Buddhist Thought 2: Analysis of Existence (Abhidharma)" - Why are Abhidharma and Kusha Theory important? What is their significance? Recommended commentary!

Buddhist Thought 3 Abhidharma Buddhism in India

Ken Sakurabe and Shumpei Kamiyama, "Buddhist Thought 2: Analysis of Existence " Summary and Comments - Recommended reference book that explains the difficult aspects of Buddhist thought in an easy-to-understand manner.

The book introduced here is "Buddhist Thought 2: Analysis of Existence (Abhidharma)" by Ken Sakurabe and Shumpei Ueyama, published by Kadokawa Shoten in 1996.

Let's take a quick look at the book.

Abhidharma" refers to the grand system of thought that was created by interpreting the dharma or truth preached by the Buddha. This groundbreaking work reexamines the philosophical aspects of Buddhist thought from its roots, focusing on the "Abhidharma Kosha" written around the 5th century by Vasvandhu (Seichin), the greatest thinker in Buddhist history, among the Abhidharma doctrines of various schools of Indian thought.

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This book will be a reference work that explains one of the difficult areas in Buddhist thought: abhidharma.

This book is the second volume in the Buddhist Thought Series. This series has long been a beloved bestseller as an introduction to Buddhist thought, and the Buddhist studies professor with whom I teach recommends this series.

This series is unique in that the first part of the series begins with a brief overview and explanation of the topic of thought, followed by a roundtable discussion in which experts in various fields discuss the ideas in an informal manner.

The first part of the book is already easy to understand and excellent as an introductory book, but the discussions that follow provide more in-depth discussions and question-and-answer sessions, allowing the reader to learn even more. As one would expect from a bestseller, this series continues to sell well. I highly recommend this series.

The theme of this book is Abhidharma, which is a huge obstacle not only for general readers but also for us monks. In this book, you will learn the significance of Abhidharma in the study of Mahayana Buddhism.

The author, Ken Sakurabe, says the following about this book in the preface: "This book is a bit long, but it raises important issues. The book is a bit long, but it raises important issues, so I will read it carefully.

The Abhidharma and the Kusha Theory are often described as the cumbersome and complicated philosophy of Buddhism. Indeed, it is a complicated and complex doctrinal treatise. In the past, young monks who studied the Kusha-ron in the study halls of various Buddhist sects would playfully sing, "The whole thing is gummatical, three times or four times I hear it, and if I don't understand it, I'll lose my mind. It is often joked that the name "kusha-ron" is derived from a series of awkward discussions. The late Dr. Ogiwara Unrai (1869-1937), an outstanding Sanskrit scholar and a renowned scholar of the Kusha-ron, said that the Kusha-ron is, in essence, "a scholar'splaythingplaythingThe report was rejected, saying that it was only "a

When they would have gone through the Treatise on the Club and other Abhidharma treatises and come across discussions that were too formal and too trivial, or were troubled by countless difficult technical terms, they would have left the noise and anguish of the world deep within the monastery and devoted themselves to the study of sutra exegesis and doctrine. To us, this ideological labor of the Abhidharma teachers seems a terribly meaningless and impractical struggle, and a far cry from the original purpose of Buddhism, which was supposed to be highly practical. However, the teachers had their own sincere struggles in seeking the path, which can be clearly seen by those who are not dazzled by the clutter and complications that cloak the facade of the treatises, and who are willing to consider the meaning hidden behind them. It would be both harsh and unjust to dismiss abhidharma as a mere empty theory that has nothing to do with practice or seeking the path.

But even so, the far greater significance of Abhidharma lies in another aspect. That is, for the first time in history, the Buddha's teachings were compiled into a systematic thought, and this is the reason why Abhidharma occupies a very significant position in the history of Buddhist thought. Although the Agamas contain various elements, they are in essence the sayings and deeds of Shakamuni Buddha. Therefore, it is mostly a collection of fragmentary or short teachings. The individual teachings collected and handed down are generally dialogic in style, some of them even conveying the true face of this great teacher of humankind. It is indeed to the credit of the Abhidharma teachers that they were able to extract the foundational ideas of Buddhism from the contents of such non-systematic Agama scriptures, and to assemble them into a grand ideological edifice. Without their work, the emergence of Mahayana Buddhist philosophies such as Chugan and Yogya Yogacara would have been very different.

This does not mean, of course, that Abhidharma's thought is an idyllic and unimportant inheritance or development of Shakamuni Buddha's teachings. It must be admitted, as is often criticized, that there are points in Abhidharma that seem to be too much caught up in the verbiage of the Agama scriptures, too traditional and conservative, or too analytical and formalistic, losing the freshness and vigor of thought. This is the reason why Mahayana Buddhism cries out, "Do not be caught up in the words of the Buddha and laugh at the spirit of the Buddha. We must look at the merits and flaws of avidharma thought as it is, without preconceptions, and this will clarify the significance of avidharma thought for the present age.

Kadokawa Shoten, Ken Sakurabe and Shumpei Kamiyama, "Buddhist Thought 2: Analysis of Existence ," p. 22-24.

It was indeed the work of the Abhidharma masters who drew the foundational ideas of Buddhism from the unsystematic contents of the Agama scriptures and assembled them into a grand ideological edifice. Without their work, the later emergence of Mahayana Buddhist philosophies such as the Middle View and the Yogic Yogic Vedas would have been very different."

This is a very important point. Without Abhidharma, the idea of Mahayana might not have been born.

Another author, Shumpei Ueyama, also states in the introduction to the paperback edition

The reason why I was so interested in Abhidharma was not only because I had a strong desire to learn about it. Buddhist thought, which originated with the Buddha, developed from the Hinayana to the Mahayana, and Abhidharma is located at the interface between the Hinayana and the Mahayana. Therefore, if we stand at this junction, we can not only see the path back to Buddha's original thought through the Lesser Vehicle, but we can also see the path leading to the Mahayana from there. In other words, Abhidharma can be used as a platform from which to view the world of Buddhist thought that has developed in India over the millennia since the advent of the Buddha from the widest possible perspective. That is what I thought.

Kadokawa Shoten, Ken Sakurabe and Shumpei Kamiyama, Buddhist Thought 2: Analysis of Existence , p. 8.

I see. When you think about it this way, you begin to see Abhidharma in a different light from the complicated and inaccessible existence it used to be. It is difficult to be motivated to learn anything unless you have a clear understanding of why you need to learn it. However, when you clearly understand the significance of Abhidharma, you may think, "Oh, that's worth a try.

The commentary in this volume is also told from such perspectives as "Why is Abhidharma important?" and "Why was the idea of Abhidharma born?" so it makes for very interesting reading. Of course, even so, Abhidharma is still Abhidharma. It is true that there are many technical terms and it is difficult to understand. However, there is no doubt that this is a recommended reference book that allows you to learn about Abhidharma in a different way than before. I highly recommend this book.

The above is a summary of "Buddhist Thought 2: Analysis of Existence (Abhidharma)" - Why are Abhidharma and Kusha Theory important? What is their significance? A recommended commentary! That's all.

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