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ME6205: A Survey of the Doctrines of the Abhidharma Schools

ME6205. A Survey of the Doctrines of the Abhidharma Schools (3 credits) (3-0-6)

The period of Abhidharma Buddhism is of great importance for a proper perspective of the development of Indian Buddhism in general. It was essentially in this period that Buddhist ‘philosophy’ first evolved. Traditionally, there were said to be eighteen Abhidharma schools, sometimes also referred to as the Hīnayāna schools. This course will begin with an outline of the historical evolution of these schools, highlighting the doctrinal controversies that led to the schism at different schools. This will be followed by a survey of the fundamental doctrines of the more important schools in the northern tradition, particularly the Sarvāstivāda, the Sautrāntika, the Mahāsaṅghika and the Sāmmitīya.