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INTRODUCTION
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One of the problems concerning the truth of the origin of the suffering, the second noble truth, is, as asked in the MahAvibhALAUAstra, ‘All the impure dharmas can be the cause and thus the truth of the origin. Why then does the Blessed one say that only thirst (tKLOA) is the truth of the origin and not others?’2 In some sEtras it is only thirst (tKLOA),3 while in some other sEtras it is action (karma), desire (tKLOA) and ignorance (avidyA).4 Although we do not need to go through all thirty answers put forward by the SarvastivadaVaibhalikas in the MahAvibhALAUAstra, we have to realise that the discrepancies among scattered quotations from the early canon (sEtras) became a serious problem for the masters of the abhidharma, especially when they wanted to define a certain concept, like the second noble truth. One of the answers to the above question given by Vasubandhu in the sixth chapter of the AbhidharmakoUabhALya was as follows: ‘Because the elucidation is contingent (AbhiprAyika) in the sEtras, yet definitive (lAkLaOika) in the abhidharma.’5 ‘Contingent’ (AbhiprAyika), derived from abhiprê (to approach), seems to mean ‘dependent on context’ and, thus, means that the exposition of sEtras depends largely on taking words in their context, in contrast to the definition-based explanation of the abhidharma.6 That is to say, Vasubandhu tends to stick to the definitional explanation of the abhidharma, while also trying to find a reasonable explanation by considering the contextual nature of the sEtras.7 The situation in the Pali Theravada tradition is no different. As pointed out by Gombrich in his book How Buddhism Began, the mode of teaching applied in the suttas is often expressed as pariyAyena, ad hominem, discursive, applied method, illustrated discourse, figurative language, as against nippariyAyena, the abstract, general states of abhidhamma.8