Dharma Analysis Treasury, The ［阿毘達磨倶舎論］ ( Abhidharma-kosha-bhāshya or Abhidharmakosha-shāstra; Chin A-p’i-ta-mo-chü-she-lun; Abidatsuma-kusha-ron): Also known as Abhidharmakosha. An exhaustive study of the Sarvāstivāda abhidharma, written by Vasubandhu (fourth or fifth century) and translated into Chinese in 651 by Hsüan-tsang. A Sanskrit manuscript is extant. There is another Chinese translation, done by Paramārtha in 564, as well as a Tibetan translation. As a systematic explanation of Buddhist ideas and concepts, The Dharma Analysis Treasury includes a comprehensive discussion of Buddhist themes organized in nine chapters: (1) “Elements” (or dharmas), (2) “Sense Organs,” (3) “Realms,” (4) “Actions,” (5) “Earthly Desires,” (6) “Stages of Worthies and Sages,” (7) “Wisdom,” (8) “Meditation,” and (9) “Refutation of the Idea of the Self.”
The first two chapters are a categorization of the dharmas, or elements of existence, and their functions. The third through the fifth chapter elaborate on the realms of delusion. Among these, the third chapter describes the Buddhist view of the universe, including the concept of transmigration within the realms of delusion. The fourth chapter outlines the actions that cause one to fall into the realms of delusion. The fifth chapter explains that earthly desires and illusions produce actions that in turn bring about suffering in the realms of delusion. Here, earthly desires are divided into two categories: fundamental and derivative. The following three chapters, from the sixth to the eighth, clarify the way to enlightenment. The sixth chapter explains the stages through which voice-hearers advance toward the level of arhat. The seventh chapter deals with the wisdom that leads one to enlightenment. Two kinds of wisdom are defined: wisdom that continues to be bound by earthly desires and wisdom that is free from earthly desires. The eighth chapter discusses the practice of meditation that brings forth wisdom that is untainted by earthly desires. The ninth and last chapter discusses the doctrine of non-self, refuting the idea of the self.
This work is primarily a critical analysis of The Great Commentary on the Abhidharma, the principal text of the Sarvāstivāda school, one of the major early Indian schools of Buddhism. In The Dharma Analysis Treasury, Vasubandhu, originally a Sarvāstivādin, reexamined traditional Sarvāstivāda teachings from a broader standpoint, drawing on the interpretations of several schools, most notably those of the Sautrāntikas. In response, Samghabhadra wrote The Treatise on Accordance with the Correct Doctrine to refute the ideas of The Dharma Analysis Treasury and exalt the traditional Sarvāstivāda doctrine. The Dharma Analysis Treasury itself contains an excellent and thorough exposition on Sarvāstivāda doctrine and forms a unified doctrinal system, and has been regarded as a textbook of the Sarvāstivāda school. A pinnacle of doctrinal study, The Dharma Analysis Treasury greatly influenced people’s understanding of Buddhism in later ages and was studied widely in India, China, and Japan. Consequently, a number of commentaries on it were produced, and the Dharma Analysis Treasury (Chin Chü-she; Kusha) school was founded in China based on this work. The school was brought to Japan and became known as one of the six schools of Nara.