A Study of Philosophical and Psychological Importance of the analysis of Theravada Abhidhamma


Abhidhamma is, in the words of Nāradha Mahāthera “a psychology without a psyche”. Abhidhamma teaches that ultimate reality consists of four elementary constituents: Nibbāna, which is unconditioned, and citta, cetasika and rūpa (meaning consciousness, mental factors and matter, respectively) that are conditioned. They are also called dhamma. Dhamma literally means to hold its own nature and characteristics. Dhammas are natural laws that are always true. Thus, Abhidhamma describes the dhammas, their characteristics, their functions and their relations. All conceptual entities, such as self or person are resolved into their ultimates, i.e., into bare mental and material phenomena that are impermanent. Some of the laity became scared when they are invited to lectures on Abhidhamma. Some think that the lecture, as the name implies, will be “profound” and “way over their heads”, or that the lecture will be too “heavy” or “dry” (meaning boring). I would submit that Abhidhamma is within us and all around us – in the way we think, speak and act, in our interactions with those – animate and inanimate – around us, and in the purposes underlying these actions and interactions. Thus, Abhidhamma is to be applied every day by every one to every conscious action (thought, speech or deed), and that Abhidhamma forms the foundation of Vipassanā mindfulness that will help us get on the Eightfold Noble Path towards Liberation.


Agga Wansa
Student, Buddhist Monk, Pannaparmi Meditation Center Monastery, Sagaing, Myanmar


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2024 Special Focus—Spaces, Movement, Time: Religions at Rest and in Movement



Digital Media

This presenter hasn’t added media.
Request media and follow this presentation.