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An Analytical Study of Dhammasanghani “Atthakatha” Commentary in Pali Tipitaka by Ven. Swe Sing Mong Marma

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An Analytical Study of Dhammasanghani “Atthakatha” Commentary in Pali Tipitaka
Ven. Swe Sing Mong Marma, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka


The term of the commentary general meaning is exposition of the sense of wellbeing who refer to all traditional literature from the half fifth century A.C after the Buddha pass away, then commentary has been composed communicative with Sangha (group of monks) of the Buddha doctrine, which is pali meaning “Athakatha” if you see in the pali Tipitaka, it has even widespread including all literary works. However, the commentary purposed were to interpret the Buddha’s teaching and accurate explanation the Buddha doctrine. Therefore, the commentary have been explained and arranged with systematically on various religious histories, sociology aspect, Biological or material aspects, physiology, psychotherapeutic, Philosophy, politician as well as the ethical facts of human behavior facts. The commentary were not composed by own ideas which is have been accepted with certain modification the original version from direct Buddha’s teaching of pali canon. Here, you can see that, the fixed development of Buddha teaching which is commentary classifying and attribute with separately many division of Buddha teaching for easy to find out or understanding well. Specially, after three months of Buddha parinibbana (enlightenment), the great monks, Nane, as well as king and people arranged 1st, 2nd, 3rd council as well. Hereafter, become divided groups of Shanga with their own traditional literature attach to it. Therefore, the commentary ambiguous from time to time and meaning to be attached agreed of them. Such division of Eighteen Schools, Sarvasthivada, Shawtranttika , Madgymika,, Vashshasikka, other hand, Hinayana, Mahayana and etc, So that, the commentary translated by own language, Such as, Mahinda thero, in Sinhala commentary, who translated Sinhaless language from pali canon. Likewise even today, the commentary arose widespread of interpretation in the Buddha’s scripture through pali literature. So, the Dhammasangani composed by Buddhaghosa in the Abhidhamma pitake, which is the first greatest book among seven books of Abhidhamma and last book is Pathana. Anyhow, the Buddhagosa is not only Dhammasagani atthakatha commentary but also the exposition in others pitaka and nikaya: Visuddhimagga, Samantapasadika, Kankhavitarana or nikaya. But, Dhamasangani is the method of ultimate reality phenomena (dhamma).

The principle of the Atthakatha Commentary

In the Pali canonical text have been three divisions (in pali, Tipitaka), 1.Vinaya Pitaka, 2.Sutta Pitaka and 3. Abhidharma Pitaka, again this three Pitaka attributed in separate part of division or Vagga, Here, Dhammasangani interpreted by Budhaghosa which is first book of the Abhidhamma Pitka and the Abhidhamma formulation has been taken from Vinaya and Sutta Pitaka. Therefore, in Abhidharma contain a great special teaching of the Buddha, deal with utilize ultimate reality as Mind, mental concomitant, or interrelation corporal, such as, matters, feeling etc. And the most of the compounded fact is impersonal mental and physical phenomenon, which is condition with suffering and decay. So that, Buddhaghosa have resolved a vast interpretation regarding to the synthetic human characteristic and body. Today, we can see the based on assumption the physical treatment that; how is important in the modern society for day to day life.

Furthermore, the Buddhaghosa represent composed of the Abhidhamma and clarified quintessence of the Budha’s teaching. This study, therefore highly accurate, Psychologically, Hypothesis, Epistemology, physiological integration occurrence throughout the textual edition. But in the Abhidhamma text the Dhammasangani point out enumerating ultimate reality as a set out Matika, Matika is a summary and Dhammasangani meaning is; Dhamma (doctrine) + Sangani (collection together), generally proceed analytically existence into the impersonal phenomena (dhamma), such as wholesome (kusala), unwholesome (Akusala), citta, cetashika, rupa, - mind, mental concomitance or form etc, which are may be karmically good, bad or neutral. In order to, all the dhamma is exist natural, functional or mutual relationship both internal and external world. This all doctrinal analysis view separate in the Matika, and, the based on these Matikas or Tikas, dyas, which is three categories. 1. Kusala (meritorious action) vedana (feeling; suffering) Vippaka tika, (result), also, in Dhammasangani divided into four divisions groups (pali: Khanda) due to easy to understanding the Buddhas teaching and study well. These four division are:

Cittuppada KhandaArising of consciousness and mental concomitance
Rupa Khanda – Concerning corporeality
Nikkhepa Khanda – Avoided elaboration
Atthkatha Khanda – Supple monetary digest

These four divisions are essential portion through investigation into the nature .Also, Atthakata shows an advance canonical texts under the commentary; a sphere deal from the original pali method of treatment consciousness and morality , Citta, (mind), cittasika( mental concomitant) , rupa (matters) etc, which is interrelation or co-existence in a physical body, such like Sun and Moon. (Guide Introduce the Abhidhamma Pitaka, pp, 12- 24).

Moral Dread:

OTTAPA (moral dread) coincide at moral conscience. These two doctrines occurred together throughtout Buddhist teacging. As moral conscience, the moral dread or fear is also self- born moral character. It make fear to do something wrong. He dread bad behavior by body, speech and mind; he dreads anything evil and unwholesome. Indeed, moral dread arouse within oneself not in fear of any individual, no even fear of the Supreme God or anyone else. It is fear of consequence of evil deed. “It is the voice of conscience that warns us of the dire consequence of moral transgression: blame and punishment by others’. A moral fearful man dose not rush to do. He/ She carefully decides before he hands. Also, they are not hesitate to do wholesome and fruition deed for benefit of both – himself and others.

The Application of Moral Conscience and dread:

This pair of virtue is proposed by the Buddha as to be ‘guardians of the world’. They manipulate a person to appreciate running after is nothing that a tiresome and fearful, and always being mindful at present is fruitful. That is; as you sow, so you reap. That is way, Moral livelihood blesses with happiness, and immoral livelihood bring terrible life to undergo in pain. In this dialogue between the Buddha and the Ariya draws a vivid picture of this pair or virtues. The Buddha went to Ariya while he was finishing and asked factual: ‘What is your name?’ My name is Ariya’, he replied. Afterward, the Buddha retorted saying an Ariya person ( meaning Noble Man) does not deprive others’ lives for own benefit. He felt very shame of his action, and got afraid of the consequence action of dinish. He vowed to give up depriving life of other. Also, he vowed hereafter to work for well –being of every being for rest of his life. This is concentration of the Everything is not dueto one’s action (kamma). Thing happens on account of the Five Law of nature (niyama dhamma): (1) utu- niyama: the caloric order, (2) bijaniyama: the germinal order, (3) kammaniyama: the moral order, (4) citta- niyama: the physical order, and (5) dhammaniyama: natural phenomenal sequence.

Buddha dramatically changed him to understand finishing is really an evil for an Ariya person like himself losing family dignity and name. Essentially, being fearful of consequence of evil action is more worthy of being shameful of losing one’s dignity. Because of their important and should be bestowed among individual, they often occure together throughout Buddhist teaching regarding moral conduct. The Buddha entitle them thus: these two virtue are the bright guardians of the world. When human are not endowed with these virtue they are nothing different from animals. They are behave like animal: do not know parent, husband, wife, children and forth areas respectable. As long as these virtue prevail in human’s heart the world will be in peace and harmony. On the other hand, the geol of a life is to get trouble- free living. That is a state of being able to solve problem, a state that the things and matters that arise in the course of life do not give rise to trouble, and a state that even life itself does not become a problem. For a visualization of better understanding, applying this of virtue in daily life, today in this seminar hall you can imaging of that you bump up with your foe. Thus, seeing him you recall that what you both have being had conflict and want to revenge him in a spot. But you are not daring to scold or harm him on account of self dignity- making problem at midst of many people is shameful and fearful like a person yourself. Today if you were to do something bad to him, surely you might be blamed or something arrested for being out of control of moral conscience and dead.

Furthermore, What the Buddha has to offer about the absence of moral conscience and dread –‘ when such a sense of shame has vanished and shamelessness takes a hold and prevails , then what is unwholesome will gain entry, such moral dread has vanished and moral recklessness take a hold prevails, then what is unwholesome will gain entry. Here, the unwholesome consequence are accumulated through three unwholesome roots: greed ( lobha), hatred ( dosa), delusion ( moha) that which is preside over the doors ( body, speech and mind ) of any deed. These unwholesome roots are considered by the Buddha to be the most powerful and destructive weapons. They are second to none destroying oneself before he defeats his enemy. Also, they motivate and prolong samsaric existence in painful condition. This is, what everyone is having as the most powerful and gigantic enemies that to with them, instead of, he advise to observe and notice thoroughly its phenomena. Hatreds never cease through hatred in this world; through love along they cease. This is the eternal law”. However, to treating them with diligence and mindfulness, he ensure and guarantee that only being diligence and mindfulness is the alternative possibility to overcome from being hunted by them.

In the Aggi Sutta of the Anguttara Nikaya, Buddha point out that the enemies and diligence; He compare lust ( raga), hatred ( dosa), and moha ( delusion) as fire like powerful eenemy can burn everything into ashes. Lust is slightly harmful, but it takes long time to remove and change the lustful nature; because, it is rooted at the depper layer of human nature. Indeed, lustful nature is not blame some as the latter two factors. Which is worldly and kammic resulting (spiritual, and it does not pave to painful rebirth as the consequence of hatred and delusion. On the other hand, hatred and delusion are much blameworthy in the context of society as well as its kammic result that lust. Because, both has strong kammic consequence graving toward woeful state of rebirth for the unlawful deeds he has done. However, hated is not harder to remove or change as lust and delusion that to be done. The nature of delusion is harder to remove for it is deeply rooted in the nature of craving wrong and conceit as similar to lust.

Sri Dhammananda, K tr, The Dhammapada, The Penang Buddhist Association, Panang, 2007, Dhp,5 p, 45
Ven Zeyst, H.G.A, Appamada, Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Vol, II, 1998,p,29
T.W. and C.A.F. Rhys Davids tr, Dialogue of the Buddha, Vol, III, P.T.S, Oxford, 1995, p, 173.
T.W. Rhy Davids, Secret Book of the Buddhist,P.T.S, 1977, p, 308.}}

Moral and Behavioral Modification Strategies:

In the Visudhimagga have been describe atthandika – magga that the path lead to Nibbana, which is based on trisikkha (threefold training) namely, sila (morality), Samadhi (concentration), and pañña (wisdom). The entire Buddhism behavioral modification starts from morality “ the good conduct of physical and verbal functioning consequently will lead to acquire the concentration or mental development” In addition, Summangala Vilasani ( D), have been point out regarding to the mental function within the Buddha and Patthapada, their converse like dialogue; here, Patthapada asked to the Buddha; what is suffering and feeling without causes or reason?, In this question, Buddha precisely reply that those feeling or suffer arise through a reason or cause but it is possible to find that by training of mendicant, than would be know how does object of it and final the insight is the highest stages leading to the heavenly object of mind.” which is activate as the function of wisdom, So, this is the Buddha show us that, the way for fulfill and freedom life like blowing open air! (The secret book of Budhism, vol, iii, pp, 245- 255). In this regards, we perspective and critic of the Buddha’s ritual thought and understanding that what we should do, or abide by from something else (good and bad deed). Recently ,If you look, Gambling, use of alcohol and other drugs, dire dream on sensual pleasure … on the other hand, so many people in the society they become invaders, predator, hunting, killing, rape, offence each other etc. And, not only harmful or bad action but also men are degraded “( Honest less , heartless, carelessness to own Mother’s, Father, Son, daughter, relative, elder people as well, )” this kind of disastrous effect sanitation the world become as realm evil against social and moral. Therefore, “in the Buddhism we can find very strong law against those all evil acts and admiration a golden white spirit” to the men. Such as “Panca sila: five moral ethics, atthandika magga: Novel eightfold paths, paticcasamupada: purification”, these are very essential fact leading to moral control of being from such kinds of action in the world (Crime and Punishment in Buddhism, pp, 139-137).


The study on Dhammasangani is the Buddhist scripture, shows the sphere of infinite consciousness and ultimate reality, which is philosophical terms true in the absolute sense (paramattha- vacana), such as, ‘ I’ ‘you’ ‘self’ its reality existed. Herein, the based on the physical treatment and consciousness regards the commentary has briefed and cluster by several states, which is origin from pali: suttanta, pitaka or nikaya in the Dhammasangani. All these expound with synthetic and analytically various factors of person and objects, condition of impermanent (annica), suffering (dhukha) with a permanent entity anattha. Therefore, the Buddhism views kammic ( actions) to cultivate the fruitarian realized by self and paying the right paths to attain happiness in this very life, Nibbana.


A - Anguttara Nikaya
V - Visuddhimagga
Dhs A - Dhammasagani Atthakatha
Tr - Translation
P.T.S - Pali Text Society
Ed - Edition
M - Majjhima Nikaya

Primary Source

  • Angutta –Nikaya, ed, Davids Rrs Rhys, Vol, I, P.T.S, 1995
  • Dhammasagani, ed, Muller Edward, P.T.S, London, 1978
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  • The Psycho – Ethical Philosophy of Early Buddhist, J Kashyap Bhikkhu, 1982,India
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  • Walshe, M. tr, The Long Discourses of the Buddha, Wisdom Publication, Boston, 1996

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  • Sulak, S. The Wisdom of Sustainability Buddhist Economics for 12st Century, Silkwom Book, Chiang Mai, 2009
  • The Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering”, By Bihhku Bodhi. Access to Insight, aaccessed on November 29, 2010
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  • Sharma T.R. An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy Vijnavada and Madhyamika, Delhi, 1994
  • Muller F.Max, The Secret Book of the Buddhist, Vol, II, 1977
  • Edward Muller, The Atthasalini Buddhaghosa Commentary, London, 1976
  • Horner I.B. The Middle Length Saying (M), Vol, I, P.T.S,London, 1976


By Ven. Swe Sing Mong Marma, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
The third International Conference Buddhism & Australia 2014