Abhidhamma is the Higher Teaching of the Buddha, some-times referred to as the ultimate teaching (paramattha desanà). In it, man is described as a psycho-physical being consisting of both mind and matter, and it gives a micro-scopic analysis of the human being.
Abhidhamma explains the process of birth and death in detail. In addition to defining consciousness, it also analyses and classifies thoughts mainly from an ethical standpoint. Various types of consciousness are also set forth in detail, as they arise through the six sense-doors. Modern psychology has begun to acknowledge that it comes within the scope of Abhidhamma for the reason that it deals with the mind, with thoughts, thought-processes, and mental states. Buddhism has, from the very beginning, taught psychology without a psyche.
Abhidhamma also helps the student of Buddhism to fully comprehend the Anatta (No-Soul) doctrine which forms the crux of Buddhism. To a person who reads this book in a superficial manner, Abhidhamma appears as dry as dust, but to the wise truth-seekers, it is an indispensable guide as well as an intellectual treat. The reader who reads this book with deep thinking cannot fail to find it with plenty of food for thought and which will help him tremen¬dously to increase his wisdom so essential for leading an ideal Buddhist way of life, and the realization of Ultimate Truth, Nibbàna.
The Author, the late Venerable Nàrada Mahà Thera, was a well-known Buddhist Missionary from Sri Lanka who had written many valuable Buddhist publications, among which is “A Manual of Buddhism”, a grasp of which is imperative prior to the reader commencing his study of “A Manual of Abhidhamma”.