A Manual of Abhidhamma

by Nārada Thera | 80,494 words | ISBN-13: 9789380336510

In the Abhidhammattha Sangaha there is a brief exposition of the Law of Dependent Origination, followed by a descriptive account of the Causal Relations that finds no parallel in any other philosophy. Edited in the original Pali Text with English Translation and Explanatory Notes by Narada Maha Thera....

§ 1.

Dvāsattatividhā vuttā vatthudhammā salakkhanā
Tesam dāni yathāyogam pavakkhāmi samuccayam.

§ 2.

Akusalasangaho, missakasangaho, bodhipakkhiyasangaho, sabbasangaho c'āti samuceayasangaho catubbidho veditabbo.

Katham ?

  1. Akusalasangahe tāva cattāro āsavā: - kāmāsavo, bbavāsavo, ditthāsavo, avijjāsavo.
  2. Cattāro oghā-kāmogho, bhavogho, ditthogho, avijjogho.
  3. Cattāro yogā-kāmayogo, bhavayogo, ditthiyogo, avijjāyogo.
  4. Cattāro ganthā-abhijjhā kāyagantho, vyāpādo kāyagantho, sīlabbataparāmaso kāyagantho, idamsaccābhiniveso kāyagantho.
  5. Cattāro upādānā-kāmupādanm, ditthupādānam, sīlabbatupādānam, attavādupādānam.
  6. Cha nīvaranāni - kāmachandanīvaranam, vyāpādanīvaranam, thīnamiddhanīvararnam, uddhaccakukkuccanīvaranam vicikicchānīvaranam, avijjānīvaranam.
  7. Sattānusayā kāmarāgānusayo, bhavarāgānusayo, patighānusayo, mānānusayo, ditthānusayo, vicikicchānusayo, avijjānusayo.
  8. Dasa samyojanāni - kāmarāgasmyojanam, rūparāgasamyojanam, arūparāgasamyojanam, patighasamyojanam, mānasamyojanam, ditthisamyojanam, sīlabbataparāmāsasamyojanam, vicikicchāsamyojanam, uddhaccasamyojanam, avijjā samyojanam, suttante.
  9. Aparāni dasa samyojanāni-kāmarāgasamyojanam, bhavarāgasamyojanam, patighasamyojanam, mānasamyojanam, ditthisamyojanam, sīlabbataparāmā- sasamyojanam, vicikicchasamyojanam, issāsamyojanam, macchariyasamyojanam, avijjāsamyojanam, abhidhamme.
  10. Dasa kilesā-lobho, doso, moho, māno, ditthi, vtcikicchā, thīnam, uddhaccam, ahirikam, anottappam.

āsavādisu pan'ettha kāmabhavanāmena tabbatthukā tanhā adhippetā. Sīlabbataparāmāso idamsaccābhiniveso attavādupādānam ca tathā pavattam ditthigatam eva pavuccati.

āsavoghā ca yogā ca tayo ganthā ca vatthuto
Upādāna duve vuttā attha nīvaranā siyum.
Chalevānusayā honti nava samyojana matā
Kilesā dasa vutto' yam navadhā pāpasangaho.



Introductory verse:

§ 1.

The seventy-two kinds of entities (1) have (already) been described with their characteristics. Now I shall speak of their categories in accordance with their relations.

§ 2.

The compendium of categories should be understood as fourfold:

  1. The compendium of immoral categories.
  2. The compendium of mixed categories
  3. The compendium of categories that pertain to enlightenment.
  4. The miscellaneous compendium.

(Immoral Categories)


  1. To begin with, in the immoral compendium there are four Defilements (2):
    1. Sense-desires,
    2. Attachment to existence,
    3. False Views, and
    4. Ignorance.
  2. There are four Floods (3): (same as 1-4).
  3. There are four Bonds (4): (same as 1-4).
  4. There are four (bodily) Ties (5):
    1. Covetousness,
    2. Ill will,
    3. Adherence to rites and ceremonies,
    4. Dogmatic belief that 'this alone is truth'.
  5. There are four Graspings (6):
    1. Sense-desires,
    2. False views,
    3. Adherence to rites and ceremonies,
    4. Soul-theory (7).
  6. There are six Hindrances (8):
    1. to Sense-desires,
    2. Ill will,
    3. Sloth and Torpor,
    4. Restlessness and Brooding,
    5. Doubts,
    6. Ignorance.
  7. There are seven Latent Dispositions (9):
    1. Attachment to sensual pleasures,
    2. Attachment to existence,
    3. Hatred,
    4. Pride,
    5. False Views,
    6. Doubts,
    7. and Ignorance.
  8. There are ten Fetters according to the Suttas (10):
    1. Attachment to sensual pleasures,
    2. Attachment to Realms of Form,
    3. Attachment to Formless Realms,
    4. Hatred,
    5. Pride,
    6. False Views,
    7. Adherence to rites and ceremonies,
    8. Doubts,
    9. Restlessness,
    10. and Ignorance.
  9. There are ten other Fetters according to Abhidhamma:
    1. Attachment to sensual pleasures,
    2. Attachment to existence,
    3. Hatred,
    4. Pride,
    5. False Views,
    6. Adherence to rites and ceremonies,
    7. Doubts,
    8. Envy,
    9. Avarice,
    10. and Ignorance.
  10. There are ten Impurities (11):
    1. Greed,
    2. Hate,
    3. Delusion,
    4. Pride,
    5. False Views,
    6. Doubts,
    7. Sloth,
    8. Restlessness,
    9. Moral Shamelessness,
    10. and Moral Fearlessness (unscrupulousness).

Herein in the category of Defilements and so on the terms 'attachment to sensual pleasures' and 'attachment to existence' imply craving based on them. In the same way 'adherence to rites and ceremonies', dogmatic belief that 'this alone is truth', and 'clinging to the soul-theory' connote just 'false views' connected therewith.


Actually Defilements, Floods, Bonds, and Ties are threefold. There are two Graspings and eight Hindrances. Latent Dispositions are six. Fetters should be understood as nine. Impurities are ten. This compendium of immoral categories (12) is ninefold.



1. Vatthudhammā - namely, 72. (1+52 +18 +1=72)

  1. 1 - All the 89 types of consciousness are regarded as one as they all possess the characteristic of 'awareness'.
  2. 52 - All mental states (cetasikas) are viewed separately as they possess different characteristics.
  3. 18 - All the conditioned (nipphanna) rūpas are considered separately since they differ in their characteristics.
  4. 1 - Nibbāna is one inasmuch as it possesses the characteristic of peacefulness.

All these 72 are subjective and objective realities described in the previous chapters. They are miscellaneously treated in this chapter.

2. āsava is derived from ā + su, to flow. They are so called either because they flow up to the topmost plane of existence or because they persist as far as the gotrabhū consciousness (i.e., the thought-moment that immediately precedes the Path-consciousness of the 'Stream-winner' - sotāpatti). These āsavas are latent in all worldlings and may rise to the surface in any plane of existence. They lie dormant in all from an indefinite period and are treated as strong intoxicants or drugs that infatuate beings. Defilements, Corruptions, Depravities, Taints, Intoxicants, Stains, are suggested as the closest equivalents for this 'infamously famous' Pāli term. See Compendium p. 170, n. 1; p. 227.

Of the four āsavas, kāmāsava means attachment to sensual pleasures, bhavāsava is attachment to rūpa and arūpa planes of existence, ditthāsava are the sixty-two kinds of erroneous views, (see Digha Nikāya 1) and avijjāsava is ignorance with regard to the four Noble Truths, past life, future life, both past and future lives, and the Law of Dependent Arising.

3. Ogha is derived from ava + han, to harm or kill. Beings caught in the current of a great flood are overturned and swept away directly to the sea and are hurled into the bottom. In the same way these oghas drown beings completely and sweep them away into states of misery.

4. Yoga is derived from yuj, to yoke. Yogas are those that yoke beings to the round of existence or to the machine of existence.

5. Ganthas are those that bind mind with body or the present body with bodies of future existences. Here the term kāya is used in the sense of mass or body both mental and physical.

6. Upādānāni is derived from upa + ā dā, to give. Intense craving is implied by the term. Hence in the paticcasamuppāda it is stated: Because of craving (tanhā) there is attachment or grasping (upādāna). Tanhā is like a thief groping in the dark to steal some thing. Upādāna is like the actual stealing.

7. Attavādūpādāna - Commentaries mention twenty kinds of soul-theories associated with the five Aggregates as follows:

  1. Soul is identical with the body,
  2. Soul is possessed of a body,
  3. Soul is in the body,
  4. Body is in the soul.

Four soul-theories connected with each of the remaining four Aggregates should be similarly understood.

8. Nīvaranāni - is derived from nī + var, to obstruct, to hinder. They are so called because they obstruct the way to celestial and Nibbānic bliss. According to the commentary this term means that which prevents the arising of good thoughts in the way of jhānas, etc., or that which does not allow the jhānas to arise, or that which obstructs the eye of wisdom. See A Manual of Buddhism, pp. 113-115, and The Buddha and His Teachings, pp. 539-542.

Usually nīvaranas are regarded as five, excluding ignorance.

Both sloth and torpor, restlessness and brooding, are grouped together because their functions (kicca), causes (āhāra = hetu), and their opposing factors are similar. The function of sloth and torpor is mental inactivity; that of restlessness and brooding is disquietude. The cause of the first pair is laziness; that of the second pair is vexation about the loss of relatives, etc. Energy is opposed to the first pair; tranquillity, to the second pair.

Sense-desire is compared to water mixed with various colours; ill will, to boiling water; sloth and torpor, to water covered with moss; restlessness and brooding, to perturbed water caused by wind; indecision, to turbid and muddy water.

Just as one cannot perceive one's own reflection in muddy water, even so when one is obsessed by Hindrances one cannot perceive what is conducive to the good and happiness of oneself and others.

These Hindrances are temporarily inhibited by the jhānas. They are completely eradicated by attaining, the four stages of Sainthood. Doubt or indecision is eradicated by attaining sotāpatti; sense-desire, ill will and brooding, by attaining Anāgāmi; sloth, torpor, and restlessness by Arahatta.

9. Anusaya, derived from anu + si, to lie, to sleep, are those that lie dormant in oneself until an opportune moment arises for them to come to the surface as they have not been eradicated. All passions are anusayas; but these seven are the strongest. Every worldling who has reached the topmost jhāna plane, when born amongst mankind, may give vent to these evil tendencies as they are latent in him.

10. Samyojana - from sam + yuj, to yoke, to bind, are those which bind beings to the round of existence. By means of the four Paths (magga) they are eradicated by degrees. See Ch. 1.

11. Kilesas are those which defile or torment the mind.

12. In the categories of evil the term kāma is at times applied to kāma-sphere, and bhava to both rūpa and arūpa spheres. Lobha is implied by both kāma-tanhā and bhava-tanhā. Attachment to rūpa and arūpa-spheres is bhava-tanhā. The three terms - sīlabbataparāmāsa (indulgence in rites and ceremonies), idamsaccābhinivesa (the dogmatic belief that this alone is truth) and attavādūpādāna (soul-theory) - connote ditthi (false view, or error). Both kāmāsava and bhavāsava connote lobha. Strictly speaking, there are only three āsavas, oghas, yogas, and ganthas. Similarly there are only two upādānas by way of lobha and ditthi.

When the two pairs - thīna-middha and uddhacca-kukkucca - are treated as four mental states, nīvaranas amount to eight. When kāmarāga and bhavarāga are grouped in craving, anusayas amount to six. The ten samyojanas, according to Suttanta, are reduced to seven when kāmarāga, rūparāga, arūparāga are included in lobha, and ditthi and sīlabbataparāmāsa in ditthi. The ten samyojanas are treated as eight when kāmarāga and bhavarāga are included in lobha, and ditthi and sīlabbataparāmāsa in ditthi. Kilesas are precisely ten. Thus, it will be seen, that the 14 immoral mental states appear in different proportions in the nine categories of evil. Lobha is common to all.

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