The book begins with a matika (Pali for "matrix"), which is a list of classifications of dhammas, variously translated as ideas, phenomena, states, patterns etc. There are 22 3-fold classifications, followed by 100 2-fold ones according to the abhidhamma method and 42 according to the sutta method.
The main body of the book is in four parts, as follows.
- The first part deals with states of mind, listing and defining factors present in them.
- The second deals with material phenomena, classifying them numerically, by ones, twos etc.
- The third part applies the material in the first two to explaining the classifications in the matika.
- The fourth does likewise, but in a different and sometimes more detailed way, and omitting the sutta method 2-fold classifications. This fourth part is mostly omitted from the old translation, only a few extracts being included. The new translation is complete.
Rhys Davids (1900) divisions of the text are as follows:
|Ch. I. The Eight Main Types of Thought relating to the Sensuous Universe|
Ch. II. Good in relation to the Universe of Form (ruupaavacara-kusala.m)
|Ch. VI. The Twelve Bad Thoughts (dvaadasa akusalacittaani)|
|Ch. I. On Effect, or Result (vipaako): A. Good Karma. B. Bad Karma|
Ch. II. Action-thoughts (kiriyaa)
|[No parts]||Ch. I. Exposition of Form under Single Concepts (ekaka-niddeso)|
Ch. II. Categories of Form under Dual Aspects — positive and negative
|Ch. I. The Group of Triplets (tika.m)|
Ch. II. The Group on Cause (hetu-gocchaka.m)
Pairs of Terms
|[No chapter titles]|
Several English translations are available,including:
- The Dhammasangani, edited by Edward Müller, 1885, published for the Pali Text Society, by H. Frowde in London
- A Buddhist Manual of Psychological Ethics, tr C. A. F. Rhys Davids, Royal Asiatic Society, 1900; reprinted with corrections, Pali Text Society, Bristol
- Tr U Kyaw Khine, Department for the Promotion and Propagation of the Sasana, Rangoon, ?1996; reprinted by Sri Satguru Pubns, Delhi, 2 volumes