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A manual of Abhidhamma

Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:45 pm

el gatito wrote:After Gregory asked me about a dead link in the Dhyana topic, it seems that the only online version exists, as of today, and it is a very important and unique book, so I post the correct link.

ABHIDHAMMATTHA - SANGAHA
of Anuruddhαcariya

"A manual of Abhidhamma"

Edited in the original Pali Text with English Translation and Explanatory Notes by Nαrada Thera, Vαjirαrαma, Colombo

http://abhidhamonline.org/OutlineSangaha.htm

http://abhidhamonline.org/SANGAHA.htm


As I see it, all students of Zen are benefitted by knowing some of how the abhidharma is constructed. After all, in the ancestral lineage of Zen we have Vasumitra as the 7th Ancestor to show that Zen has Abhidharma in its early stream of inclusion.

However, there is danger for the student whose study does not include understanding the differences between (1) the old school Pali view of Abhidhamma, (2) the Mahayana Abhidharma, and (3) the Zen perspective on Abhidharma.

Sixth Ancestor Huineng instructed that all his dharmaheirs needed to know and to instruct using the basic three sections of trhe abhidharma, but that they also needed to know how to use the opposites and to always base their teaching on one's own nature. This is how the admonition of the Zen view of Abhidharma appears in the Platform Sutra.

The Platform Sutra, Chapter 10 wrote:First, [you] must raise the three sections of the Gate of the Dharma (Abhidharma), [next] take up the functions of the 36 paired opposites arising and sinking, then leave both extremes. In explaining everything, do not leave your own nature.

If there is a person asking you about the Dharma put forth words to exhaust the polarity, and in all cases take hold of the Dharma of the paired opposites and the mutual causation of their coming and going, getting to the very bottom and wiping out the Dharma of duality, while still being without leaving or dwelling.

The three sections of the Gate of the Dharma are the skandhas, realms, and entrances. The skandhas are the Five Skandhas, one by one: form (rupa), feelings (vedana), conceptions (samjna), doings (samskara), and consciousness (vijnana). The entrances are the Twelve Entrances: the external Six Dusts are, one by one, color (rupa), sound, fragrance, taste, touch, and thing, and the internal Six Gates are, one by one, the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and idea. The realms are the 18 Realms, which are the Six Dusts, the Six Gates, and the Six Consciousnesses.

“The ability of one’s own nature to contain the 10,000 things is called the containing Storehouse Consciousness (alayavijnana). If considering and measuring arise, then consciousness evolves and comes into being as the six consciousnesses (vijnanas) emerging through the six gates viewing the six dusts. Thus are the 18 Realms in all cases following from the function of the arising of one’s own nature. If one’s own nature is wrong, then 18 wrongs arise. If one’s own nature is right, then 18 rights arise. If it is the function of evil, then it is the function of the multitude of beings; if the function of virtue, then it is the function of Buddha. What category is the cause of the functioning? The cause is that one’s own nature has the patterns (dharmas) of paired-opposites.
Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Huifeng on Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:42 am

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:

However, there is danger for the student whose study does not include understanding the differences between (1) the old school Pali view of Abhidhamma, (2) the Mahayana Abhidharma, and (3) the Zen perspective on Abhidharma.



Considering that the Mahayana take on Abhidharma was not with respect to the Pali Abhidhamma, but from the Sanskrit northern Abhidharma tradition, and so likewise the Zen take (which would never have seen the Pali, but would have had translations of the northern Abhidharma), it may be best to ignore the Pali Abhidhamma altogether here, and look into the Sarvastivadin and Sautrantika traditions, eg. the Vibhasa, Pancavastuka, Kosa; and also the derivatives such as the *Satyasiddhi, and content in the Mahaprajnaparamita-upadesa and Yogacara works - which had a much greater influence in China.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Beatzen on Thu May 09, 2013 4:34 am

Besides The Platform Sutra,
where are sources for learning more about Abhidharma as is applies to Zen/Ch'an?

At any rate, I'd like to know if someone can point me in the direction of learning more about non-theravadin abhidharma.
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Huifeng on Sat May 11, 2013 1:30 am

Beatzen wrote:Besides The Platform Sutra,
where are sources for learning more about Abhidharma as is applies to Zen/Ch'an?

At any rate, I'd like to know if someone can point me in the direction of learning more about non-theravadin abhidharma.


To be honest, the Platform Classic is simply not a source for learning anything about the Abhidharma at all.

One could go straight to various northern tradition Abhidharma material to learn about it, obviously. However, if one is coming from the Chan line of things looking back through time, then I'd suggest two main lines:

1. The Yogacara material, which quite often crops up in Chan teachings. In particular, the *Vijnaptimatrata-siddhi sastra, but other texts aside. Yogacara is structurally heavily rooted in Abhidharma, but with Mahayana overview and some other particular doctrinal differences.

2. The Mahaprajnaparamitopadesa (ie. the Dazhidu Lun), a commentary on the (medium length) Prajnaparamita Sutra which had a huge influence on pretty much all schools of Chinese Buddhism. While it's a commentary on this key Mahayana sutra, the author was heavily steeped in both early (ie. Agama) Buddhist literature, the northern Abhidharma material (ie. the Sastras, the Mahavibhasa, etc.), but then caps it all off with a Madhyamaka interpretation weaved through early Mahayana sutra. Probably over half the commentarial content is Abhidharma in form.

Both of these will give a view into the Abhidharma as already processed through Indian Mahayana texts that became very important for Chinese indigenous Buddhism.

http://www.kalavinka.org/
http://www.scribd.com/search?query=lamo ... mitasastra

~~ Huifeng
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Nonin on Sat May 11, 2013 5:34 pm

As part of my training as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, I spent a good two years with a seminal work in Mahayana Abhidharma (Buddhist Psychology), the Abhidharmakoshabhasyam, a translation of the Abhidharmakosa (the "heart" of abhidharma) with commentary by Vasubandhu. This text is widely studied in the Zen Buddhist schools, It is an English translation by Leo M. Pruden from a French translation of the original Sanskrit by Louis de la Vallee Poussin. I have an expensive four-volume hardcover edition of this seminal work. I don't know if there are any other editions available.

I studied this text with a teacher well-versed in it many years ago. I would not recommend seriously getting into it without a good teacher to guide you.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Huifeng on Mon May 13, 2013 1:30 am

Nonin wrote:As part of my training as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, I spent a good two years with a seminal work in Mahayana Abhidharma (Buddhist Psychology), the Abhidharmakoshabhasyam, a translation of the Abhidharmakosa (the "heart" of abhidharma) with commentary by Vasubandhu. This text is widely studied in the Zen Buddhist schools, It is an English translation by Leo M. Pruden from a French translation of the original Sanskrit by Louis de la Vallee Poussin. I have an expensive four-volume hardcover edition of this seminal work. I don't know if there are any other editions available.

I studied this text with a teacher well-versed in it many years ago. I would not recommend seriously getting into it without a good teacher to guide you.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin


Sensei,

Recently another English version of the Kosa was published by a Canadian monk in the Tibetan tradition, Ven. Sangpo, who teaches at Gampo Abbey. He consulted a lot with one of my Abhidharma teachers, Ven. Prof. Dhammajoti, who teaches at the University of Hong Kong.

Next semester I'm going to be teaching Abhidharma for our MA program at Fo Guang University. Am presently working to get my syllabus together...

~~ Huifeng
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Guo Gu on Mon May 13, 2013 3:18 am

ven. huifeng,
are you willing to share your syllabus after you have finalized it? i'd like to see how you're introducing this class of literature.
when i was in the monastery i remember studying the six sarvâstivāda treatises 六足論, the jñāna-prasthāna 發智論, and the kosa 倶舍論 with master sheng yen. i must admit i don't remember much of these text... :lol2: i took notes though... i should review them.
thanks,
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Huifeng on Mon May 13, 2013 3:48 am

Guo Gu wrote:ven. huifeng,
are you willing to share your syllabus after you have finalized it? i'd like to see how you're introducing this class of literature.
when i was in the monastery i remember studying the six sarvâstivāda treatises 六足論, the jñāna-prasthāna 發智論, and the kosa 倶舍論 with master sheng yen. i must admit i don't remember much of these text... :lol2: i took notes though... i should review them.
thanks,
guo gu


Guo Gu Laoshi,

Sure, no problem. All of our syllabi are online through the FGU system here. (Sorry to others, the site's all in 中文, but if you click on the link of course name in Chinese, you'll get the syllabus; some courses are taught in Chinese, others in English.) I'm thinking of focusing on citta-caittasika, maybe spanning into how this relates to spiritual praxis (esp. samadhi-prajna).

The class will be taught in English, but most of our students can use Chinese resources, too; a couple of them will have some Pali / Sanskrit background. So, selection of reading material involves a fair amount of consideration. There is not a lot of this stuff in English. I'll probably use some amount of Ven. Prof. Dhammajoti's old classes notes, too; as well as some material from some of his students -- my classmates' -- own PhD theses (see link here).

Following the usual historical approach which is the norm in Buddhist studies, I'll probably start with a couple of classes on these topics in early Buddhism (Agamas and Nikayas), then the primary Abhidharma sastras, then the Mahavibhasa to the 'Kosa. If we have enough time, I'd like to touch on this in the early Yogacara (Maitreya, Asanga & Vasubandhu), as one of my students wants to do Yogacara / Vijnaptimatra / psychology for her MA thesis. That's a lot, but in Taiwan (as you know) our semesters are 18 weeks...

No doubt things will wildly change in the next few months, however. :lol2:

~~ Huifeng
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Guo Gu on Mon May 13, 2013 4:11 am

thank you, ven huifeng.
i just gave an introduction to caitasika 心所 last friday to my chan students in relation to contemplating the five skandhas (as part of the intermediate meditation class).
as you may know, when you get into the yogacara, faxiang materials there will be more english translations of primary sources.
i'll keep an eye on the website you posted for your syllabus. thanks!
guo gu
Founder and teacher of Tallahassee Chan Center of the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism
http://www.tallahasseechan.com/
Received inka from Master Sheng Yen (1930-2009) in 1995
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Nonin on Mon May 13, 2013 4:07 pm

Huifeng wrote:
Nonin wrote:As part of my training as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, I spent a good two years with a seminal work in Mahayana Abhidharma (Buddhist Psychology), the Abhidharmakoshabhasyam, a translation of the Abhidharmakosa (the "heart" of abhidharma) with commentary by Vasubandhu. This text is widely studied in the Zen Buddhist schools, It is an English translation by Leo M. Pruden from a French translation of the original Sanskrit by Louis de la Vallee Poussin. I have an expensive four-volume hardcover edition of this seminal work. I don't know if there are any other editions available.

I studied this text with a teacher well-versed in it many years ago. I would not recommend seriously getting into it without a good teacher to guide you.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin


Sensei,

Recently another English version of the Kosa was published by a Canadian monk in the Tibetan tradition, Ven. Sangpo, who teaches at Gampo Abbey. He consulted a lot with one of my Abhidharma teachers, Ven. Prof. Dhammajoti, who teaches at the University of Hong Kong.

Next semester I'm going to be teaching Abhidharma for our MA program at Fo Guang University. Am presently working to get my syllabus together...

~~ Huifeng

Huifeng,

Interesting. This would be the only English translation of the Kosha since Pruden's, no? I'll check and see if any of it is available online.

I've taught abbreviated Abhidharma classes here at our temple, focusing on Book One of the Kosha, the discussion of the Five Skandhas, the arising of consciousness, and the 75 dharmas of the Sarvastivan school. When I studied Abhidharma extensively years ago, these sections were extremely meaningful to me, and my students today also find them so.

I remember Chogyam Trungpa saying years ago that after he spent nearly every day for a year studying Abhidharma with his teachers in a Tibetan monastery, he never saw things in the same way as before. That was true for me also, and still is.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. Transmitted Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.
Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
http://www.prairiewindzen.org
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Kojip on Mon May 13, 2013 4:31 pm

Trungpa's "Glimpses of Abhidharma" is very good and accessible. I have gone back to it many times, but still do not understand it fully, in the sense of recognizing everything he describes.. It is like each time there are passages I don't remember reading the last time.

Gassho, Richard.
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Beatzen on Thu May 16, 2013 8:30 am

Huifeng wrote:
Beatzen wrote:Besides The Platform Sutra,
where are sources for learning more about Abhidharma as is applies to Zen/Ch'an?

At any rate, I'd like to know if someone can point me in the direction of learning more about non-theravadin abhidharma.


To be honest, the Platform Classic is simply not a source for learning anything about the Abhidharma at all.

One could go straight to various northern tradition Abhidharma material to learn about it, obviously. However, if one is coming from the Chan line of things looking back through time, then I'd suggest two main lines:

1. The Yogacara material, which quite often crops up in Chan teachings. In particular, the *Vijnaptimatrata-siddhi sastra, but other texts aside. Yogacara is structurally heavily rooted in Abhidharma, but with Mahayana overview and some other particular doctrinal differences.

2. The Mahaprajnaparamitopadesa (ie. the Dazhidu Lun), a commentary on the (medium length) Prajnaparamita Sutra which had a huge influence on pretty much all schools of Chinese Buddhism. While it's a commentary on this key Mahayana sutra, the author was heavily steeped in both early (ie. Agama) Buddhist literature, the northern Abhidharma material (ie. the Sastras, the Mahavibhasa, etc.), but then caps it all off with a Madhyamaka interpretation weaved through early Mahayana sutra. Probably over half the commentarial content is Abhidharma in form.

Both of these will give a view into the Abhidharma as already processed through Indian Mahayana texts that became very important for Chinese indigenous Buddhism.

http://www.kalavinka.org/
http://www.scribd.com/search?query=lamo ... mitasastra

~~ Huifeng


It was my understanding that Ch'an/Zen is not strictly an heir to Yogacarin philosophy. If you've ever come across a book Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm over Critical Buddhism, it'd be easier to explain why i am confused that we seem to refer to yogacarin doctrine so frequently.

Do you understand what I'm trying to ask/say?
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Huifeng on Sat May 18, 2013 1:23 am

Chan is not strictly an heir to Yogacara philosophy, that is true. Some Chan teachers take Yogacara teachings, though; just as others take Tathagatagarbha teachings, Madhyamaka teachings, Tiantai and Huayan teachings, etc. etc.

But, of these lines of thought, it it definitely Yogacara that follows from Abhidharma, and often Madhyamaka counters Abhidharma. The others have much less of a relationship with Abhidharma. And you were trying to see how Abhidharma relates to Chan / Zen, right?

~~ Huifeng
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
Teaching: http://buddhist.fgu.edu.tw/main.php Blog: http://prajnacara.blogspot.com/
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:54 pm

So for a Zen perspective on Mahayana Abhidharma through the matrix or lens of the Samdhinirmocana Sutra, see Reb Anderson's relatively recent book The Third Turning of the Wheel. The Samdhinirmocana Sutra is credited with being the root sutra for the development of the analysis and practice methodology that later became called the Yogacara School.

Review blurb (take it with a grain of salt):
The author reflects on the great metaphysical questions proposed in the renowned Mahayana scripture the Samdinirmocana Sutra - the nature of reality, the structure of human consciousness, the characteristics of phenomena, the stages of meditation, and the essential qualities of a Buddha - with the clarity of a scholar and the insight of a practitioner.

According to Anderson, the main purpose behind this enigmatic sutra is to reconcile the apparent contradictions between the original teachings of the historical Buddha and the later teachings of Mahayana Buddhism.


Both Barnes and Noble and Amazon have inside views of The Third Turning of the Wheel, though Amazon is still giving a better view.

The translation of the Samdhinirmocana Sutra that Reb Anderson is primarily working from is the translation from the Tibetean by John Powers.

Anderson also references John P. Keenan's and Thomas Cleary's translations from Xuanzang's Chinese translation when he sees interesting differencces.

John P. Keenan’s translation The Scripture on the Explication of Underlying Meaning is from the Xuanzang Chinese translation and is part of the BDK English Tripitaka series. It is at Scribd also.

Thomas Cleary’s translation titled [url=[url=http://undumbara.wordpress.com/2008/03/21/sutra-unlocking-the-mysteries-samdhinirmocana-sutra-part-1-of-8/]]Sutra of Unlocking the Mysteries[/url] (that link is a serialized text of Clearly's translation) and is in his book Buddhist Yoga: A Comprehensive Course.

_/|\_
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Huifeng on Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:54 am

While the above information on the Samdhinirmocana is very helpful, to be honest, the Chan tradition never really paid very much attention at all to the Samdhinirmocana (in any of the Chinese versions, let alone looking at the Tibetan).

This kind of approach owes probably quite a bit to the modern take on texts, and the attribution of the Samdhinirmocana as an early Mahayana Yogacara text, and the connection between Chan and Yoga(cara). ;)

Still, for this reason and others, it is definitely worth checking out. In Taiwan these days, since the translation of the great Gelug classic the Lamrim Chenmo (Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Awakening) into Chinese (about 100 years ago by Ven. Fazun), the discussion therein which is modeled by Je Tsongkhapa on forms found in the Samdhinirmocana, there is a fair bit of interest in this. (I published an article in the Pumen Buddhist Studies Journal about this in Chinese a few years ago...)

~~ Huifeng
Bhikṣu & Mahāyāna bodhisattva ordination by Ven Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師) et al, Foguang Shan Monastery (佛光山寺) Taiwan.
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Re: A manual of Abhidhamma

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:53 am

Huifeng wrote:While the above information on the Samdhinirmocana is very helpful, to be honest, the Chan tradition never really paid very much attention at all to the Samdhinirmocana (in any of the Chinese versions, let alone looking at the Tibetan).

This kind of approach owes probably quite a bit to the modern take on texts, and the attribution of the Samdhinirmocana as an early Mahayana Yogacara text, and the connection between Chan and Yoga(cara). ;)


Thanks, I don't have information on any historical connection between the Samdhinirmocana and Chan.

The current "Zen" interest in the USA comes from Zen folks getting interested in these "roots" of the Mahayana. As I read Anderson's book, he is connecting to the pre-Mahayana abhidharma teaching context through the Mahayana Samdhinirmocana Sutra as a practice oriented synthesis or sylabbus of the abhidharma. My personal observation is that something like this needs to be done becasue the abhidharma is not user-friendly and the pre-Mahayana literature on the abhidharma is not very accessible to the reader who is not a member of the pre-Mahayana exegesis club. As I see it, getting free of the rigid, dry, and stultifying confines of exegesis was one of the motivating conditions for the development of the Mahayana.

In addition to this book by Reb Anderson, there is also a new book by Zen teacher Zoketsu Norman Fischer called "Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong" taking a "Zen look" at the Tibetan lojong slogans. So there are seveeral Western Zen teachers who are exploring the non-Zen/Chan Mahayana literature for current relevancy, or as you say, "the modern take."

_/|\_
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