According to Bhikkhu Bodhi, the Abhidhammattha-sangaha is one of the most important texts in the Theravada tradition. Bhikkhu Boddhi writes:
- In nine short chapters occupying about fifty pages in print, the author provides a masterly summary of that abstruse body of Buddhist doctrine called the Abhidhamma. Such is his skill in capturing the essentials of that system, and in arranging them in a format suitable for easy comprehension, that his work has become the standard primer for Abhidhamma studies throughout the Theravada Buddhist countries of South and Southeast Asia. In these countries, particularly in Burma where the study of Abhidhamma is pursued most assiduously, the Abhidhammattha Sangaha is regarded as the indispensable key to unlock this great treasure-store of Buddhist wisdom.
Regarding the author of the text, Bhikkhu Bodhi explains:
- This work is ascribed to Acariya Anuruddha, a Buddhist savant about whom so little is known that even his country of origin and the exact century in which he lived remain in question.
The Abhidhammattha-sangaha consists of the following chapters:
- Chapter I - Different Types of Consciousness (citta-sangaha-vibhāgo)
- Chapter II - Mental States (cetasika)
- Chapter III - Miscellaneous
- Chapter IV - Analysis of Thought-Processes
- Chapter V - Process-Freed
- Chapter VI - Analysis of Matter
- Chapter VII - Abhidhamma Categories
- Chapter VIII - The Compendium Of Relations
- Chapter IX - Mental Culture
The second chapter of this text enumerates fifty-two mental factors (Pali: cetasikas) or concomitants of consciousness, divided into four classes: universals, occasionals, unwholesome factors, and beautiful factors. It also delves into 89 classes of consciousness, the qualities of matter, rebirth, meditative exercises and relationships between phenomena.
Because of its short length, this text has been difficult to understand, and therefore various commentaries have been written on it:
- Abhidhammattha-sangaha-Tika, also known as the Porana-Tika, "the Old Commentary." A 12th century Sri Lankan commentary by an elder named Acariya Navavimalabuddhi.
- Abhidhammattha-vibhavini-Tika, written by Acariya Sumangalasami, 12th century. The most famous and widely used commentary.
- Ledi Sayadaw's (1846-1923) Paramattha-dipani-tika, which criticizes the Vibhavini-tika on 325 points and aroused much debate.
- Ankura-Tika, by Vimala Sayadaw, defends the opinions of the Vibhavini against Ledi Sayadaw's criticisms.
- Navanita-Tika, by the Indian scholar Dhammananda Kosambi, 1933. Titled "The Butter Commentary," because it explains the Sangaha in a smooth and simple manner, avoiding philosophical controversy.
The Abhidhammatthasangaha was first translated into English by Shwe Zan Aung (between 1895 and 1905), and this was revised and edited by Mrs. C.A.F Rhys Davids and first printed in 1910.
The Sangaha was also translated into English by Narada Maha Thera, with explanatory notes. The American monk Bhikkhu Bodhi released an updated version with the title "A comprehensive manual of Abhidhamma", with explanations of each section by Ven. U Rewata Dhamma and numerous charts and tables provided by Ven. U Silananada. A supplement to this text is 'Process of Consciousness and Matter by Ven. Dr. Rewata Dhamma'.
Abhidhamma is literally known as Higher Doctrine, Aththa is used here to represent English multi-significant word Thing (Not Meaning) and Sangaha simply means Compendium.
- Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abhidhammattha-sangaha". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
- A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma
- Bhikkhu Bodhi; A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma The Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Acariya Anuruddha pali text originally edited and translated by Mahathera Narada, introduction, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/abhiman.html
- A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma by Bhikkhu Bodhi
- ABHIDHAMMATTHA - SANGAHA, translated by Nārada Thera, Vājirārāma, Colombo
- A Manual of Abhidhamma: Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Bhadanta Anuruddhācariya
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