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Also known as A Manual of Abhidhamma Pitaka
Date 11th or 12th century
Place of origin India or Burma
Language(s) Pali
Author(s) Acariya Anuruddha[1]
Material Text

Abhidhammattha-sangaha (Pali) is a Buddhist text composed by Acariya Anuruddha;[1] it is a commentary on the Abhidharma of the Theravada tradition. Abhidhamma is literally known as Higher Doctrine, Aththa is used here to represent English multi-significant word Thing (Not Meaning) and Sangaha simply means Compendium. It briefly mentions, in order, the seven treatises (Prakaranas) of the Abhidhamma Pitaka:

  • Dhammasangani - Classification of Dhammas
  • Vibhanga - Divisions
  • Dhathukatha - Discussion with reference to Elements
  • Puggalapannatthi - Designation of Individuals
  • Kathavatthu - Points of Controversy
  • Yamaka - The Book of Pairs
  • Patthana - The Book of Causal Relations

The prefix Abhi is used in the sense of preponderant, great, excellent, sublime, distinct, etc. Indeed, it is a Manual compiled for easy learning of the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

According to Bhikkhu Bodhi, the Abhidhammattha-sangaha is one of the most important texts in the Theravada tradition. Bhikkhu Boddhi writes:

In nine short chapters occupying about fifty pages in print, the author provides a masterly summary of that abstruse body of Buddhist doctrine called the Abhidhamma. Such is his skill in capturing the essentials of that system, and in arranging them in a format suitable for easy comprehension, that his work has become the standard primer for Abhidhamma studies throughout the Theravada Buddhist countries of South and Southeast Asia. In these countries, particularly in Burma where the study of Abhidhamma is pursued most assiduously, the Abhidhammattha Sangaha is regarded as the indispensable key to unlock this great treasure-store of Buddhist wisdom.[2]

Regarding the author of the text, Bhikkhu Bodhi explains:

This work is ascribed to Acariya Anuruddha, a Buddhist savant about whom so little is known that even his country of origin and the exact century in which he lived remain in question.

Chapter outline[edit]

The Abhidhammattha-sangaha consists of the following chapters:

  • Chapter I - Different Types of Consciousness (citta-sangaha-vibhāgo)
  • Chapter II - Mental States (cetasika)
  • Chapter III - Miscellaneous
  • Chapter IV - Analysis of Thought-Processes
  • Chapter V - Process-Freed
  • Chapter VI - Analysis of Matter
  • Chapter VII - Abhidhamma Categories
  • Chapter VIII - The Compendium Of Relations
  • Chapter IX - Mental Culture

Mental factors[edit]

The second chapter of this text enumerates fifty-two mental factors (Pali: cetasikas) or concomitants of consciousness, divided into four classes: universals, occasionals, unwholesome factors, and beautiful factors.[2] It also delves into 89 classes of consciousness, the qualities of matter, rebirth, meditative exercises and relationships between phenomena.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abhidhammattha-sangaha". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8. 
  2. ^ a b A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma