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Table of Contents
                            Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma
M B Orsborn ( 釋慧峰 )
Contents
Introduction
	Sarvāstivāda:
	Abhidharma:
	The Treatises of the Earliest Period
	The Later, More Developed Texts
	The Vibhāṣa Compendia
	Development of the Sarvāstivāda Manuals
	The Abhidharma Kośa, its Bhāṣya and Commentaries:
Summary:
	Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma:
	Beyond:
Bibliography
	Original Texts (Taisho):
	Secondary Sources:
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

SARVĀSTIVĀDA
ABHIDHARMA



BSTC6039 – ESSAY 1

M B ORSBORN ( 釋慧峰 )

ID# 2006936639

2006/11/11


“Who has completely destroyed all the forms of darkness,
And drawn living beings forth from the mire of birth and death.

Venerate and pay obeisance to such a teacher in accord with the truth.
The treatise of the Abhidharma Kośa I shall now teach.”

– Vasubandhu, Abhidharma Ko a

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Sarvastivada Abhidharma

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................. 2

SARVĀSTIVĀDA: ...................................................................................................................... 2
ABHIDHARMA: ........................................................................................................................ 4

A BRIEF SURVEY OF SARVĀSTIVĀDA ABHIDHARMA LITERATURE .............. 6

THE TREATISES OF THE EARLIEST PERIOD.............................................................................. 6
Dharma-skandha-śāstra, by Śāriputra / Maudgalyāyana...................................... 6
Saṃgīti-paryāya-śāstra, by Mahākauṣṭhila / Śāriputra......................................... 7
Prajñapti-śāstra, by Maudgalyāyana / Mahākātyāyāna......................................... 8

THE LATER, MORE DEVELOPED TEXTS .................................................................................. 8
Jñānaprasthāna-śāstra, by Kātyāyanīputra ............................................................. 9
Vijñānakāya-śāstra, by Devaśarman........................................................................ 10
Prakaraṇapāda-śāstra, by Vasumitra ..................................................................... 12
Dhātukāya-śāstra, by Pūrṇa / Vasumitra............................................................... 13

THE VIBHĀṣA COMPENDIA ................................................................................................... 13
Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣā Śāstra, by Katyāyāniputra......................................... 13

DEVELOPMENT OF THE SARVĀSTIVĀDA MANUALS .............................................................. 14
Abhidharmāmṛta(-rasa)-śāstra, by Ghoṣaka ......................................................... 15
Abhidharmahṛdaya, by Dharmaśrī (or Dharmaśreṣṭhī)...................................... 15
Abhidharmahṛdaya-sūtra, by Upaśānta ................................................................. 16
Abhidharmahṛdayavyākhyā, by Dharmatrāta....................................................... 16

THE ABHIDHARMA KOŚA, ITS BHĀṣYA AND COMMENTARIES: ............................................. 16
Abhidharma Kośa-[mūla-]kārikā, by Vasubandhu................................................. 16
Abhidharma Kośa-bhāṣyam, by Vasubandhu........................................................... 17
Abhidharma Kośa-śāstra-tattvārthā-tīkā, by Sthiramati .................................. 17
Abhidharma Nyāyānusārā, by Saṃghabhadra ....................................................... 17
Abhidharma Samayapradīpikā, by Saṃghabhadra ................................................. 18
Abhidharmāvatāra, by Skandhila ........................................................................... 18
Abhidharmadīpa with Vibhāṣāprabhāvṛtti, by Vimalamitra ............................... 18

SUMMARY:........................................................................................................................... 19

SARVĀSTIVĀDA ABHIDHARMA: ............................................................................................ 19
BEYOND: ............................................................................................................................... 20

BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................................................................................................. 21

ORIGINAL TEXTS:.................................................................................................................. 21
SECONDARY SOURCES: ......................................................................................................... 22


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and Hṛdaya texts. Prior to this is a division of ‘assorted issues’. The analysis is of
three main types, according to Venerable Yinshun:20

1. Analysis of the sūtras themselves – in order to find the actual underlying principle,
rather than acceptance of the content at face value, which could lead to apparent
contradiction. This indicates the Ābhidhārmika standpoint of taking the
Abhidharma as pramana in understanding the doctrine.

2. Analysis of the nature, or characteristics, of individual dharmas. Rather than the
use of sūtra categories pertaining to spiritual praxis, the tendency here is to group by
type. Thus, dharmas are assigned as either rūpa, citta, caitasika or citta-viprayukta –
the conditioned dharmas, and also the unconditioned dharmas. Specifics as to each
type are given, as well as detailed discussions of related dharmas. These are then
again categorized according to their being with or without outflows; visible or
non-visible; past, present or future; as to realm; and so forth.

3. Analysis of the relationship between various dharmas. As the preceding analysis
lends itself to plurality, and the possibility of falling into independent Saṃkhya-type
realities, this analysis completes the Buddhist teaching of dependent origination,
preventing such an error. Using kṣanika theory, it establishes the six-fold
conditionality theory, that would later be a special feature of the Sarvāstivāda.21
This is the earliest text in which the theory appears. It also includes some detail on
citta-viprayukta-dharmas.

The influence of the Vijñānaprasthāna is seen strongly in the Vibhāṣa, and this
influenced the subsequent Hṛdaya texts, and also the Kośa and commentaries.
More about this below.

Vijñānakāya-śāstra, by Devaśarman

This is the ‘group of consciousness’ was composed by Devaśarman – according to
both Sanskrit and Chinese sources, with the Chinese translated by Xuanzang: T26,
No. 1539, 阿毘達磨識身足論, 提婆設摩阿羅漢造, 三藏法師玄奘奉 詔譯, in 16
fascicles.

This is the first Abhidharma text that is not attritubted to a direct disciple of the
Buddha, but written some 100 years after the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, according to
Xuanzang’s disciple Puguang. Venerable Yinshun however, concludes it was



20 Venerable Yinshun: Study of the Abhidharma, Texts and Commentators of the Sarvāstivāda, (說一切有部
為主的論書與論師之研究), Zhengwen Publishing, 1968. pg. 184.

21 Jñānaprasthāna Śāstra: T26n1544_p0920c06

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composed around the first century CE, and was influenced by the Jñānaprasthāna,
though differs in several aspects. In this regard, he likens it to the Prakaraṇapāda,
which is also a different position on the Sarvāstivāda as a whole.

This is an esteemed Sarvāstivāda text wherein the Sarvāstivāda is upheld against
Vibhajyavāda objections, in the first of its six sections. It is here that the theory of
sarvāstivāda, the existence of all dharmas through past, present and future, is first
presented.22 Interestingly, the issue is only brought up when Moggaliputta-tissa
makes the standard claim of the Vibhajyavāda, “past and future [dharmas] do not
exist, [only] present and unconditioned [dharmas] do exist”. The Vijñāna-kāya has
four main theses to refute this: 1. The impossibility of two simultaneous cittas; 2. The
impossibility of karma and vipāka being simultaneous; 3. That vijñāna only arises with
an object; and 4. Attainments are not necessarily present.

In addition to refuting the Vibhajyavāda view, the second section is a refutation of
the Vatsiputriya Pudgalavāda claim of: “the paramartha of the ārya [truths] can be
attained, can be realized by the ‘pudgala’, present and complete, therefore it is
certainly [the case] that the ‘pudgala’ exists”.23 The Sarvāstivāda take the title
‘Śūnyavāda’ in order to refute this claim, though this is obviously meaning ‘empty of
pudgala’, rather than the later Śūnyavāda of the Mahāyāna, ie. the Madhyamaka.
The first refutation centers around the two extremes of ‘absolute identity’ and
‘absolute difference’. The second hinges on the continuity of the existence of the
skandhas in the past, present and future – sarvāstivāda – proper.24

The third and fourth sections concern the causal condition, and the conditioning
object of vijñāna respectively. The fifth includes the two other conditions, the
immediate condition and predominant condition. These conditions are discussed in
terms of their realm, nature, temporal location, etc. in a format that came to be
standard for the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma. Such a system also appears in
Abhidharma type analysis of dharmas in the Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra and its
Upadeśa.25

The remaining five sections are doctrinal elaborations of the Sarvāstivāda school,
including issues regarding perception, dependent origination and conditionality.



22 Vijñāna-kāya Śāstra: T26n1539_p0531a27
23 Vijñāna-kāya Śāstra: T26n1539_p0537b03
24 Venerable Yinshun: Study of the Abhidharma, Texts and Commentators of the Sarvāstivāda, (說一切有部

為主的論書與論師之研究), Zhengwen Publishing, 1968. pg. 168.
25 See Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa: T25n1509_p0493a~b.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Original Texts (Taisho):

T24n1451: 根本說一切有部毘奈耶 M lasarv stiv da Vinaya-vy khya

T25n1509: 大智度論 Mah prajñ p ramitopade a
T25n1536: 阿毘達磨集異門足論 Abhidharma Sa g tipary ya stra
T25n1537: 阿毘達磨法蘊足論 Abhidharma Dharma-skandha-p da stra
T25n1538: 阿毘達磨施設論 Abhidharma Prajñ pti stra
T25n1539: 阿毘達磨識身論 Abhidharma Vijñ na-k ya stra
T25n1540: 阿毘達磨界身論 Abhidharma Dh tu-k ya stra
T25n1541: 眾事分阿毘達磨 Pañca-vastu Abhidharma
T25n1542: 阿毘達磨品類足論 Abhidharma Prakara a-p da stra

T26n1543: 阿毘曇八犍度論 Abhidharma Asta ga-khanda stra
T26n1544: 阿毘達磨發智論 Abhidharma Jñ naprasth na stra

T26n1545: 阿毘達磨大毘婆沙論 Abhidharma Mah vibh stra
T26n1546: 阿毘曇毘婆沙論 Abhidharma Vibh stra
T26n1547: 鞞婆沙論 Vibh stra

T26n1548: 舍利弗阿毘曇 riputra Abhidharma stra
T26n1550: 阿毘曇心論 Abhidharma H daya stra
T26n1551: 阿毘曇心論經 Abhidharma H daya-s tra stra
T26n1552: 雜阿毘曇心論 Abhidharma H daya-vy khya stra
T26n1553: 阿毘曇甘露味論 Abhidharma Am ta-rasa stra
T26n1554: 入阿毘達磨論 Abhidharma Avat ra stra

T25n1558: 阿毘達磨俱舍論 Abhidharma Ko a Bh yam
T25n1560: 阿毘達磨俱舍論本頌 Abhidharma Ko a K rik
T25n1562: 阿毘達磨順正理論 Abhidharma Ny n nus r stra
T25n1563: 阿毘達磨藏顯宗論 Abhidharma Samayaprad pik stra

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Sarvastivada Abhidharma

Secondary Sources:

Conze, Eduard:
The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines & Its Verse Summary, San
Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1973.

Dhammajoti, Bhikkhu Kuala Lumpur:
Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma, Center for Buddhist Studies, Śrī Lanka, 2002 & 2004.
Abhidharma Doctrine and Controversy on Perception, Center for Buddhist Studies,
Śrī Lanka, 2004.
“Abhidharma and Upadeśa”, in Journal of Buddhist Studies, Center for Buddhist
Studies, Śrī Lanka, Vol. III, August 2005.
“Sarvāstivāda, Dāṛṣṭāntika, Sautrāntika and Yogācāra”, in Journal of Buddhist
Studies, Center for Buddhist Studies, Śrī Lanka, Vol. IV, August 2006.

Pradhan, P. ed.:
Abhidharmakośabhāśya of Vasubandhu, 2nd Edition, Patna, 1975.

de la Vallee Poussin, Pruden:
Abhidharma-kośa-bhāṣyām, Volumes I, II, III & IV, Asian Humanities Press, 1988.

Willemen, Dessein & Cox:
Sarvāstivāda Buddhist Scholasticism, Brill, 1998.

Yinshun, Venerable:
Study of the Abhidharma, Texts and Commentators of the Sarvāstivāda, (

), Zhengwen Publishing, 1968.





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