I think that most dvi-pitakins (Westerners) believe that those who promote the Abhidhamma and commentaries simply dwell exclusively on such topics and limit themselves to such areas, forever reading the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha, The Visuddhimagga, and Buddhist Legends.
I myself read the Suttas all of the time and consider them foremost in authority. However, I also respect and appreciate the commentaries and Abhidhamma which explain the details in the Suttas which are surely missing.
People usually think that others think the same way as they do. As I have said before, “A kleptomaniac will think that others are trying to steal his belongings.” In the same way, perhaps since the suttanta-only followers stick to a single set of books and exclude what they don’t believe in, they might think the same way about those who like the Abhidhamma and commentaries… that is they believe we exclude what they believe in.
For me, I take a “whole-istic” approach to the Suttas… or better say… I take a “whole-istic” approach to the tipiṭaka. I like to read the suttas systematically, cover to cover with all the footnotes. These days, I’m trying to read the pāḷi samyutta nikāya with the commentaries.
What are your thoughts?
Do you limit yourself to the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha, The Visuddhimagga, and Buddhist Legends? Or do you take a whole-istic approach?