Having offered homage to the teacher of truth,

Who completely destroyed all darkness of ignorance,

and took the world out of the quagmire of continued process of birth and death,

I shall explain the system of Abhidharma.

N.B. In this Karika the author offers his homage to the buddha and makes a reference to the subject matter of the text.

1. Sarvathasarvahatandhakarah: One who has destroyed darkness of ignorance in all respects. Here the Tathagata has been attributed a special epithet with the intention of assigning him to a unique position. It may be noted here that Pratyekabuddhas and Arhats as well as Samyaksambuddhas stand on the same footing in so far as the realization of ultimate truth is concerned. But there is a marked difference between them regarding the jneya or universe of knowledge. The universe of knowledge of a Pratyekabuddha and an Arhat is limited, whereas that of a Samyaksambuddha is unlimited. Therefore the term sarvajna or the fully enlightened one has been applied to him. This is the real implication of the use of the term sarvatha-sarvahatandhakarah.

2. Samsaranam samsarah jarmamaaranaparampare tyartha Athava samsaranti yasmin sattve ti samsarah traidhatukam Samsara means going astray. It is a continued process of birth and death. In other words, it has a reference to the continued process of rebirth in the three spheres of kama (desire), rupa (form), and arupadhatus (formless realms). It may be noted in this connection that while making a reference to the process of Samsara Buddhaghosacariya stated:

      Samsara is known as the continued process of the skhandhas (heaps), ayatanas (entrances), and dhatus (realms) without any break. To be more clear, Samsara is the continuity of five skhandhas1, twelve ayatanas,2 and eighteen dhatus3 having no break at all.


1The five skandhas--the five cumulations, substances or aggregates, i.e. the components of an intelligent being, especially a human being: (1) rupa, form matter, the physical form related to the five organs of sense; (2) vedana, reception, sensation, feeling, the functioning of the mind or senses in connection with affairs and things; (3) sanjna, conception, or discerning; the functioning of the mind in distinguishing; (4) samskara, the functioning of the mind in its processes regarding likes and dislikes, good and evil, and the like; (5) vijnana, mental faculty in regard to preception and cognition, discrimination of affairs and things. The first is said to be physical, the other for mental qualities; (2), (3), and (4) are associated with mental functioning, and therefore with dharmas belonging to the mind; (5) is associated with the faculty or nature of the mind, manas, the mind king dharmas.

      See Eitel and Keith's Buddhist Philosophy, 85-91.

2The six entrances or locations of the both the organs and the sensations--eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind; sight, hearing, smelling, taste, touch, and perceptions.

3The eighteen realms of sense i.e., the six organs, their objects or conditions, and their perceptions.