Introduction to Dhammasangani

by U Ko Lay | 1993 | 7,776 words

By The Editorial Committee - Translation Section Department for the Promotion and Propagation of the Sasana Ministry of Religious Affairs, Yangoon, Myanmar, 1995 supplied by This introduction in a way may be regarded as a brief introduction to the Abhidhamma Pitaka as a whole. It is in two parts. The first part is about Abhi...

Part II - The Dhammasangani

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Dhammasangani is the title given to the first book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The Pali word dhamma varies in meaning according to context; here as part of the term dhammasangani, dhamma means ultimate realities. Sangani means collecting together or complete enumeration. Thus Dhammasangani deals with collecting and enumerating the ultimate realities by the method of triads (tikas) and dyads (duka) as set out in its Matika. For instance, in such a phrase as 'kusala dhamma' or 'akusala dhamma', or abyakata dhamma' which occurs in the Dhammasangani, the word dhamma means ultimate realities.

The Matika:

The Dhammasangani begins with the Matika which is a list of subjects for analytical treatment in the text and grouped in triads and dyads. There are twenty-two ways of grouping the dhamma (ultimate realities) into triads (tikas) and a hundred ways of grouping it into dyads (dukas). Each triad consists of three categories which are related in some way and each dyad consists of two categories which also are related in some way.

Examples of triads:

(a) Kusala Tika

  1. Dhammas that are meritorious, kusala dhamma.
  2. Dhammas that are demeritorious, akusala dhamma.
  3. Dhammas that are neither meritorious nor demeritorious, abyakata dhamma.

(b) Vedana Tika

  1. Dhammas that are associated with pleasant sensation, sukhaya vedanaya sampayutta dhamma.
  2. Dhammas that are associated with unpleasant sensation, dukkhaya vedanaya sampayutta dhamma.
  3. Dhammas that are associated with sensation which is neither pleasant nor unpleasant, adukkha masukhaya vedanaya sampayutta dhamma.

(c) Vipaka Tika

  1.  Dhammas that are resultants, vipaka dhamma.
  2. Dhammas that produce resultants, vipaka dhamma dhamma.
  3. Dhammas that are neither resultants nor resultants producing, nevavipaka na-vipaka dhamma dhamma.

An example of dyads:

Hetu Duka

  1. Dhammas that are root causes of phenomena, hetu dhamma.
  2. Dhammas that are not root causes, na hetu dhamma


There are six dukas which have a common factor, namely, hetu and which are put into a larger group or cluster called hetu gocchaka. There are altogether ten such large groups called gocchakas, each containing dukas which have a common factor.

Besides these, there are three separate groups of dukas where the dukas are not inter-related. These three groups are not called gocchakas.

The Dhammasangani Matika is the key to the Abhidhamma method of exposition..

In addition to the above Abhidhamma Matika, there is a list of 42 categories of dhamma entitled Suttantika Duka Matika. This Matika consists of dyads which can be traced to the Suttanta Pitaka. According to the Atthasalini Commentary, this was added by the Venerable Thera Sariputta in order to facilitate the study of Suttanta Pitaka.

The Four Divisions, Kandas:

The Dhammasangani is divided into four divisions:

  1. (i) Cittupada Kanda, Division on Mind and Mental Concomitants. This division may be regarded as Book I of Dhammasangani.
  2. (ii) Rupa Kanda, Division Concerning Corporeality. This division may be regarded as Book II of Dhammasangani.
  3. (iii) Nikkhepa Kanda, Division of Summarised Analytical Statements about all the tikas and the dukas without elaborate treatment. This division may be regarded as Book III of Dhammasangani.
  4. (iv) Atthakatha Kanda is a very short division but it is very important because it contains additional explanation of certain terms, by means of enumeration. This division may be regarded as Book IV of Dhammasangani.

Of the four divisions, the first two, namely, Cittuppada Kanda and Rupa Kanda, provide a full analysis of the first tika, namely, the Kusala Tika dealing with Kusala, Akusala and Abyakata Dhamma. They also serve as a basis for the analysis of the dhamma in the other tikas as well as the dukas.

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