Do we really need Abhidhamma?

If, I am not wrong the Buddha never intentionally taught Abhidhamma to human. It just out of curiosity that Ven. Sariputta make an inquiry of what The Buddha had been doing in the Tavatimsa Heaven.

My questions would be:

  1. As human, do we really need or need-not to learn Abhidhamma?

  2. Can we achieve purification without understanding Abhidhamma?

Thanks for any answer.


Ajahn Brahmali answers the question of whether or not we need to learn the Abhidhamma in this video:


Regarding your second question, this explanation by Bhante Analayo might be of interest to you.
It starts at about 4:30 in


I am no fan of Abhidhamma and IMO it is not necessary at all and it often conflicts with EBTs. If you do not mind can you cite the source of your claim.
With Metta


I am not claiming anything, my friend @Nimal . In fact, I am asking should or should-not?

And that is one of the expected answer to my question. Thanks.

@Punna, thanks for your kind answer to my question.

Sorry, probably I am not clear enough. Where do you find Venerable Sariputta inquiring about what the Buddha did in heaven?
With Metta


According the Pali tradition, after the Buddha preformed the Twin Miracle (Yamaka-pātihāriya) outside of Shravasti, he then went to the Tavatimsa heaven to teach Abhidhamma for his deceased mother.

I visited the location, outside of the stupa site, near Shravasti. How do people know that was the historical site where the Buddha preformed the Twin Miracle in connection with teaching Abhidhamma?

It seems the heaven version of Abhidhamma is not yet found in the human world?

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@Nimal , from a lot of Dhamma talk in the monasteries, my friend :grinning: :grinning:

You have to define “need”. If by “need” you mean what it takes to attain sotapanna, then no, you don’t need abhidhamma, you probably don’t even need to read more than one nikaya.

5-10 suttas alone would suffice

  • Kalama/kesamutti sutta
  • Samma ditthi sutta
  • Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
  • The second sermon (3 characteristics)
  • Sammasa Sutta
  • Fire sermon
  • DN2
  • Satipatthana sutta

to name a few.

The important part is calming the mind (samatha) and understanding intention + attention → 6senses → contact → feeling → craving → clinging → becoming → suffering

Specifically, how some objects of pleasant feelings can result in craving, which is dangerous, and how some objects of pleasant feelings don’t result in craving, which is safe.

If an object of a pleasant feeling leaves you wanting more, that’s bad.

And those who are skilled and trained see the true dangers of those objects that are dangerous, and those who are unskilled are deluded and don’t see the dangers of those objects. Just like a skilled ranger knows which parts of a territory has traps and landmines that result in death, and which doesn’t.

“Monks, any contemplatives & brahmans in the past who saw whatever seems endearing & alluring in terms of the world as constant, as pleasant, as self, as freedom from disease, as safety: They made craving grow. Those who made craving grow made acquisition grow. Those who made acquisition grow made stress grow. Those who made stress grow were not released from birth, aging, death, sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. They were not released, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

  • Sammasa Sutta

And this not only needs to be theoretically understood, but also tested and proven to oneself, that avoiding the dangerous objects indeed causes craving to weaken which reduces suffering.


@Thito, Thanks … how about Anapanasati Sutta, it seems to correlate with the Satipatthana Sutta and MahaSatipathana Sutta. They seems correlate to each other. They explaining and explained?

Sure, you can add it to the list, but it doesn’t really cover any supermundane ideas, it’s mostly about calming down the sankharas. It’s listening to a Supermundane right view (e.g. like the 4 noble truths) with proper attention that results in attaining stream entry path. It’s the reason why you want to meditate in the first place that matters. I know of many people in pragmatic dharma community who have read the anapanasati sutta but still have wrong views, and therefore don’t understand the Supermundane teaching which is unique to Buddhas.

“Bhikkhu, if one teaches the Dhamma for the purpose of revulsion towards aging-and-death, for its fading away and cessation, one is fit to be called a bhikkhu who is a speaker on the Dhamma.

SN 12 is a good samyutta for developing supermundane right view


One may only need to read SN/SA, I think, for the essential meaning of Buddha-dhamma (Sāratthappakāsinī “Revealer of the Essential Meaning”).

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Presumably from the story of the miracle that immediately preceded the Twin Miracle, namely the miracle of Ganda’s mango tree.

From the Dictionary of Pali Proper Names:


The mango-tree, at the gate of Sāvatthi, under which the Buddha performed the Twin Miracle (Yamaka-pāṭihāriya) (q.v.) The king’s gardener, Ganda, while on his way to the palace to give the king a ripe mango-fruit from the palace gardens, saw the Buddha going on his alms-rounds and offered him the mango. The Buddha ate it immediately, and gave the seed to Ānanda to be planted by the gardener at the city-gate. A tree of one hundred cubits sprouted forth at once, covered with fruit and flowers. At the foot of this tree Vissakamma, by the order of Sakka, built a pavilion of the seven kinds of precious things. J.iv.264 f; J.i.88; DhA.iii.206 ff; Mil.349.

The miracle was necessary because the Buddha had promised King Pasenadi that he would perform the Twin Miracle at the foot of a mango tree on the full-moon day of Āsāḷha. Upon learning of this, the followers of Purāna Kassapa dug up all the mango trees for miles around in the hope that this would cause the Buddha to break his promise.

At least that’s how Buddhaghosa and the Divyāvadāna tell the story. But when I used to teach Buddhist Sunday School in Bangkok my own narration went a little differently, by having Queen Mallikā solve the problem of the missing mango trees. In my adaptation I borrowed a detail from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (the relocation of Birnam Wood to Dunsinane Hill) by having the Queen order all the palace ladies to dress up in mango tree costumes and spread themselves about.


Thanks for the information.

I forgot to look for eating the Indian mango when I was there. I stayed in the hotel just few steps away from the site. I am now simply unable to remember the name of the hotel! Does anyone here know the hotel’s name?

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Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu

@thomaslaw , what a fortune to be able to visit the sites …