In this answer yuttadhammo wrote,

If you want an abhidhamma answer, you have to speak in abhidhamma terms. "Wishing for pain to go away" is a sutta statement. It involves a wisher, and describes a sutta action.

I think it might mean 'thread' ... or possibly 'sleep' ... or a type of description of reality that's found in the suttas, as opposed to the description of reality found in the Abhidhamma?

If you answer please assume that I have looked at the abhidhamma but never read it.

1 Answer 1


The Sutta Pitaka deals with conventional reality, i.e. concepts such as "a man, woman, person, a wisher" etc.

The Abhidhamma Pitaka deals with ultimate reality, i.e. Citta, Cetasika, Rupa, Nibbana. These are "abhidhamma terms".

Here is a quote on Abhidhamma by Ven. K. Sri. Dhammanda, p. 107-108:

"The Abhidharma deals with realities existing in the ultimate sense, or paramattha dhamma in Pali. There are four such realities:

1. Citta, mind or consciousness, defined as ‘that which knows or experiences’ an object. Citta occurs as distinct momentary states of consciousness.

2. Cetasika, the mental factors that arise and occur along with the citta.

3. Rupa, physical phenomenon or material form.

4. Nirvana, the unconditioned state of bliss which is the final goal.

Citta, the cetasika, and rupa are conditioned realities. They arise because of conditions, and will disappear when the conditions sustaining them cease to continue to do so. They are impermanent states. Nirvana, on the other hand, is an unconditioned reality. It does not arise and, therefore, does not fall away. These four realities can be experienced regardless of the names we may choose to give them. Other than these realities, everything—be they within ourselves or without, whether in the past, present or future, whether coarse or subtle, low or lofty, far or near—is a concept and not the ultimate reality."

  • So you're saying that a "sutta" statement or action means the same thing as a "conventional" statement or action. I hadn't heard "sutta" used in that way before.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 14:03
  • 4
    Sorry, yeah, it's a bit esoteric, but that's how we talk about the various teachings of the Buddha - they often have to be understood in context. If the context is the suttas, then they may not be applicable to ultimate reality, or if the context is the vinaya, then they may not be directly related to the practice in the suttas. Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 14:12

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