rasa, etc. They are smaller, more concise, to the point, less technical arguments. Ven Prof Dhammajoti has translated one of them, Abhidharma-avatara. http://www.hku.hk/buddhism/Publication_new.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There is also an English version of Ghosaka's Amrtarasa, La Saveur de L'Immortel, by Jose Van Den Broeck here: http://www.gampoabbey.org/translations2 ... ations.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; The actual translation is just over 100 pg, much more digestible than 4 vols!! Not as good a translation as Pruden, but still ...

Though, slightly different, but even more accessible, how about kicking into something like Vasubandhu's Pancaskandha-prakarana first of all? A short warm up, before some serious Abhidharmafication? You can Google Books for Seven works of Vasubandhu, the Buddhist psychological doctor, Vasubandhu,Stefan Anacker, pp. 49-82. There may be other copies around, too.

Oh, earlier you made the comment about using Asanga. I guess you mean the Samuccaya, right? Though this also follows a basic Abhidharma approach, keep in mind that it is an early Yogacara text. As such, it has Alayavijnana, and other different types of dharmas. I'd go for something straight Abhidharma first, then when you get the gist of that, read the Karmasiddhiprakarana, and then check out Asanga and Vasubandhu's Yogacara works. It'll make more sense that way, a gradual build up.

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 3:46 am
by Nicholas Weeks
Ven Huifeng,

Your site has six papers on Abhidharma - http://wisdom.buddhistdoor.com/huifeng/author/huifeng/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Would one of those, with your help, help us get some basics down?

Or what do your think of the late Santina's overview? http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/s- ... abhi00.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Abhidharmakosa study group?

Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 4:25 am
by Ngawang Drolma
I like that link Will, thanks :)