A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma: The Abhidhammattha by Bhikkhu Bodhi

By Bhikkhu Bodhi

This contemporary translation of the Abhidhammattha Sangaha (Manual of Abhidhamma) bargains an advent to Buddhism's basic philosophical psychology. initially written within the eleventh or twelfth century, the Sangaha has served because the key to knowledge held within the Abhidhamma. Concisely surveyed are Abhidhamma's imperative subject matters, together with states of cognizance and psychological elements, the features and methods of the brain, the cloth global, established coming up, and the tools and phases of meditation. This provides an actual translation of the Sangaha along the unique Pali textual content. a close, explanatory advisor with greater than forty charts and tables lead readers during the complexities of Adhidhamma.

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Thus, neither can it be approached through mere theory—nor through practice in the ordinary sense of the self trying to do something. This is likened to trying to free oneself while only becoming more tightly bound and entangled. In a very real sense the self cannot go toward or approach awakening; we can only decisively come from it, through self-awakening in which the root of dukkha has been severed once and for all. From No-self to formless self Severing the root of dukkha has a positive as well as a negative significance.

A monk came forward and asked him, then what about emancipation, the Pure Land, and Nirvana? For the monk these were perhaps inevitable problem-questions that Shih-t’ou’s statement had aroused. After all, aren’t we supposed to practice diligently in order to get emancipated from all that binds us? Aren’t we supposed to achieve the Pure Land, free of all defilement? Aren’t we supposed to attain Nirvana and get out of the miserable cycle of samsara? How do we answer? Here is how Shih-t’ou resolved the problem: What about emancipation?

Not ignoring or denying the particular problem, but taking it to its very root; precisely here the root problem of dukkha can be solved once and for all. This, by the way, is what real koan practice is all about, what Vimalakirti is all about—and what Buddhism is all about. Let me close by offering some other suggestive illustrations of this in practice, although Shih-t’ou’s above-mentioned responses to the monk and Hisamatsu’s encounter with Alan Balsam are worthy of much deeper reflection. Much could be said about each of these stories, but I will keep my comments to a minimum, and leave the interpretations to you.

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