Abhidhammapitaka, aka: Abhidhamma-pitaka; 4 Definition(s)


Abhidhammapitaka means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[Abhidhammapitaka in Theravada glossaries]

The third division of the Pitakas. It consists of seven books: the






Yamaka and


all designated by the name of Pakarana. Only in the Chronicles and the Commentaries is the word used as the title of a third Pitaka (See the discussion of this in DA.i.15, 18f). In the Canon itself (E.g., Vin.i.64; iii.144; iv.344) the word means special dhamma, i.e. the Doctrine pure and simple (without admixture of literary treatment or personalities, etc.), and is sometimes coupled with the word abhivinaya (E.g., D.iii.267; M.i.272).

It has been suggested (New Pali Dict. s.v.) that, as the word abhidhamma standing alone is not found either in the Sutta Nipata, the Samyutta, or the Anguttara, and only once or twice in the Digha and Majjhima, it probably came into use only towards the end of the period in which the four great Nikayas grew up (See Dial.iii.199 on a possible origin of the Adhidhamma).

The Mahasanghikas refused to include the Abhidhamma in the Pitakas at all, as they did not regard it as the word of the Buddha. (Dpv.v.32-8).

According to the Dighabhanakas the Abhidhamma Pitaka also included the whole of the Khuddaka Nikaya except the Cariyapitaka, Apadana and Buddhavamsa (DA.i.15).

According to another division, the five Nikayas are not divisions of the Dhamma but of the whole Canon, and in the fifth are included both the Vinaya and the Abhidhamma (DA.i.28).

There is a legend recorded by Buddhaghosa that the Abhidhamma was first preached by the Buddha in Tavatimsa at the foot of the Paricchataka tree, when he was seated on Sakkas throne, during his visit to his mother in Tavatimsa. Later it was taught by him to Sariputta on the banks of the Anotatta Lake, whither Sariputta had gone to minister to the Buddha during the latters visit to Tavatimsa (VibhA. p.1; AA.i.71, etc.).

The legend further relates that after the Enlightenment the Buddha spent the fourth week in the Ratanaghara, revolving in his mind the intricate doctrines of the Abhidhamma in all their details (J.i.78).

According to the Cullavagga version of the Councils (Chaps. xi. and xii; but see DA.i.15 contra) the Abhidhamma Pitaka was not rehearsed at either Council.

The fact that the Abhidhamma is not mentioned in the suttas and that only Dhamma and Vinaya are usually referred to, only proves that at one time the Abhidhamma did not form a separate Pitaka. As a matter of fact, it is not held even by the commentators to be the word of the Buddha in the same sense as the suttas. One section of it, the Kathavatthu (but see Kathavatthu), was taught only at the Third Council.

As far as we know, the seven books of the Abhidhamma are peculiar to the Theravadins,

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

Third section of the Pali Canon.

The Abhidhamma Pitaka consists of seven books. These books are named as follows:-

  1. The Dhammasangani – the enumeration of all mental and material phenomena.
  2. The Vibhanga – the book of treatises of all phenomena.
  3. The Dhatukatha- the discussion of the groups, bases and elements of existence.
  4. The Puggalapannatti- the description of individual types of persons.
  5. The Kathavatthu- the discussion of points of controversy with schismatic sects.
  6. The Yamaka- the book of pairs of questions.
  7. The Patthana- the book of origination, conditionality and dependence of all the phenomena of existence (this is the largest and the most important Abhidhamma work).

See Abhidhamma.

(Source): Dhamma Study: Introduction to the Dhamma
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

Discover the meaning of abhidhammapitaka in the context of Theravada from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Buddhism)

[Abhidhammapitaka in Buddhism glossaries]

The third amongst the Buddhist cannon scriptures (other two been the vinaya and sutta), Abhidharma Pitaka presents the philosophical and psychological teachings of the early Buddhism.

(Source): Buddhism Tourism: Glossary of Buddhist Terms

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[Abhidhammapitaka in Pali glossaries]

Abhidhamma, (abhi + dhamma) the “special Dhamma, ” i. e., 1. theory of the doctrine, the doctrine classified, the doctrine pure and simple (without any admixture of literary grace or of personalities, or of anecdotes, or of arguments ad personam), Vin.I, 64, 68; IV, 144; IV, 344. Coupled with abhivinaya, D.III, 267; M.I, 272. — 2. (only in the Chronicles and Commentaries) name of the Third Piṭaka, the third group of the canonical books. Dpvs.V, 37; PvA.140. See the detailed discussion at DA.I, 15, 18 sq. (As the word abhidhamma standing alone is not found in Sn.or S or A, and only once or twice in the Dialogues, it probably came into use only towards the end of the period in which the 4 great Nikāyas grew up.)

—kathā discourse on philosophical or psychological matters, M.I, 214, 218; A.III, 106, 392. See dhammakathā. (Page 65)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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