chapter  4
Abhidhamma Analysis of the Four Noble Truths
Pages 23

In what sense is it a matika? In the sense of being like a mother. A matika is like a mother just as a face is like a lotus. As a mother gives birth to different kinds of sons, and then protects them and raises them, so too does a matika give birth to various kinds of dhamma and meanings, and then protects them and raises them so that they do not perish. 1

The previous chapter demonstrated that the four noble truths were thoroughly integrated into the same analysis to which other teachings of the Buddha are subjected. The four noble truths appear as explanations for the foundations of mindfulness, dependent arising explains the second and third truths, and the formulas that define each truth appear in a variety of places. The four noble truths are used to analyze desire, feeling, recognition, actions, and the corruptions. In those passages, the four noble truths function as propositions rather than as a symbol of the Buddha's enlightenment. They are not identified as the central teaching of the Buddha, although there are allusions to their role in the Buddhist cosmology.