Ignorance or craving as the cause of suffering?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Re: Ignorance or craving as the cause of suffering?

Post by santa100 »

Sam Vara wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:06 pm
santa100 wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:55 pm
Hold on, so you're saying that DO is strictly and exclusively a kind of momentary thing, like all 12 links happen in 1 single life-time?
No, I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that I haven't seen evidence in the suttas that the Buddha was talking about a cyclical process. My point is not about the duration of the process (i.e. three lives, one life, or instantaneous) but about the shape of the process (i.e. whether it is a cycle.)
I see. Well, then that's a separte topic to disscuss. I thought you're one of those single-life only type of guy...
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Re: Ignorance or craving as the cause of suffering?

Post by Sam Vara »

santa100 wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:12 pm I thought you're one of those single-life only type of guy...
:jumping: No, not at all! I think the Buddha was very clear on that and left no room for ambiguity. If he intended us to understand the nidanas as some kind of cycle, however, then the standard formula would presumably have included a repetition at some stage.
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Re: Ignorance or craving as the cause of suffering?

Post by mikenz66 »

Sam Vara wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:15 pm ... I have seen different delineations or presentations of DO (i.e. as opposed to seeing DO as an object of direct personal perception). Some of them present a cyclical process, whereas others don't. I don't recall seeing a cyclical presentation among the suttas, so I can't favour a cyclical presentation over others.
I also don't see it presented as a cyclic process, more a process that continues...

I like this comment from Bhikkhu Bodhi (more at the link):
Dependent origination offers a radically different perspective that transcends the two extremes. It shows that individual existence is constituted by a current of conditioned phenomena devoid of metaphysical self yet continuing on from birth to birth as long as the causes that sustain it remain effective. Dependent origination thereby offers a cogent explanation of the problem of suffering that on the one hand avoids the philosophical dilemmas posed by the hypothesis of a permanent self, and on the other avoids the dangers of ethical anarchy to which annihilationism eventually leads. As long as ignorance and craving remain, the process of rebirth continues; kamma yields its pleasant and painful fruit, and the great mass of suffering accumulates. When ignorance and craving are destroyed, the inner mechanism of karmic causation is deactivated, and one reaches the end of suffering in samsara. Perhaps the most elegant exposition of dependent origination as the "middle teaching" is the famous Kaccanogotta sutta.
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Re: Ignorance or craving as the cause of suffering?

Post by pilgrim »

Both Ignorance and Craving are in the 12 links that ultimately lead to "jarā·maraṇaṃ soka·parideva·dukkha·domanass·upāyāsā" - old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, suffering, pain, grief. Craving is the immediate cause of suffering, but without Ignorance there will be no Craving.

The DO is linear as the 12th link, old age, death, sorrow, etc is not the cause of the 1st link, Ignorance. Ignorance is the first cause. Tibetan depiction of DO as a wheel is merely a visual aid to depict the round of rebirths in samasara.
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Re: Ignorance or craving as the cause of suffering?

Post by _anicca_ »

Ignorance leads to craving, which leads to suffering.

Desire causes suffering, but ignorance causes desire.

Because of that, ignorance leads to suffering.
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."


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Re: Ignorance or craving as the cause of suffering?

Post by Spiny Norman »

santa100 wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:55 pm
Spiny Norman wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:53 am
santa100 wrote: Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:30 pm 2. Avijja/ignorance and its twelve links of DO should be seen as cyclical instead of a linear start-to-end fashion. That's why you see many graphical demonstration of DO in the form of a spinning wheel with 12 spokes.
I can see bhava as being cyclical, but not DO as a whole.
Please explain why you don't see DO as being cyclical?
One reason is that for DO to be cyclical, ignorance ( the first nidana ) would have to arise in dependence on old age and death ( the last nidana ), which doesn't really make sense.

I do see the bhava nidana as cyclical. You could view the subsequent nidanas as cyclical, or as a one-off example of the birth/aging/death cycle.

Arguably there are other cyclical processes within DO, but I don't see how DO as a whole is cyclical. I'm familiar with the Tibetan wheel of life, but I haven't come across this cyclical representation in a Theravada context.
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