Guide to Tipitaka

2. Vibha³ga Pæ¹i

Book of Analysis

The second book of the Abhidhamma Pi¥aka, Vibha³ga, together with the first book Dhammasa³ga¼ø and the third book Dhætukathæ, forms a closely related foundation for the proper and deep understanding of the Buddha’s Dhamma. Whereas Dhammasa³ga¼ø provides a bird’s eye view of the whole of the Tika and Duka groups with further systematic arrangements under classified heads, Vibha³ga and Dhætukathæ give a closer view of selected portions of those groups bringing out minute details.

Thus, Ko¥¥hæsa Væra in Dhammasa³ga¼ø explains what and how many khandha, æyatana, dhætu, æhæra, indriya, jhæna³ga etc. are included in the Tika and Duka groups. But it does not furnish complete information about these dhammas. It is Vibha³ga which provides full knowledge concerning them, stating the exact nature of each dhamma, its constituents and its relationship to other dhammas.

The Vibha³ga is divided into eighteen Chapters each dealing with a particular aspect of the Dhamma; its full analysis and investigation into each constituent. The arrangement and classification into groups and heads follow the same system as in the Dhammasa³ga¼ø. Vibha³ga may therefore be regarded as complementary to Dhammasa³ga¼ø.

Vibha³ga explains comprehensively the following categories of Dhamma.

(i) Khandha (x) Bojjha³ga
(ii) Æyatana (xi) Magga
(iii) Dhætu (xii) Jhæna
(iv) Sacca (xiii) Appammaññæ
(v) Indriya (xiv) Sikkhæpada
(vi) Paticcasamuppæda (xv) Pa¥isaµbhidæ
(vii) Satipa¥¥hæna (xvi) Ñæ¼a
(viii) Sammappadhæna (xvii) Khuddhaka vatthu
(ix) Iddhipæda (xviii) Dhammahadaya

Each category is analysed end discussed in two or all the three of the following methods of analysis: Suttanta bhæjanøya - the meaning of the terms and the classification of the dhammas determined according to the Suttanta method; Abhidhamma bhæjanøya - the meaning of the terms and the classification of the dhammas determined according to the Abhidhamma method; Pañha pucchaka, discussions in the form of questions and answers.

It may be seen from the above list of the eighteen categories that they may be divided into three separate groups. The first group containing numbers (i)-(vi) deals with mental and corporeal constituents of beings and two laws of nature to which they are constantly subjected viz: the Law of Impermanence and the Law of Dependent Origination. The second group containing numbers (vii)-(xii) is concerned with the practice of the holy life which will take beings out of suffering and rounds of existence. The remaining six categories serve as a supplement to the first two groups, supplying fuller information and details where necessary.

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