D E V E L O P M E N T O F T H E D O C T R I N E : T H E B U D D H A S
THE psychology of the Abhidhamma books shows the basis from which later developments in the doctrine started, but in itself it was merely the systematizing of the older theories. It remained unchanged to such an extent that Vasubandhu's great work became a " treasury" of the Mahayana schools. In Abhidhamma the question of an atman or soul was not prominent. As a modern psychologist says, in words that a Buddhist might have used : " To the psychologist the conception of a soul is not helpful. He has no independent means of knowing anything about it which could be useful to him. For him the term 4 soul' is virtually only another name for the total system of psychical dispositions and psychical processes." 1
Y e t some of the Buddhists came to see that the totality of dispositions and processes does not express the whole matter. This totality is arranged in groups called individuals. If one of these groups is nothing more than these dispositions and processes, how is he distinguished from any other group ? W h y should there be groups at all ? Hence the doctrine of pudgalavdda, the view that the individual is an entity plus the skandhas of which he is composed. This is not the atman-doctrine, though that doctrine would be one possible solution of the problem. 2 The atman-doctrine, however, as formulated by the opponents of the Buddhists, was always rejected, and the upholders of the pudgala-doctrine guarded themselves against it by maintaining that the individual is neither the same as the elements which constitute him nor different from them. 3
The most important developments of doctrine which took place between the time of Asoka and the beginning of the
of the pudgala in Kathdv., i, 1. 3 Abhk,, ix, p. 232. Besides psychology and logic there is classification of
much more in Abhidhamma, but they do not represent a progress in thought. They can be best studied in the Abhidharmakos'a.