Understanding Dependent Origination

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Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue May 08, 2012 9:33 pm

Hey everyone, I'm surprised dhamma wheel doesn't have a giant Dependent Origination thread. Anyway, how do you guys understand D.O., it's so complex I tried writing out how i thought of it but then I realized that was insufficient so I deleted that and was just hoping for some input from people with a deeper understanding of it.

Some questions to think about

Do you believe in moment to moment D.O. along with 1 life, 2 lives, 3 lives/ some other model or just the latter options?

Remember Sati, the monk who thought that it was "just this consciousness" that travels from life to life and how he was rebuked because consciousness only arises dependent on conditions.

How does the Sati story mesh with the fact that when the body dies buddha said that consciousness is craving/clinging driven until it (or the process I'll call, it) finds a new body/realm to inhabit like fire blown by wind until it finds more brush to burn?

Also, let's remember that Kamma is like a field, consciousness is the seed for future birth, and craving/clinging is the sustenance/nutriment

Now, how do you explain that? All I can think is that Kamma is the range of possible outcomes for consciousness to establish itself in and craving/clinging is what allows/causes the consciousness to arise from past karma. And what I just wrote is in no way a satisfactory explanation to me.


Dwelling at Savatthi... "Monks, I will describe & analyze dependent co-arising for you.

"And what is dependent co-arising? From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.

"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.

"And what is becoming? These three are becomings: sensual becoming, form becoming, & formless becoming. This is called becoming.

"And what is clinging/sustenance? These four are clingings: sensuality clinging, view clinging, precept & practice clinging, and doctrine of self clinging. This is called clinging.

"And what is craving? These six are classes of craving: craving for forms, craving for sounds, craving for smells, craving for tastes, craving for tactile sensations, craving for ideas. This is called craving.

"And what is feeling? These six are classes of feeling: feeling born from eye-contact, feeling born from ear-contact, feeling born from nose-contact, feeling born from tongue-contact, feeling born from body-contact, feeling born from intellect-contact. This is called feeling.

"And what is contact? These six are classes of contact: eye-contact, ear-contact, nose-contact, tongue-contact, body-contact, intellect-contact. This is called contact.

"And what are the six sense media? These six are sense media: the eye-medium, the ear-medium, the nose-medium, the tongue-medium, the body-medium, the intellect-medium. These are called the six sense media.

"And what is name-&-form? Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called name. The four great elements, and the form dependent on the four great elements: This is called form. This name & this form are called name-&-form.

"And what is consciousness? These six are classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness. This is called consciousness.

"And what are fabrications? These three are fabrications: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, mental fabrications. These are called fabrications.

"And what is ignorance? Not knowing stress, not knowing the origination of stress, not knowing the cessation of stress, not knowing the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called ignorance.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Here are some sources on D.O., some I have read and some I haven't but will get around too it

http://www.vipassati.ch/english/books/P ... ebook.html

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... coming.pdf

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

http://www.leighb.com/deporg1.htm

http://www.leighb.com/talks.htm#do2010

http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/coarise.htm

http://www.dharma.org/ij/archives/1999a/christina.htm

http://nichirenscoffeehouse.net/Ryuei/depen-orig.html
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 08, 2012 9:45 pm

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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue May 08, 2012 10:04 pm

Sweet, Thanks

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 08, 2012 10:47 pm

Greetings,

Don't get me started!

:tongue:

Actually, I did prepare a one-pager outlining my understanding of Dependent Origination quite some time ago, and I've been meaning to revisit it (as these things should be a work in progress, as understanding becomes more refined), but I haven't got around to it.

I'll try to remember to update it and I'll present it back here (or in a linked topic) for your consideration.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue May 08, 2012 11:59 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Don't get me started!

:tongue:

Actually, I did prepare a one-pager outlining my understanding of Dependent Origination quite some time ago, and I've been meaning to revisit it (as these things should be a work in progress, as understanding becomes more refined), but I haven't got around to it.

I'll try to remember to update it and I'll present it back here (or in a linked topic) for your consideration.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Thanks Retro, that would be sick. I figure the more angles I can see D.O. from the more likely I'll actually be able to grasp some of it's more complicated aspects.

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 09, 2012 12:12 am

Here are some more links discussing different interpretations.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 23#p185483
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=7464
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 42#p146710
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books6/Bhikk ... uppada.htm
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... nation.htm

As the first link states:
The description of Dependent Origination given in the previous chapter is that most often found in the scriptures and commentaries. It seeks to explain Dependent Origination in terms of the samsaravatta, the round of rebirth, showing the connections between three lifetimes -- the past, the present and the future.

Those who do not agree with this interpretation, or who would prefer something more immediate, can find alternatives not only in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, where the principle of Dependent Origination is shown occurring in its entirety in one mind moment, but can also interpret the very same words of the Buddha used to support the standard model in a different light, giving a very different picture of the principle of Dependent Origination, one which is supported by teachings and scriptural references from other sources.

So various interpretations have been available for thousands of years... :tongue:

:anjali:
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby dhamma_newb » Sun May 13, 2012 12:29 pm

I am trying to learn Dependent Origination too. I found an article titled "An Application of the Dependent Origination in Insight Meditation Practice" which looks like it will be helpful in our studies and practice. I've also included it as a pdf file for easy download. Hope this helps!
Attachments
Dr Jenny Dependent Origination Meditation.pdf
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby nowheat » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:05 am

Timely question for me. I'm just in the middle of a series of blogposts that describes the way a secular understanding of dependent origination can be seen in daily life and practice. I'd be glad of comments here if anyone is interested in a DO that doesn't discuss karma or rebirth at all.

http://secularbuddhism.org/2012/06/07/a ... -contents/

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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby dhammapal » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:06 am

See: The Shape of Suffering: A Study of Dependent Co-Arising by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (112 page pdf)

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:26 pm

nowheat wrote:Timely question for me. I'm just in the middle of a series of blogposts that describes the way a secular understanding of dependent origination can be seen in daily life and practice. I'd be glad of comments here if anyone is interested in a DO that doesn't discuss karma or rebirth at all.

http://secularbuddhism.org/2012/06/07/a ... -contents/

:namaste:


Hi Linda,

Thank you for the interesting blog posts. Perhaps you (or someone more familiar with them) would care to contrast your approach with other modern models, such as those of Venerables Buddhadassa, Nanavira, and Nanananda. Superficially, at least, there appear to be a lot of similarities, and many modern teachers seem to use a similar model, either as an alternative or a supplement to more traditional models.

:anjali:
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby gavesako » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:34 pm

Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby suttametta » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:40 pm

Punnaji does an excellent job:

http://www.bhantepunnaji.com/ongoing.htm
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:44 pm

suttametta wrote:Punnaji does an excellent job:

http://www.bhantepunnaji.com/ongoing.htm

Can you summarise his general approach? It's a rather slow conversation if we have to listen to a whole series of talks and then come back... :coffee:

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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby suttametta » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:01 am

I think it hinges upon the way he translates the terms differently. Avijja is unconsciousness. Meaning the process can only happen unconsciously and stops when you become conscious of it. Sankhara is constructions: mental, verbal and body (respiration), Vinnana is perception, Namarupa is name and image, Salayatana is the six senses as usual, Phassa is sense experience, Vedana is feeling (pleasure or pain), Tanha is the emotional reaction (rather than suffering), Upadana is personalization of the emotion, Bhava is existence (nounifying an activity), Jati is birth, Jara-Marana is old age and death. The emphasis in the difference here is on the translation of tanha as emotional reaction, avijja as unconsciously happening and namarupa being all in the mind so that the awareness of the process collapses the causal net.

He also translates sati as introversion of attention, rather than mindfulness, such that the method is to pay attention to the change in the body, the sensation, the feeling/mood and the thought (dhamma) when an emotional reaction begins. Simply becoming aware of these changes causes the process to stop. Then, the mind becomes tranquil, enters the fourth jhana and you see how these 12-links operate. When the reaction finally stops because of this, the mind becomes perfectly still and that's nibbana.

This is a pretty simple overview. It might be leaving things out, but this is the general gist.
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:04 am

Thanks for the summary!

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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby cooran » Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:57 am

Hello all,

Interesting article by Ajahn Brahmavamso.

PATICCA-SAMUPPADA - DEPENDENT ORIGINATION
- Introduction
- Dependent Origination .. Standard Description
- The meaning of the Twelve Factors, as defined by the Buddha
- Causality and the Twelve Factors
- On the meaning of Sanditthika and Akalika
- Causality and the necessary and sufficient conditions
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... nation.htm

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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby nowheat » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:22 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Linda,

Thank you for the interesting blog posts. Perhaps you (or someone more familiar with them) would care to contrast your approach with other modern models, such as those of Venerables Buddhadassa, Nanavira, and Nanananda. Superficially, at least, there appear to be a lot of similarities, and many modern teachers seem to use a similar model, either as an alternative or a supplement to more traditional models.

Thanks for asking, Mike. I'll give it a try and if I expose any of my misunderstandings about what others say, I'll be glad of any corrections. I admit to not spending a lot of time on anyone but Nanavira ("Notes on Dhamma" yes, only just got a copy of "Clearing the Path" so not read much of it yet -- wanting to though!). I've breezed through Buddhadhasa's, not read Nanananda's at all that I'm aware of.

If they seem, superficially, to be similar, I believe that's the good news. We're all looking at the same thing, and hopefully everyone's understanding eventually merges into the closest possible presentation of what the Buddha was attempting to convey.

I am guessing the primary difference between this take and any traditional version is that it doesn't see what's being described as saying that what results from the chain is rebirth; it says what results from the chain is dukkha. It also says that the cause of the chain is not unused karma from a past life, but is the observable tendency of humans to behave in certain ways. It picks up these two differences in view from the overall, underlying structure of the lesson, rather than from specific texts (although once the structure is recognized, it can be seen that the texts support it).

More specifically, when it comes to what it is talking about "in practice", it makes a much stronger clarification of what our problem behavior is -- that it is a drive to sort the world into "that which relates to us" (aka "what we like" and "what is like us" and "what supports who we think we are") and "that which doesn't relate to us", and that this leads us to get more and more entrenched in our views about who we are and what life is about, and that it's this certainty that leads to the behavior that produces dukkha.

Another difference would be that it recognizes three distinct divisions in the links. The first portion (avijja to salayatana) is more like an overview than linear steps; the model for this first portion is the Prajapati myth (along the lines suggested by Joanna Jurewicz' "Playing With Fire"); it's addressing how we come to be the way we are and what's driving us to behave the way we do. The second section (phassa to upadana) is (as pretty much everyone knows) a description of "the things we do" but in this understanding it's definitely "the things we do that create our sense that we have a self". The last division (bhava to jaramarana) is seen as describing the results, which is the way we manifest the behavior that ends in dukkha -- that our beliefs and convictions become visible to the world and the end result is dukkha.

If that doesn't answer quite the question you asked, please let me know and I'll try again.

:namaste:
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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:16 am

nowheat wrote:I am guessing the primary difference between this take and any traditional version is that it doesn't see what's being described as saying that what results from the chain is rebirth; it says what results from the chain is dukkha.

Sure, but that's basically what I understood Venerables Buddhadassa, Nanavira and Nanananda to be arguing.

There are links to Ven Nananda's "Nibbana Sermons" (Nibbana, the mind stilled) at this Wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katukurund ... ished_work


And, as I mentioned in quotes above, there is a "single moment" interpretation in the Classical Theravada as well:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 42#p146710
Bhikkhu Nanamoli's footnote to Visuddhimagga XV11.309, page 607-608 of the PDF from Access to Insight.
But this is not the only application. With suitable modifications it is also used in the
Vibhanga to describe the structure of the complex in each one of the 89 single type-
consciousnesses laid down in the Dhammasanganì; and Bhadantácariya Buddhaghosa
says: “This structure of conditions is present not only in (a continuity period consisting
of) multiple consciousnesses but also in each single consciousness as well”

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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby nowheat » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:24 am

mikenz66 wrote:And, as I mentioned in quotes above, there is a "single moment" interpretation in the Classical Theravada as well:


Would you say, then, the the interpretations you've mentioned so far have in common that they are about single-moment, or moment-to-moment descriptions of how we produce dukkha? Maybe we can address "scale" as a starting point for comparisons?

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Re: Understanding Dependent Origination

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:39 am

Sure. Some, such as Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Ajahn Payutto, and many other teachers talk about it working on various timescales. Thanissaro Bhikkhu makes it particularly explicit:

The Shape of Suffering: A Study of Dependent Co-arising, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html
Dependent co-arising can be observed at many scales, which means
that lessons drawn from observing the world can be applied to the mind,
and lessons drawn from observing the mind can be applied to one’s
interactions with the world. Lessons about the process of death and rebirth
on the physical level, for example, can be gained from observing the
present-moment death and rebirth of attachments in the mind.


:anjali:
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