The fifth of the seven books of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. (Sometimes called the third, e.g., in Mbv.94). It seems to have been compiled when the contents of at least the Dhammasaṅgaṇī, the Vibhaṅga and Paṭṭhāna were already accepted as orthodox. Tradition ascribes its compilation to Moggaliputta Tissa at the end of the Third Council, held under Asoka’s patronage; at Pāṭaliputta (Mhv.v.278; Dpv.vii.41, 56‑8). It was rejected by some on the grounds that it was set forth two hundred and eighteen years after the Buddha’s death, and was hence only a disciple’s utterance; but the Commentaries take the view that the mātikā, the principles taught therein, were laid down by the Teacher himself, and that the whole work should be regarded as the utterance of the Buddha, just as the Madhupiṇḍika Sutta, taught really by Mahā-
It has sometimes been suggested (e.g., J.R.A.S.1915, 805 ﬀ ) that Asoka’s Rock Edict IX has been influenced by the Kathāvatthu. Khemā Therī, chief of the Buddha’s women disciples, describes herself as being “Kathāvatthuvisāradā,” (ThigA.135) thus strengthening the theory that the Kathāvatthu was known already in the Buddha’s time.
The Udāna Commentary (UdA.94) refers to a Kathāvatthu-