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阿毗达摩 What is Abhidhamma?
 
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What is Abhidhamma?

阿毗达摩

Abhidhamma is the analytical doctrine of mental faculties and elements.

阿毗达摩是分析物质的本质和元素的一门学问。

The Abhidhamma Pitaka contains the profound moral psychology and philosophy of the Buddha's teaching, in contrast to the simpler discourses in the Sutta Pitaka. The knowledge gained from the sutta can certainly help us in overcoming our difficulties, as well as in developing our moral conduct and training the mind. Having such knowledge will enable one to lead a life which is peaceful, respectable, harmless and noble. By listening to the discourses, we develop understanding of the Dhamma and can mould our daily lives accordingly. The concepts behind certain words and terms used in the Sutta Pitaka are, however, subject to changes and should be interpreted within the context of the social environment prevailing at the Buddha's time. The concepts used in the sutta are like the conventional words and terms lay people use to express scientific subjects.

While concepts in the sutta are to be understood in the conventional sense, those used in the Abhidhamma must be understood in the ultimate sense. The concepts expressed in the Abhidhamma are like the precise scientific words and terms used by scientists to prevent misinterpretations. It is only in the Abhidhamma that explanations are given on how and at which mental beats a person can create good and bad karmic thoughts, according to his desires and other mental states. Clear explanations of the nature of the different mental faculties and precise analytical interpretations of the elements can be found in this important collection of discourses. Understanding the Dhamma through the knowledge gained from the sutta is like the knowledge acquired from studying the prescripti0ons for different types of sicknesses. Such knowledge when applied can certainly help to cure certain types of sicknesses. On the other hand, a qualified physician, with his precise knowledge, can diagnose a wider range of sicknesses and discover their causes. This specialized knowledge puts him in a better position to prescribe more effective remedies. Similarly, a person who has studied the Abhidhamma can better understand the nature of the mind and analyse the mental attitudes which cause a human being to commit mistakes and develop the will to avoid evil.

The Abhidhamma teaches that the egoistic beliefs and other concepts such as 'I', "you", 'man' and 'the world', which we use in daily conversation, do not adequately describe the real nature of existence. The conventional concepts do not reflect the fleeting nature of pleasures, uncertainties, impermanence of every component thing, and the conflict among the elements and energies intrinsic in all animate or inanimate things. The Abhidhamma doctrine gives a clear exposition of the ultimate nature of man and brings the analysis of the human condition further than other studies known to man. The Abhidhamma deals with realities existing in the ultimate sense, or paramattha dhamma in Pali. There are four such realities: Citta, mind or consciousness, defined as 'that which knows or experiences' an object. Citta occurs as distinct momentary states of consciousness. Cetasika, the mental factors that arise and occur along with the citta. Rupa, physical phenomenon or material form. Nibbana, the unconditioned state of bliss which is the final goal. Citta, the cetasika, and rupa are conditioned realities. They arise because of conditions sustaining them cease to continue to do so. They are impermanent states. Nibbana, on the other hand, is an unconditioned reality. It does not arise and, therefore, does not fall away. These four realities can be experienced regardless of the names we may choose to give them. Other than these realities, everything _ be it within ourselves or without, whether in the past, present or future, whether coarse or subtle, low or lofty, far or near _ is a concept and not an ultimate reality.

Citta, cetisaka(?), and Nibbana are also called nama. Nibbana is an unconditioned nama. The two conditioned nama, that is, cita and cetasika, together with rupa (form), make up psychophysical organisms, including human beings. Both mind and matter, or nama-rupa, are analysed in Abhidhamma as though under a microscope. Events connected with the process of birth and death are explained in detail. The Abhidhamma clarifies intricate points of the Dhamma and enables the arising of an understanding of reality, thereby setting forth in clear terms the Path of Emancipation. The realization we gain from the Abhidhamma with regard to our lives and the world is not in a conventional sense, but absolute reality.

The clear exposition of thought processes in Abhidhamma cannot be found in any other psychological treatise either in the east or west. Consciousness is defined, while thoughts are analysed and classified mainly from an ethical standpoint. The composition of each type of consciousness is set forth in detail. The fact that consciousness flows like a steam, a view propounded by psychologists like William James, becomes extremely clear to one who understands the Abhidhamma. In addition, a student of Abhidhamma can fully comprehend the Anatta (No-soul) doctrine, which is important both from a philosophical and ethical standpoint.

The Abhidhamma explains the process of rebirth in various planes after the occurrence of death without anything to pass from one life to another. This explanation provides support to the doctrine of Kamma and Rebirth. It also gives a wealth of details about the mind, as well as the units of mental and material forces, properties of matter, sources of matter, relationship of mind and matter.

In the Abhidhamattha Sangaha, a manual of Abhidhamma, there is a brief exposition of the 'Law of Dependent Origination", followed by a descriptive account of the Causal Relations which finds no parallel in any other study of the human condition anywhere else in the world. Because of its analytics and profound expositions, the Abhidhamma is not a subject of fleeting interest designed for the superficial reader.

To what extent can we compare modern psychology with the analysis provided in the Abhidhamma? Modern psychology, limited as it is, comes within the scope of Abhidhamma in so far as it deals with the mind---with thoughts, thought processes, and mental states. The difference lies in the fact that Abhidhamma does not accept the concept of a psyche or a soul.

The analysis of the nature of the mind given in the Abhidhamma is not available through any other source.. Even modern psychologists are very much in the dark with regards to subjects like mental impulses or mental beats (Javana Citta) as discussed in the Abhidhamma. Dr. Graham Howe, an eminent Harley Street psychologist, wrote in his book, the Invisible Anatomy:

 

'In the course of their work many psychologists have found, as the pioneer work of C. G. Jung has shown, that we are near to [the] Buddha. To read a little Buddhism is to realize that the Buddhists knew two thousand five hundred years ago far more about our modern problems of psychology than they have yet been given credit for. They studied these problems long ago, and found the answers too. We are now rediscovering the Ancient Wisdom of the East.'

Some scholars assert that the Abhidhamma is not the teaching of the Buddha, but it grew out of the commentaries on the basic teachings of the Buddha. These commentaries are said to be the work of great scholar monks. Tradition, however, attributes the nucleus of the Abhidhamma to the Buddha Himself.

Commentators state that the Buddha, as a mark of gratitude to His mother who was born as a deva in a celestial plane, preached the Abhidhamma to His mother together with other devas continuously for three months. The principal topics (matika) of the advanced teaching, such as moral states (kusala dhamma) and immoral states

(akusala dhamma), were then repeated by the Buddha to Venerable Sariputta Thera, who subsequently elaborated them and later compiled them into six books.

From ancient times there were controversies as to whether the Abhidhamma was really taught by the Buddha. While this discussion may be interesting for academic purposes, what is important is for us to experience and understand the realities described in the Abhidhamma. One will realize for oneself that such profound and consistently verifiable truths can only emanate from a supremely enlightened source _ from a Buddha. Much of what is contained in the Abhidhamma is also found in the Sutta Pitaka. Such a statement, of course, cannot be supported by evidence.

 

According to the Theravada tradition, the essence, fundamentals and framework of the Abhidhamma are ascribed to the Buddha, although the tabulations and classifications may have been the work of later disciples. What is important is the essence. It is this that we would try to experience for ourselves. The Buddha Himself clearly took this stand of using the knowledge of the Abhidhamma to clarify many existing psychological, metaphysical and philosophical problems. Mere intellectual quibbling about whether the Buddha taught the Abhidhamma or not will not help us to understand reality.

 

The question is also raised whether the Abhidhamma is essential for Dhamma practice. The answer to this will depend on the individual who undertakes the practice. People vary in their levels of understanding, their temperaments and spiritual development. Ideally, all the different spiritual faculties should be harmonized, but some people are quite contented with devotional practices based on faith, while others are keen on developing penetrative insight. The Abhidhamma is most useful to those who want to understand the Dhamma in greater depth and detail. It aids the development of insight into the three characteristics of existence - impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self. It is useful not only for the periods devoted to formal meditation, but also during the rest of the day when we are engaged in various mundane chores. We derive great benefit from the study of the Abhidhamma when we experience absolute reality. In addition, a comprehensive knowledge of the Abhidhamma is useful for those engaged in teaching and explaining the Dhamma. In fact the real meaning of the most important Buddhist terminologies such as Dhamma, Kamma, Samsara, Sankhara, Paticca Samuppada and Nibbana cannot be understood without a knowledge of Abhidhamma.

阿毗达摩(论藏)是收录在经藏中佛陀教义的浓缩。经藏中展示了对治「苦」的学识,使我们心灵得到训练和发展。这种学识领导我们过着平稳、被尊重、不受伤害和神圣的生活,从学习佛法中,我们能明确的了解和规范我们的日常生活。在经藏中存在很多特殊名词,这些特殊名词需要通过诠释,才能令人了解它的科学性。在经藏中要了解的是一般的「法」,而在阿毗达摩中要了解的是绝对的「究竟法」。对阿毗达摩的诠释,就好像科学家在诠释科学名词一样。

只有在阿毗达摩里,充分的解释了人类如何因自己的心念或外界的诱惑而缔造「善业」或「恶业」。阿毗达摩清楚的分析了四大元素的本质与特性,这些都能在经藏中找到,阿毗达摩只是经藏的浓缩。

通过经藏了解佛法所获得的知识,就好像在学习病理学,所获得的知识,只能治疗某些疾病。而一位合格的医生,如果拥有全面的知识。这种特殊的知识,将能更广泛的分析病因,和治疗疾病。这种特殊的知识,令他处于更方便的位置,更有效地执行他作为医生的任务。同样的,一个人通过学习阿毗达摩,将能更了解心的本性和心理分析的能力,他将不再犯错并发展了对治各种邪恶的力量。

阿毗达摩指示了正确的信念和其它我们日常生活中的概念,如:「我」、「你」、「人」和「世界」等等。这些概念都是因为不了解事物真正存在的真相。这些概念无法反映真正的欢愉、永恒或不永恒的因素,以及了解一切有生命或无生命物体的元素或动力的真相。阿毗达摩指示了绝对的「究竟法」,让你了解人类或其它生物,这种对人类本质的分析,远远的超过从其它方面而获得的学识。

阿毗达摩显示了「究竟法」(paramattha dhamma)的真相,它共分为四类:

一、心法(Citta):思想或意识,与知识或经验类似。心法是意识的瞬息境界。

二、心所法(Cetasa):心所法是心法的衍生。

三、色法(Rūpa):物质的物理现象。

四、涅槃法(Nibbàna):一种无法以语言解说的最高境界。心法、心所法和色法因条件而存在(缘起法)。如果失去存在的条件,它们就自动的消失,因此它们也属于无常法。而涅槃法是非缘起法,它不因外在的条件而存在,它不曾升起也未曾落下。这四种法,通过我们所给予的名词解释,对它们有了一定的了解。除了这四种法以外的一切,包括或不包括我们自己?过去、现在和未来?粗或细?低或高?远或近?这一切都不是我们要究竟的真相。

心法、心所法和涅槃法,也称为「名法」(Nāma)。涅槃法是「非因缘名法」,心法和心所法是「因缘名法」。这两种「名法」和「色法」构成了我们的物质社会,包括人类在内。「名法」与「色法」在阿毗达摩内分析得很清楚。就连「生」和「死」也一样分析的很清楚。在阿毗达摩里清楚的标明如何对佛法生起信念和了解行法,这让我们更接近解放自己的道路。阿毗达摩引导我们和这个世界的不是一般的思想而是绝对的真理。

在阿毗达摩所显现的真理,无法在东方或西方的学术论著中找到。意识从分析被分类,并根据重点而下了定义,各种意识都被清楚的理解了,意识就像流动着的清流,这是威廉.占士的看法,他是一位对阿毗达摩有清晰认识的西方学者。一位真认识阿毗达摩的人,完全理解到没有灵魂的存在(Anatta)。这点在学术立场是非常重要的。

阿毗达摩解说了这世间生死轮回的定律,支持了业力导致轮回的说法。为各种心法下了广泛和详细的定义,比如物质的本性、形态和因素,名与色(心和物)的关系等等。

《阿毗达摩.摄义论》(Abhdhammattha Sangaha)里,解说了缘起法。这是一种独特的见解,无法在世间其它的学说中找到类似的见解,因为这是经过分析后而发展的学说。阿毗达摩并不是为肤浅或浮夸的读者而设立的。

从哪一点可以看到阿毗达摩和现代心理学的异同?现代心理学受了一定范围的限制,而阿毗达摩却通过各种心理境界说明了各种心识,最大的不同是阿毗达摩不接受灵力或灵魂的概念。

阿毗达摩对心识本性的分析,并没有透过其它渠道。阿毗达摩没有现代心理学的成分,也没有心的原动力或心的波动(Jaana Citta)存在。

著名的心理学家各拉汉 .豪威,在他的着作《无形的躯体》中提到:「就如心理学的先驱人物 G.H.佐安一样,很多心理学家发现他们更接近佛陀,学习一点佛法有助于让他们理解二千五百多年以前那遥远和没有所谓现代心理学的年代,所提出的现代心理学问题和解决方案。这充分的证实了古代东方人的智慧。」

有些学者认为阿毗达摩并非佛陀的言教。但是,它确实是因为诠释佛陀的教义后,所发展而形成的。这些诠释都是由当时一些高僧主持的。因此,在传统把它当作佛陀教义的一部分。

根据一些论著的记载,佛陀的母亲死后往生天界,佛陀曾经在天界三个月,为母亲及其他天人讲述阿毗达摩。主要的讲题 (mata)是 善 法 (usala dhamma)和 不 善 法(ausala dhamma),过后,佛陀向沙利子(Sarputta)尊者重覆的论述了这些「法」,后来这些法被记录成六部经论。

从古至今,一直在争论阿毗达摩是否佛陀亲口言教。但是这些争论也只引起一些学院派学者的兴趣。对我们来说,更重要的是阿毗达摩的内涵。阿毗达摩是觉悟的根源,是佛陀所教诲的。所以阿毗达摩的内容,都可以在经藏中找到,这些都是在佛陀以前无法见到的论说,但是,有些人却宣称阿毗达摩并非佛说,阿毗达摩也没有必要重覆经典的论说,这些都是没有根据的邪说。

根据上座部的传统,阿毗达摩的精神、思想和整体都契合佛陀的教义,虽然这些诠释和论述可能是出自后来的佛陀弟子之手。但是,这些都不重要,重要的是它的精神,和它对我们个人的提升。佛陀应用阿毗达摩的知识,解决了许多心理、生理和哲学的问题。争论于佛陀是否曾经亲口讲述阿毗达摩,对我们理解真理并无帮助。

另一个问题是:阿毗达摩的实质是否佛法的修行?这问题见仁见智,要看个人对修行的理解,有些人的悟性高,心灵和个性都获得充分的发展,各种心识都能得到平衡。而有些人的修行是基于怖畏心,有些人是为了获得神通。阿毗达摩有助于那些想深入和清晰的了解佛法的人。它护持那些发展内观禅定的人,使他们理解无常、苦和无我。阿毗达摩并非只对禅定的修行者有益,它一样的有助于世间忙于日常事务的人群。我们通过学习阿毗达摩而对究竟法有所了解,因此而获得利益。阿毗达摩对理解和教导佛法也有很大的帮助。比如对一些佛学专门知识或专有名词的了解,如:「法(Dhamma)、业(kamma)、轮回(Samsara)、行(Sanhara)、十二因缘(Patcca Samuppada)和涅槃(Nibbàna)等等,唯有通过阿毗达摩才能获得正确的解释。


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 阿毗达摩 第一讲 佛教经典的结集及巴利语的起源 阿毗达摩 第二讲 印度佛教1500年、北传佛教、藏传佛教、正法五千年..
 阿毗达摩 第三讲 两种谛与两种教法、阿毗达摩的特点及学习阿毗达摩的意.. 阿毗达摩 第四讲 三藏与三学的关系及概念法
 阿毗达摩 第五讲 色法、四大界 阿毗达摩 第六讲 四界分别观修习之简略法
 阿毗达摩 第七讲 四界分别观之详尽法及18种真实色法 阿毗达摩 第八讲 十八种真实色法之二
 阿毗达摩 第九讲 十种非真实色法 阿毗达摩 第十讲 色法产生的原因
 阿毗达摩 第十一讲 智慧之光、食生色及色法的转起 阿毗达摩 第十二讲 六处门色法及名法与心所
 阿毗达摩 第十三讲 遍一切心所之触、受 阿毗达摩 第十四讲 遍一切心所之想、思、一境性心所
 阿毗达摩 第十六讲 七种遍一切心所之名命根和作意心所 阿毗达摩 第十六讲 六个杂心所中的寻、伺、胜解
 阿毗达摩 第十七讲 六个杂心所中的精进心所 阿毗达摩 第十八讲 六个杂心所中的精进、喜、欲心所
 阿毗达摩 第十九讲 十四不善心所中的通一切不善心所(无明、无惭、无愧.. 阿毗达摩 第二十讲 十四不善心所中的邪见心所

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