Y. Karunadasa, Ph.D. (London), Ph.D. Honoris Causa (Mahamakut: Thailand), D. Litt. Honoris Causa (Kelaniya), is a Professor Emeritus of the University of Kelaniya and a former Director of its Postgraduate Institute of Pāli and Buddhist Studies. He was a Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellow (1974-1975) and Visiting Professor (1993) at SOAS of the University of London, Distinguished Numata Chair Professor at the University of Calgary (2001), and Tung Lin Kok Yuen Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto (2008). Subsequently he served as the MaMa Charitable Foundation Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong. Among his published works at the Centre of Buddhist Studies, The University of Hong Kong are Early Buddhist Teachings: The Middle Position in Theory and Practice and The Theravāda Abhidhamma: Its inquiry into the nature of conditioned reality.
The present work is an exposition of the Buddhist analysis of matter and is mainly based on the literary sources of Theravāda Buddhism. Where necessary, it refers to parallel views and interpretations in other schools of Buddhist thought, so as to bring the subject into a wider perspective and to present it with a greater measure of precision. The bulk of the work is, however, devoted to an exposition of the basic material elements into which the whole of material existence is resolved and to explain their interconnection and interdependence on the basis of conditional relations. All of the material elements are subsumed under two headings as primary and secondary. The primary class represents four fundamental properties of matter, viz. solidity and extension, viscidity and cohesion, temperature of cold and heat, distension and mobility. The secondary class consists of material elements of two varieties. The first variety includes those material elements which have their own objective realities, namely, the five material sense-faculties, four varieties of sense-objects, two faculties of sex, the material faculty of vitality, the material property of nutrition, and the physical seat of mental activity. The second variety includes those material elements which are nominal entities with no autonomous objective counterparts of their own, namely, two physical modes of self-expression, three characteristics and four phases of the matter that enters into the composition of a living being, and the space delimited by matter. The study concludes with an attempt to understand the nature and relevance of the Buddhist analysis of matter in the context of Buddhism as a religion.
[Table of Contents]
Preface to the second Edition / x Preface to the First Edition / xi
Chapter One: Introductory 1 The generic and specific senses of the term ‘rūpa’ Commentarial descriptions of the term ‘rūpa’ Does ‘rūpa’ occur in a psychological sense, as well?
Chapter Two: Definition of Matter and the Basic Material Factors 9 Definition of matter in the Theravāda Definition of matter in the Sarvāstivāda Congruence of the two definitions Division of matter into primary and secondary The list of secondary factors Its representation among the twelve sense-spheres (āyatanas) The category of dhammāyatana-rūpa (to be known only as objects of mind) The dhammāyatana-rūpa and the definition of matter
Chapter Three: The Primary Elements 21 Non-recognition of space as a primary element Earth-element as solidity and spatial extension Water-element as viscidity and cohesion Fire-element as temperature of cold and heat Air-element as distension and mobility Denial of motion Basic characteristics of the four primaries Exclusion of the water-element from the sense of touch Primary elements as ultimate material data
Chapter Four: Secondary Elements: Group A 37 Nipphanna material elements as real Why only Nipphanna are real The Sense-Organs Objective Fields Faculties of Sex Material Faculty of Life Material Nutriment Physical Basis of Mental Activity
Chapter Five: Secondary Elements: Group B 59 Anipphanna material elements Why only Anipphanna are nominal Modes of self-expression Characteristics of matter Theory of momentary being Phases of matter Element of space
Chapter Six: Classification of Material Elements 91 The role of divisions and classifications General classifications Special classifications Appropriated (upādiṇṇa) and non-appropriated (anupādiṇṇa) Mind-conditioned non-mind-conditioned Internal and external Classification-charts
Chapter Seven: Correlation of Material Elements 115 Analysis (bheda) and Synthesis (saṅgaha) as two complementary methods The twenty-four conditional relations The four causes and six conditions of Sanskrit Buddhism Some similarities and differences The position of material elements in relation to conditional relations Conditional relations not applicable to material elements
Chapter Eight: Atomic Clusters 133 Theory of rūpa-kalāpa as Theravāda version of atomism Its parallelism to Sanskrit Buddhist theories The Vaibhāṣika definition of the atom (paramāṇu) and the molecule (saṃghāta-paramāṇu) Rūpa-kalāpa as the smallest unit of matter The Sautrāntika and Vijñānavāda criticism of Vaibhāṣika atomism Rūpa-kalāpa as possessing spatial dimensions Non-contact between atoms The octuple molecule of Theravāda and Vaibhāṣika Different kinds of rūpa-kalāpa Classification of rūpa-kalāpa Position of rūpa-kalāpa in relation to rūpaloka
Chapter Nine: Time and Temporality 157 Time as neither conditioned nor unconditioned Technical terms signifying ‘time’ Time as confluence of conditions (karaṇa-samavāya) Denial of absolute time Time determined by events: plurality of times The use of the term ‘time’ (samaya) in three different cases Mutual relationship between time and consciousness Definition of time by mind and mind by time
Chapter Ten: The Ehico-philosophical Basis of the Buddhist Analysis of Matter Buddhist analysis of matter in the context of Buddhist ethics The ethical and practical approach Different interpretations on the philosophical basis of Buddhism Realistic view of existence as the most tenable Developments in the Abhidhamma List of material factors: its significance in the context of Buddhism as a religion
End notes 177 Abbreviations 207 select Bibliography 210 I