Abhidhamma View : Dependent Arising I
[Presented by Dr.Tep Sastri @ SariputtaDhamma/JTN/Mult]
CMA VIII, p. 294-295:
Therein : 1. Dependent on ignorance arise kammic formations. 2. Dependent on kammic formations arises consciousness. 3. Dependent on consciousness arises mind-and-matter. 4. Dependent on mind-and-matter arise the six sense bases. 5. Dependent on the six sense bases arises contact. 6. Dependent on contact arises feeling. 7. Dependent on feeling arises craving. 8. Dependent on craving arises clinging. 9. Dependent on clinging arises existence. 10. Dependent on existence arise birth. 11. Dependent on arise decay-and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. Thus arises this whole mass of suffing. Herein, this is the method of dependent arising.
Dependent arising is essentailly an account of the actual causal structure of the round of existence(va.t.ta), disclosing the conditions that sustain the wheel of birth and death and make it revolve from one existence to another. In the Commentaries dependent arising is defined as the arising of effects evenly in dependence on a conjunction of conditions (paccaya-saamaggi.m pa.ticca sama.m phalaana.m uppaado). This implies that no single cause can produce an effect, nor does only one effect arise from a given cause. Rather, there is always a collection of conditions giving rise to a collection of effects. When, in the familiar formula, one state is declared to be the condition for another, this is said in order to single out the chief condition among a collection of conditions and relate it to the most important effect among a collection of effects.
(1) Dependent on ignorance arise kammic formations: Ignorance (avijja) is the cetasika delusion, which obscures perception of the true nature of things just as a cataract obscures perception of visible objects. According to the Suttanta method of explanation, ignorance is non-knowledge of the Four Noble Truths. According to the Abhidhamma method, ignorance is non-knowledge of eight things; the Four Noble Truths, the pre-natal past, the post-mortem future, the past and the future together, and dependent arising.
Kammic formations (sankhaara) are the twenty-nine volitions associated with the mundane wholesome and unwholesome cittas. The volitions in the eight great wholesome cittas and in the five wholesome fine-material jhaana cittas are collectively called meritorious volitional formations (pu~n~naa-bhisankhaara). The volitions in the twelve unwholesome cittas are called demeritorious volitional formations (apu~n~naa-bhisankhaara). And the volitions in the four wholesome immaterial jhaana cittas are called imperturbable volitional formations (aane~njaabhisankhaara).
When the mental continuum of a living being is imbued with ignorance, then his volitional activity generates kamma with the potency to produce results in the future. Hence ignorance is called the chief condition for kammic formations. Ignorance is predominant in unwholesome activities, while it is latent in mundane wholesome activities. Hence both mundane wholesome and unwholesome kammic formations are said to be conditioned by ignorance.
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