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The Mind in Early Buddhism

Bhikkhu Thich Minh Thanh

New Delhi, 2001

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PALI-ENGLISH DICTIONARY gives the following 3 basic meanings to the term 'citta': The first citta (v): to shine, to be bright, variegated, manifold, beautiful; tasty, sweet, spiced (of cakes); (nt) painting. The second citta (nt) [Skt: citta, orig. p.p. of cinteti]: 'heart'. 'Mind', however, gets pretty much frequency in actual use as rendering. And, the third citta (n): name of the first month Chaitra. In the whole dissertation, both the first and the second cittas will be intact; we shall work on the remaining second citta only.

Though it is not totally safe in respect of preciseness in all contexts where the term 'citta' occurs throughout the Pāli literature, the term is usually rendered as 'mind' by the majority of the authoritative translators of Pāli. 'Heart' is less used as rendering. But if we consents that citta in singular form should be rendered as 'heart' and when in plural, as 'thought' which is closed to mind in meaning, then in the Pāli literature citta nearly always occurs in the singular (=heart), and out of 150 cases in the Nikāyas only 3 times in the plural (=thought). This primary notion is impressive of the fact that the concept of citta seems quite complicated and confusing that a rigidly distinctive attitude will find it frustrate.

For our basic knowledge there should be a view to the dictionary meanings of 'mind' [1]. 'Mind' has 14 meanings that fall under the three headings: (A) memory; (B) Thought, purpose, intention; and, (C) Mental or psychic faculty. Skipping over the first heading that is simply confined within the realm of memory we come to the second one. This one is the richest and covers 6 groups of meanings: (1a) The action or state of thinking about something; the thought chiefly in have mind of, think of, give heed to. (1b) Attention, heed. (2a) Purpose, intention. (2b) An inclination, a wish; a liking. (3) The direction of a person's thoughts, desires, inclinations, or energies. (4) A person's opinion, judgement, or view. (5a) A disposition, character, or way of thinking and feeling. (5b) A particular feeling or attitude towards something. (6) The state of a person's thoughts and feelings.

The third heading (C) concerns the psychological aspect covering the following three groups of meaning: (1a) The seat of awareness, thought, volition, and feeling; cognitive and emotional phenomena and powers as constructing a controlling system, special as opposed to matter, the spiritual as distinguished from the bodily part of a human being. (1b) A person or a group of people collectively as the embodiment of mental faculties. (1c) A controlling or directing spiritual being or agency; (2) Special the intellect, intellectual powers, esp. as distinguished from the will and emotions. (3) The healthy or normal condition of the mental faculties.

The ideas about the mind as above mentioned, although quite general, are still helpful somehow in the first inquiry. At the risk of jumping the gun we can say that the 5.a 'disposition, character, or way of thinking and feeling' has much to do with the Buddhist concept of citta under question, whereas, the 1.a. 'the seat of awareness, thought, volition, and feeling' is the most controversial and subtle issue, say, in Buddhist system. Whether there is something as a seat (a place in which administrative power or the like is centered) that sways over the mental and emotional function of a being brings in much more speculation than settlement because of the fact that any ordinary reasoning whatever is prone to build up a soul or an ego which is so metaphysical and speculative in character.

1. The Evolutionary Citta

We should be aware that citta in the Buddhist Pāli texts is used not thoroughly in the same set of meanings. It shares the same process of almost all lexicon units, say, getting the primitive meaning from the pre-Buddhist conception, adopting new shade of meanings in the traditional Buddhist contexts, undergoing modification, transformation and transmutation, developing current shades of meaning. The process was going parallel with the evolutionary divergence of Buddhist thoughts through ages and characterized by the conceptions of different schools of Buddhist philosophy among them the most noticeable ones are Theravāda, Sarvāstivāda, Sautrāntika, Yogācāra, Mādhyamika, and Tantrism. In other words, 'the term is common to all schools of Buddhism and is attested in a wide variety of meanings varying according to textual contexts and respective philosophic tradition'[2]. But our research work is done on the basis of the Pāli Tipiṭaka only, avoiding any sectarian bias and alien conglomeration.

2. Synonymous Equivalents of Citta

It should be noted here that citta (verb: cit) and cetas (verb: cet) are almost identical in meaning and application. In promiscuous application there is no cogent evidence of a clear separation of their respective fields of meaning; a few instances indicate the role of cetas as seat of citta, whereas most of them show no distinction. There are compounds having both citta- and ceto- in identical meanings, for example, citta-samādhi and ceto-samādhi. Other compounds show a preference for either one or the other, as ceto is preferred in ceto-khila and ceto-vimutti (but vimutta-citta), whereas citta is restricted to combination with upakkilesa, etc. Let us single out some sentences for illustration: Vivaṭna cetsā sappabhāsaṃ cittaṃ bhāveti 'with open heart he contemplates a radiant thought'[3]; cetasā cittaṃ samannesati vippamuttaṃ 'with his heart he scrutinizes their pure mind'[4]. Cetaso tato cittaṃ nivāraye 'a desire of his heart he shall exclude from this'[5].

It is interesting to note here that the dual mental projection as in other systems also appears clearly in Buddhism. The notion of one's self and another self dramatizing, so to speak, among the flow of individual subjective experience. We shall come back to this matter in the fifth chapter about essential aspects of citta. And this projection is at times expressed by citta and the closely allied term cetos, as if we should speak of mind affecting will, or 'heart' influencing 'head': Ye should restrain, curb, subdue, citta by ceto[6]. Another passage in the Saṁyutta Nikāya says that we roam in all directions with ceto; here ceto is used instead of citta[7]. The passage probably refers to our ability to dream about and think of distant places and events.

As occurring in the Sutta Piṭaka the three terms, citta, viññāṇa and mana are usually interchangeable; all denote function of mentation. Despite of their interchangeability and same denotation we still, however, can notice with a little arbitrariness that they tend toward three distinct aspects of its, say, subjective, sensory and perceptive, and intellectual aspects.

That mana 'is said to represent the rational faculty of man'[8], thus being designated to the intellectuality confronts the disagreement by the Dhammapada[9] where it also denotes the idea of subjective chiefship and directing. Viññāṇa with a more clear-cut connotation 'represents the field of sense and sense-reaction, that is the sphere of sensory and perceptive activity'[10]. Citta is supposed to keep as general as ever, though, this does not exclude its tending toward subjectivity.

3. Semantical and Functional Aspects of Citta

PALI-ENGLISH DICTIONARY makes the conviction that the meaning of citta is best understood when explaining it by expressions familiar to us, as: with all my heart; heart and soul; I have no heart to do it; blessed are the pure in heart; singleness of heart; all of which emphasize the emotional and conative side or 'thought' more than its mental and rational side. With the minute explanatory notes being omitted the meaning of citta as given in PALI-ENGLISH DICTIONARY can be presented as the heart usually in psychological sense, and further explained as the center and focus of man's emotional nature as well as that intellectual element which inheres in and accompanies its manifestations[11]. Emotional, conative, and rational or mental as the three sides in the meaning of citta is further elaborated in detail and with illustrations by ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF BUDDHISM[12].

The term citta as our main concern should basically refer, on account of its general usage in the Pāli Nikāyas, to the nexus of one's emotional nature and, in its dynamic aspect, to the locus or the function of thought.

That "Citta represents the subjective aspect of consciousness"[13] will be correct in many a case, however, does not assure itself in all contexts. The first verse of the Dhammapada that reads, "Mind (mana) is the forerunner of (all evil) states. Mind is chief; mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with wicked mind, because of that, suffering follows one, even as the wheel follows the hoof of the draught-ox."[14] has obviously disagreed on it, assigning the subjectiveness not to citta but to mana.

Buddhaghosa the later commentator of Pāli literature establishes four meanings for citta: (1) it is citta that thinks of its objects on account that it arranges itself in a series by way of apperception in a thought process; (2) citta, on the other hand, refers to the resultant thoughts which are accumulated by its intentional actions, wholesome and/or unwholesome, that is, it reaps what it sows; in this meaning it is regarded as the store-house holding mental seeds in the forms of mental dispositions, proclivities, tendencies, and latent forces; (3) citta denotes all mental activities, so all classes of thoughts are called citta and arrange themselves according to the context of mentation; and (4) the meaning of citta can be conceived also by virtue of its capacity to create a variety of effects[15]. Unfortunately, he did not give any clue for the simple flux in his account of citta. If any, hardly is 'it arranges itself in a series by way of apperception in a thought process' suggestive of the flux.

In terms of Buddhist psychoanalysis the three different aspects of activities that citta performs are effective aspect (vedanā), cognitive aspect (saññā) (of or pertaining to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning, as contrasted with emotional and volitional processes) and conative aspect (cetanā) (mental actions having to do with striving, including desire, volition, and purpose). The effective aspect and the cognitive aspect are mental states dependent on citta[16]. ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF BUDDHISM says that the cetanā clearly is the causative form of citta (cinteti >ceteti, cetayati >cetanā) and that the effective aspect (vedanā) refers to the feeling tone of citta; the cognitive aspect (saññā) is concerned with knowing, believing, reasoning and perceiving; and the conative aspect (cetanā) is concerned with acting, willing, striving, and desiring. These three aspects do not of course function separately. As mental processes all three aspects operate all at once by way of concurrent action and inter-action. Cognition is associated with conation that in turn is bound up invariably with the hedonic quality of feeling[17].

4. Odd Idea about Citta

It is interesting to notice the alien idea about citta that happened to be in the proposition: 'citta is incorporeal and resident in the cave of the heart'[18]. It is probably because of a reference to this verse, in respect of the physical basis of citta, that some section of the Theravādins developed a cardio-centric theory according to which the heart (hadayavatthu) is the locus of mind and mental consciousness. These Theravādins appear to be alone in holding this theory and this is confirmed by the statement of Yaśomitra[19] that it is confined only to the school of Sri Lankan Buddhism. It is hard to find in the orthodox system of Buddhist thought any place to which the idea can be incorporated properly.

5. Reliable Base for our Definitive Understanding

The traditional Buddhism denies any kinds of substantial definition of citta to the extreme. 'Buddha,' ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF BUDDHISM says, 'is the first psychologist to 'psychologise' without a soul and the teaching on citta is squarely based on the doctrine of the non-substantiality of all phenomena'[20]. The encyclopedia warns anyone who insists on the clear-cut definition of citta that 'the complexity of its usage has sometimes defied all attempts of modern scholarship at determining the specificity of its signification'[21]. The Buddha seems to adopt a functional view of concepts, utilizing the term saṅkhā to refer to concepts; and the functional use is often expressed by the verbal expression: saṅkhaṃ gacchati or 'conceive'. The following passage is typical: "Citta, just as from cow comes milk, and from milk curds, and from curd butter, and from butter ghee, and from ghee to junket; yet, when there is milk, there is no conceiving as 'curd' or 'butter' or 'ghee' or 'junket'; instead on that occasion there is conceiving as 'milk'"[22].

It can be further noted that citta may be rendered by intention, impulse, design; mood, disposition, state of mind, reaction to impressions. Citta, however, sometimes stands merely for an idea or a thought, for example, a person who was born professional soldier must previously have had the following thought or idea in the common sense: 'Let those beings be tortured, bound, destroyed, exterminated'[23]. The citta can be quitted up as is expressed in the passage, 'incompetent, Sunakkhatta, is the naked ascetic, Patika's son, to meet me face to face, if he withdraw not those words, if he put not away that idea (citta), if he renounce not that opinion. If he thinks that, holding to those words, to that idea, maintaining that opinion, he would come to meet the Samaṇa Gotama, his head would split asunder'[24]. Citta here means merely an idea.

6. The Preferred Functionalism

It is suggestible that citta can be analyzed as to its nature in the disciplines of psychology, ethics and naturalism[25]. But for the sake of being in concord with the Buddhist theory of suffering and of non-substance - the former mainly relating to the basic for ethical attitude and the latter, for philosophical viewpoint - the disciplines of ethics and of psychology are preferable. The functionalistic approach in the discipline of modern psychology, it is at the risk going a little astray to note, comes to overshadow the once-dominating structuralism, emphasizing "the study of mind from the 'is for' point of view rather than from the 'is' point of view"[26].

The Abhidhamma texts reveal the comprehensive system of the universe as consists in four great divisions: citta, cetasika, rūpa and nibbāna. Citta holds the top position and can be predicated in three ways, namely, 'predication by agency (kattu-sādhana), predication by instrumentality (karaṇa-sādhana) and predication by simple flux' (bhāva-sādhana); the last one is considered to be nearest to the truth. It is in keeping with the essence of Buddhist non-substance theory to say, 'yielding true knowledge is the predication by simple flux'[27].

Citta is overwhelmingly characterized by combination so that its manifestation should be worded in terms of relationship. If we chanced upon the definition of any wholesome or unwholesome citta in the Dhammasaṅgaṇi or the Vibhaṅga, we would be aware that to define any citta is but to touch all mental functions, mental agents of an individual. For the sake of illustration we quote, though it is at risk of being clumsy, here the whole definition of the first of the eight main types of citta relating to the Sensuous Universe: "When a good thought concerning the sensuous universe has arisen, which is accompanied by happiness and associated with knowledge, and has as its object a sight, a sound, a smell, a (mental) state, or what not, then there is contact, feeling, perception, thinking, thought, conception, discursive thought, joy, easy, self-collectedness, the faculty of faith, the faculty of energy, the faculty of mindfulness, the faculty of concentration, the faculty of wisdom, the faculty of ideation, the faculty of happiness, the faculty of vitality; right views, right intention, right endeavour, right mindfulness, right concentration; the power of faith, the power of energy, the power of mindfulness, the power of concentration, the power of wisdom, the power of conscientiousness, the power of the fear of blame; absence of lust,  absence of hate,  absence of dulness,  absence of covetousness,  absence of malice, right views; conscientiousness, fear of blame; serenity in the sense and thought, lightness in sense and thought, plasticity in sense and thought, facility in sense and thought, fitness in sense and thought, directness in sense and thought; mindfulness, intelligence, quiet, insight, grasp, balance. Now, these -- or whatever other incorporeal, causually induced states there are on that occasion -- these are states that are good"[28]

All the functions and the so-called agents are but transect and ever-changing like a stream of water[29].

7. Nature of Citta

The nature of citta is difficult to be seen and understood and it is very subtle[30], very hard to control, assuredly light and quick and attaching itself to whatever it craves[31]. It is, in case of the worldling, constantly frightened, terrified and alarmed as well as agitated, flurried and anxious[32]. The nature of citta should also be counted on account of its dependent origination in which the causal factors play the decisive role in the arising of mind, thus subjecting to the impermanence earmark of saṅkhāra. Even in the Buddha's time Bhikkhu Sāti was ignored of the fact that there is no arising of the mind (in this case the term Viññāṇa is employed) unless it is through the collocation of causal factors[33].

The nature of citta is multifaceted, this suggests the title of the fourth chapter, and the expositions situationally given by the Buddha about its nature are hardly molded into any formal definition of citta. Even the Buddha felt difficult in describing a single aspect of its nature, saying, "I consider, monks, that there is no phenomenon that comes and goes so quickly as mind. It is not easy to find simile to show how quickly mind comes and goes"[34].

Citta in the Buddhist view, is thus a series of events in an incessant process of mentation. Citta as unitary term is nothing more than a convenient collective noun to comprehend a wide and complex nexus of mental states in flux as ever mentioned in the forgoing section. As to its nature the citta or mind of the worldly individual is, psychologically speaking, constantly throbbing, trembling and wavering[35]. Ethically, it is exceedingly difficult to be protected and to be saved from falling into moral lapse. Naturalistically, it quivers like a fish out of water distracted by a multiplicity of stimuli[36].

Now, the main course of treatment should be postponed to make a brief introduction of the pre-Buddhist concept of citta. And then, it is followed by a survey of the primary source on the basis of which the study is elaborated. This survey tents towards chronological perspective.


1. Citta of General Meanings

  Among the most important verbal roots denoting mental processes in the Ṛg Veda, N. Ross Reat observes,  √cit is the most general in meaning that it well-nigh refers to the functioning of any mental organs and faculties. The most common nouns derived from this verbal root, namely, citta, citti and cetas, are for all intents and purposes synonymous, and refer very generally to "thought" or in some cases "mind". Nouns and verbs derived from the root √cit are so broad in meaning as to be capable of being substituted for virtually any of the more precise terms for mental organs and faculties. The verbal root √man and its derivatives - the closest relatives of  √cit - are almost as broad in meaning as the derivatives of  √cit. Generally speaking, they imply more specifically than  √cit the process of intellectual cogitation. Other than this very vague and inconsistent distinction, the derivatives of  √cit and  √man, in the Ṛg Veda, are practically indistinguishable in meaning. Verbal forms of  √cit, however, are more common than nominal forms while the opposite is true of derivatives of  √man. It is probably best therefore to translate nominal forms of  √cit with "thought", and the term manas with "mind". Such translation construe manas as mental organ and citta as mental faculties, even though admittedly there is no clear distinction between these terms in actual usage in the Ṛg Veda[37].

The derivatives of  √cit in Ṛg Veda, like the term citta in Buddhism, refer in the broadest way to mental process whether perceptive, intellectual, emotional or imaginative[38]. It may be said that these derivatives denote the functioning of any one of the several mental organs and faculties mentioned in the Ṛg Veda. Used with the term manas,  √cit indicates mental perception or intellectual thought. With hṛd (heart) it refers to emotional or intuitive thought. With  √dhī it refers to imaginative, visionary thought. With kratu it refers to volitional thought. It is the broad and general nature of  √cit and its derivatives that constitutes the most distinctive characteristic of this family of terms[39].

It should be noted that most of the psychologically significant derivatives of  √cit occur in relatively late texts, the majority being in the Maitrī Upaniṣad[40].

2. Citta and Mana

The two terms are so close in interrelation that most of the cases especially in the early Vedic texts they are interchangeable without any risk of unintentional modification of the meaning. In the Vedas, the idioms referring to mind are nearly always manas; they are much like our own analogous phrases such as: "Sun travels quick as mind"... "we know what thy mind was"... "approving thy mind"... "this praise has been offered by the mind"... "what a man reaches with mind, that he expresses by speech"... "by what great mind may we arrest the storm gods?"... "wise in mind... trembling in mind... please in mind"... "a woman mindful of the gods"... "we must consult the thought (citta) of another... beyond our thoughts (cittāni)"... "which prayer is to be the choice of thy mind?"[41]. A comparison of the frequency of the main psychological terms used in the 13 'principal', i.e. Early and Middle Upaniṣads results in the following table[42].

Table 1:


173 references
18 references  
29 references
12 references
3 references
3 references

Through the above table we can see the less frequency of the term citta in comparison with its posterior term viññāṇa. Citta was never favored term as was manas. In its root we have man's awareness worded as perceiving, observing. The result is as a manifold or motley, cit- meaning also this, but the active agency in the process is not so strongly implicit as is the measuring, planing, willing, in manas[43].

For a further distinction between the two terms we can note that in most contexts the terms derived from  √cit is associated with manas (mind). The manas is often depicted as the agent of the process of thought as represented by the derivatives of  √cit, as in the phrases such as manasā cekitānam (thinking or perceiving with the mind), mano cetati (the mind thinks). In other contexts, a derivative of  √cit may qualify the mind in an adjective sense, as in the phrase cikitvin-manas (thoughtful or perceptive mind)[44]. The above distinctive cases at most are not enough to refute the predominance of their basic interchangeability as presented in the previous section.

3. Emotional and Intellectual Citta

N. Ross Reat observes that the emotional connotation of  √cit is most evident when derivatives based on it are said to be moved by an external force, as when the worship and/or sacrifice stirs the thought (cetana). On the other hand, these derivatives are also said to be the stirring or moving force which incites various gods to action, as when Soma and Agni are said to be moved or stirred into action by the thought of the sacrificer. Emotional content is also found in passages such as one where Atri is said to "think with a friendly mind"[45].

Citta seems to have much to do with the basic sensual consciousness, as in the following verse, where the departure of citta marks the end of such consciousness: "When a sick person about to die gets to such weakness as to fall into a stupor they say of him, his thought (citta) has departed, he does not hear, he does not see, he does not speak with speech, he does not think"[46]. But in the another aspect, the derivatives of  √cit are of intellectuality. The derivatives denote in several compounds some sort of development or excellence of the faculty of thought or perception, as in the terms: vipaścita (wise or insightful), sucetas (thoughtful), gambīira-cetas (deep-thoughted), praceta (wise). The intellectual connotation is obviously predominant in the phrase "to solve (āciketam) a riddle"[47].

4. Citta of Vision.

It is observed that the derivatives of  √cit associated with the potence of seeing, in the broad sense of the word, are in some cases quite literal, as when Agni is said to be observant (cetiṣṭham) with the eyes (akṣabhir), or in a wartime curse in which the wish is expressed that the perception (citta) of those foes who stand watch be destroyed. In other contexts, the term citta seems to mean simply "visible", as in the phrase citta-garbha, which Griffith translates "visibly pregnant". In still other cases, derivatives of  √cit refer to mental perception, as when it is said that Mitra and Varuṇa perceive (cikyatuḥ) even with their eyes closed, or where it is said with relation to a riddle that those who have eyes, obviously mental eyes, can see while the blind do not perceive (na vicetad andhaḥ), or again where it is asked, "who discerns (ciketa) the workings of Mitra and Varuṇa?". The derivatives of  √cit are also used to denote vision, particularly mental vision in the Ṛg Veda[48].

When purified, citta is praised as prajñā of the early Upaniṣads. In the sixth book of the Maitri, we can find both cetas and citta exalted to mean nothing less than the prajñā[49]. A purified citta is said to be capable of grasping the ultimate truth, however, its purification seems to involve its cessation[50].

5. Metaphysical Citta

The substantialist metaphysic of Indian thought could be expressed by the presumptive statements such as the Upaniṣadic passage which reads that in the beginning, this world was only the self (ātman) in the form of a person. Looking around he saw nothing else than the self. He first said 'I am'. There arose then the name of 'I' for the first time. Later on he realized the real self and the mutable self (or the empirical consciousness) which are graphically presented with the image of two birds perched on one branch, the one simply watching and the other enjoying the fruit[51]. Through the range of meaning as meant by the root  √cit above presented, it is quite safe to suppose that the root  √cit 's family would be able to compass either of 'the two birds' and both of them.

The derivatives of  √cit seem to be construed either as the essence of the soul and universe or as the fundamental characteristic of both the individual and the universal soul. It is implied in the rhetoric question: "This body is like a cart, without thought; by the power of what super-sensuous being is it made to arise with thought (cetanavat); or who is its mover?" or the statement "The enjoyer (bhoktṛ) of this universe is without qualities (nirguṇa), but because of its being an enjoyer, it must have thought (caitanya)[52]. As a super-sensuous being, the thought has the potence of creating. This creativity is not confined to artistic composition, as when it is said that the hymn springs from the thoughtful mind (cikitvin-manas). It may also refer to the idea of spontaneous creation of an entity, as in a hymn stating that the gods created fire with citti. There is another context where the Ṛbhus are said to have created a miraculous chariot by means of "excellent thought" (sucetas) and mind (manas)[53]. In fine, the Upaniṣadic system virtually tends to regard the world as a creation of consciousness, saying that at the dissolution of all, he alone remains awake. Thus from that space, he awake this world which consists of thought only (cetāmātra)[54].


1. Different Tables of Stratification

Exploration into the conclusive outcomes of the stratification of the Buddhist canonical texts proposed by the leading scholars conversant in the Pāli literature let us know that the oldest stratification may be that of T. W. Rhys Davids who observes ten strata scheme. Unfortunately, it is not an easy feeling on the side of those who care for scientific exactness to find that both B. C. Law and K. L. Hazra do summarize the same scheme from Buddhist India by T. W. Rhys Davids but do not turn out the same summaries. (see appendix 1)

The chronology observed by T. W. Rhys Davids, nevertheless, is not fully agreed on by other scholars. B. C. Law regards it as too catechetical, too cut and dried, and too general to be accepted, though its suggestion is a good guide to the determination of the chronology of the Pāli canonical texts[55]. We will be in touch with the table time after time when dealing with each individual collection and their component texts.

B. C. Law gives his own scheme of 5 layers, basing on the dates of 6 Buddhist Councils in India and Ceylon respectively[56]:

Table 2:

First Period:

483 - 383 BC

Second Period:

383 - 265 BC

Third Period:

265 - 230 BC

Fourth Period:

230 - 80 BC

Fifth Period:

80 - 20 BC

On the basis of the above setting, B. C. Law observes, it would be easy to arrange a number of books, for example, Parivārapāṭha, the last Abhidhamma treatise whose colophon informs us that it was composed in Ceylon by a Buddhist Ceylonese scholar monk, Dīpa by name[57]. One reference of the book makes it known to us that its composition took place after the Vinaya Piṭaka being promulgated by Thera Mahinda. The succession of his disciples from the time of Thera Mahinda given in the text enables us to conclude that its composition could not be possible until the reign of king Vaṭṭagāmani because it openly declares in the colophon that the author had the treatise be written down. This manner of preservation of the scriptures would not be conceivable before the time of Vaṭṭagāmani[58].

B. C. Law gets a full credit for the introduction of the foregoing 5-stage setting which, unfortunately, is not further elaborated on. And, another contribution is at the end of the chapter where he reserves for the 'Chronology of the Pāli Canon' and comes back to the scheme of 10 strata originally sketched out by T. W. Rhys Davids, on which he makes some remarkable comments, modifications and adjustments.

For the sake of comparison we should juxtapose the previous stratification of T. W. Rhys Davids and the later one of B. C. Law as follows,

Table 3:

By T. W. Davids

By B. C. Law

1. The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found, in identical words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all the books.

1. The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found, in identical words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all the books.

2. Episodes found, in identical words, in two or more of the existing books.

2. Episodes found, in identical words, in two or more of the existing books.

3. The Sīlas, the Pārāyaṇa, the Octades, the Pātimokkha.

3. The Sīlas, the Pārāyaṇa group of 16 poems without the prologue, the Aṭṭhaka group of 4 or 16 poems, the Sikkhāpadas.

4. The Dīgha, Majjhima, Aṅguttara, and Saṃyutta Nikāyas.

4. The Dīgha, vol. i, the Majjhima, the Saṃyutta, the Aṅguttara, and earlier Pātimokkha code of 152 rules.

5. The Sutta Nipāta, the Thera- and Therī-gāthās, the Udānas, and the Khuddhaka Pāṭha.

5. The Dīgha, vols. ii and iii, the Thera- and Therī-gāthā, the collection of 500 Jātakas, Sutta Vibhaṅga, Paṭisambhidāmagga, Puggalapaññatti and the Vibhaṅga.

6. The Suttavibhaṅga and the Khandhakas.

6. The Mahāvagga and the Cullavagga, the Pātimokkha code completing 227 rules, the Vimānavatthu and Petavatthu, the Dhammapada and the Kathāvatthu.

7. The Jātakas and the Dhammapadas.

7. The Cullaniddesa, the Mahāniddesa, the Udāna, the Itivuttaka, the Sutta Nipāta, the Dhātukathā, the Yamaka, and the Paṭṭhāna.

8. The Niddesa, the Itivuttakas, and the Paṭisambhidā.

8. The Buddhavaṁsa, the Cariyāpiṭaka, and the Apadāna.

9. The Peta- and Vimāna-vattthus, the Apadānas, the Cariyā Piṭaka, and the Buddha Vaṁsa.

9. The Parivārapāṭha.

10. The Abhidhamma books; the last of which is the Kathā Vatthu and the earliest probably the Puggalapaññatti.

10. The Khuddakapāṭha.

The juxtaposition of the stratification by T. W. Rhys Davids (abbreviated as A) with the other one by B. C. Law (abbreviated as B) shows that their first two strata are completely identical. The third strata contain each 4 items of which the first three, namely, the Sīlas, the Pārāyaṇa, the Octades, the Pātimokkha are nearly identical, the difference is that A gives a sharper boundaries of denotation of the Pārāyaṇa and the Octades. The last item of this strata in A, i.e. the Pātimokkha is substituted by the Sikkhāpadas in B. That in the fourth strata the first position is occupied by the Dīgha Nikāya is partly agreed upon by the 2 scholars, B. C. Law drags the vol. ii and vol. iii of the Dīgha Nikāya which are followed by the Majjhima Nikāya down to the heading position of the next stratum, stratum 5. The Aṅguttara and the Saṃyutta succeeding the Majjhima Nikāya in the fourth strata replace each other in table B. B. C. Law adds to this level the earlier Pātimokkha code of 152 rules. In the fifth stratum both A and B are quite different: the first position is occupied as already mentioned by the Dīgha Nikāya ii and iii in B and by the Sutta Nipāta in A; the Thera- and Therī-gāthās follow up in both the tables; the Udānas and the Khuddakapāṭha in A are replaced by the Collection of 500 Jātakas, the Sutta Vibhaṅga, the Paṭisambhidāmagga, the Puggalapaññatti and the Vibhaṅga in B. From stratum 6 onward the 2 tables becomes easily seen to be totally different. When discussing each of the individual items we will be in touch with the stratification again.

In his The Origin and Nature of Indian Buddhism, K.T.S. Sarao shows a keen interest in the issue of Buddhist chronology, giving an account on this concern with the conclusion of 3 strata scheme tabulated as follows[59]:

Table 4:


Substantially Pre-Mauryan Texts


Substantially Mauryan Texts


Substantially Post-Mauryan Texts

Vinaya Piṭaka (Except CV-xi, xii, Sekhiya Rules and Parivārapāṭha)

Cullavagga xi-xii and Sekhiya rules of the Vinaya Piṭaka



Dīgha Nikāya


Majjhima Nikāya




Saṃyutta Nikāya




Aṅguttara Nikāya




Udāna (verse only)

Udāna (prose only)












Jātaka verse (with few exceptions)

Jātaka (prose portion)














K. T. S. Sarao thoughtfully warns readers that the above classification should not be regarded as being water-tight because almost all the texts were strongly possible to be composed from the material stocks in different periods of time, and in such a literature as the Buddhist canon no unit can be invented safely.

2. Chronology of the Vinaya Piṭaka

The Vinaya Piṭaka known commonly as "Basket of Discipline" is the oldest and smallest of the three sections of the Buddhist canonical Tipiṭaka or "Triple Basket". It is that which regulates monastic life and the daily affairs of monks and nuns according to rules attributed to the Buddha. It varies less from school to school than does either the Sutta (discourse of the Buddha and his disciples) or the Abhidhamma (scholastic) sections of the canon, and the rules themselves are basically the same even for Mahāyānas schools, although some of the latter schools greatly extended the accompanying narrative and commentarial material.

It is remarked that while the Sutta Piṭaka is more doctrinally and cosmologically oriented, the focus of the Vinaya Piṭaka is upon proper courses of action conducive to making progress towards the final spiritual attainment of nirvāṇa. Although it is evident in early Indian Buddhism that categorical distinctions were made between groups of bhikṣus (referred to as bhāṇakas) who had committed all or parts of these three collections to memory for the purpose of preserving them through recitation, each "basket" stands in complementary relationship to the other and the whole represents an integrated system of religious teaching. Some scholars and Buddhist apologists have understood the Vinaya to be the first stage of the spiritual path, and extended code of behavioral discipline elaborates from the basic principles of sīla (moral ethical action)[60].

The Vinaya Piṭaka texts show a certain resemblance with the Vedic Brāhmaṇas. In both we find "rule" (vidhi) and "explanation of the meaning" (arthavāda) by the side of one another, and the narrative poems which stand out distinctly like oases in the desert of the religious technics[61].

The term vinaya means putting away, subduing, conversion, training, and discipline. R. C. Childers says that Vinaya is regarded as the ecclesiastical code or common law and it governs the Buddhist monks and it is mentioned in the Vinaya Piṭaka. He states further that saṁvarav and pahānav are two sorts of Vinaya or discipline and they are discipline of restraint and discipline of getting rid of evil states. He again describes Vinaya as "removal (of blame), acquittal"[62]. Specially, Vinaya refers to the prescribed modes of conduct incumbent upon Buddhist monks and nuns. The word is formed by combining the prefix vi-, meaning "difference, distinction, apart, away from", with the verb root  √, meaning to lead. When combined they mean "to lead away from".

Within the context of Buddhist monasticism, Vinaya refers to the code of behavioral discipline that at once delineates the life of the householder and that of the monk, and binds the community of monks together into a common affective bond. In this sense, Vinaya is that which separates or leads away from the householder's way of life. It can also refer to the practice of mental discipline that removes unhealthy states of mind from the monk's disposition. In either sense of the term, Vinaya is regarded as the effective expression or pragmatic implementation of the Buddha's dharma (teaching). It is precept put into practice[63].

Historically, it is clear that Vinaya has not only been the charter for the Buddhist monastic experience, but has continued to function as a legitimizing device for reform within the saṅgha as well. It is important to note that just as the ancient laity play an important role within the Sutta Vibhaṅga literature by reporting infractions of discipline to the Buddha, so has the laity in modern times continued to display great interest in insuring that the saṅgha adheres to the Vinaya. Lay concern for Vinaya, however, is not expressed only for the purpose of keeping monks in their proper places, but also out of the necessity of preserving a saṅgha that truly function as a spiritual refuge and a worthy object of meritorious action[64].

In the oldest record that we possess of the first council, it is said that Mahākassapa asked Upāli about the two-fold Vinaya. This suggests that he asked him only about the Patimokkha rules for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. In his account of that council Buddhaghosa states that the theras classified the Mahā Vibhaṅga, the Bhikhuṇī Vibhaṅga, the Khandhaka and the Parivāras, but he concedes that the Vinaya Piṭaka as he knew contained material which had not been recited at the first council. It is obvious, and presumably Buddhashosa realised, that the final two sections of the Khandhaka, which deal with the first council and the second council dated 100 years later, could not have been recited on that occasion, but there is no indication of the portions of the Vinaya Piṭaka he had in mind when he wrote of texts not being recited[65].

The Pāli Vinaya Piṭaka in the latest form is divided into three partitions, the Sutta Vibhaṅga, the Khadhakas, and the Parivāra. The concise account of each of the partitions is below.

1. Sutta Vibhaṅga: The word Sutta (sūtra in Sanskrit) is a very ancient literary term in India. The literal meaning is "thread", and it is applied to a kind of book, the contents of which are, as it were, a thread, giving the gist or substance of more than is expressed in them in words. This sort of book was the latest development in Vedic literature just before and after the rise of Buddhism. The word was adopted by the Buddhists to mean a discourse, a chapter, a small portion of a sacred book in which for the most part some one point is raised, and more or less disposed of. But the Sutta par excellence, is that short statement of all the rules of the Order, which is also called the Pātimokkha, and is recited on every Uposatha day. The Sutta Vibhaṅga is a detailed analysis concerning the rules recorded in the Pātimokkha. It has the same eight sections as the Pātimokkha. Regarding each of the rules, the Sutta Vibhaṅga has a four-fold structures as already mentioned: 1. A story (or stories) explaining the circumstances under which the rule was pronounced; 2. The Pātimokkha rule; 3. A word for word commentary on the rules; and 4. Stories indicating mitigating circumstances in which exceptions to the rule or deviations in punishment might be made. Like the Pātimokkha there are both, a Bhikkhu Sutta Vibhaṅga (sometimes referred to as Mahā Vibhaṅga) and a Bhikkhuṇī Vibhaṅga.[66]

2. Khandhakas give the precepts for the various arrangements of the order and the regulation of the entire conduct of the monks and nuns in their daily life, form a kind of continuation and supplement of the Sutta Vibhaṅga. The ten sections of the Mahā Vagga contain the special precepts for admission into the order, for the Uposatha celebrations, for life during the rainy season, and further, the rules for the wearing of shoes, facilities for seats and vehicles, medicine and clothing of the monks, and finally for the regulation of the legal conditions and the legal procedure within the order, especially in the case of schisms. The first 9 sections of the Culla Vagga deal with the disciplinary methods in lesser matters, with various atonements and penances, the settlement of disputes, the daily life of the monks, dwellings and furnishing of dwellings, the duties of monk towards one another and the exclusion from the Pātimokkha ceremony. Section 10 of the Culla Vagga deals with the duties of the nuns. Sections 11 and 12 that record the stories of the first 2 councils are no doubt later additions, and form a kind of appendix to the Culla Vagga.[67]

3. Parivāra is regarded as insignificant and much later product. It is said with little doubt to be merely the work of a Sinhalese monk. The last book of the Vinaya Piṭaka comprises of 19 small texts, catechisms, Indices, appendices, lists and similar things. They have the form of questions and answers in common with the texts of Abhidhamma Piṭaka that originated perhaps at about the same time.[68]

The Vinaya Piṭaka is extant in the following versions: the Vinaya of the (1) Theravādins in Pāli, portions of the Vinaya of the (2) Mūlasarvāstivādins in Sanskrit contained in the Gilgit Manuscripts; and in Tibetan and Chinese translations (in the latter, not in its entirety); the Vinayas of the schools of (3) Sarvāstivādins, (4) Dharmaguptas, (5) Mahiśāsakas, and the (6) Mahāsaṅghikas in Chinese translation. Besides, fragments are available in Sanskrit that clearly belonged to or were associated with the originals of some of these Vinayas. In its Chinese translation[69], the Sarvāstivādin Vinaya is followed by the Vinayakṣudraka and the Uttaragrantha, which includes an Upāliparipṛccha, a series of questions on Vinaya put to the Buddha by Upāli. This would seem to correspond to the Pāli Upāli-pañcaka, but a Sanskrit portion of this found in Turkestan does not agree with the Pāli Parivāra.

One Chinese version of the Upāliparipṛcchā is said to be very similar to the Pāli Parivāra, although there seem to be abridgements and changes of order in the treatment of the various rules, and there is doubt about the sect to which this text belonged. There also exists in Chinese an Ekottara section in the appendices to the shortened version of the Sarvāstivādin Vinaya called Daśādhyāya Vinaya. The Dharmaguptaka Vinaya also has a section called Ekottara, while the Mūlasarvāstivādins too had a supplement to their Vinaya called Uttara-grantha. The fact that other schools found it necessary to have supplements to their Vinayas supports the view that some, at least, of the Pāli Parivāra was composed in India before the introduction of Buddhism to Ceylon[70].

As to the relationship of these Vinayas, it is now an established fact that the Prātimokṣa is practically the same for all the sects, but the agreement is supposed to extend to the Vibhaṅga and even the Khandaka. Fragments have been discovered at Koutcha which correspond to portions of the Mahāvagga; and there is close resemblance that exists in the order of representation between the Pāli and Mahāsaṅghika Vinayas where the Mahāvagga is concerned. It appeared that the diversity of the Vinaya redactions is a later growth based on an originally common stock of rules[71].

While there is no direct evidence to suggest that any of these recensions of the Vinaya text were fixed in writing before the first century B.C., their uncanny similarity suggests at once a common origin in a period of time preceding the emergence of Buddhist sectarianism and a fundamental unwillingness on behalf of Saṅgha communities to alter the basic charter of monastic Buddhism[72].

In the scheme of stratification which B. C. Law put for the whole Tipiṭaka, the Vinaya Piṭaka scatters into the 5 strata: (1) the Sīlas and the Sikkhāpadas in the third stratum, (2) the earlier Pātimokkha code of 152 rules in the fourth stratum, (3) the Sutta Vibhaṅga in the fifth stratum, (4) the Mahāvagga and the Cullavagga, the Pātimokkha code completing 227 rules in the sixth stratum, and (5) the Parivāra or Parivārapāṭha in the ninth stratum[73]. In another way of observation, Oldenberg has sketched out the probable course of five stages along which the growth of the Vinaya proceeded: The Pātimokkha and part at least of the liturgical formulae imbedded in the Khandakas form the earliest stage. The old commentary, wholly philological and exegetical, and containing nothing of a legendary or quasi-historical nature, constitutes the next stage. The traditions of this latter character, together with what we may call notes on the rules, were amalgamated to the text and the old commentary which should be in the third stage. The last two books of the Cullavagga are still later, and the Parivāra is the latest of all. Thus, from the first rivulet of small and definite nucleus, the Vinaya has reached its present form in at least five stages[74].

In comparison between the scheme of B. C. Law and that of T. W. Davids, the later is more general one in which the major parts of the Vinaya Piṭaka, namely, the Sutta Vibhaṅga and the Khandaka, fall into the sixth stratum. The Sīla and the Pātimokkha into the third stratum; and, no mention of the Parivāra is available in his table[75].

3. Chronology of the Abhidhamma[76] Piṭaka

The Abhidhamma Piṭaka known as the Basket of Special Doctrine or Further Doctrine, is the third and historically the latest of the three Baskets. Unlike the Sutta and Vinaya, the seven Abhidhamma works are not generally claimed to represent the words of the Buddha himself but of disciples and great scholars. Nevertheless, they are highly venerated, particularly in Burma. These are not systematic philosophical treatises but a detailed scholastic reworking, according to schematic classifications, of doctrinal material appearing in the Suttas. As such they represent a development in a rationalistic direction of summaries or numerical lists that had come to be used as a basis for meditation among the more mystically inclined, contributed to the Prajñāpāramitā literature of Mahāyāna Buddhism, the form predominant in East Asia. The topics dealt with in the Abhidhamma books include ethics, psychology, and epistemology.

As the last major division of the canon, the Abhidhamma corpus has had a checkered history. It was not accepted as canonical by the Mahāsaṅghika school, the forerunners of Mahāyāna. Another school included within the Abhidhamma division most of the Khuddaka Nikāya, the latest section of the Sutta Piṭaka. And various Mahāyāna texts have been classified as Abhidhamma, including the Prajñāpāramitā-sutras in Tibet and, in China, the Diamond Sūtra.

G. C. Pande observes that the Abhidhamma and its versions probably grew out of the Mātikās and is found in only two schools - Theravāda and Sarvāstivāda. The Dharmaguptas and the Kāśyapīyas are also supposed to have had an Abhidharma Piṭaka but they were sub-sects of the Sarvāstivāda group. The Theravāda's Abhidhamma consists of seven works: Dhammasaṅgaṇi, Vibhaṅga, Dhātukatthā, Puggalapaññatti, Kathāvatthu, Yamaka, Paṭṭhāna. The Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma also consists of seven works: Jñānaprasthāna and the six Pādaśāstras which are: (1)  Saṅgītiparyāyapāda, (2) Dharmaskandha, (3) Prajñaptipāda, (4) Vijñānakāyapāda, (5) Dhātukāyapāda, and (6) Prakaraṇapāda[77]. An examination of the titles of these texts, however, shows that only one, viz. the Dhātukāya resembles any of the Theravādin texts, and we must either assume that the number seven in each collection is a coincidence, or deduce that the Sarvāstivādins were aware of the number of texts in the Theravādin Abhidhamma Piṭaka and deliberately refuted their texts and replaced them by new ones after the schism[78].

The seven works of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, although based on the contents of the Buddha's discourses, deal with selected and specific topics which form the basis for the later philosophical interpretations. The following is a brief account on each and every of the seven Abhidhamma works in the Pāli version:

1. Dhammasaṅgaṇi (Summary of Dhamma): An enumeration of the entities constituting reality. In practice, it is a psychologically oriented manual of ethics for advanced monks but long popular in Ceylon.

2. Vibhaṅga (Division or Classification): A definition of these entities from various points of view, a kind of supplement to the Dhammasaṅgaṇi, treating many of the same topics.

3. Dhātukathā (Discussion of Elements): A classification of the elements of reality according to various levels of organization, another supplementary work.

4. Puggalapaññatti (Designation of Person): An interesting psychological typology in which people are classified according to their intellectual acumen and spiritual attainments, largely a collection of excerpts from the Aṅguttara Nikāya of the Sutta Piṭaka, classifying human characteristics in relation to stages on the Buddhist path; generally considered the earliest Abhidhamma text.

5. Kathāvatthu (Points of Controversy): A later work discussing the controversial doctrinal points among the various ancient schools, attributed to Moggaliputta, president of the third Buddhist Council, the only work in the Pāli canon assigned to a particular author; historically the most important of the seven, the Kathāvatthu is a series of questions from a heretical (i.e. non-Theravāda) point of view, with their implications refuted in the answers; the long first chapter debates the existence of a soul.

6. Yamaka (Pairs): Dealing with basic sets of categories arranged in pairs of questions, a series of question on psychological phenomena, each dealt with in two opposite ways.

7. Paṭṭhāna (Activations or Causes): A complex and voluminous treatment of causality and 23 other kinds of relationships between phenomena, mental or material.

About the chronology of the Abhidhamma in all, K. R. Norman observes that the Abhidhamma is later than the rest of the canon. There is no mention in the chronicles of reciting the Abhidhamma at the first or second councils, although the Mahāvaṃsa states that the arahants who held the second council knew the Tipiṭaka. The Mahāsaṅghikas who split from the Theravādins after the second council are said to have refuted the Abhidhamma. This presumably means that there was nothing corresponding exactly to the Pāli Abhidhamma in their canon; from which it may be deduced that the Abhidhamma did not exist at that time, or at least was not recognized as canonical[79].

Tradition attributes these books to the Buddha himself. But it is established in EBC that, as a matter of fact, they must have been produced during a period of two or three hundred years, beginning from the second or third century after the Buddha's death. The books may be considered in three groups according to their time of compilation: early, middle and late groups[80]. Now, we put them accordingly into the following chart:

Table 5:

First Period:

1. Dhammasaṅgaṇi
2. Vibhaṅga
3. Puggalapaññatti

Second Period:

4. Dhātukathā
5. Kathāvatthu

Third Period:

6. Yamaka
7. Paṭṭhāna

It is noticeable that Buddhaghosa previously put the seven books in another chronological order and sought to argue for their genuineness as the Buddha's words. According to him they should follow the order: Dhammasaṅgaṇi, Vibhaṅga, Dhātukathā, Puggalapaññatti, Kathāvatthu, Yamaka, and Paṭṭhāna. EBC just slightly exchanges the position of Dhātukathā, Puggalapaññatti. A bigger difference is seen in the Chinese translation of the Samantapāsādikā where the Puggalapaññatti and Kathāvatthu come after the Yamaka and Paṭṭhāna. As to build their genuineness, Buddhaghosa states that the textual order of the Abhidhamma originated with Sāriputta, who also determined the numerical order in the Paṭṭhāna. Sāriputta is reported to have done this to make it easy to learn, remember, study and teach the Dhamma. And, to guard against accusations that this would mean that the Abhidhamma was not Buddha-vacana, Buddhaghosa goes on to say that Sāriputta was not the first to understand the Abhidhamma, for the Buddha was the first abhidhammika[81].

Buddhaghosa's conviction would encounter the statement by B. C. Law that in dealing with the chronology of the seven treatises, we can only maintain that the order in which these treatises are enumerated can not be interpreted as the order of the chronology. Any attempt at establishing such an interpretation would be vitiated by the fact that the order of enumeration is not in all cases the same. To give example B. C. Law notes that in Milinda Pañha the order in which these books are mentioned is: Dhammasaṅgaṇi (Dhammasaṁgaha as Buddhaghosa calls it), Vibhaṅga, Dhātukathā, Puggalapaññatti, Kathāvatthu, Yamaka, and Paṭṭhāna. So the order recorded in EBC of chronology is probably based on the Milinda Pañha. B. C. Law hold that an inquiry into the Suttanta background of the Abhidhammapiṭaka becomes a desideratum and we may lay down a general chronology in these terms: The closer the connection with the Sutta materials, the earlier is the date of composition. On this basis and in view of some dialectical features B. C. Law observes that that Puggalapaññatti is the first book of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. And his own order for the seven treatises is as follows[82].

Table 6:

1. Puggalapaññatti

2. Vibhaṅga

(a) Dhammasaṅgaṇi - Dhātukathā
(b) Yamaka
(c) Paṭṭhāna

3. Kathāvatthu

The priority of the Puggalapaññatti in the B. C. Law's chronology is supported by K. R. Norman who hold that despite its presence in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, the Puggalapaññatti owes much, in both form and content, to the Sutta Piṭaka. The non-metaphysical nature of the book is emphasized by the fact that in it puggala is not used in the sense of "underlying personality", which is found in the Kathāvatthu and the Milinda Pañha, but simply in the sense of "person, individual". This helps in supporting the view that the Puggalapaññatti is the earliest of the Abhidhamma texts[83].

For the laying out of his account of the Abhidhamma texts, K. R. Norman follows the order suggested by B. C. Law where the Paṭṭhāna is the last book. He, however, prefers the last position of the Yamaka to that of Paṭṭhāna, saying that such a text, which seems to be intended for someone who has already studied the system, but wishes to become fully competent in it, is perhaps the latest of the books in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka[84].

In B. C. Law's scheme of stratification for the whole Tipiṭaka, the Abhidhamma texts scatter into the three strata: (1) the Puggalapaññatti and the Vibhaṅga in the fifth stratum, (2) the Kathāvatthu in the sixth stratum, and (3) the Dhātukathā, the Yamaka, and the Paṭṭhāna in the seventh stratum. Unfortunately, the Dhammasaṅgaṇi is not mentioned in B. C. Law's tabulation[85]. Whereas T. W. Davids is much more vgeneral to put all of them into the tenth and last stratum of his scheme with the note that the last of which is the Kathāvatthu and the earliest probably the Puggalapaññatti[86].

On being aware of the position of the Sutta Piṭaka as the most substantial importance among the remaining of the Buddhist canonical literature we shall reserve the next whole chapter for an account of its in a chronological prospective.


[1] NSOED: 1778-1779.

[2] J. Dhirasekera, EBC. 4: 169.

[3] S. v: 263; D. 3: 223; A. iv: 86.

[4] S. i: 194.

[5] Ibid. iv: 195.

[6] M. i: 120, 242.

[7] S. i: 75.

[8] J. Dhirasekera, EBC. 4: 169.

[9] see more in the next section.

[10] vijānātī  kho bhikkhave tasmā  viññāṇaṃ  ti vuccati: S. iii: 87.

[11] T. W. Rhys Davids & William Stede, PED: 266.

[12] J. Dhirasekera, EBC. 4: 169.

[13] Ibid. 4: 169.

[14] Dhp. v. 1-2.

[15] see Buddhaghosa, Vism: 21-22, 452-454; and Exp: 84-85.

[16] Saññā ca vedanā  ca cetasikā  ete dhammā cittapa ibaddhā: S. iv: 293.

[17] J. Dhirasekera, EBC. 4: 170.

[18] Dhp. v. 37.

[19] He is said to be the author of Sphuārthā Abhidharmakośa Vyākhyā. see M. Winternitz, HIL: 344.

[20] J. Dhirasekera, EBC. 4: 171.

[21] Ibid. 4: 169.

[22] D. i: 202.

[23] S. iv: 309.

[24] Abhabbo kho Sunakkhatta acelo Pāṭika-putto taṃ vācaṃ appahāya taṃ cittaṃ appahāya taṃ diṭṭhiṃ appaṭinissajjitvā mama sammukhī - bhāvaṃ āgantuṃ. Sace pi'ssa evam assa - Ahaṃ taṃ vācaṃ appahāya taṃ cittaṃ appahāya taṃ diṭṭhim appatinissajjitva Samaṇassa Gotamassa sammukhī - bhāvaṃ gaccheyyanti, - mudhā pitassa vipateyyāti. For the translation see DB. iii: 18.

[25] J. Dhirasekera, EBC. 4: 170.

[26] J. Atkinson, E. Berne and R. S. Woodworth, DP: 187-8.

[27] J. Dhirasekera, Op. Cit. 4: 174.

[28] Dhs.: 1-5.

[29] J. Dhirasekera, Op. Cit. 4: 170.

[30] sududdasa, sunipuna: Dhp. v. 36.

[31] dunniggaha, lahu, yatthakāma nipāti : Dhp. v. 35.

[32] Nicca utrastam idaṃ cittaṃ, niccam ubbiggam idaṃ mano: S. i: 53.

[33] Anekapari-yāyena h'āvuso Sāti paṭiccayā natthi viññāṇassa sambhavo: M. i: 256-7.

[34] A. i: 10.

[35] Dhp. v. 33.

[36] Ibid. v. 34.

[37] N. Ross Reat, OIP:  99.

[38] Ibid.: 101.

[39] Ibid.: 107.

[40] Ibid.: 254.

[41] C. A. F. Rhys Davids, BIPDB: 8.

[42] Ibid.: 21.

[43] Ibid.: 68-69.

[44] N. Ross Reat, OIP: 104.

[45] ciketati... sumnena cetasā: Ibid.: 102 sq.

[46] Ibid.: 252.

[47] Ibid.: 103.

[48] Ibid.: 101-102.

[49] C. A. F. Rhys Davids, BIPDB: 71.

[50] N. Ross Reat, op. cit.: 252.

[51] David J. Kalupahana, PBP: 12.

[52] N. Ross Reat, OIP: 253.

[53] Ibid.: 106.

[54] Ibid.: 253-254.

[55] B. C. Law, HPL: 1.

[56] Ibid.: 13.

[57] G. P. Malalasekera, DPN, vol. 2: 163.

[58] B. C. Law, HPL: 13-14.

[59] K. T. S. Sarao, ONAIB: 33.

[60] K. L. Hazra, PLL: 132.

[61] M. Winternitz: HIL: 33.

[62] K. L. Hazra, PLL: 131.

[63] Ibid.: 131-132.

[64] Ibid.: 135.

[65] K. R. Norman, PL: 18.

[66] S. R. Goyal, HIB: 162.

[67] M. Winternitz, HIL: 25-26.

[68] Ibid.: 33.

[69] G. C. Pande, SOB: 2.

[70] K. R. Norman, PL: 28-29.

[71] G. C. Pande, SOB: 3.

[72] K. L. Hazra, PLL: 134.

[73] B. C. Law, HPL: 42.    

[74] G. C. Pande, SOB: 17-18.

[75] T. W. Rhys Davids, BI: 188.

[76] see an account of the term in K. R. Norman, PL: 97-98.

[77] G. C. Pande, SOB: 1-2.

[78] K. R. Norman, PL: 107.

[79] Ibid.: 96.

[80] J. Dhirasekera, EBC. 1: 75b sq.

[81] K. R. Norman, PL: 98.

[82] B. C. Law, HPL: 21-22.

[83] K. R. Norman, PL: 102.

[84] Ibid.: 106.

[85] B. C. Law, HPL: 42.

[86] T. W. Rhys Davids, BI: 188.


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Sincere thanks to Venerable Thich Minh-Thanh for giving the digital files (Binh Anson, 01-2004)

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