Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada)

Paticcasamuppada is a combined word of Pali. In it's combination Patticca means because of,sam means well, and uppada means arising of effect through cause. So conditioned by cause there arises effect, hence it is known as the Law of Dependent Origination or Cycle of Rebirths.

Whether a Buddha appears or not, the Paticcasamuppada exists. This is a nature of conditional fact, a Law of Dependent Origination, that is the principle of conditionality. Emphasizing its importance, the Buddha said in Pali:
Yo paticcasamuppadam passati, so Dhammam passati.
Yo Dhammam passati, so paticcasamuppadam passati.

It means:
One who sees paticcasamuppada sees the Dhamma.
One who sees the Dhamma sees paticcasamuppada.

On one occasion Venerable Ananda respectfully said to the Lord Buddha,

"How amazing! Never before has it occurred to me, Lord. This Law of Dependent Origination, although so profound and hard to see, but appears to me to be very simple!"

As a result of his words, the Buddha warns Ananda of his understanding the profundity of the Law of Dependent Origination,

"Ananda, say not so. This Law of Dependent Origination is a profound teaching, hard to see. It is through not knowing, not understanding and not thoroughly realizing this principle that beings are confused like a tangled thread, nest of a weaver bird, and cannot escape from hell, and the cycle of rebirths, samsara."

The Law of Dependent Origination can be classified into two dhammic principles. The first, showing the process of origination is known as the samudayavara. The latter, showing the process of cessation is known as the nirodhavara. The two processes are in sequence of the Four Noble Truths. The first principle relates to the second Noble Truths, the cause of suffering (dukkha samudaya). The second principle is a reverse mode and relates to the third Noble Truth, the cessation of suffering (dukkha nirodha).

Samsara is the process of repeated existences. Everybody has not been going against the Samsara since infinite period. It is lasting through the interconnected process of cause and effect which is called Paticcasamuppada. The process goes into reverse that this principle is the only way of cessation of the five aggregates (panca khandha).

From time immemorial, living beings has been born and reborn repeatedly. During their existences they violated various kinds of miseries and died again and again. They were always cycling on the outer rim of circular frame throughout life after life. All beings cannot put an end of suffering due to the ignorance (avijja) and craving (tanha). This is samsara, the stream of suffering (dukkha) as shown by the Dhamma.

Every living beings have to emerge from this cycle of becoming (bhava-cakka of dukkha). Therefore, the Buddha said that when any one of the links of the chain in anuloma-paticcasamuppada is cut off, the cycle of becoming comes to an end, i.e. the cessation of suffering. This is called patiloma-paticcasamuppada.

To be free from the excessive craving (tanha) one should realize the suffering in oneself. Most people are not in the life of detachment from pleasure, wandering thoughts, etc. With the absolute eradication of the defilements (kilesa), the reality will be glimpsed fleetingly. This is a cessation of suffering (nirhoda), i.e. Nibbana. This is the doctrine of dependent origination, discovered by all the Buddhas (Enlightened Ones). Why can't detachment be developed and excessive craving be eradicated? Let's try our best!

Posted by Nyan U

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