Kathavatthu, aka: Kathāvatthu; 3 Definition(s)


Kathavatthu 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)

Kathavatthu Katha Vatthu

The fifth of the seven books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. (Sometimes called the third, e.g., in Mbv.94). It seems to have been compiled when the contents of at least the Dhammasangani, the Vibhanga and Patthana were already accepted as orthodox. Tradition ascribes its compilation to Moggaliputta Tissa at the end of the Third Council, held under Asokas patronage; at Pataliputta (Mhv.v.278; Dpv.vii.41, 56-8). It was rejected by some on the ground that it was set forth two hundred and eighteen years after the Buddhas death, and was hence only a disciples utterance; but the Commentaries take the view that the matika, the principles taught therein, were laid down by the Teacher himself, and that the whole work should be regarded as the utterance of the Buddha, just as the Madhu pindika Sutta, preached really by Maha Kaccana, is considered as the Buddhas teaching. The book consists of twenty three chapters, and is a collection of discussions (katha) and refutations of the heretical views of various sects on matters connected with theology and philosophy. The Buddhas authority is accepted as final. See the very valuable Preface to the Points of Controversy, by Mrs. Rhys Davids, vii ff See also Rhys Davids on Questions discussed in the Katha Vatthu, J.R.A.S.1892.

It has sometimes been suggested (E.g., J.R.A.S.1915, 805ff ) that Asokas Rock Edict IX. has been influenced by the Katha Vatthu. The Theri Khema, chief of the Buddhas women disciples, describes herself as being Kathavatthuvisarada, (ThigA.135) thus strengthening the theory that the Katha Vatthu was known already in the Buddhas time.

The Udana Commentary (UdA.94) refers to a Kathavatthupakarana Tika for details of certain points raised.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

Fifth book of the Abhidhamma.

The discussion of points of controversy with schismatic sects.

(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).

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

kathāvatthu : (nt.) subject of a discussion; the 5th book of the Abhidhamma.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise 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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