ABHIDHARMA (pali abidhamma — a higher doctrine, or a higher special lecture of doctrine) — this is a method used in the investigation, systematization, and commentary upon philosophical material contained in the doctrine of the Buddha (buddha-dharma, dharma) was presented in the Sutta Pitaka (Basket of Discourse, the second section of the Pali version of the Buddhist canon - the Tipitaka. The term abhidharma is most often rendered as "scholasticism" of account of the formalistic, dogmatic and secondary character of the texts; the translation of the term abhidharma as "metaphysics" or "transcendental doctrine" is inadequate.

The abhidhammapitaka (Basket of scholasticism) is the third part of the Pali canon and contains 7 treatises on psychology, logic, dogmatics and Buddhist ethics presented in the form of a catechism (questions and answers). In comparison to the Suutapitaka, the texts of the Abhidhammapitaka do not contain any new philosophical problems; they are valuable especially in the study of the beginnings of Buddhist science (psychology and logic). The Abhidammapitaka is the most recent part of the canon. The Pali text of the Suttapitaka has an exact counterpart in the Sanscrit version of the Buddhist canon. The Abhidhammapitaka has no such counterpart, hence we may think that it arose earlier (at the beginning of the 3rd century BC) than the Suttapitaka. The further development of scholastic literature, already in the Buddhist schools, ran in various directions and led to the rise of several variations.

The tradition of scholastic literature was continued in various works, including the Abhidharmakosha (Dictionary of Abhidharma), a Sanscrit treatise of 600 verses whose authorship is ascribed to Vasubandhu (4th-5th century). The dictionary is written from a hinayana point of view and is a lecture on the Buddhist theory of being, elements of cosmology, theory of psychology and ethics, as well as the principles of soteriological doctrine.

B.C. Law, A History of Pali Literature, Lo 1933, I pp. 303-342; M. Winternitz, A History of Indian Literature, Ca 1933, II 9-22; 157-158; V. Lesny, Buddhismus, Pr 1948, pp. 23-28, 243-251; S. Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy, Lo 1951 (Filozofia indyjska, I-II, Wwa 1959-1960); E. Lamotte, Histoire du bouddhisme indien, Lv 1958, pp. 197-209, 657-686; R. Webb, An Analysis of the Pali Canon Kandy 1975; M. Mejor, Buddyjski traktat filozoficzny "Abhidharmakośa" Wasubandhu, [The Buddhist philosophical treatise "Abhidharmakosha" of Wasubandhu], Przegląd Orientalny 4 (1950)(Oriental Review), pp. 356-364; idem, Buddyzm [Buddhism], Wwa 1980; N.K.G. Mendis, The Abhidharma in Practice, Kandy 1985.

Artur Karp

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