Thursday, 17 May 2012

Paticcasamuppada or the Dependent Origination.

The  teachings of the Buddha is deep and profound , but it becomes complicated and complex  the way it is being  explainesd..

The profound most teaching of the Buddha is in the Abhidhamma, but the Buddha left it out from the ordinary beings the prtajjhana as the profundity of that Dhamma would have confused them.

If Paticcasamuppada is seen as a  Dhamm that encompass the whole of the  teachings of the Buddha then the meaning of  it would be more comprehensible.  Therefore without any pretention to be a specialist of the teaching or having a perfect understand of the teaching I explain what I have understood of the  Paticcasamuppada with the intention of knowing it better from others.

Paticcasamuppada the teaching of dependent arising  has 12 steps. Of this the first is Avijja (Ignorance) which has nothing to do with knowledge, education or learning.  It is simply the ignorance of the reality of phenomena.  The misconceptions such as, that every thing is permanent, every thing gives pleasure and satisfaction and that there is a self that indulges in worldly pleasures.

A being existing with these  wrong conceptions carry on activities  that have future Kammic resultsa (kammavipaka) which are  therefore the Sankhara( mental formations) the second step of the Paticcasamuppada, arising through avijja (ignorance).

The primary consequence of Kamma is  the life or rebirth resulting  through the accumulated Kamma. The rebirth  results in producing  vinnana (consciousness) in the beginning of the life, which is the third step of the Paticcasamuppada.

Vinnana (consciousness) arises with the mental factors  such as passa (contact) vedana(feeling)  sanna (perception)cetana( volition) and formations (sankhara) along with a material body (foetus). Hence  mind and form(nama-rupa) which is the forth step of Paticcasamuppda.

Along with the mind -form (nama-rupa) comes the eyes, ears, tongue, nose, body and mind- the six sense faculties (salayatana), which is the fifthe step of Paticcasamuppada.  These senses are the faculties that sense the outside world by coming in contact(pasaa) with objects. Passa (contact) is the  sixth step of the Patciccasamuppada.

The most important experience we have from the sense faculties (slayatana ) coming in contact (passa) with the objects is the feeling (vedana). These feelings(vedana) are varied according to the object that come in contact with the six different  sense faculties.  Feelings (vedana )is the  seventh step of the Paticcasamuppada.  Feelings (vedana) are  either pleasant and create desire to have more of it or unpleasant and create desire to get rid of them.  This desire (tanha) to have more of pleasant feelings (vedana) or  get rid of them is the eighth step of the Patticcasamuppada

Then through desire arises the intense desire to possess and enjoy what is pleasant, this utmost desire to enjoy more of what is pleasant is  upadana( craving) which is the  ninth step of Paticcasamuppada.

This craving (upadana) makes us slaves to objects of desire for which we have a craving (upadana) and prepares life  in ways to get what is craved for,  and thereby make kamma to satisfy the way we have prepared our lives to enjoy or possess that which we crave(upadana).  That way of life we adopt to satisfy our craving (upadana) is the bhava (existence) which is the tenth  step of Paticcasamuppada..

In existing the way we have chosen to live, we make  life producing kamma which is the re-birth (jati).   Rebirth or Jathi is the eleventh step of the Paticchasamuppada.  In rebirth  we experience old age, death and suffering that comes with the rebirth.

This suffering through old age(jara),death (marana) and all the suffering coming along with that is the twelfth step of the Paticca samuppada.  Each step of the Paticcasamuppada follows the previous and that is the sequential conditions with its following results that make up the Paticcasamuppada or dependant origination.

In this twelve steps the last two jati( rebirth) and jara (old age and illness) marana (death) and soka parideva( grief and lamentation  which is suffering in the larger context make up the Samsara.

Birth is the necessary condition to experience  suffering .  If there were to be no birth there would be no suffering .  Hence each step conditions the following until we come to suffering .  The dependent origination (paticcasamuppada) shows us that the last step  “suffering “ is the result of the beginning  condition of  avijja (ignorance)

Hence we see why the Buddha explained this teaching of dependent origination (paticcasamuppada).  It explains the four noble truths  beginning with Suffering., the cause of suffering and how suffering arises.

Knowing the paticcasamuppada makes us  understand the causes of suffering and find the means to reduce this suffering.   As suffering begins with avijja (ignorance) there is a way to eliminate avijja. As birth is the cause of suffering  the way to eliminate suffering is to end future rebirth.

The re-birth and suffering  the last two steps of paticcasamuppada taken together is the Samsara the cycle of  births and deaths. Samsara is not the world  but how we as human beings experience the world. The Samsara is our views of life and how we live through it. Nevertheless each one of us goes through life in his own way but
yet goes through the endless cycle of births and deaths .

Hence Paticcasamuppada shows us both the suffering and  also shows at what  is  Samsara.

In order to find a way to end suffering, we have to go to the beginning of the Paticcasamupada, to  Avijja (ignorance).  When we understand  the true nature of Avijja (ignorance) we can eliminate  aviija the first step of Paticcasamuppada.

As each step is causally dependent on the other it follows rthat elimination of the first eliminates the second and so on until we end the  twelfth step of suffering.  Similarly even if we do not eliminate avijja , if we could weaken it then the subsequent steps too get weakend and less of suffering would be the end result.

In order to eliminate avijja we will have to understand what it is. When we know that it is a distorted outlook of life, unable to see things as they are, then we will know that it is the result of the delusion of not understanding  the reality of Anicca (impermanence) dukkha ( suffering) and anatta (no-self)  Hence avijja (ignorance) being the root of the cycle described in Paticcasamuppada, it is the beginning of all suffering ?

But avijja is a delusion of realities of life , a distorted view of reality. What contributes to this delusion ?

What contributes to this delusion are the five nivarana (hindrances) –thinamiddha (lethargy), kamachchandha( desire for sence objects), vyapada( ill-will) uddacca kukkucca( restlessness and worry) and vicikiccha (doubt)

Sronger the hindrances stronger is the delusion.  The hindrances such as anger and desire themselves distort how we look at things.

In order to weaken the hindrances, which would in turn weaken the  avijja and following steps of the Paticcasamuppada we will have to reduce the   hindrances which are also the defilements(kilesa) of the mind.  How can we do that ? It is by following the noble eightfold path.

This is how the Paticcasamuppada is seen as an all encompassing  teaching of the Buddha.

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