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Puggalapannattipali (Abhidhammapitake)

Puggalapannattipali (Abhidhammapitake)
Item Code: NAJ549
Author: Dr. Om Prakash Pathak and Dr. Veena Gaur
Publisher: Eastern Book Linkers
Edition: 2000
Pages: 338
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
About The Book

The Puggala-Pannatti is a book of practical psychology and is a book of immense importance for knowing the human types, It different from the other books of the abhidhamma-Pitaka. both in language and style. It is entirely devoted to giving description of the human types from several standpoints and proceeds in the form of questions and answers. The book is introduced with the enumerating six kinds of description of the Human Types has been thoroughly explained and illustrated in text.

The Puggala-Pannatti contains ten chapters. Each chapter deals with a number of persons form different angles, The classification of persons have been made in an ascending numerical order from on to ten. The first chapter deals with one type of persons i.e. single persons, the second chapter deals with pairs, the third chapter deals with groups of three and so forth. It takes into consideration their ethical behaviour, mental attitude, like latent factors, belief and other defiling and purifying factors connected with worldly and spiritual life.

There are three hundred and ninety persons in all. They all are related to Chitta, Cetasika, Rupa and Nibbana.


Puggaalapannatti is a very important text of the Pali Abhidhammapitak which lists and difines different human types. In the Buddhist teaching, the focus has always been on the mind (citta) and mental factors (cetasika) and a human being, according to Buddhism is a complex of these mental factors (nama), apart from his or her physical form (rupa). A text fully devoted to the designation of different personalities is not only important from the religious and soteriological point of view but also for understanding of the different human beings and in knowing the wrong and the right, the unwholesome and the wholesome (akusala and kusala) traits in a personality.

I personally have liked this text very much from my intiation in Buddhist Studies in Nalanda in 1952 when under the begin guidance of Venerable Bhikku J.Kashyap, I opted for the Abhidhamma group I my Master’s Degree in Pali. I loved to teach this text to my students in the Business Management, Govt. Administration, Politics, Academic performance, etc. I feel a book like this has a great relevance and may be helpful in understanding personality traits, and Buddhist texts generally discuss these traits in details.

Earlier Dr. B.C. Law, the doyen of Buddhist Studies, translated this text from Pali (PTS, London, 1979) with the title “Designation of Human types”. Dr. Om Prakash Pathak and Dr. Veena Gaur have now published the Pali text along with the English translation. This will help in knowing the original pali terminology. Sometimes it is difficult to give an exact English rendering for Pali word (including the word Puggala Skt. Pudgala). Hence the text along with translation is always beneficial to a reader.

If we see the list of designated personalities in the puggalapannatti, we will simply be amazed at the diversity of human types included in this work, many of which we do meet in day-to-day life. Apart from ‘Perfectly Enlightened by Himself (Paccekasambuddha, p. 40) and ‘One capable of progress’ and ‘incapable of progress’ the angry the vengeful slanderer quarrelsome avaricious and crafty list is very long have received attention in the Puggalapannati. The definitions of anger, envy, or explanation of moderation in food a person of lovely disposition are noteworthy to ponder over.

I heartily congratulate Dr. Pathak and his assistant Dr. Veena Gaur for working on this important treatise and bringing the text and translation together for the better understanding of Buddhist analysis of different human types.

I am sure the readers will be greatly benefited from this important work.


‘Abhidhamma’ is the name of the higher teaching of the Buddha. It expounds the quintessence of his most profound doctrine. Here the term ‘Abhi’ is used to indicate the sense as excellent, deep, profound, subtle etc. Atthasalini says: Atireka-visesatthadipako hi ettha ‘abhi-saddo. Dhamma is a multisignificant terms which denotes a number of senses according to the various contexts. Teaching, Law, nature, intrinsic quality, composite and non-composit things, moral and immoral states, the state of absence of some permanent essence, action, the reals are its several meanings.

Abhidhamma exceeds and distinguished from the teaching of the Vinaya or discipline and Sutta or popular iscourse, both in style and contents. To indicate such distinctions, the Vinaya has beenexplained with three attributes like, ‘Ana-desana’or teachings related to prescriptions to do this and not to do this; ‘Yathaparadha-sasana’ or the regulations prescribing punishments according to transgressions; and ‘Samvara-asamvara-katha’ or norms of putting restrains over psycho-physio-vocal deeds, indicating the situation where to put and where not to pur. The Sutta has also been described, similarly, with three attributes as, ‘Vohara-desana’ or its being the popular discourses; ‘Yathanuloma-sasana’ or teaching given according to the temperament and the elevation of mind; and ditthivinivethana-katha’ or the disources related to removal of wring views. Three attributes are also seen to highlight the nature of Abhidhamma as, ‘Paramattha-desana’ or the teaching related to ultimate truth; ‘Yathadhamma-sasana’ or treatment of Dhammas as they really are; and ‘Namarupapariccheda-katha’ or the discourse related to minute analysis of mind and matter. A searching analysis of these nine attributes, given specially to the three types of teachings of the Buddha, the profundity of Abhidhamma may easily be glimpsed through.

In this context, ‘Puggala-Pannatti’ is the fourth book of the Abhidhamma. It is very important books in Abhidhamma and it is a book of psychology’ or ‘Manovinnana.’ The word psychology has two component parts. One is ‘Psyche’ (Mana), another is ‘Logy’ (Vinnana). ‘Psyche’ means mind and Logy’ is the name of science, knowledge, cognition etc. Therefore ‘Psychology’ or ‘Manovinnana means science of mind, the mental characteristics of a person, the study of mind and behaviour in relation to a particular field of knowledge, cognition of mind etc. This is the way to learn about the human mind to observe what people do and what they say? A person can talk about his her thoughts. Talk is a king of behaviour which can be studied. There are many other kinds of behaviours that can be observed in order to learn about the human mind.

In Buddhist Philosophy, ‘Psyche’ (mind or mana) word is used in to sense of ‘Nama’. This comes under Citta (consciousness), Cetasika (Psychic factors) and Nibbana (Salvation). The word ‘Logy’ (Vinnana) means knowledge or cognition. The word ‘Psychology’ means cognition of mind. That mind is used through the list of three kinds of actions (Physical, Vocal and Mental) of various persons. Here we should understand clearly that it is not at all related to the prevailing experimental psychology of modern era, which is usually the tradition. All these thinkings are centered towards the study of mind of various persons in the process of Abhidhamma.

For the benefit of the students and research scholars, I have been put the references to the page numbers of the Nalanda, Roman, Burmese and Sinhalese edition. An introduction has been given in the beginning of the text, and in the end of the text the word index and similese index have been given. In this way this book is completed.

On this pious moment, I feel it my pious duty to express the deepest sense of gratitude to those teachers and friends who have helped me in various ways in giving a shape to this text. First of all, I am grateful to Late prof. Bimla Charan Law whose translation has been used here. I express the deep sense of gratitude to my teacher Prof. Mahesh Tiwary, who helped and encouraged me every time. I also owe the debt of gratitude to Rev. Dr. Bhikshu Satyapal, Delhi University for his help and suggestions. Prof. Angraj Chaudhary and Prof. N.H. Samtani always helped me. I am grateful to them.

Dr. Ramanath Panday, Dr. Veena Gaur and Shri Mayank Kumar, Delhi University, have spared their valuable time, for correcting the proofs and helped in preparing the index and expediting the printing work of the text. My sincerest thanks go to them for their ungrudging help. I can not forget to my Kalyana-mitra Dr. Dhananjay Chavan, who has helped me in various ways. I offer my thanks to him.

The Unique Print Media and proprietor of Eastern Book Linkers, Delhi, have given me the full co-operation in completing the work in time. I thanks to its authorities.

In the end, I sincerely hope that this book will provide immense benefit to students as well as research scholars.


The ‘Puggala-Pannatti’ is a book of immense importance for knowing the human types. It is the fourth book of the Abhidhamma-Pitaka and is different in some aspects from the other books of the Abhidhamma-Pitaka, both in language and style. It is entirely devoted to giving description of the human types from several standpoints and proceeds and proceeds in the form of questions and answers. The book is introduced with establishment of six matikas enumerating six kinds of description, such as the description of aggregates, description of bases, description of elements, description of truths, description of faculties and description of the human types. The first five Matikas have simply been introduce here and the last one i.e. description of the human types has been thoroughly explained and illustrated in this text. In the treatment of the subject, fist a table o contents of the whole work is given, and then follows the detail of the whole work.

The ‘Puggala-Pannatti’ is a book of mixed character. It contains the characteristics of both the Abhidhamma-Pitaka and Sutta-Pitaka. It has the six Matikas in the beginning of the text which is one of the characteristics of the abhidhamma-pitaka. But it is closely allied to the Sutta-Pitaka so far as form and contents are concerned. The language used here is conventional and the style is very akin to the Sutta-Pitaka. It has followed the method of the Anguttara-Nikaya in grouping the classificatios of the persons in an ascending numerical order from one to ten. There are passages in this text which read exactly like Suttas in one of the Nikaya. Most of its contents have literal parallels in the Anguttara-Nikaya and the Sangiti-Sutta of the Digha-Nikaya.

The Puggala-Pannatti’ begins with the statement of six kinds of descriptions and gives a simple introduction to each of them. Then it entirely leaves out the first five (Khandha-Pannatti, Ayatana-Pannatti) and devotes itself to Puggala-Pannatti alone. Why is it so? Because the Buddha has thoroughly discussed them in Vibhanga. The description of person has not been discussed there and for this reason, it has been treated here thoroughly. The Puggla-Pannatti Mula-Tika also endorses this view.

The ‘Puggala-Pannatti’ has two component parts—Puggala and Pannatti. The word ‘Puggala’ means here and individual, a person, a being, a man, a human. It is generally understood by it the soul or some permanent principle in later Abhidhamika texts. The milinda-panho clearly mentions that there is no Puggala at all in the real sense. It is only a convention, a mere name that one gives for serving some practical purpose. In the kathvatthu, there is as Puggalavadins, who believe in the existence of Puggala, neither identical nor different from the five aggregates. There is a logical discussion on this problem in the first chapter of the Kathavatthu. Howevr, the Puggala of the Puggala-Pannatti is only an apperent truth or Sammutisacca as opposed to real truth or Paramatthasacca. It indicates the person of the common life.

The word ‘Pannati;’ means notion, designation etc. It means what the mind both conceives and renders articulate, It is stated that Pannatti is twofold according as it is known (Pannapiyatiti) or as it makes known (Pannapetiti). There are ideas such as ‘land, mountain’ and the like, designated accordingly and derived from some mode of physical changes in nature. There are ideas as ‘house, chariot, cart’ and the like named accordingly and derived from various modes of construction of materials.

“In the highest sense we do not find these distinctions to exist, but nevertheless as modes of shadowing forth the meaning of things, they become objects of thought genesis as our ideas. And the idea is referred to, derived from, and is called idea of thing because it is conceived and reckoned, named, currently expressed, or made known. This idea of thing is designated ‘Atthapannatti’ because it is made known by terms, word of sign.

According to the commentary, Pannatti means Pannapana, Dassana, Pakasana etc. Which means preaching, pointing out, explaining etc. Puggala-Pannatti means preaching, pointing out, showing, expositions, establishing or deposition of persons. The commentary has also given a list of varieties of such Pannatti and explained them in proper places. In short, it means the designation of types of persons.

The Puggala-Pannatti contains ten chapters. Each chapter deals with a number of persons from different angles. The classification of person have been made in an ascending numerical order, from one to ten. The first chapter deals with one type of persons i.e. single individuals, the second chapter deals with groups of five and so forth. This makes ten fold classification of persons. It takes into consideration their ethical behaviour. Mental attitude, like latent factors, belief and other defiling and purifying factors connected with the worldly and spiritual life. The following table will gave exact figure of the persons treated here in chapter.

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