9780861711352

Abhidhamma Studies : Buddhist Explorations of Consciousness and Time

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780861711352

  • ISBN10:

    0861711351

  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1998-03-01
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications
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Summary

The Abhidhamma, the third great division of early Buddhist teaching, expounds a revolutionary system of philosophical psychology rooted in the twin Buddhist insights of selflessness and dependent origination. In keeping with the liberative thrust of early Buddhism, this system organizes the entire spectrum of human consciousness around the two poles of Buddhist doctrine - bondage and liberation, Samsara and Nirvana - the starting point and the final goal. It thereby maps out, with remarkable rigour and precision, the inner landscape of the mind to be crossed through the practical work of Buddhist meditation.

In this book of groundbreaking essays, Venerable Nyanaponika Thera, one of our age's foremost exponents of Theravada Buddhism, attempts to penetrate beneath the formidable face of the Abhidhamma and to make its principles intelligible to the thoughtful reader of today. His point of focus is the Consciousness Chapter of the Dhammasangani, the first treatise of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. Basing his interpretation on the detailed list of mental factors that the Abhidhamma uses as a guide to psychological analysis, he launches into bold explorations in the multiple dimensions of conditionality, the nature of consciousness, the temporality of experience, and the psychological springs of spiritual transformation. Innovative and rich in insights, this book does not merely open up new avenues in the academic study of early Buddhism. By treating the Abhidhamma as a fountainhead of inspiration for philosophical and psychological inquiry, it demonstrates the continuing relevance of Buddhist thought to our most astute contemporary efforts to understand the elusive yet so intimate nature of the mind.

Author Biography

Nyanaponika Thera, a German-born Buddhist monk, was a scholar, translator, and founder of The Buddhist Publication Society in Sri Lanka. Thera died in 1994 at the age of 93.

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk from New York City, born in 1944. He obtained a BA in philosophy from Brooklyn College and a PhD in philosophy from Claremont Graduate School. After completing his university studies he traveled to Sri Lanka, where he received novice ordination in 1972 and full ordination in 1973, both under the leading Sri Lankan scholar-monk, Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya (1896-1998). From 1984 to 2002 he was the editor for the Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy, where he lived for ten years with the senior German monk, Ven. Nyanaponika Thera (1901-1994), at the Forest Hermitage. He returned to the U.S. in 2002. He currently lives and teaches at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York. Ven. Bodhi has many important publications to his credit, either as author, translator, or editor. These include The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha (Majjhima Nikaya, 1995), The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Samyutta Nikaya, 2000), and The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (Anguttara Nikaya, 2012). In 2008, together with several of his students, Ven. Bodhi founded Buddhist Global Relief, a nonprofit supporting hunger relief, sustainable agriculture, and education in countries suffering from chronic poverty and malnutrition.

Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction vii(20)
Preface xxvii
I The Abhidhamma Philosophy: Its Estimation in the Past, Its Value for the Present
1(18)
II The Twofold Method of Abhidhamma Philosophy
19(12)
III The Schema of Classification in the Dhammasangani
31(6)
IV The List of Mental Constituents in the Dhammasangani
37(56)
1. General Remarks
37(11)
2. The Pentad of Sense-Contact
48(5)
3. The Factors of Absorption
53(5)
4. The Faculties
58(5)
5. The Powers
63(3)
6. The Path Factors
66(3)
7. The Wholesome Roots
69(1)
8. The Ways of Action
70(1)
9. The Guardians of the World
70(1)
10. The Six Pairs of Qualitative Factors
71(10)
11. The Helpers
81(1)
12. The Paired Combination
81(1)
13. The Last Dyad
82(1)
14. The Supplementary Factors
83(1)
15. Gradations of Intensity among Parallel Factors
84(4)
16. Concluding Remarks
88(5)
V The Problem of Time
93(22)
1. Time and Consciousness
93(6)
2. Planes of Time
99(5)
3. The Concept of the Present in the Abhidhamma
104(8)
4. Concluding Remazrks
112(3)
Appendixes 115(10)
Notes 125(6)
Bibliography 131(2)
Index 133(13)
About the Author 146

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