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Relations in Abhidhamma Philosophy

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Item Code: NAX715
Author: Bimalendra Kumar
Publisher: Eastern Book Linkers
Language: English
Edition: 2020
ISBN: 9788178543833
Pages: 186
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 400 gm
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About the Book
A man is a complex whole of nama (mind) and rupa (matter). Mind by its nature is conscious. Matter is unconscious. The two are diverse in their nature. There is no possibility of congenial mutual understanding between such contradictory things in nature. Moreover, there remains harmonious functioning and mutual understanding in them. It is interesting to note that while mind and matter are mutually conditioning and interact, they are still separate things. There is clear distinction between dhammas, which are part of mind (nama) and those, which belong to matter (rupa). Further, the life duration of rupadhamma is sixteen times more than that of a namadhamma. The relation between rupadhamma and namadhamma has been explained with simultaneous fall of leaves and fruits from a tree. Thus, life duration of the rupadhamma is much longer than that of the namadhamma. This mind-matter relationship has been analyzed.", in the texts of Abhidhamma Pitaka, its commentaries and manuals of Abhidhamma through twenty-four types of relations (paccayas), which are considered as 'energy', dynamic in nature.

About the Author
BIMALENDRA KUMAR did his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from University of Delhi in 1990 and has been teaching since then for 29 years in various Universities such as Delhi University, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan (W.B.) and Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (U.P.). Currently, he is working as a Professor and Head, Department of Pali & Buddhist Studies, Faculty of Arts, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (U.P.). He has one and half years of research experience during his post-doctoral education. His areas of interest are Pali, Theravada. Buddhism, Buddhist Philosophy (Abhidhamma Philosophy) and Tibetan Buddhism. He has total of twelve books to his credit. He has published more than 100 articles and has been Editor of Mahabodhi and Dharmadoot Journals, being published by Mahabodhi Society of India, Kolkata and Sarnath respectively. He has been in action at various national and international seminars, workshops and conferences. He has Visiting assignments at different Universities. He has been also Coordinator and the Conveners of many conferences.

This work, "Relations in Abhidhamma Philosophy", of Bimalendra Kumar, who is interested in Abhidhamma for all the right reasons, is proof of solid scholarship. He studies the Patthana, one of the seven Abhidhamma texts of Theravada, spoken by the Buddha. The seven texts were written down as sacred texts (pall) in the time of King Vattagamani. This king, who founded the Abhayagiri Vihara, reigned in 47 BC and again in 32 - 20 BC. The texts were written down between 35 and 32 BC, according to E. Lamotte, History of Indian Buddhism, Louvain-La-Neuve 1988: 368. A. Skilton, however, in his A Concise History of Buddhism, Birmingham 2001: 150, proposes that Vattagamani reigned from 29 till 17 BC, and that the Tipitaka was written down during the last year of his reign. The Patthana, "Causal Relations", is the seventh text of the seven Abhidhamma texts. It offers a full discussion of Dependent Origination, Pratityasamutpada.

The first to leave the sangha after the first schism, sanghabheda, between the sangha and the mahasangha, ca. 340 BC, in the time of King Mahapadma Nanda, were the pudgalavada Vatsiputriyas, ca. 280 BC. The pudgalavadins then split up, their most important school being called Sammatiya. The sangha then split up again during the reign of King Asoka (268-232 BC. Other dates are given too). Those who were considered orthodox called themselves Vibhajyavada, analyst, distinctionist. Those who left were the Sarvastivadins. The texts written down during the reign of King Vattagamani returned to this Asoka Vibhajyavada "orthodoxy". The Patthana is an essential text of this orthodoxy. If the Buddha has said so, there is no doubt that the text is "orthodox". Action or reaction against it is not possible. The same would happen in Kasmira, during and immediately after the reign of King Kaniska (reign 155-179 AD). At that time a Sanskrit "orthodoxy", spoken by the Buddha, was written down in seven texts.

When the Pali orthodoxy was written down in the South, at the other end of the Indian cultural area, in Bactria, the Sarvastivadins Abhidharmahrdayasastra was composed by Dharmasresthin. This text just teaches how to reach the highest stage of arhatship. It is not Buddhabhasita, spoken by the Buddha, but it uses the words of the Buddha, as seen in the sutras, to outline a path of progress. One may remember that Sarvastivada is also called Hetuvada, a term used for both the "orthodox" Vaibhasikas and for the Sautrantikas. Sautrantikas are the traditional Sarvastivadins, who do not believe that the Abhidhamma was spoken by the Buddha.

Bimalendra Kumar's study, based on the Pali Patthana, offers us a clear and detailed account of the concept of paccaya, causal conditions. The law of dependent origination is clearly expounded. The importance of this study reaches beyond the Indian cultural sphere. Scholars of Chinese Buddhism will benefit from this study too, even though Abhidhamma there is rather traditional Sarvastivada. The Chinese Vaibhasika so-called orthodoxy, translated by Xuanzang in the seventh century, is of limited importance. The importance of the Pali Theravada orthodoxy is far greater today. The narrative literature of the traditional Sarvastivadins, as originally found in their Vinaya, has a greater impact today. A study about avadana (glorious event), nidana (illustrating the origin of precepts), drstanta (metaphor), and Udana (spontaneous tales) is still awaited.

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