The DhammasałgaĽř, the first book of the Abhidhamma, and the PaĄĄhćna, the last book, are the most important of the seven treatises of Abhidhamma, providing as they do the quintessence of the entire Abhidhamma.
Scheme of Classification in the DhammasałgaĽř
(1) The Mćtikć
The DhammasałgaĽř enumerates all the dhammas (phenomena) i.e., all categories of nćma, namely, Consciousness and mental concomitant, and rţpa, Corporeality. Having enumerated the phenomena, they are arranged under different heads to bring out their exact nature, function and mutual relationship both internally (in our own being) and with the outside world. The DhammasałgaĽř begins with a complete list of heads called the Mćtikć. The Mćtikć serves as a classified table of mental constituents treated not only in the DhammasałgaĽř but in the entire system of the Abhidhamma.
The Mćtikć consists altogether of one hundred and twenty-two groups, of which the first twenty-two are called the Tikas or Triads, those that are divided under three heads; and the remaining one hundred are called the Dukas or Dyads, those that are divided under two heads.
Examples of Triads are:
(a) Kusala Tika:
(i) that are moral, kusala,
(ii) that are immoral, akusala,
(iii) that are indeterminate, abyćkata.
(b) Vedanć Tika:
(i) with pleasant feeling,are associated
(ii) with painful feeling,
(iii) with neutral feeling.
Examples of Dyads are:
(a) Hetu Duka:
(i) that are roots, hetus
(ii) the are not roots, na-hetu.
(b) Sahetuka Duka:
(i) that are associated with the hetus
(ii) that are not associated with the hetus.
The Mćtikć concludes with a list of the categories of dhamma entitled Suttantika Mćtikć made up of forty-two groups of dhamma found in the suttas.
(2) The four Divisions
Based on these Mćtikćs of Tikas and Dukas, the DhammasałgaĽř is divided into four Divisions:
(i) Cittuppćda KaĽđa, Division on the arising of consciousness and mental concomitants.
(ii) Rţpa KaĽđa, Division concerning corporeality.
(iii) Nikkhepa KaĽđa, Division that avoids elaboration.
(iv) AĄĄhakathć KaĽđa, Division of Supplementary Digest.
Of the four divisions, the first two, namely, Cittuppćda KaĽđa and Rţpa KaĽđa form the main and essential portion of the book. They set the model of thorough investigation into the nature, properties, function and interrelationship of each of the dhammas listed in the Mćtikć, by providing a sample analysis and review of the first Tika, namely, the Kusala Tika of Kusala, Akusala and Abyćkata Dhamma. Cittuppćda KaĽđa deals with a complete enumeration of all the states of mind that come under the headings of Kusala and Akusala; the Rţpa KaĽđa is concerned with all states of matter that come under the heading of Abyćkata; mention is also made of Asałkhata Dhćtu (Nibbćna) without discussing it.
The Nikkhepa KaĽđa the third division, gives, not too elaborately nor too briefly, the summary of distribution of all the Tikas and Dukas, so that their full contents and significance will become comprehensible and fully covered.
AĄĄhakathć KaĽđa, the last division of the book, is of the same nature as the third division, giving a summary of the dhammas under the different heads of the Tika and the Duka groups. But it provides it in a more condensed manner, thus forming a supplementary digest of the first book of the Abhidhamma for easy memorizing.
(3) Order and classification of the types of Consciousness as discussed in Cittuppćda KaĽđa.
The Cittuppćda KaĽđa first gives a statement of the types of Consciousness arranged under the three heads of the first Tika, namely, (i) Kusala Dhamma i.e., Meritorious Consciousness and its concomitants (ii) Akusala Dhamma i.e., Demeritorious Consciousness and its concomitants (iii) Abyćkata Dhamma i.e., Indeterminate Consciousness and its concomitants. The list of mental concomitants for each dhamma is fairly long and repetitive.
The statement of the types of Consciousness is followed by identification of the particular type e.g. Kusala Dhamma, in the form of question and answer, with regard to the plane or sphere (bhţmi) of Consciousness: Kćmćvacara, sensuous plane; Rţpćvacara, plane of form; Arţpćvacara, plane of no-form; Tebhţmaka, pertaining to all the three planes; or Lokuttara, supramundane, not pertaining to the three planes.
The type of Consciousness for each plane is further divided into various kinds e.g., there are eight kinds of Kusala Dhamma for the sensuous plane: first Kusala Citta, second Kusala Citta etc; twelve kinds of Akusala Citta; eight kinds of Ahetuka Kusala Vipćka Citta and eight kinds of Sahetuka Vipćka Citta under the heading of Abyćkata Dhamma.
Then these various kinds are further analysed according to:
(i) Dhamma Vavatthćna Vara e.g., the particular quality, whether accompanied by joy etc. i.e., somanassa, domanassa, sukha, dukkha, or upekkhć.
(ii) KoĄĄhćsa Vćra, the grouping of dhammas. There are twenty-three categories of dhammas which result from synthetical grouping of dhammas into separate categories such as khandhas, ćyatanas, dhćtus etc.
(iii) Suńńata Vćra, which lays stress on the fact that there is no ‘self’ (atta) or jřva behind all these dhammas; they are only composites, causally formed and conditioned, devoid of any abiding substance.
The same method of treatment is adopted for the akusala and abyćkata types of Consciousness.
(4) Rţpa KaĽđa
Because DhammasałgaĽř treats all the dhammas (nćmas as well as rţpas) in the same uniform system of classification, Rţpa KaĽđa is only a continuation of the distribution of the Dhamma under the heads of the first Tika, which begins in the first division, Cittuppćda KaĽđa. In the Cittuppćda KaĽđa, the enumeration of the Dhamma under the head ‘Abyćkata’ has been only partially done, because abyćkata type of Dhamma includes not only all the states of mind which are neither meritorious nor demeritorious but also all states of matter and the Asałkhata Dhćtu or Nibbćna. The portion of Dhamma under the heading of Abyćkata, which has been left out from Cittuppćda KaĽđa, is attended to in this kaĽđa.
The method of treatment here is similar, with the difference that instead of mental concomitants, the constituents of matter, namely, the four primary elements and the material qualities derived from them with their properties and their relationships are analysed and classified.