The evolution of Buddhist systematics from the Buddha to Vasubandhu

By Jose Pereira and Francis Tiso
Philosophy East and West
Volume 38, number 2
1988 April
P.172-186
(C) by the University of Hawaii Press


P.172 Of all the founders of world religions, the Buddha (circa 566-circa 486 B.C.) alone seems to have presented his teachings systematically, especially those teachings which he believed were basic to his religion. At the very start of his career as a religious teacher, around 531 B.C., he embodied these teachings in the Four Noble Truths. These Truths were to provide his disciples with the most cogent pattern for their own monumental systematizations of Buddhist doctrine several centuries later. In presenting his doctrine in terms of the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha adopted two methods of systematization, the numerical and the rational. The numerical method combined concepts in twos, threes, fours, and so on; no other method would serve a society habituated to transmitting its fund of knowledge through memorization rather than through writing. The enumeration of the Truths as four provided the basis for an easily memorizable formula. But more important was the rational method, where the organizing concepts chosen were kept to a minimum, with each concept following another in logical sequence, all forming a pattern with a certain symmetry and elegance, and capable of explaining every integrant of the doctrinal complex without redundance or remainder. The Four Noble Truths are those of Pain, Origin, Suppression, and the Way. They provide an insight into the profound nature of things, and the last of them, the Way, also reveals how this insight may be attained. Towards the end of his life, possibly around 490 B.C., the Buddha thought fit further to develop and organize his ideas on the Way in what is known as the Vai`saalii Summary.(1) Here again he used both the numerical and the rational methods. The Summary comprises seven topics, which are: (1) the Four Bases of Self-Possession: (2) the Four Right Exertions; (3) the Four Bases of Power; (4) the Five Faculties; (5) the Five Strengths; (6) the Seven Factors of Enlightenment; and (7) the Eightfold Way. Here the numerical approach is definitely predominant, unlike the Four Noble Truths, where the rational approach prevails. The basic seven topics are further subdivide into four in the tirst three cases, into five in the next two, into seven in the following one, and into eight in the last case. The classification has a certain elegance, but from the rational point of view it is somewhat redundant. For instance, self-possession is the subject of the first topic, but it is also a subtopic under the fourth (the Five Faculties) and the fifth (the Five Strengths). Perhaps because of this limitation, and also doubtless because of its complexity, the Vai`saalii Summary, while accepted by the Buddhist schools, never challenged the Four Noble Truths for the position of the most compendious and comprehensive statement of Buddhist Doctrine. Systematic thinker though he was, the Buddha never organized his teaching into a complete system. As his disciples saw it, the components of this system were scattered all over the Master's teachings, which they had reverently com- P.173 piled into a canon of scriptures (suutra) in the very first council, at Raajag.rha, in 486 B.C. The canon established, the disciples proceeded to organize the doctrine it embodied in a more systematic way, a "Super-Doctrine" (abhidharma). The task was a formidable one, and it was threefold. It required them first to identify the doctrinal topics or'matrices' (maat.rkaa) constituting Buddhist belief, and to compile all the Suutra statements relevant to each topic. Second, they had to develop a method for critically examining these topics and statements (the abhidharma analysis) , employing methodical techniques such as definition, the grouping of synonyms, and the classification of principles. Third, they needed to shape a conceptual pattern which would integrate this ever more vast and intricate material in a manner that was to be comprehensive, organic, economical, and elegant. This task, which in a sense can be said to have been initiated by the Buddha in his first sermon, was to take not less than a millenium to realize, attaining fulfillment only in the monumental summa of Vasubandhu, the Abhidharmako`sa (Envelope(2) of the Doctrine of Natures). Although the basis of this systematic inquiry was the entire scriptural canon, a particular emphasis was placed on the Sa^ngiitisuutra (Scripture of the Proclamation) of the Diigha Nikaaya (the Long Collection) . This Suutra was elaborated in a commentary or "arrangement" (paryaaya) called the Sa^ngiitiparyaaya. In the analyzing of this work, its matter was divided, plausibly enough, into practice and theory. Practice did not invite speculation except insofar as it was related to theory; it was, in other words, "nonquestionary" (apra`snaka), and included such topics as exertion, power, and self-possession (sm.rti). Theory, on the other hand, was speculative and "questionary" (sapra`snaka), and could be looked at in two ways: first, insofar as it concerned topics that the Buddha himself had discussed, such as the Four Noble Truths, that were marked by the Buddha's entire concern only with such knowledge as was relevant to liberation, to the exclusion of concepts that would inspire speculation for its own sake; and second, those topics of a more general nature which were not, it is true, immediately relevant to liberation, but nevertheless, in the firm belief of the Buddha's disciples, provided a clearer basis for the comprehension of those topics that were. This basis consisted of an inquiry into the nature of conditions, such as cause, support, immediacy, and dominance. Such an evolved and generalized theory was probably embodied in a text called Prasthaana (Method) . Thus, the earliest Abhidharma presumably consisted of these four sections: the Sa^ngiitiparyaaya, the Apra`snaka, the Sapra`snaka, and perhaps the Prasthaana.(3) As the work of systematization progressed, both methods of classification were further elaborated. The task of clarifying the Teacher's doctrine was zealously pursued through endless discussions and ever-multiplying controversies. From the friction of opinions there emerged not only greater conceptual precision, but also sectarian divergence. Taking the Buddha's Community (Sa^ngha) to have been founded about 531 B.C., it lasted as an undivided P.174 body for a little over 180 years, up to 349 B.C., when, at the Third Council, the first to be held in the imperial capital, Paa.taliputra, it broke up into the Sthavira (Presbyter) and Mahaasa^ngha (Great Community) sects. One of the problems discussed was the impeccability of the Arhat, the Sthaviras maintaining that he is impeccable, the Mahaasaa^nghikas that he is not. Further splits occurred within these two main bodies. In 237 B.C., at the Fourth Council, the second to be held at Pa.taliputra, the Sthaviravaada itself broke up into the orthodox Sthaviravaada and the Sarvaastivaada (Omnirealism). The problem at issue was whether the phenomena constituting the flux of reality were real in all their forms, past, present, and future, or whether only the present forms are real. The orthodox Sthaviras "distinguished" (vibhajya) between present phenomena, which they declared were real, from past and future ones, which they held to be unreal. They came to be termed Distinctionists (Vibhajyavaadins); their opponents, on the other hand, maintained that "all is real" (sarvam asti), past, present, and future; they came to be called Omnirealists (Sarvaastivaadin). From this sectarian discord still other sects pullulated, some of them eclectic, taking some features from Vibhajyavaada and others from Sarvaastivaada. Among them were the Mahii`saasakas (Earth-Instructor Sect), probably of the Mahi.sa country in the northern Deccan. Vasubandhu's elder brother Asa^nga seems at first to have belonged to this group. The sect agreed with the Sthaviras about the Arhat's impeccability, and with the Sarvaastivaadins on the nature of space; the Sthaviras affirmed that space is a "conditioned'' (sa^msk.rta) phenomenon, but the Sarvaastivaadins declared that it was "unconditioned" (asa^mtsk.rta), just as Nirvaa.na itself is. Most, if not all, the Buddhist sects had their Abhidharma, but the most complicated was that of the Sthaviras and the Sarvaastivaadins; it was truly a luxuriant frondescence of topics and methods which they claimed had grown from the two lean roots (the Suutra and the Vinaya Pi.takas) of the canon of scripture. But some later thinkers viewed this proliferation of ideas with skepticism, holding that much of it could hardly find support in the Buddha's word as conserved in the Scripture (suutra). As far as they were concerned, the Suutra was where the authority of the Buddha came to an end (anta), and did not extend to the Abhidharma; they thus called themselves Sautraantikas (Scripturalists or Canonicalists). It is to this school that Vasubandhu gave his sympathies before he converted to Mahaayaana. The Sautraantikas transformed many of the Abhidharma categories from reality (dravyasat) to concept (praj~naptisat), thus preparing the way for the reduction of all of them into a kind of ontological voidness (`suunyataa). This process came to a head in the `Suunyavaada (Vacuism) or Maadhyamika (Mediatism) of the great Naagaarjuna, who, borrowing dialectical devices such as the tetralemma (catu.skanaya) from the Abhidharma itself, systematically demolished its categories so that from among their rubble the Four Noble Truths would stand out in all their magnificence. And some of P.175 Vasubandhu's adversaries, not implausibly, accused him of secretly sympathizing with Naagaarjuna's doctrines.(4) One of them was the anonymous Vaibhaa.sika author (perhaps Sa^nghabhadra or one of his pupils) of the Lamp of Abhidharma (Abhidharmadiipa). This writer accused Vasubandhu of having entered the portals of the Mahaayaana scriptures--for having accepted, in his words, the "impossible doctrine of Emptiness" (ayoga`suunyataavaada) propounded in those scriptures, according to which nothing exists, past, present, and future.(5) Our author evidently believed that the Sautraantika thesis that nothing exists, past and future, necessarily entailed the affirmation that nothing present exists as well. But Vasubandhu himself did not think so, for he explicitly disclaims any affiliation to the Maadhyamika doctrine.(6) Both Vasubandhu and Naagaarjuna have a common goal: that of demolishing the realist categories of the Vaibhaa.sikas. Why, then, does Vasubandhu not make use of Naagaarjuna's dialectic, which realizes this aim at least as effectively as Vasubandhu's own? The reason is that, in Vasubandhu's time, the doctrine of Naagaarjuna had fallen into disrepute. This doctrine was held to be contained exclusively in Naagaarjuna's greatest work, the Basic Mnemonic Verses on Mediatism (Muulamaadhyamikakaarikaa) , where Naagaarjuna had been concerned mainly with establishing the doctrine of Emptiness (`suunyavaada). The critics saw in this nothing but a dialectical exercise in negation, leading to an overemphasis on the theoretical Wisdom (praj~naa), to the detriment of its practical complement, Means (upaaya) . These critics, overwhelmed by Naagaarjuna's great work, and unable to appreciate the many-sidedness of his genius, forgot that Naagaarjuna had also treated of upaaya in another of his works, the Necklace of Jewels (Ratnaavalii),(7) thus balancing the insight (vipa`syanaa) connected with praj~naa with the calming (`samatha) immanent in upaaya. Asa^nga, Vasubandhu's own brother, created an alternative system,(8) the Yogaacaara, which, in his belief, restored upaaya to its rightful place of honor in the Mahaayaana. Vasubandhu obviously did not wish to be linked in any way with the older, discredited system.(9) Thus, the older schools of Buddhist thought, including the two great Abhidharma traditions. the Sthaviravaada and the Sarvaastivaada, could continue their task of systematization, without being overwhelmed, for the time being at least. by Naagaarjuna's thought. Of these two schools, the Sthaviravaada can be said to have excelled in analytical acumen (in Abhidharma analysis) and the Sarvaastivaada in synthetic vision. In the work of the Sautraantika Vasubandhu, both qualities come together. The chief texts of the Sthaviravaada Abhidharma are ten in all, seven of which are included in the Ahhidharma Pi.taka itself. All these books can roughly be classified into five types, each type developing a specific aspect of the total Abhidharma system. First there is the basic text, the Vihha^nga, which brings together the Apra`snaka and the Sapra`snaka treatises. P.176 Second are the texts that classify and analyze the Abhidharma's principles, the Dhaatukathaa (Discussion of Substances) , the Dhammasa^nga.ni (List of Natures) , the Pa.t.thana (Method, a treatise on conditionality) , and the Yamaka (Pairing, a tract on the clarification of expressions) . Third, there were the polemical treatises: the Kathaavatthu (Matter for Discussion) and the Puggalapa~n~natti (Information on the Person) . All these books are included in the Abhidharmapi.taka; those described in what follows here are not.(10) The fourth item in the Sthaviravaada Abhidharma is a treatise on the path to liberation, the Pa.tisambhidaamagga (Way of Comprehension). Fifth and last are the two texts providing patterns for synthesis, the Pe.takopade`sa (Instruction on the Traditions of the Scriptures) and the Nettippakara.na (Book of the Guide), which is no more than a rewriting of the Pe.takopade`sa. The most significant of these books from the point of view of systematization are the Dhammasa^nga.nii, the Pa.t.thana, the Kathaavatthu, and the Pe.takopade`sa. The Dhammasa^nga.ni is the first extensive attempt (fourth century B.C.?) to classify reality as viewed by the Buddhists. A hundred principles are listed which, along with their synonyms, amount to about two hundred. All these principles, except Nirvaa.na, are declared to originate through conditions. Closely related to the Dhammasa^nga.ni is the Pa.t.thana, said to be the work of Mogaliputta Tissa, a contemporary of the great emperor ASoka (reigned 268-232 B.C.). It is an exhaustive analysis of the conditional relation, indeed of conditionality itself, under the headings of one hundred dyads and twenty-two triads. The dyads and triads are combined into six categories and analyzed according to a tetralemmatic formula. The Kathaavatthu defends two hundred and more propositions against unorthodox Buddhist schools. It is the earliest known Indian philosophical work which proceeds on the basis of logical techniques, such as those of definition, distribution of terms, classification, and relationship between propositions as biconditionals or ponentials, and quantifications.(11) Here, too, another kind of tetralemma is employed. As for the Pe.takopade`sa, its significance will be discussed below. The Sarvaastivaada Abhidharma may originally have been composed of two basic texts, the Sa^ngiitiparyaaya and the Dharmaskandha (Nature Component); a text on the classification of reality, the Dhaatukaaya (Corpus of Substances) ; and a polemical text, the Vij~naanakaaya (Corpus of Knowledge). After the Paa.taliputra Council of 237, which separated Sthaviravaada from Sarvaastivaada, this core was further elaborated. The Dhaatukaaya was enlarged, supposedly by Puur.na or Vasumitra, and a new classification of reality was proposed, comprising Form (ruupa) , Mind (citta) , Mental Phenomena (caitasika) , Nonmental Phenomena (cittaviprayukta) , and the Unconditioned (asa^msk.rta). The Vij~naanakaaya was also enlarged, presumably by Deva`sarman or Devak.sema. Newly added was the systematic treatise of Kaatyaayaniiputra, the J~naanaprasthaana (Method of Knowledge), the basic formulary of Sarvaastivaada systematics, to be discussed presently; a treatise on cosmology and moral action, the Praj~napti- P.177 `saastra (Science of Information), attributed to Maudgalyaayana; and, finally, a compilation of miscellaneous Abhidharma problems, the Prakara.napada (Chapter of Discussions), said to have been the work of Vasumitra I. Most of these works deal with the analytical aspect of system building, known as Abhidharma analysis. However, four of these texts formulate the synthetic aspect, by proposing conceptual patterns, relatively brief in themselves, but which are rigorously applicable to the doctrine in all its multifarious amplitude. The cogency of such patterns is enhanced by the qualities of simplicity, economy, and elegance. These four texts are the Pe.takopade`sa, Kaatyaayaniiputra's J~naanaprasthaana, Dharma`srii's Abhidharmasaara (or Abhidharmah.rdaya), and Vasubandhu's Abhidharmako`sa. The pattern adopted by the Pe.takopade`sa may be called the Threefold Scheme. It consists of an organization of tetrads, triads, and dyads, each made up of pairs of opposites; the tetrads are then reduced to the triads and the triads to the dyads. The tetrads consist of the Four Errors and their opposites: seeking permanence/impermanence in the impermanent; happiness/unhappiness in unhappiness; soul/nonsoul in nonsoul; and beauty/ugliness in ugliness. The triad pairs are desire/nondesire; aversion/nonaversion; and delusion/ nondelusion. Finally, the dyads are passion/passionlessness and ignorance/ knowledge. This scheme has rigor and a certain elegance, but it is far from simple and is arguably redundant. It was not adopted in the final Sthaviravaada (that is, Theravaada) synthesis by Buddhagho.sa, who employed instead the scheme of the Threefold Discipline (tri`sik.saa), which itself is a summary classification of the contents of the Fourth Noble Truth. The pattern adopted by Kaatyaayaniiputra(12) may be called the Eightfold Scheme. It consists of eight chapters which follow each other in soritic fashion. They are: (1) the Diversity of Things (sa^nkiir.navi.saya); (2) Bonds (sa^myojana); (3) Knowledge (j~naana): (4) Action (karma); (5) the Great Elements (mahaabhuuta) ; (6) the Faculties (indriya); (7) Concentration (samaadhi); (8) Views (d.r.s.ti). The logic of the sequence is as follows: the knowledge of the miscellaneous phenomena that make up our experience (chapter 1)gives rise to bonds (chapter 2); these bonds are destroyed by knowledge (chapter 3), but that knowledge can on1y be achieved by freedom from action (chapter 4), which itself is caused by the four great elements (chapter 5). These elements are combined in their highest fashion in the faculties (chapter 6), which cannot be purified except through concentration (chapter 7). When purified, one attains freedom from false views (chapter 8) and, consequently, liberation. Of course, there is a logical concatenation of ideas here, but still no simplicity. Around 100 A.D., the J~naanaprasthaana was elaborately analyzed by Paar`sva and Vasumitra II in a work called the Mahaavibhaa.saa (Great Commentary). It was the embodiment of the official Sarvaastivaada position, and hence all orthodox Sarvaastivaadins would be called Vaibhaa.sikas. A systematization of Vaibhaa.sika thought was what Vasubandhu had in mind when he set out to compose his Abhidharmako`sa. P.178 This long travail of systematization made it clear to Buddhist thinkers that there was no better scheme for organizing the vast and intricate corpus of tenets that had evolved from the Buddha's teaching than the Fourfold Scheme (as we may call it) proposed by the Buddha himself, the Four Noble Truths. Between A.D. 100 and 200,(13) Dharma`srii composed his Abhidharmah.rdaya or Abhidharmasaara (Essence of Abhidharma, or Essence of the Doctrine of Natures), where he classified his chapters under the Four Noble Truths,(14) as the following scheme discloses: 1. Truth of Pain Chapter 1. Dhaatu, Substances Chapter 2. Sa^mskaara, Formations 2. Truth of Origin Chapter 3. Karma, Actions Chapter 4. Anu`saya, Latencies or Passional Nuclei 3. Truth of Suppression Chapter 5. AArya, The Noble Ones 4. Truth of the Way Chapter 6. J~naana, Knowledge Chapter 7. Samaadhi, Reflections Appendices Chapter 8. Suutra, Scriptures Chapter 9. Prakiir.na, Miscellaneous Chapter 10. Kathaa, Debate The method of organization here developed by Dharma`srii was basically that followed by Vasubandhu in his Abhidharmako`sa.(15) The principal defect of Dharma`srii's method, from the point of view of systematic and compact arrangement, is the redundancy of its last three chapters, where much of what was discussed in the main body of the work is repeated and elaborated. Vasubandhu elaborated his topics only in the places assigned to them in the overall scheme. His own work is not free from redundancy, but that is not due to confused thinking. Rather, Vasubandhu wished to accommodate long hallowed but frequently repetitive classifications to his own more structured and economical method of thought. Furthermore, he extended Dharma`srii's arrangement by adding chapters on the cosmos (loka) and on "The Ascertainment of the Person" (pudgalavini`scaya). The correspondence of Dharma`srii's and Vasubandhu's works can be appreciated in the accompanying scheme. Correspondence of Dharma`srii's and Vasubandhu's works Four Noble Truths Common Chapter Dharma`srii Vasubandhu 1. Pain Dhaatu (D1/V1 ) * Sa^mskaara (2) Indriya (2) Loka (3) 2. Origin Karma (D3/V4) Anu`saya (D4/V5) P.179 3. Suppression AArya/ Pudgalamaarga (D5/V6) 4. Way J~naana (D6/V7) Samaadhi Samaapatti (D7/ V8) Supplements Pudgalavini`scaya (9) Suutra(8) Sa^myukta (9) Kathaa(10) *V = Vasubandhu chapter; D = Dharma`srii chapter Dharma`Srii's originality lies not only in his establishing a concord between methodically coordinated though bewilderingly complex categories with the Four Noble Truths, the ultimate generators of those very categories and of their complexity, but also in his suggesting a new organizing principle, an ontological one, based on a concept of reality. The Four Noble Truths, on the other hand, are soteriological; they emphasize a method of salvation or of healing. However, as the Buddha's disciples had acquired the conviction that this healing could not be accomplished without a knowledge of ontological concepts like Natures (dharma) , Components (skandha) , and Substances (dravya) , there was a need to discover an ontological scheme in accord with the soteriological one of the Truths. Dharma`srii suggested the following tripartite scheme of reality: as such; as phenomenal or conditioned (sa^ms.rkta) ; and as transcendental or unconditioned (asa^msk.rta): 1. Reality as Such Chapter 1. Substance(dhaatu) 2. Phenomenal Reality Chapter 2. Formations (sa^mskaara) Chapter 3. Actions (karma) Chapter 4. Passional Nuclei (anu`saya) 3. Transcendental Reality Chapter 5. The Noble Ones (aarya) Chapter 6. Knowledge (j~naana) Chapter 7. Reflections (samaadhi) Vasubandhu made this new structure more articulate by adding the chapter on "The Ascertainment of the Person, "where he demonstrated the truth of the Non-Soul Doctrine (anaatmavaada), believed by the Buddhists to constitute the essence of reality on all levels. The following is a synopsis of the structure of Vasubandhu's work: P.180 1. Reality as Such The Truth of Pain Chapter 1. Substances(dhaatu) The Constituents of Reality Chapter 2. Faculties (indriya) The Functions of Reality 2. Phenomenal Reality Chapter 3. Cosmos (loka) Forms of Phenomenal Reality The Truth of Origin Chapter 4. Actions (karma) Causes of Phenomenal Reality Chapter 5. Passional Nuclei or Latencies (anu`saya) Conditions of Phenomenal Reality 3. Transcendental Reality The Truth of Suppression Chapter 6. The Paths of the Noble (pudgalamaarga) The Truth of the Way Chapter 7. Knowledge (j~naana) Causes of Liberation Chapter 8. Concentration (samaapatti) Conditions of Liberation 4. Essence of Reality: Non-Soul Chapter 9. Ascertainment of the person (pudgalavini`scaya) Dharma`srii's work had two important commentaries, those of Upa`saanta and of Dharmatraata, Like Dharma`srii, their authors seem to have belonged to Gaandhaara, where a different school of thought prevailed from that of adjoining Kashmir, in which region the elaborate Mahaavibhaa.saa`saastra had been compiled by Paar`sva and Vasumitra II. Vasubandhu, himself from Gaandhaara, professed to follow the school of Kashmir. Upa`saanta, who is dated by some scholars to around A.D. 300, was the author of the Abhidharmah.rdayasuutra (Discourse on the Essence of the Doctrine of Natures), surviving today only in Chinese translation.(16) Dharmatraata, who appears to have lived between A.D. 350 and 400, wrote a commentary which may have been entitled the Mi`srakaabhidharmah.rdayasuutra (Verse and Prose Discourse on the Essence of the Doctrine of Natures), a work in eleven chapters and 349 verses, also available only in Chinese translation.(17) Dharmatraata combined the two elements--Dharma`sii's architectonics with Paar`sva's and Upa`saanta's elaborate classificatory detail, Gaandhaaran and Kashmiri, respectively--thus preparing the way for the greater homogenization of those elements in Vasubandhu's monumental opus, where the schools of Gaandhaara and Kashmir were finally synthesized. The following is a summary of its main topics, with an attempt to emphasize the concatenation between them. A profounder investigation(18) of the work than we have been able to undertake will undoubtedly disclose the symmetry and architectonics of Vasubandhu's structure more clearly. P.181 Chapter 1. Substances(dhaatu) (1) Natures (verses 1-3) , Abhidharma is primarily a doctrine of Natures (dharma). Passions (kle`sa) or Defilements move the world through the ocean of transmigration. These passions cannot be extinguished without a knowledge of the Natures. (2) Two kinds of Natures (verses 4-6). These Natures are Unconditioned (asa^msk.rta) and Conditioned (sa^msk.rta). (3) Two kinds of Conditioned Natures (verses 7-17) . Conditioned Natures are uncontaminated (anaasrava) and contaminated (aasrava). (4) Constituents of Conditioned Natures, principally Substances (verses 18-28). Conditioned Natures of the contaminated kind have a triad of constituents: The Five Components (skandha), the Twelve Receptacles (aayatana), and the Eighteen Substances (dhaatu). The Five Components are Form (ruupa), Sensation (vedanaa). Notion (sa^mj~naa), Volition (cetanaa), and Cognition (vij~naana). The Twelve Receptacles are the Six Organs: eye, ear, nose, tongue, skin, and mind; and their six; corresponding Cognitions are: the visual, the auditory, the olfactory, the gustative, the tactile, and the mental. The Eighteen Substances consist of the Six Organs and the Six Cognitions, and also of the six corresponding objects of cognition: the visible, the audible, the olfactory, the gustative, the tactile, and the mental. (5) Characteristics of Substances (verses 29-48). These Substances possess the most complex characteristics, which are basically three: substantial, cognitional, and material. Examples of the substantial kind are subsistence (dravya) and momentariness (k.sa.nika) ; examples of the cognitional are object orientation (saalambana) and object nonappropriation (anupaatta); and examples of the material are divisibility (chidyate) and flammability (dahyate). These Substances are living beings, and as such have two aspects, an active and dominant (indriya) one, comprising its faculties, and a passive and concurrent one, comprising the objects controlled and dominated by those faculties. Chapter 2. Faculties (indriya) (1) Faculties (verses 1-21). The faculties or Dominators (indriya) are thus specific to living beings. They constitute them as thinking and sexually differentiated; they assure their duration, promote their pollution, and facilitate their purification. There are in all twenty-two Faculties. (2) Constituents of the Faculties (verse 22). They are formed out of molecules (sa^nghaatapari.naama), the most subtle of matter's aggregates. (3) Mind, the superfaculty, and its associated acts (verses 23-24). The Faculties are primarily supports of thought (cittaa`sraya), products of mind--itself a sort of superfaculty which dominates all the other Faculties and their objects. Mind originates along with Associated Mental Acts or Natures (caittadharmas), which are forty-six in number. (4) Acts dissociated from Mind (verses 35-48). There are other Natures, however, which participate in the immateriality of the Mental States, but are nevertheless dissociated from the Mind; they are the Dissociated (quasi-Mental) Acts or Natures (cittaviprayuktadharma) and are fourteen in number. (5) Contingent Nature of the Faculties (verses 49-73). These Natures are not eternal, but originate in time; their origin is attended by a triad of factors: sextuple causes (hetu), quintuple results (phala), and quadruple conditions (pratyaya). Chapter 3. Cosmos (loka) (1) Location of living beings (verses 1-3). So constituted and caused, living beings are distributed through the three Spheres of existence: the Desire P.182 Sphere (kaamadhaatu), the Form Sphere (ruupadhaatu), and the Formless Sphere (aaruupyadhaatu). (2) States of living beings (verses 4-7). The inhabitants of these Spheres are linked to the Five Destinies (gati), the Seven Stages of Cognition (vij~naanasthiti), and the Nine Abodes of Sentience (sattvaavaasa). (3) Births of living beings (verses 8-9). They undergo four kinds of births: oviparous, membranous, exudative, and apparitional (upapaaduka). (4) Intermediary states between lives (verses 10-15). These births are the beginnings of lives which are connected by intervals between the end of the previous life and the start of a successive one; these intervals are known as the Intermediary State (antaraabhaava). (5) Conditioned Coproduction, the continuum of births (verses 18-38). The continuity between these lives is not underpinned by a permanent substance, the soul (aatman), but by a continuous process, Conditioned Coproduction (pratiityasamutpaada). (6) Food: cause of duration of lives (verses 39-41). Each being that takes birth within this process has a certain duration, which is rendered possible by four kinds of food. (7) Mental Cognitions attendant on the termini of duration (verses 42-44). The activities occurring at the beginning and end of this duration and of the Intermediary State following it are due to mental Cognition (manovij~naana). They take place in three types of beings: those predestined to salvation (sa^myaktvaniyata), to nescience (mithyaatvaniyata), or to no destiny at all (aniyata). (8) Situation of living beings, the cosmos (verses 45-84). These beings are contained within the cosmos or World Receptacle (bhaajanaloka), which consists of features like disks, mountains, seas, continents, purgatories, and heavenly spheres. (9) Measures of the cosmos (verses 85-102). The spatial and temporal dimensions of the cosmos are measurable by units of matter and duration. These include the four aeons (kalpas); within their span appear the Buddhas, the Solitary Buddhas, and the World Emperors (cakravartin) . The aeons are destroyed by fire, water, wind, and other calamities, leaving nothing intact except the topmost heaven. Chapter 4. Actions (karma) (1) Actions: causes of the variety of living beings (verses 1-44). The variety of living beings in the cosmos is brought into being by various kinds of action (karma) , itself caused by Volition (cetanaa). In relation to its cause, action can be classified doubly, as apprisal (vij~napti) and nonapprisal (avij~napti); or triply, as corporeal (kaaya), vocal (vaac), or mental (manas). (2) Moral character of actions (verses 45-65). These actions are moral in nature, and as such can be classified according to their wholesome (ku`sala), meritorious (pu.nya), definite (niyata), and chromatic (k.r.s.na`suklaadi) characteristics. (3) Courses of action (verses 65-95) . The courses of action are wholesome (ku`salakarmapatha) or unwholesome (aku`salakarmapatha). The causes of the course of unwholesome action are three: greed (lobha), hate (dve.sa), and delusion (moha); the causes of the course of wholesome action are the opposite of these three. The courses produce five effects (phala) in all: the sovereign (adhipati), the fluxible (ni.syanda) , the retributive or maturing (vipaaka), the disconnective (visa^myoga), and the virile (puru.saakaara). (4) Obstacles to courses of action (verses 96-107). There are also courses of action which create obstacles (aavara.na) to liberation; they are the obstacles of action (karmaavara.na), passion (kle`saavara.na), and retribution (vipaakaavara.na). P.183 (5) Course of action conducive to enlightenment (verses 108-127). There is in addition a course of action that is conducive to enlightenment (bodhi), and is followed by the Bodhisattva. Chapter 5. Passional Nuclei or Latencies (anu`saya) (1) Potentialities or Passional Nuclei and their classification (verses 1-11). Actions grow out of roots, nuclei, potentialities, or Latencies (anu`saya); another name for them is Defilements or Passions (kle`sa); they may therefore be called Passional Nuclei. They are basically six, but with their subdivisions may be as many as ninety-eight. They are classifiable according to their psychological proclivities, their situation in the cosmos, and the means employed for their abandonment. (2) Classification of the Nuclei according to scope (verses 12-18). They are also classifiable according to the universality or nonuniversality of their application to particular Substances and Spheres of Existence; the universally applicable (sarvaga) are of eleven kinds, the nonuniversally applicable (asarvaga) of nine. (3) Classification of fhe Nuclei according to moral character and range (verses 19-22) . Furthermore, they can be classified according to their unwholesome or indeterminate (avyaak.rta) characteristics, and according to the mode of their occurrence in each of the Three Spheres of Existence. (4) Nuclei as defilements (verses 23-24). The Nuclei act as Defilements (kle`sa) bringing about the bondage of individuals to objects; these are of two kinds, general (saamaanyakle`sa) and particular (svalak.sa.nakle`sa). Individuals can be bound to them in the past, present, and future. (5) Momentary duration of the Nuclei (verses 25-27) . These Nuclei have only a momentary existence; the doctrine of their existence at all times, or of their omniexistentiality (sarvaastivaada), is therefore false. (6) Bondage of the Nuclei to objects (verses 28-33). The Nuclei are bonded to sixteen types of objects. The abandonment of these objects does not entail their total separation from the Nuclei, and is achieved by a progressive insight into the Four Noble Truths. (7) Caused nature of the Nuclei (verses 34-58). Like all conditioned Natures, these Nuclei are caused. Their causes can be classified as fourfold or fivefold. Fourfold as fluxes (aasrava), floods (ogha) , attachments (yoga) , and cohesions (upaadaana); and fivefold as fetters (sa^myojana), bonds (bandhana), quasi-defilements (upakle`sa), snares (paryaavasthaana), and pollutants (mala). (8) Disturbances concomitant with the Defilements (verse 59). The Defilements include the Five Disturbances (nivara.na), which obstruct morality (`siila), wisdom (praj~naa), reflection (samaadhi), and the realization of the Four Noble Truths. (9) Abandonment of the Nuclei or Defilements (verses 60-70). These Passions or Nuclei can be abandoned through the Paths of Insight (dar`sanamaarga) and Meditation (bhaavanaamaarga). The abandonment consists of Oppositions (pratipak.sa), Disconnections (visa^myoga), and Comprehensions (parij~naa). Chapter 6. The Paths of the Noble Ones (pudgalamaarga) (1) The two Paths to liberation and the resultant tranquility (verses 1-13). The Path of Insight is uncontaminated (anaasrava); it consists of insight into the Truths. The Path of Meditation is both uncontaminated and contaminated (aasrava); the meditations of its practitioners (bhaavanaadhikaarin) are conducive to tranquility (`samatha). (2) Consequences of the tranquility: the Four Recollections (verses 14-26). When this tranquility is attained, it is possible to cultivate the Four Recollections (sm.rtyupasthaana). P.184 (3) Consequences of the Recollections: the comprehension of the Truths (verses 27-28). From the Recollections originate the comprehension of the Truths (satyaabhisamaya) in sixteen stages. (4) The followers of the two paths: the Noble Ones (verses 29-66). The followers of the Paths are known as the Noble Ones (aaryapudgala); they are classificable into weak (m.rdu), middling (madhya), and superior (adhimaatra); the latter class includes the Solitary Buddha (pratyekabuddha) and the Perfect Buddha (sa^myaksa^mbuddha). (5) Goals purused by the Noble Ones: enlightenment and its auxiliaries (verses 67-72). The Noble Ones seek enlightenment (bodhi) and the auxiliaries to its realization (bodhipaksyadharma), of which there are thirty seven varieties. (6) Effect of the auxiliaries: serene faith (verses 73-74). The cultivation of these auxiliaries produces serene faith (aavetyaprasaada), directed to the Three Jewels, the Buddha, the Doctrine, and the Community of the Noble Ones. (7) The liberation consequent on enlightenment: its varieties (verses 75-79). Liberation follows on enlightenment; it is of two kinds, the unconditioned and the conditioned. Unconditioned Liberation (asa^msk.rtavimukti) is also known as Comprehensional Suppression (pratisa^nkhyaanirodha) . Conditioned Liberation (sa^msk.rtavimukti) is so called because the means to it are conditioned; it is the liberation of the Adept (a`saik.sa). Chapter 7. Knowledges (j~naana) (1) Certainties coincident with liberation: the Knowledges (verses 1-27). Liberation is accompanied by certainties in the minds of the liberated, and consists of the ten Knowledges (j~naana). (2) The Extraordinary qualities formed hy the Knowledges (verses 28-39) . These Knowledges constitute the extraordinary qualities (aave.nikadharmas) possessed by the Buddhas, the Trainees (`saik.sa) , and the Commoners (p.rthagjana). (3) Types of extraordinary gualities (verses 40-56). They are the Six Consummate Meditations (praantako.tikadhyaana) , the Six Supernatural Aptitudes (abhij~naa) , the Three Recognitions (vidyaa), and the Three Prodigies (pratihaarya). The Consummate Meditations are peculiar only to the Buddhas and the Noble Ones; but the other qualities are common to the Buddhas, the Noble Ones, and the Commoners. (4) Extraordinary qualities in infernal and human beings (verse 56). Even infernal beings and some men possess two Supernatural Aptitudes: the ability to know others' minds and their own previous existences. Chapter 8. Concentrations (samaapatti) (1) Meditations associated with the Knowledges: Conentrations (verses 1-2). The Knowledges rise out of mental states, the meditations on which are of two kinds, the prolonged and the momentary. The prolonged type are the Concentrations (samaapatti); the momentary, the Reflections (samaadhi) . The Concentrations belong to the Formed and the Formless Spheres. The Form Sphere Concentrations (ruupadhyaana) are fourfold. (2) Types of Concentrations. (verses 2-23) . Fourfold also are the Concentrations of the Formless Sphere (aaruupyadhyaana) . They are the four Endlessnesses: the spatial (aakaa`saanantya), the cognitional (vij~naanaanantya), the nonentitative (aki~ncanaantya) , and the nonconscient-noninconscient (naivasa^mj~naanantya). (3) Types of Reflections (verses 24-28). The Reflections are threefold: the vacuous (`suunyataasamaadhi) , the causeless (animittasamaadhi) , and the desireless (apra.nihitasamaadhi). P.185 (4) Effects of the Reflections (verses 29-31). The Reflections have four effects, the Four Immeasurables: benevolence (maitri) , compassion (karu.na), joy (mudita), and equanimity (upek.saa). (5) Additional triad of meditations (verses 32-38). There is a final triad of meditations: the Eight Deliverances (vimok.sa), which turn the mind away from the conditioned; the Eight Stages of Mastery (abhibhvaayatana) , which facilitate dominance over one's object of meditation; and the Ten Total Fields (k.rstnaayatana). or objects of contemplative absorption, coordinators of a total species of knowledge. (6) Conclusion (verse 39). The analysis of Natures, the main purpose of the book, is now completed. The Law of the Buddha is the only one that can make these Natures clearly known and seen. It is of two kinds, the doctrinal and the practiced; or, as preached and as realized. As realized, it will last only a thousand years after the Nirvaa.na of the Buddha; as preached, it will last longer. An authentic exposition of it is that of the Vaibhaa.sikas of Kashmir, followed in the Abhidharmako`sa. APPENDIX: OUTLINE OF DHARMA`SRII'S ABHIDHARMARH.RDAYA 1. Substances(dhaatu) (1) The need to know the nature of things (verse 1) (2) The Buddha's knowledge of Natures (verse 2) (3) Uncontaminated and Contaminated Natures (verses 3-4) (4) Components, Receptacles, and Substances (verses 5-13) (5) Essences (verse 14) 2. Formations (sa^mskaara) (1) Conditions, the origin of everything (verse 15) (2) Natures associated with the mind and dissociated from the mind (verses 16-19) (3) The production of their characteristics or causes and effects (verses 20-29) (4) Conditions (verses 30-32) 3. Actions (karma) (1) Actions (verses 33-39) (2) Accomplishment of Actions (verses 40-51) (3) Types of Actions (verses 52-59) (4) Fruits of Actions (verses 60-64) 4. Latencies (anu`saya) (1) Kinds of Passions (verses 65-68) (2) Spheres of Activity (verses 69-70) (3) Objects of the Passions (verses 71-81) (4) Sequence of their production (verse 82) (5) Kinds of Passions, again (verses 83-86) (6) Associated faculties (verses 87-89) (7) Quasi-defilements (verses 90-93) (8) Abandonment of the Passions (verses 94-96) 5. The Noble Ones(aarya) (1) The notion of the Noble Ones (97) (2) The Four Recollections (verses 98-100) (3) The Four Roots of the Wholesome (verses 101-103) (4) The Path of the Trainee (verses 104-112) (5) The Path of the Adept (verses 113-122) 6. Knowledges (j~naana) (1) The Ten Knowledges (verses 123-126) (2) The Sixteen Aspects of the Truths (verses 127-129) (3) The attainment of the Knowledges (verses 130-131) P.186 (4) Their development (verses 132-147) 7.Reflections (samaadhi) (1) Reflection (verses 148-155) (2) Qualities associated with the Reflections (verses 158-161) (3) Conditions and causes of these qualities (verses 162-175) 8. Scriptures (suutra) 9. Miscellany (sa^myukta) 10. Discussion (kathaa) NOTES 1. A. K. Warder. Indian Buddhism, 2d rev. ed. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1980), chap. 4; cf. chap. 7 and 9. 2. Ko`sa has been translated previously as 'treasury' or 'compendium', but since the Abhidharma refers to both pure and defiled dharmas, we are using a more inclusive word. Cf. Abhidharmako`sa, I, verses 2 and 4. 3. Warder, Indian Buddhism, pp. 222-224. 4. Stefan Anacker, Seven Works of Vasubandhu (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1984), pp. 2-4. See also Alex Wayman, Analysis of the Sraavakabhuumi Manuscript (University of California Publications in Classical Philology, 1961), p. 24; and P. S. Jaini, "On the Theory of the Two Vasubandhus," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (BSOAS) 21 (1958): 48-53. 5. P. S. Jaini, in BSOAS, pp. 50-51. 6. L'Abhidharmako`sa de Vasubandhu, Louis De La Vallee Poussin, trans. (Louvain, 1923-1931; Bruxelles: Institut des Hautes Etudes Chinoises, 1971), chap. 9, p. 273. 7. Alex Wayman, "Naagaarjuna: Moralist Reformer of Buddhism," in Studia Missionalia 34 (1985), p. 87. 8. Ibid. We would like to acknowledge Professor Wayman's exposition of this problem in the study of Naagaarjuna and the early history of Mahaayaana Buddhism. 9. See L'Abhidarmako'sa de Vasubandhu, chap. 9, p. 273. The Tibetan scholar Tsong Khapa combined the Maadhyamika and the Yogaacaara perspectives in his great work, the Lam Rim Chen Mo. See Alex Wayman, Calming the Mind and Discerning the Real (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978). 10. Warder, Indian Buddhism, pp. 342-344, 345, 346. 11. Ibid. p. 309. 12. Kaatyaayaniiputra, J~naanaprasthaana, trans, from Chinese to Sanskrit by Santi Bhiksu Sastri (Visvabharati: Santiniketan, 1955). 13. Wataru S. Ryose, "The Position of the Abhidharmah.rdaya in the Historical Development of Sarvaastivada Thought," Abhidharma Research Institute [journal] (1986) : 1-16. This has a detailed examination of the problem of the dates of Dharma`srii, the Mahavibhasa. Ryujo Ramada argues that Dharma`srii's Abhidharmah.rdaya is roughly contemporary with or slightly earlier than the Mahaavibhaa.sa`saastra, the position we have adopted. 14. Charles Willemen, trans., The Essence of Metaphysics: Abhidharmah.rdaya (Bruxelles, 1975), p. xix. 15. See the table following for a comparison of the structures of the two works. The Appendix at the end of this article gives more detail on the structure of the Abhidharmah.rdaya. 16. Upa`saanta, Abhidharmah.rdaya, 249 verses and commentary, in Taisho, vol. 28, 833 B; vol. 49, 87 C. Available only in Chinese. 17. Dharmatraata. Mi`srakaabhidharmah.rdayasuutra, 11 chapters, 349 verses. The text is composed methodically and in elaborate detail; many of its passages parallel those of the Mahaavibhaa.sa`saastra. It exerted a profound influence on the Abhidharmako`sa. A Gaandhaara resident himself, Dharmatraata was familiar with the Kashmiri Vaibhaa.sika teachings. See Taisho, vol. 55, 12 A B. 18. Sukomal Chaudhuri's Analytical Study of the Abhidharmako`sa (Calcutta, 1976) provided a working basis for our own outline. His analysis lists everything (not always accurately) without disclosing the underlying conceptual structure.