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Abhidharma (Skt.; Pal. Abhidhamma; Tib. ཆོས་མངོན་པ་, མངོན་པ་, chö ngönpa, Wyl. chos mngon pa) — refers to a collection of Buddhist texts that define many of the topics mentioned in the Buddha’s teachings (sutras), and arranges them in classifications, such as the fifty-two mental factors. the five skandhas, the eight consciousnesses and so on, thereby providing tools for generating a precise understanding of all experience.

Contemporary scholar Steven Goodman describes the Abhidharma as:

“...an in-depth study, both analytically and experientially, of what makes up the entire universe, the person, and their world. [The Abhidharma] speaks about different patternings of what make up this entire universe, for the sole purpose...of helping beings along the path to the cessation of suffering.[1]

The Abdhidharma is known as the third of the three pitakas, or collections (literally ‘baskets’), into which the Buddhist teachings are divided. This pitaka is associated with the training in wisdom (Skt. prajñā).


  1. Stephen Goodman. Shambhala Publications. https://www.shambhala.com/videos/steven-goodman-on-abhidharma/