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Title: Paṭṭhāna (conditional relations) in Burmese Buddhism
Author: Kyaw, Pyi Phyo
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 0922
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the living tradition of Abhidhamma in Burmese Buddhism, examining its pervasive role across all dimensions of Buddhist practice in Burma. Until very recently, little attention has been paid to Theravāda Abhidhamma in Western scholarship, and virtually none has been written on it as a living tradition. In this thesis I focus on the Paṭṭhāna, the seventh text of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, which deals with the functioning of causality and uses the mathematics of enumeration and combinatorics to do so. This is the first thesis to undertake a critical, in-depth study of Paṭṭhāna both as an analytical system and a living practice. This thesis applies multiple research methods to analyse the theoretical aspects of Abhidhamma and its study, and to explore the living expressions of Abhidhamma, revealing its ongoing and multidimensional significance in Burmese Buddhism. Chapter One draws together different ways of explaining causality in Theravāda, exploring how the Paṭṭhāna provides a more complex and comprehensive explanation than found in the more familiar, more studied doctrines of kamma and dependent origination. Chapter Two explores the fundamental and pervasive importance of Abhidhamma within Burmese Buddhism historically and in the present, relating its significance to the sociopolitical context of Burma. Chapter Three traces a long history of extensive composition of Abhidhamma and Paṭṭhāna literature in Burma, paying attention to specific works by well known abhidhamma teachers and different branches of Abhidhamma learning and teaching. Chapter Four analyses the pedagogical methods and memorisation techniques applied in Paṭṭhāna study and gives detailed explanation of the individual conditions themselves. Chapter Five examines the Paṭṭhāna through analysis of the mathematics, demonstrating not only the types of mathematics being used to further understand the nature and depths of causality, but also close parallels between the mathematics of the Paṭṭhāna and the mathematics of ‘combinatorics’.
Supervisor: Crosby, Henrietta Kate Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available