The author of the present treatise, the Venerable Ledi Sayādaw, was one of the most eminentBurmese Buddhist scholar-monks of recent times. Born in the Shwebo District of Burma in 1846, by the time he passed away in 1923 he had written over seventy manuals on different aspects of Theravada Buddhism and established centres throughout Burma for the study of Abhidhammaand the practise of insight meditation. His profound erudition, original thinking and lucidwritings have won him the esteem of the entire Buddhist world.The
is Ledi Sayādaw’s treatment of one of the most difficult andcomplex subjects of Theravada Buddhist thought—the philosophy of conditional relations. The
the seventh and last book of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, works out the system of relations in six large volumes. In the present slim volume the Venerable Ledi Sayādaw hasextracted the essential principles underlying this vast system and explained them concisely butcomprehensively, with lucid illustrations for the Paṭṭhāna’s
twenty-four conditional relations.An English translation of the
by the Sayādaw U Nyāna, a direct discipleof the author, was published in Rangoon in 1935. This translation, with a few minor changes,appeared serialised in the Burmese Buddhist journal
The Light of the Dhamma,
and later wasincluded in a collection of Ledi Sayādaw’s works,
The Manuals of Buddhism
(Rangoon: UnionBuddha Sāsana Council, 1965). A Thai reprint of the latter work (Bangkok: Mahāmakut, 1978)was used as the basis for the present edition, which reproduces the original with a few minoralterations of style and choice of renderings.In including the
series, the publishers recognise that thetreatise will not be easy reading even for those seriously involved in Abhidhamma study.However, since copies of the earlier editions are now almost impossible to obtain, it was felt thatthe value and importance of this work for understanding the Buddhist philosophy of conditionality justify its being re-issued. As the treatise presupposes prior familiarity with theAbhidhamma gained elsewhere, footnotes have been kept minimal; if footnotes had been addedto elucidate every difficult point, the annotations would have become unmanageable. Theoriginal translator had chosen to retain much of the Pali terminology in the exposition, and thisedition follows suit. Since the author’s own explanations make the meanings of the Pali termsvery clear, the reader who is keen on study should not find this a serious obstacle, andmoreover will be able to deal with them more precisely in the original than in make-shiftEnglish renderings.Readers who wish to extend their knowledge of the Abhidhamma in connection with thepresent work would do best to turn to the classical summary of Abhidhamma thought, the
This has been published by the BPS in an English translation by theVenerable Nārada Thera as
Manual of Abhidhamma.
The first two volumes of the Paṭṭhāna
itself have been published by the Pali Text Society under the title
translated bythe Paṭṭhāna Sayādaw, U Nārada.