I would like to have a question about studying Abhidhamma.
If one is looking for deepening his understanding of the Dhamma, is Abhidhamma a good next step? The practice itself and reading of suttas (whole Dīgha Nikāya and almost Majjhima Nikāya too) Is something what I’m daily doing, but there arose in me idea, that it would be beneficial to study Abhidhamma too.
I would be happy to hear your advice, thank you and have a nice day.
No. There is an explicit method of understanding the dhamma described by the Buddha. It involves taking what is already known in the suttas and comparing new material with that, thereby building meaning and establishing clusters of suttas. So the practitioner should examine what they already know and do follow up study on what they have questions about. The suttas have an internal integrity but do not advertise it, so it must be worked out by the individual according to their needs. If someone thinks to go further afield it is a sign they have overlooked the links which join suttas from different collections together.
“With the arising of conviction, he visits him & grows close to him. Growing close to him, he lends ear (reads). Lending ear, he hears the Dhamma. Hearing the Dhamma, he remembers it. Remembering it, he penetrates the meaning of those dhammas. Penetrating the meaning, he comes to an agreement through pondering those dhammas. There being an agreement through pondering those dhammas, desire arises. With the arising of desire, he becomes willing. Willing, he contemplates (lit: “weighs,” “compares”). Contemplating, he makes an exertion. Exerting himself, he both realizes the ultimate meaning of the truth with his body and sees by penetrating it with discernment.”—MN 95
Example of a cluster:
AN 4.99> AN 2. 125-6> MN 2
“Perceiving constancy in the inconstant,
pleasure in the stressful,
self in what’s not-self,
attractiveness in the unattractive,
beings, destroyed by wrong-view,
go mad, out of their minds.”
“Monks, there are these two conditions for the arising of wrong view. Which two? The voice of another and inappropriate attention. These are the two conditions for the arising of wrong view.”
“Monks, there are these two conditions for the arising of right view. Which two? The voice of another and appropriate attention. These are the two conditions for the arising of right view.”
"He attends appropriately, This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress… This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by seeing.”
After reading the MN, you may wish to consider reading the SN.
P.S. if you are still reading through Book 3 (the final fifty) of the MN, congratulations… it’s not an easy book (and reputed to show some Abhidhamma influence). Maybe good to read Ven. Analayo’s Madhyama Agama studies at the same time. (PDF) Madhyama-āgama Studies | venerable analayo - Academia.edu
Thank you very much venerable Suvira.
is Abhidhamma a good next step?
Ajahn Brahmali offers an answer to this here: DO WE NEED TO LEARN THE ABHIDHAMMA.
Thank you for sharing.