Abhidharma the core of Mahâyâna and Hînayâna?
Oct 10, 2009 05:38 AM
by Morten Nymann Olesen
My views are:
"Tripitaka (Sk.). Lit., "the three baskets"; the name of the Buddhist canon. It is composed of three divisions : (1) the doctrine; (2) the rules and laws for the priesthood and ascetics; (3) the philosophical dissertations and metaphysics: to wit, the Abhidharma, defined by Buddhaghosa as that law (dharma) which goes beyond (abhi) the law. The Abhidharma contains the most profoundly metaphysical and philosophical teachings, and is the store-house whence the Mahâyâna and Hînayâna Schools got their fundamental doctrines. There is a fourth division-the Samyakta Pitaka. But as it is a later addition by the Chinese Buddhists, it is not accepted by the Southern Church of Siam and Ceylon."
(The Theosophical Glossary, 1892, published posthumously by GRS Mead)
It seems that this Abhidharma teaching must have a very strong esoteric core and flavour attached to it since the fundemental Buddhistic doctrines was based on it. That is what HPB says, and scholars think different even today.
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"In the West, the Abhidhamma has generally been considered the core of what is referred to as 'Buddhist Psychology'."
The third category, the Abhidhamma Pitaka (literally "beyond the dhamma", "higher dhamma" or "special dhamma", Sanskrit: Abhidharma Pitaka), is a collection of texts which give a systematic philosophical description of the nature of mind, matter and time. There are seven books in the Abhidhamma Pitaka.
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