SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

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"And what, bhikkhus, is ignoranc? Not knowing suffering, not knowing the origin of suffering, not knowing the cessation of suffering, not knowing the way leading to the cessation of suffering."

BB: This definition shows that ignorance, as the most basic cause of samsaric existence, is lack of knowledge of the Four Noble Truths. Although in popular accounts ignorance is often identified with the idea of self, the definitions here show that the view of self is an aspect of clinging, with is itself conditioned by craving, while the latter is in turn conditioned by ignorance.
See: AN 10.62: http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
[2. Craving]

62. Bhikkhus, a beginning to the craving `to be' cannot be pointed out.-'Before this there was no craving `to be', it occured afterwards. Bhikkhus, it is pointed out: On account of this, there is `craving `to be'.

Bhikkhus, I say, craving `to be' too has a supportive condition. What is the supportive condition for craving `to be'.? Ignorance is the reply. Bhikkhus, I say, even ignorance has a supportive condition. What is the supportive condition for ignorance?
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

mikenz66 wrote:It should be noted that in the Nikayas namarupa does not include conciousness (vinnana). Conciousness is its condition and the two are mutually dependent, like two sheaves of reeds leaning against one another.
What puzzles me is that in some suttas this mutual dependence of vinnana and nama-rupa is described, whereas in other suttas nama-rupa is described as arising in dependence on consiousness, eg in this extract quoted earlier in the thread:

SN 12.2 PTS: S ii 2 CDB i 534 Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
"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..."

Does anyone know why this is?

Spiny
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

Post by pegembara »

@spiny

I used to be confused too. There are eye, ear, nose, body ... consciousness that arise from contact eg. light hitting eyes, sound waves hitting ear drum, touch sensations etc. Then there is an awareness or "consciousness" of forms, sounds, touch ie. eye consciousness, ear consciousness(vinnana) etc.

Without this awareness or vinnana it is as though there is no form, sounds heard or touch felt which are the objects of experience (namarupa). The vinnana in DO refers to this type of consciousness.

Eg. I am sitting. When I am preoocupied with my thoughts, there is no awareness of sitting. "I" am literally not sitting until "I" bring my attention to sitting. So it literally is body sits but only when awareness of that fact occurs that the thought "I am sitting" appears. It is even more obvious with swallowing.

On the other hand when I put my awareness on say sounds of a bell. The sound comes and goes. Even though I am still aware there is no experience of sound. Awareness/vinnana needs and object/namarupa for an experience to occur. Then comes the sense media : experience of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, body sensations and mental world.

Without this awareness/vinnana there is no experience of sitting,swallowing, sounds, etc. and vice versa.

"Very well then, Kotthita my friend, I will give you an analogy; for there are cases where it is through the use of an analogy that intelligent people can understand the meaning of what is being said. It is as if two sheaves of reeds were to stand leaning against one another. In the same way, from name-&-form 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 suffering & stress.

"If one were to pull away one of those sheaves of reeds, the other would fall; if one were to pull away the other, the first one would fall. In the same way, from the cessation of name-&-form 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 suffering & stress."
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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mikenz66
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

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Hi Spiny,

It seems clear that the DO sequence is not linear, and that there are a number of variations from the 12-step formula.

See, for example:
DN 15 Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does name-and-form come?' one should say, 'Name-and-form comes from consciousness as its requisite condition.'

"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for consciousness?' one should answer, 'There is.'

"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition does consciousness come?' one should say, 'Consciousness comes from name-and-form as its requisite condition.'

"Thus, Ananda, from name-and-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form. From name-and-form as a requisite condition comes contact. ...
SN 12.65 Nagara Sutta: The City
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
From my appropriate attention there came the breakthrough of discernment: 'Name-&-form exists when consciousness exists. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form.' Then the thought occurred to me, 'Consciousness exists when what exists? From what as a requisite condition comes consciousness?' From my appropriate attention there came the breakthrough of discernment: 'Consciousness exists when name-&-form exists. From name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness.'

"Then the thought occurred to me, 'This consciousness turns back at name-&-form, and goes no farther. It is to this extent that there is birth, aging, death, falling away, & re-arising, i.e., from name-&-form 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... Thus is the origination of this entire mass of stress. Origination, origination.' Vision arose, clear knowing arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before.
:anjali:
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Spiny,
Spiny O'Norman wrote:What puzzles me is that in some suttas this mutual dependence of vinnana and nama-rupa is described, whereas in other suttas nama-rupa is described as arising in dependence on consiousness, eg in this extract quoted earlier in the thread:

SN 12.2 PTS: S ii 2 CDB i 534 Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
"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..."

Does anyone know why this is?
Because both are true - one does not preclude the other.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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mikenz66
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

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Among others, Ajahn Payutto http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/payutto.htm,

Offers some alternatives in his book on Dependent Origination http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/coarise.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
5 Other Interpretations

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.

The arguments used to support such an interpretation are many. For instance, the immediacy of the end of suffering and the sorrowless life of the Arahant are states which can arise in this present life. It is not necessary to die before realizing the cessation of birth, aging and death, and thus sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. Those things can be overcome in this very lifetime. The whole of the Dependent Origination cycle, both in the arising of suffering and in its cessation, is concerned with this present life. If the cycle can be clearly understood as it operates in the present, it follows that the past and the future will also be clearly understood, because they are all part of the one cycle.
...
http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/coarise5.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

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My main reason for drawing attention to Ajahn Payutto is that the appendix to his book, A problem with the word "nirodha" is particularly relevant to thinking about these suttas. Ajahns Amaro and Pasano quote this in their book "The Island" http://forestsangha.org/index.php?optio ... &Itemid=25" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
A problem with the word "nirodha"

The word nirodha has been translated as "cessation" for so long that it has become standard practice, and any deviation from it leads to queries. Even in this book I have opted for this standard translation for sake of convenience and to avoid confusing it for other Pali terms (apart from lack of a better word). In fact, however, this rendering of the word "nirodha" as "ceased" can in many instances be a mis-rendering of the text.

Generally speaking, the word "cease" means to do away with something which has already arisen, or the stopping of something which has already begun. However, nirodha in the teaching of Dependent Origination (as also in dukkhanirodha, the third of the Four Noble Truths) means the non-arising, or non-existence, of something because the cause of its arising is done away with. For example, the phrase "when avijja is nirodha, sankhara are also nirodha," which is usually taken to mean "with the cessation of ignorance, volitional impulses cease," in fact means "when there is no ignorance, or no arising of ignorance, or when there is no longer any problem with ignorance, there are no volitional impulses, volitional impulses do not arise, or there is no longer any problem with volitional impulses." It does not mean that ignorance already arisen must be done away with before the volitional impulses which have already arisen will also be done away with.

Where nirodha should be rendered as cessation is when it is used in reference to the natural way of things, or the nature of compounded things. In this sense it is a synonym for the words bhanga, breaking up, anicca, transient, khaya, cessation or vaya, decay. For example, in the Pali it is given: imam kho bhikkhave tisso vedana anicca sankhata paticcasamuppanna khayadhamma vayadhamma viragadhamma nirodhadhamma: "Monks, these three kinds of feeling are naturally impermanent, compounded, dependently arisen, transient, subject to decay, dissolution, fading and cessation."[S.IV.214] (All of the factors occurring in the Dependent Origination cycle have the same nature.) In this instance, the meaning is "all conditioned things (sankhara), having arisen, must inevitably decay and fade according to supporting factors." There is no need to try to stop them, they cease of themselves. Here the intention is to describe a natural condition which, in terms of practice, simply means "that which arises can be done away with."

As for nirodha in the third Noble Truth (or the Dependent Origination cycle in cessation mode), although it also describes a natural process, its emphasis is on practical considerations. It is translated in two ways in the Visuddhimagga. One way traces the etymology to "ni" (without) + "rodha" (prison, confine, obstacle, wall, impediment), thus rendering the meaning as "without impediment," "free of confinement." This is explained as "free of impediments, that is, the confinement of samsara." Another definition traces the origin to anuppada, meaning "not arising", and goes on to say "nirodha here does not mean bhanga, breaking up and dissolution."

Therefore, translating nirodha as "cessation", although not entirely wrong, is nevertheless not entirely accurate. On the other hand, there is no other word which comes so close to the essential meaning as "cessation." However, we should understand what is meant by the term. In this context, the Dependent Origination cycle in its cessation mode might be better rendered as "being free of ignorance, there is freedom from volitional impulses ..." or "when ignorance is gone, volitional impulses are gone ..." or "when ignorance ceases to give fruit, volitional impulses cease to give fruit ..." or "when ignorance is no longer a problem, volitional impulses are no longer a problem."

Even in the forward mode, there are some problems with definitions. The meaning of many of the Pali terms are too broad to be translated into any single English words. For instance, avijja paccaya sankhara also means "When ignorance is like this, volitional impulses are like this; volitional impulses being this way, consciousness is like this; consciousness being this way, body and mind are like this; ..."

http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/coarisea.htm#problem" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

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I think this is best explained in reference to the multiple feedback loops which occur in the Dependent Origination formula:
However, one of the many things the Buddha discovered in the course of his awakening was that causality is not linear. The experience of the present is shaped both by actions in the present and by actions in the past. Actions in the present shape both the present and the future. The results of past and present actions continually interact. Thus there is always room for new input into the system, which gives scope for free will. There is also room for the many feedback loops that make experience so thoroughly complex, and that are so intriguingly described in chaos theory. Reality doesn’t resemble a simple line or circle. It’s more like the bizarre trajectories of a strange attractor or a Mandelbrot set.
https://mettarefuge.wordpress.com/2011/ ... casuality/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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pegembara
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

Post by pegembara »

There is a scope for making choices but there is no absolute freedom. All actions have consequences. One is not free to act as one likes without experiencing the results.

There is no free choice from the point of view of self. The choice given is akin to an armed robber saying, " I am giving you a choice: your money or your life?". Kamma-vipaka is operating at this level.

If we were to apply this analogy to the Buddhist path, the system we’re in is samsara, the round of rebirth. Its resonances would be what the texts called “non-fashioning,” the opening to the uncaused: nibbana. The wall of resistant forces around the resonances would correspond to pain, stress, and attachment. To allow yourself to be repelled by stress or deflected by attachment, no matter how subtle, would be like approaching a resonance but then veering off to another part of the system. But to focus directly on analyzing stress and attachment, and deconstructing their causes, would be like getting on an undeflected trajectory right into the resonance and finding total, undefined freedom.

https://mettarefuge.wordpress.com/2011/ ... casuality/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Spiny,
Spiny O'Norman wrote:What puzzles me is that in some suttas this mutual dependence of vinnana and nama-rupa is described, whereas in other suttas nama-rupa is described as arising in dependence on consiousness, eg in this extract quoted earlier in the thread:

SN 12.2 PTS: S ii 2 CDB i 534 Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
"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..."

Does anyone know why this is?
Because both are true - one does not preclude the other.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Generally in the suttas DO is desribed in terms of one nidana arising ( or ceasing ) in dependence on the previous one. But uniquely vinnana and nama-rupa are described in some suttas as being mutually dependent, and it seems to me that "A arising in dependence on B" has a quite different meaning to "A and B being mutually dependent". Do you see what I'm getting at?

Spiny
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Spiny,

It seems clear that the DO sequence is not linear, and that there are a number of variations from the 12-step formula.
I was reflecting on the general formula for DO which appears in some suttas, ie "When this is, that is; when this arises, that arises...."

Is it the case that "When this is, that is.." refers to non-linear conditionality, whereas "When this arises, that arises..." refers to linear conditionality?

Spiny
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

Post by Spiny O'Norman »

mikenz66 wrote:My main reason for drawing attention to Ajahn Payutto is that the appendix to his book, A problem with the word "nirodha" is particularly relevant to thinking about these suttas. Ajahns Amaro and Pasano quote this in their book "The Island" http://forestsangha.org/index.php?optio ... &Itemid=25" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
A problem with the word "nirodha"

Generally speaking, the word "cease" means to do away with something which has already arisen, or the stopping of something which has already begun. However, nirodha in the teaching of Dependent Origination (as also in dukkhanirodha, the third of the Four Noble Truths) means the non-arising, or non-existence, of something because the cause of its arising is done away with. http://www.buddhanet.net/cmdsg/coarisea.htm#problem" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Yes, this is a useful clarification, though in a practical sense non-arising does result in cessation.

Spiny
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Re: SN 12.1, 12.2 Dependent Origination

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Spiny,

Your questions go to the heart of the whole DO idea. Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of DN15 (not availale on-line as far as I can see) discusses this vortex of name-and-form and conciousness, as do many of the works of Ven Nanananda http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katukurund ... anda_Thera" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. This essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, referred to above https://mettarefuge.wordpress.com/2011/ ... casuality/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; or http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... nance.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; as well as his book "Wings to Awakening" http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; also discusses non-linearity.

:anjali:
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