As of my understanding, Abidhamma explains the initial thinkings (citta -thought process) and models the final thinking patterns. If someone implements this known patterns in software, wouldn't it be helpful to identify possible abnormal mental conditions of people?

  • 1
    Could also be an alternative to AI models?
    – xelber
    Jun 23, 2015 at 5:12

3 Answers 3


I am an Abhidhamma teacher and used to be a software programmer. Your suggestion is very noble and innovative. I am not sure that the sensing process / thinking process found in the commentaries is the right starting point for such a software program.

My impression is that the sensing process / thinking process were developed to show how sensing and thinking can be natural processes (without a "self" who senses or thinks). The Abhidhamma focuses on the "micro" scale whereas the problem that you are trying to solve is at the "macro" scale.

As an analogy, the "water cycle" (evaporation - condensation - precipitation) that we learned in primary school shows how rain is a natural phenomena. The "water cycle" is not useful for meteorologists in predicting weather; they use other tools.

As another analogy, the models of how atoms and molecules are constructed are not going to help much if you want to build a house.

There are aspects of Buddhism that can help people with problems such as MBSR (mindfulness meditation) or the application of natural decisive support condition (from the Abhidhamma). My impression is that these do not naturally lend themselves to software programs.

You asked specifically about software model of the thought process, but the more general question "Could Abhidhamma help in Psychology?" is even more intriguing (at least for me). I have a couple of interesting books by Mirko Frýba ("The Art of Happiness" and "The Practice of Happiness") that connect Abhidhamma with modern Psychology.

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    – user382
    Aug 23, 2015 at 3:52

I work as a software developer and think this is a fascinating project -- not because it will necessarily succeed, but because it will require us to think much more on Abhidhamma and abnormal mental conditions. This in turn can teach us a lot. I often found the best way to learn something is to try to write a program to do it.

This project would face many challenges. Two big ones off the top of my head are...

  1. How would you represent objects?
  2. How would you define abnormality?

I'm a software engineer and I've been playing around with different ideas, very similar to this, about how technology could be combined with Buddhism to create something that could potentially be very useful for many people. If anyone has similar inclinations and would like to brainstorm please feel free to email me (address on profile) as I don't think this is the right context for this discussion.

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