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Buddhism is a religion and philosophy with between 230 and 500 million adherents worldwide, the vast majority living in Asia but with an increasing number in the West.

The Vijnaanavaadins define perception as non-illusory sense-cognition devoid of determinations (kalpana). Determinations are the characteristics and their relations. The rival schools of Buddhism severely criticize this definition of perception.
Early Buddhism did not show much interest in epistemology. But later schools, from the time of the Sarvaastivaadins, began developing their epistemological doctrines.
The Mahaavibhaasa is a massive sourcebook of Sarvaastivaadin doctrine, compiled according to tradition in the first half of the second century AD, at the time of the third sectarian council convened in Kashmir, sponsored by King Kanishka.
All sources agree that the doctrinal edifice of the Sarvaastivaada School is built upon the Jnaanaprasthaana, ascribed to Kaatyaayaniputra around the second half of the first century BC.
The Prakaranapaada, in its content and style, appears to be the latest of the six padasaastras. Its one hundred citations in the Mahaavibhaasa are second in number only to those of the Prajnaptibhaasya.
The Dhaatukaaya is representative of the middle stratum of Sarvaastivaada Abhidharma texts. It is a preliminary attempt to systematize the burgeoning numbers of mental phenomena into a coherent matrix.
Among the traditional eighteen schools of early Buddhism, it is the Sarvaastivaadins who exerted the most profound influence on the subsequent development of the religion.
The Patisambhidaamagga is perhaps the oldest of the quasi-Abhidhamma texts of the Theravaada School.
The literature of the Theravaada School was transmitted from India to Sri Lanka at the time of the third sectarian council, that is, the third century BC. From there it was diffused throughout the countries of Southeast Asia. Virtually all of these Theravaada texts are preserved in the Pali language, which became the religious language of southern Buddhism.
Compilation of categorized lists of dharmas in the nature of tabulation of matrices forms the nucleus of the formal Abhidharma. Eminent elders such as Sariputra, Maudgalyaayana and Mahakatyaayana made such listings quite probably with the Buddha’s approval. They were all renowned for their skill in exposition, and seem to have been well known to the early Buddhists.
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