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Abstract (Draft)

"[The approach of the Chinese Pharmacy] is a formalist method, classifying things according to their external features instead of their internal relations... they merely list phenomena in ABCD order. What is a problem? A problem is a contradiction in a thing. Where one has an unresolved contradiction, there one has a problem." (Mao, III, 60-1)

The fundimental lack apparent in the Abhidhamma is that it presents an index, a "chinese pharmacy" of concepts without the living pressence of philosophy. In its effort to abstract from the teachings of the Buddha the act of teaching, the act of active philosophizing, it distills the essential nature of that teaching into a lifeless pressence that has no relevance to the act of practicing yoga. Sakyamuni Buddha's teachings were always directed toward individuals with individual outlooks and problems. Thus, the Abhidhamma is a hypomnemesis of concepts without actual application to a starting point. This chinese pharmacy provides a pharmokon of concepts, which, when studied provide the illusion of wisdom without actually ever dwelling in the realm of living thought.

The concepts of Buddhist psychology are adequately outlined, indexed, and derived from historical source material, but by representing a representation of the representation, one has entered an infinite regress which defeats the fundimental import of the path of the yogi. A practicioner of a path represents a discrete system which defines not a position, but a vector; therefore the efficacy of the abhidhamma to the actual living drama of the student is dubious. As an index it is not philosophy, it is sophistry for it denies the living movement of signifier and signified. By outlining the doctrine of the Buddha one is missing the point of a man who neither wrote nor condoned the practice.

In Derrida we find the movement of signifier to signified an infinite regress where the "thing itself" is forever out of reach of a chain of signification. Likewise, in an analysis of the fundimental import of the teaching of Siddhartha Gautama we will show that this chain of signification is acknowleged in much the same way. Gautama uses the doctrine of dependant origination to show that for ever possible view and for every possible dogma, they grow from a root, and the ultimate path for the yogi is not the analysis of the tree that grows from that seed but the uprooting of the very tree. For each person there are certain commonalities for which an Index is helpful, but which is forever alien from the practice of the renunciate. Here we see the prosthesis of philosophy, the substitution of a passive dogma for an active, living practice.

We will not concern ourselves with the historical existence of the buddha; let us assume that the actuality of his life is forever lost and for that matter of archaeological interest. This much we know irrefutably: a text exists; we will leave the question of the historical Sidhartha Gautama's actuality open and the following essay can be read either way. Further, we will not belabor the question of orthodoxy and authenticity: whether Mahayana orTheravada (derrogotorily referred to as "hinayana" or "lesser vehicle") presents the "true" teaching, and by extention whether the Pali, which by most accounts is the older written textual tradition, presents a therefore more authentic representation than the Sanscrit. The focus of this essay is (regretably) limited to the Pali textual tradition, as the breadth of the Mahayana canon, which is further subdivided and generally an "open" canon, is prohibitively extensive. The question of orthodoxy and authenticity will therefore be left unanswered. The Sanscrit texts and Mahayana doctrines will be used for emphasis and extension, but the primary focus herein will be a reading of the "third basket" of Tipitika (meaning "three baskets"), the Abhidhammapitaka utilizing the full arsonal of current linguistic methodology, concentrating on the approach presented by Jacques Derrida and his fellow "Deconstructionists" with whom the author has found considerable resonance. The author reserves the right to not remain confined to these arbitrary distinctions and boundaries, but will leave no stone unturned in his analysis.

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