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About “A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas”

A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas is a guide to the development of the Buddha’s path of wisdom, covering all aspects of human life and human behaviour, good and bad. This study explains that right understanding is indispensable for mental development, the development of calm as well as the development of insight The author describes in detail all mental phenomena (citta and cetasika), and physical phenomena (rupa) and explains the processes of mental phenomena that experience objects through the sense-doors and the mind-door. The last chapters are in the form of questions and answers and deal with the problems one may face in the development of insight. For precision many Pali terms are used but nevertheless the book could be appreciated by both beginners and as well as those who have more background knowledge.

The book was translated and written using notes transcribed from Sujin Boriharnwaneket’s radio lectures.

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Short Description

A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas is a guide to the development of the Buddha’s path of wisdom, covering all aspects of human life and human behaviour, good and bad.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Book info 2. Preface 3. Part I General Introduction 3.1. The Scriptures and Their Commentaries3.2. The Buddha 3.3. Exposition of Paramattha Dhammas I (Citta and Cetasikas) 3.4. Exposition of Paramattha Dhammas II (Rūpa) 3.5. Exposition of Paramattha Dhammas III (Nibbāna) 3.6. Different Aspects of the Four Paramattha Dhammas 4. Part II Citta 4.1. General Introduction 4.2. Citta Knows an Object 4.3. A Process of Citta 4.4. Functions of Citta 4.5. The Duration of Different Processes 4.6. The Nature of Javana-Citta 4.7. The Ephemeral Experience of Objects 4.8. The Cycle of Birth and Death 4.9. The Nature of Vipāka 4.10. Citta and Cetasika 4.11. Cittas of the Sense-Sphere 4.12. Planes of Existence 4.13. Feelings 4.14. Associated Dhammas 4.15. Roots 4.16. Sobhana and Asobhana 4.17. The World 4.18. The Variegated Nature of Citta 5. Part III Concepts 5.1. Concepts (I) 5.2. Concepts (II) 5.3. Concepts (III) 6. Part IV The Development of Samatha 6.1. Development of Samatha 7. Part V The Development of Insight 7.1. The Factors Leading to Enlightenment 7.2. The Stages of Vipassanā 7.3. Different Kinds of Purity 7.4. The Three Kinds of Full Understanding 7.5. The Three Attainments 8. Part VI Dialogue on Vipassana 8.1. The Natural Way of Development 8.2. The Characteristic of Dukkha 8.3. The Meaning of Anattā 9. Appendices 9.1. Appendix I: Citta 9.2. Appendix II: Cetasika 9.3. Appendix III: Rūpa 9.4. Questions With Regard to the Appendices 9.5. Footnotes 10. Pali Glossary

Keywords abhidhamma; buddhism; mindfulness; meditation; vipassana; insight

Language English

Edition 1st edition

ISBN Complete: 1-897633-21-1

Publication Date: 7/5/2006

First published:

Page Count: 480

Book type Hardback, plain cover, B&W 5.5 x 8.5 in or 216 x 140 mm (Demy 8vo) Blue Cloth on Creme

Thema Subject Category: QRFB1

Licence: This work is licensed under the: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit:

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Aki Karvonen 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent survey to Abhidhamma 11 June 2018 ( Format: Hardcover In my opinion the best introduction on Theravada Abhidhamma. Clear, systematic and written in simple English. It includes just the right amount of repetition to make it easier to digest this pretty difficult part of the Pali Canon, i.e. the Abhidhamma Pitaka. Maybe Bhikkhu Bodhi’s Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma and Nina Van Gorkom’s Abhidhamma in Daily Life could be read first, and then this book.

About the author

Name: Sujin Boriharnwanaket Role Author

Name: Gorkom, Nina Van Role: Translator International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI): 0000 0000 6398 0326


Sujin Boriharnwanaket, born 1927, is a Thai Vipassana and Abhidhamma teacher. She graduate dfrom Triam Udom High School and has published numerous books and articles in Thai and English. She has also given lectures on radio throughout Thailand on a regular basis.

Nina van Gorkom was born in 1928 to a family of socialist intellectuals. Her father was a member of the Dutch parliament. She studied at Leyden University and during this time she became a Catholic. In 1952, she married Lodewijk van Gorkom, a Dutch diplomat.

In 1965, Lodewijk was posted to Thailand and Nina started learning the Thai language. She took a keen interest in Buddhism, attending classes for foreigners at Wat Mahathat. There she met, in the summer of 1966, Sujin Boriharnwanaket. Impressed by the profundity of the Buddhist teachings, she became convinced of the truth of the Buddha’s words and later assisted Khun Sujin in discussions about Buddhism for Thai radio stations. These talks were later published as Buddhism in Daily Life, her first book.

Nina and Lodewijk left Thailand in 1970 and lived in Japan, New York, Indonesia (where Lodewijk was the Dutch ambassador) and Austria. Lodewijk retired in 1990 and she now lives in The Hague in Holland.

Nina’s writings are well-known amongst English speaking Buddhists, and she is highly respected in Thailand where several of her books have been translated into the Thai language with (after many reprints) over one hundred thousand copies now. Her books have also been translated in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, China, Vietnam and Germany.

Prior Work:

Sujin Boriharnwanaket:

Answering Dhamma Questions, Adelaide: Adelaide Dhamma Study Group, 1977. The Development of Insight, Bangkok: Thailand: Abhidhamma foundation, 1979. Metta: Lovingkindness in Buddhism, Nina van Gorkom translation: Triple Gem, 1995. Taking Refuge in Buddhism, Nina van Gorkom translation: Zolag, 1996. Realities and concepts: the Buddha’s explanation of the world, Nina van Gorkom translation: Thailand: Dhamma Study and Support Foundation, 2000. A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas, Nina van Gorkom translation: Dhamma Study and Support Foundation, 2005 (Zolag 226). The Perfections Leading to Enlightenment, Nina van Gorkom translation: Zolag, 2007

Location Bangkok, Thailand

Nina van Gorkom

Buddhism in Daily Life; The Buddha’s Path; Cetasikas; A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas (translator); The Perfections Leading to Enlightenment; Lovingkindness in Buddhism; The Conditionality of life; The Buddhist Teaching on Physical Phenomena; Taking Refuge in Buddhism (translator); The World in the Buddhist Sense; Understanding Reality; Introduction to Abhidhamma; Abhidhamma in Daily Life.

Location: The Hague, Holland.