In Theravada, the Concepts are considered unreal ("person", "chariot" etc.). Then what about the "Concepts about Real" ("red", "perception")? Are they Concepts? or Real?

  • It is an important question that I have seen many Abhidhamma learners asking. It might at first glance, seem like a childish question, if you don't think about it properly.
    – Blake
    Oct 5, 2022 at 5:47
  • Seems like useless conjecture and proliferation to think about this and it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of reality.
    – user24100
    Oct 5, 2022 at 10:28
  • As an aside, in its form this question reminds me of the topic in Mathematics which asks something like, "Is the set of sets itself a set, and does it contain itself?" -- which can be paradoxical and discussed extensively -- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_set -- and I guess might be more-or-less related to the "completeness theorem". It's not a kind of topic that I've seen much of before on this site.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 5, 2022 at 14:24
  • I'm not sure that "unreal" is the best translation. "conventions" might be closer to the purpose of the teaching. Oct 5, 2022 at 16:22
  • There is a tendency in people who are already tired with worldly sciences, to think some important Abhidhamma thoughts as unnecessary or too mathematical. But it is not the case.
    – Blake
    Oct 5, 2022 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


Actually "Concepts about Real" are Concepts. They are called "Vijjamana Pannatti". It is found in the Commentary.

Conventional Reality is two-fold.

  1. Nama Pannatti: Name of the Concept
  2. Attha Pannatthi: Meaning(idea) of the Concept

Nama Pannatti again is six-fold.

  1. Vijjamana Pannatti : Concepts about Real (eg: blue, mind)
  2. Avijjamana Pannatti : Concepts about Unreal (eg: person)
  3. Vijjamanena Vijjamana Pannatti : "Concepts about Real" by "Concepts about Real" (eg: eye-consciousness)
  4. Vijjamanena Avijjamana Pannatti : 'Concepts about Unreal" by 'Concepts about Real" (eg: blue-shirt)
  5. Avijjamanena Vijjamana Pannatti : 'Concepts about Real" by 'Concepts about Unreal" (eg: mango-smell)
  6. Avijjamanena Avijjamana Pannatti : 'Concepts about Unreal" by 'Concepts about Unreal" (eg: sissy-boy)

Conventional Reality is not Impermanent!

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