About the Project

The Abhidhammāvatāra is the first ever written handbook of Theravāda Abhidhamma. In the preface to its European edition, over a century ago, C.A.F. Rhys Davids expressed her hope to publish its English translation 'in the near future' (Buddhadatta 1915, p.5). However, up to the present day no such translation has been produced. The maximum that has been published so far with regard to the content of this text is its summary in the Encyclopaedia of Indian Philosophies (Cousins 2008). I, therefore, would like to fill this gap and translate the entire manual into English.

It is my hope that a good translation of the text could become a place for reference for those who need to consult the primary sources when they read works of modern Buddhist scholars, as well as a textbook for those who wish to learn Abhidhamma or advance their Abhidhamma knowledge. In Myanmar, the Abhidhammāvatāra falls into the category of 'sleeping' texts, Pāḷi texts that are outside of the purview of monks as they are no longer being studied. Yet, in the past, the manual used to be highly esteemed and widely utilised both in Sri Lanka and Myanmar (Malalasekera 1955, p.108), and I hope, that this translation, which was done with care about the potential readership will contribute to 'waking' it up and making it popular again.