As of now (end of 2014), there are 51 lessons on YouTube from the first Abhidhamma lesson series (“Paramartha Lokaya”) which was conducted for over 1 year. This series will continue with advance topics for those who wish to learn further while another new series for beginners is starting in January 2015. The 2014 series at Kaluthara Bodhiya was attended by over 200 students.
Ajantha Guruthuma’s teaching style is unique, he makes sure nobody is left behind, the first few lessons were done slowly to get everybody on the same page. He does not abruptly introduce a new topic, instead he prepares the background first by presenting a scenario and asking questions from students to get them to start thinking. He repeats the main points until every student in the class understands it and put forward questions in different ways to make sure they understand the concepts. Even when students fail to give the proper answer to a question, he only shows the disappointment with humor. He constantly watches out for those who gets distracted and makes sure that no one is dropped out.
He doesn’t dogmatically follow the text-book either. He arranges his lessons to flow smoothly, sometimes contrary to the order in the prescribed text, so that the relevant topics are covered in such a way that the student has the necessary mastery to proceed to the next section. Ajantha Guruthuma takes examples from daily life so that students learn the Dhamma not for the sake of accumulating knowledge, but to apply in day-to-day life. One learns how much unwholesome thoughts, words and deeds happen unknowingly and how they contribute to unwholesome fruits later. This helps one steer ones thoughts words and deeds towards the wholesome.
All classes are offered free of charge and this compassionate teacher spends his valuable time and effort to give this Dhamma daana. He doesn’t expect anything in return. In the lesson before the Sinhala new year celebration he insisted that nobody should bring anything for him, instead to treat the workers who serve the Kaluthara Bodhi premises where the classes are held.
While Abhidharma may not be a must for everybody, most of us benefit by learning it for the better understanding of what Suttas teach us. Even though purification of mind is done through meditation, knowing how the mind works helps in that regard. May this effort be helpful for those who wish to be liberated from the fearful Samsara.