Guide to Tipitaka

1. The Dhammasa³ga¼ø Pæ¹i

The Dhammasa³ga¼ø, the first book of the Abhidhamma, and the Pa¥¥hæna, the last book, are the most important of the seven treatises of Abhidhamma, providing as they do the quintessence of the entire Abhidhamma.

Scheme of Classification in the Dhammasa³ga¼ø

(1) The Mætikæ

The Dhammasa³ga¼ø enumerates all the dhammas (phenomena) i.e., all categories of næma, namely, Consciousness and mental concomitant, and rþpa, Corporeality. Having enumerated the phenomena, they are arranged under different heads to bring out their exact nature, function and mutual relationship both internally (in our own being) and with the outside world. The Dhammasa³ga¼ø begins with a complete list of heads called the Mætikæ. The Mætikæ serves as a classified table of mental constituents treated not only in the Dhammasa³ga¼ø but in the entire system of the Abhidhamma.

The Mætikæ consists altogether of one hundred and twenty-two groups, of which the first twenty-two are called the Tikas or Triads, those that are divided under three heads; and the remaining one hundred are called the Dukas or Dyads, those that are divided under two heads.

Examples of Triads are:

(a) Kusala Tika:

(i) that are moral, kusala,
(ii) that are immoral, akusala,
(iii) that are indeterminate, abyækata.

(b) Vedanæ Tika:

dhammas that
(i) with pleasant feeling,are associated
(ii) with painful feeling,
(iii) with neutral feeling.

Examples of Dyads are:

(a) Hetu Duka:

(i) that are roots, hetus
(ii) the are not roots, na-hetu.

(b) Sahetuka Duka:

(i) that are associated with the hetus
(ii) that are not associated with the hetus.

The Mætikæ concludes with a list of the categories of dhamma entitled Suttantika Mætikæ made up of forty-two groups of dhamma found in the suttas.

(2) The four Divisions

Based on these Mætikæs of Tikas and Dukas, the Dhammasa³ga¼ø is divided into four Divisions:

(i) Cittuppæda Ka¼ða, Division on the arising of consciousness and mental concomitants.
(ii) Rþpa Ka¼ða, Division concerning corporeality.
(iii) Nikkhepa Ka¼ða, Division that avoids elaboration.
(iv) A¥¥hakathæ Ka¼ða, Division of Supplementary Digest.

Of the four divisions, the first two, namely, Cittuppæda Ka¼ða and Rþpa Ka¼ða form the main and essential portion of the book. They set the model of thorough investigation into the nature, properties, function and interrelationship of each of the dhammas listed in the Mætikæ, by providing a sample analysis and review of the first Tika, namely, the Kusala Tika of Kusala, Akusala and Abyækata Dhamma. Cittuppæda Ka¼ða deals with a complete enumeration of all the states of mind that come under the headings of Kusala and Akusala; the Rþpa Ka¼ða is concerned with all states of matter that come under the heading of Abyækata; mention is also made of Asa³khata Dhætu (Nibbæna) without discussing it.

The Nikkhepa Ka¼ða the third division, gives, not too elaborately nor too briefly, the summary of distribution of all the Tikas and Dukas, so that their full contents and significance will become comprehensible and fully covered.

A¥¥hakathæ Ka¼ða, the last division of the book, is of the same nature as the third division, giving a summary of the dhammas under the different heads of the Tika and the Duka groups. But it provides it in a more condensed manner, thus forming a supplementary digest of the first book of the Abhidhamma for easy memorizing.

(3) Order and classification of the types of Consciousness as discussed in Cittuppæda Ka¼ða.

The Cittuppæda Ka¼ða first gives a statement of the types of Consciousness arranged under the three heads of the first Tika, namely, (i) Kusala Dhamma i.e., Meritorious Consciousness and its concomitants (ii) Akusala Dhamma i.e., Demeritorious Consciousness and its concomitants (iii) Abyækata Dhamma i.e., Indeterminate Consciousness and its concomitants. The list of mental concomitants for each dhamma is fairly long and repetitive.

The statement of the types of Consciousness is followed by identification of the particular type e.g. Kusala Dhamma, in the form of question and answer, with regard to the plane or sphere (bhþmi) of Consciousness: Kæmævacara, sensuous plane; Rþpævacara, plane of form; Arþpævacara, plane of no-form; Tebhþmaka, pertaining to all the three planes; or Lokuttara, supramundane, not pertaining to the three planes.

The type of Consciousness for each plane is further divided into various kinds e.g., there are eight kinds of Kusala Dhamma for the sensuous plane: first Kusala Citta, second Kusala Citta etc; twelve kinds of Akusala Citta; eight kinds of Ahetuka Kusala Vipæka Citta and eight kinds of Sahetuka Vipæka Citta under the heading of Abyækata Dhamma.

Then these various kinds are further analysed according to:

(i) Dhamma Vavatthæna Vara e.g., the particular quality, whether accompanied by joy etc. i.e., somanassa, domanassa, sukha, dukkha, or upekkhæ.

(ii) Ko¥¥hæsa Væra, the grouping of dhammas. There are twenty-three categories of dhammas which result from synthetical grouping of dhammas into separate categories such as khandhas, æyatanas, dhætus etc.

(iii) Suññata Væra, which lays stress on the fact that there is no ‘self’ (atta) or jøva behind all these dhammas; they are only composites, causally formed and conditioned, devoid of any abiding substance.

The same method of treatment is adopted for the akusala and abyækata types of Consciousness.

(4) Rþpa Ka¼ða

Because Dhammasa³ga¼ø treats all the dhammas (næmas as well as rþpas) in the same uniform system of classification, Rþpa Ka¼ða is only a continuation of the distribution of the Dhamma under the heads of the first Tika, which begins in the first division, Cittuppæda Ka¼ða. In the Cittuppæda Ka¼ða, the enumeration of the Dhamma under the head ‘Abyækata’ has been only partially done, because abyækata type of Dhamma includes not only all the states of mind which are neither meritorious nor demeritorious but also all states of matter and the Asa³khata Dhætu or Nibbæna. The portion of Dhamma under the heading of Abyækata, which has been left out from Cittuppæda Ka¼ða, is attended to in this ka¼ða.

The method of treatment here is similar, with the difference that instead of mental concomitants, the constituents of matter, namely, the four primary elements and the material qualities derived from them with their properties and their relationships are analysed and classified.

© Buddha Dharma Education Association > home > back