Wizard in the Forest wrote:I would like to know the relationship between Kamma and dependent origination. A person has told me Kamma is the driving force behind dependent origination, but I don't think so. I think it is obviously a result of dependent origination, but not the ultimate push behind it. I always thought ignorance is the push, but I would like to be sure. If anyone has suttas that explain it, I'd be grateful, and if any Bhantes can clarify or help me understand the relationship between the two, I would be really grateful too.
Taking the general form of dependent origination as "when this is, that is; when this arises, that arises; when this is not, that is not, when this ceases, that ceases", then kamma and vipaka are a specific example or type of dependent origination.
Such a general form of dependent origination is the basic Buddhist causal theory, and therefore there are various forms. In Theravada terms, there are five systems, and kamma - vipaka is one of those; along with those pertaining to the physical world, seed / biological world, mental world, and the Dhamma as perhaps a kind of transcendent form.
The system of 12 links of dependent origination is, of course, not the only form of dependent origination. It contains several of the basic forms, including the kammic, but also the mental and perhaps biological too.
However, in the course of Buddhist development, the position on dependent origination has been one of dispute. Some considered the phrase to refer to the actual (12) elements in the process; others considered it referred to the causal relationship between the elements. As such, some considered it conditioned, and others as unconditioned. It is perhaps very helpful to make a distinction, as some schools did, between dependent origination and that which is dependently originated. Usually the former is the causal relation, the latter the specific results which are also causes.
You therefore may need to clarify the understanding of both kamma (and vipaka) as well as dependent origination (and the dependently originated), before then going on to examine what the relationship between these two basic ideas are.