dependent origination

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dependent origination

Post by clyde » Fri May 17, 2019 11:30 pm

Dependent origination (or dependent co-arising) is a fundamental Buddhist doctrine and also the most complicated, so it seems like an anomaly to me. The teaching in the Pali suttas is paticca samuppada (pratityasmutpada in Sanskrit).

Here is a key sutta on the doctrine:
Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

One of the best explanations of dependent origination I found was in Buddha’a Map by Doug Kraft. His approach in not metaphysical, but phenomenological; and he presents it as not an explanation of how cause-and-effect works in the world, nor as an explanation (or support) of rebirth, but as an explanation of how we work.

Still, I wonder if and how others understand this doctrine.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: dependent origination

Post by fuki » Fri May 17, 2019 11:48 pm

clyde wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 11:30 pm
Still, I wonder if and how others understand this doctrine.
Keeping it very basic, in daily life situations with people I often spontaneously ask them the question;
If I wouldn't have said this, would you think (or feel etc) what you think right now?

The response surprisingly rarely is ""no" (usally the mind goes racing and identifying with all kinds of responses from the I-creature) but if by a miracle I get a "no" I then ask so what does that mean/imply?

This usually leads to a state of blankness so I utter a few words about the "voidness of own-being" or the expedient of inter-being. If you really want to understand what dependent origination implies for me, I will reply by saying that it simply means if anything would truly ever happen (or exist/originate by itself), we wouldn't be having this conversation right now, it just wouldn't be possible, that's the magic of what Buddhist call "emptiness" but I call it Love. Perhaps we can shake paws on our understanding, without the "our"
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Re: dependent origination

Post by Caodemarte » Sat May 18, 2019 12:33 am

The language, tracing back the chains of causes for any specific event or thing, as translated may sound complex, but the basic concept is not intellectually difficult at all. It may be hard emotionally to fully accept (anyway it is for me), but the basic principle is logically simple and logically defended (as well as confirmed by the meditative experience of the defenders). If you accept that everything is caused then it follows that everything is both a cause and an effect and have no uncaused, unchanging substance hiding away in a corner calling the shots (they are empty). There are several thousand years of writings that work out the implications of this and defeat any logically based challenge, but the basic thought is intellectually clear and simple. The trick is to realize it!

BTW and to be testy, dependent origination cannot be used as an explanation of “rebirth.” There is no “rebirth” in Buddhism (I don’t believe the Pali cannon ever uses the perfectly good Pali word for “rebirth” in connection with Buddhism), but rather “rebecoming” (the Pali word actually used) to signify that similar effects have similar causes.
Last edited by Caodemarte on Sat May 18, 2019 1:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: dependent origination

Post by fuki » Sat May 18, 2019 1:11 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 12:33 am
The trick is to realize it!
hmm yes, yet the very idea it is something to realize is a trick/trap in itself,
I've been in slaughterhouses witnessing extreme horrors of sentient beings, I have yet to meet anyone who claimed to realize the expedient of DO (they act if it is a "thing" and there's a "someone" to realize "it") but when confronted with reality their so called attainments amount to nothing. I will tell you there is no such thing as emptiness or dependent origination, or "enlightenment" it's merely an expedient for the deluded. So I have zero understanding of dependent origination (or anything from whatever religious framework) it is in fact the end of all understanding, the end of all being, love itself which is the only reality.
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Re: dependent origination

Post by clyde » Sat May 18, 2019 2:41 am

fuki wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 11:48 pm
clyde wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 11:30 pm
Still, I wonder if and how others understand this doctrine.
Keeping it very basic, in daily life situations with people I often spontaneously ask them the question;
If I wouldn't have said this, would you think (or feel etc) what you think right now?

The response surprisingly rarely is ""no" (usally the mind goes racing and identifying with all kinds of responses from the I-creature) but if by a miracle I get a "no" I then ask so what does that mean/imply?

This usually leads to a state of blankness so I utter a few words about the "voidness of own-being" or the expedient of inter-being. If you really want to understand what dependent origination implies for me, I will reply by saying that it simply means if anything would truly ever happen (or exist/originate by itself), we wouldn't be having this conversation right now, it just wouldn't be possible, that's the magic of what Buddhist call "emptiness" but I call it Love. Perhaps we can shake paws on our understanding, without the "our"
Fuki;

I think your example exemplifies this:
“When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.”

Vera Sutta: Animosity
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Many Buddhists equate this with dependent origination. I did, but now I think that the above verse is the more general statement about how the world works and as you noted, implies anatta (non-self) and sunyata (emptiness). I think dependent origination is a ‘special case’ and not meant to describe how all things or events arise.


p.s: DO and all the Zen Buddhist teachings and practices are expedient means. But this is a Zen Buddhist forum, so while it’s true that Zen Buddhism is an expedient means, we are here to discuss it.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: dependent origination

Post by clyde » Sat May 18, 2019 2:43 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 12:33 am
The language, tracing back the chains of causes for any specific event or thing, as translated may sound complex, but the basic concept is not intellectually difficult at all. It may be hard emotionally to fully accept (anyway it is for me), but the basic principle is logically simple and logically defended (as well as confirmed by the meditative experience of the defenders). If you accept that everything is caused then it follows that everything is both a cause and an effect and have no uncaused, unchanging substance hiding away in a corner calling the shots (they are empty). There are several thousand years of writings that work out the implications of this and defeat any logically based challenge, but the basic thought is intellectually clear and simple. The trick is to realize it!

BTW and to be testy, dependent origination cannot be used as an explanation of “rebirth.” There is no “rebirth” in Buddhism (I don’t believe the Pali cannon ever uses the perfectly good Pali word for “rebirth” in connection with Buddhism), but rather “rebecoming” (the Pali word actually used) to signify that similar effects have similar causes.
As I noted in my post above to Fuki, I don’t believe dependent origination is intended to explain all things and events. I think it’s intended to describe how things arise in our heart-minds which can be, as you wrote, “confirmed by the meditative experience”.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: dependent origination

Post by Caodemarte » Sat May 18, 2019 4:04 am

clyde wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 2:43 am
....As I noted in my post above to Fuki, I don’t believe dependent origination is intended to explain all things and events. I think it’s intended to describe how things arise in our heart-minds which can be, as you wrote, “confirmed by the meditative experience”.
As well as being regarded as true, the “purpose” of DO is to eliminate grasping by pointing out that there is nothing to attach to without exception (including DO, but that is a subtler discussion). If this was not regarded as both true and helpful it would not be Right Speech. It is useful to trace back our usually tightly grasped private ideas and actions to see how even they are caused (one reason Zen monks are trained in the Abhidharma is precisely for that purpose among others). If you are suggesting that you have found something outside your heart-mind that is not caused, or that only your heart-mind or events there are caused, there is a real difference between your “internal” and “external” worlds, or that you can solve fundamental “internal” problems without resolving fundamental delusions about the “external” world, good luck with that, but Buddhists would consider such beliefs in error and likely to increase suffering. Again, the concept is not hard to understand and is explained over and over in Buddhism yet somehow people like me find it hard to practice!

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Re: dependent origination

Post by clyde » Sat May 18, 2019 4:51 am

This was rather long,
Caodemarte wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 4:04 am
If you are suggesting that you have found something outside your heart-mind that is not caused, or that only your heart-mind or events there are caused, there is a real difference between your “internal” and “external” worlds, or that you can solve fundamental “internal” problems without resolving fundamental delusions about the “external” world, good luck with that, but Buddhists would consider such beliefs in error and likely to increase suffering.
But, no, I was not suggesting any of that. It’s clear that,
“When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.”
I was suggesting the dependent origination describes a specific pattern of cause-effect, one that arises in sentient beings and hence can be experienced in meditation.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: dependent origination

Post by Caodemarte » Sat May 18, 2019 5:50 am

clyde wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 4:51 am
..... It’s clear that,
“When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.”
I was suggesting the dependent origination describes a specific pattern of cause-effect, one that arises in sentient beings and hence can be experienced in meditation.
Sorry to have been too long for a simple concept.I don’t believe DO is normally be used in such a very specific way and normally refers to a more universal process. However, I guess it can be used more narrowly (and if it can be, it probably is).

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Re: dependent origination

Post by loves' the unjust » Sat May 18, 2019 10:12 am

What I understand from dependent origination is
"I AM"
cooper

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Re: dependent origination

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sat May 18, 2019 4:09 pm

How do I understand DO?

I like to refer to the objective non-partisan source sometimes. Or trying to be objective is their objective.

"Pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit: प्रतीत्यसमुत्पाद pratītyasamutpāda; Pali: पटिच्चसमुप्पाद paṭiccasamuppāda), commonly translated as dependent origination, or dependent arising, is a key principle in Buddhist teachings,[note 1] which states that all dharmas ("phenomena") arise in dependence upon other dharmas: "if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist"."

So off the top of my head, 3 examples of it:

If a tree exists (and lives it's life cycle), seeds exist (and under favorable conditions, new tress grow)
If a tree ceases to exist, seeds (from the same tree) ceases to exist.

If the Dhamma exists, the Sangha (may also) exist
If the Dhamma ceases, the Sangha also ceases.

If a raft exists, using the raft to cross a river may also exist.
If a raft ceases to exist, using it to cross a river also ceases to exist.

DO is a model to look at things developed mostly by Nagarjuna:

"The Mūlamadhyamakakārikā is Nāgārjuna's best-known work. It is "not only a grand commentary on the Buddha's discourse to Kaccayana,[12] the only discourse cited by name, but also a detailed and careful analysis of most of the important discourses included in the Nikayas and the agamas, especially those of the Atthakavagga of the Sutta-nipata.[13]
Utilizing the Buddha's theory of "dependent arising" (pratitya-samutpada), Nagarjuna demonstrated the futility of [...] metaphysical speculations. His method of dealing with such metaphysics is referred to as "middle way" (madhyama pratipad). It is the middle way that avoided the substantialism of the Sarvastivadins as well as the nominalism of the Sautrantikas.[14]
In the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, "[A]ll experienced phenomena are empty (sunya). This did not mean that they are not experienced and, therefore, non-existent; only that they are devoid of a permanent and eternal substance (svabhava) because, like a dream, they are mere projections of human consciousness. Since these imaginary fictions are experienced, they are not mere names (prajnapti)."[14]"

Because everything is dependent on everything else, any "thing" is said to be empty of a discreet unique nature, or self. This is Sunyata.

"Śūnyatā (Sanskrit: शून्यता, romanized: śūnyatā; Pali: suññatā) – pronounced in English as /ʃuːnˈjɑː.tɑː/ (shoon-ya-ta), translated most often as emptiness[1] and sometimes voidness[2] – is a Buddhist concept which has multiple meanings depending on its doctrinal context. It is either an ontological feature of reality, a meditative state, or a phenomenological analysis of experience."

In our traditions, Ch'an, Zen, Thien, Seon (did i leave one out?) the mind is transformed by Sunyata.

That's how I understand DO.
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Re: dependent origination

Post by fuki » Sat May 18, 2019 8:53 pm

clyde wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 4:51 am

I was suggesting the dependent origination describes a specific pattern of cause-effect, one that arises in sentient beings and hence can be experienced in meditation.
Yes, but eventually cause/effect is also a way of thinking, but you already noted that might be kind of moot since it's about expedient means now, so in that light I'd say it can actually be experienced in daily life events, in "meditation" too ofcourse but the true insights (for me at least) are always off the cushion, which ofcourse are "linked" to "meditation" or our Practise, at least that's how we explain things. Ofcourse in daily life those insights are also in "meditation" or as I prefer "resting in naked awareness" It's interesting to see them arises in ourselfs and others. I agree with the universal pattern of the Vera Sutta but it's way more subtle depending on the individuals mind-stream and there are other factors in play which can't be put on a piece of paper (at least I can't) but can be communicated non-verbally in daily life, but those are rare moments.
I enjoyed re-reading those links you shared Clyde, has been a long time and put some "personal" happenings lately up for contemplation or "backburning", so thank you for starting this topic.
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Re: dependent origination

Post by clyde » Sat May 18, 2019 10:34 pm

To be clear, I was using DO as described in the Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html and in other suttas) which describes twelve steps, beginning with “ignorance”, including “contact”, and ending with “the entire mass of stress & suffering.” This series of cause-effect seems specific to sentient beings (with sense organs and consciousness, etc.) and not generalizable to all things or events.

I did not mean the general statement of idappaccayatā (“When this is, that is.”) although that is also referred to as DO.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

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Re: dependent origination

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sat May 18, 2019 11:34 pm

clyde wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 10:34 pm
To be clear, I was using DO as described in the Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html and in other suttas) which describes twelve steps, beginning with “ignorance”, including “contact”, and ending with “the entire mass of stress & suffering.” This series of cause-effect seems specific to sentient beings (with sense organs and consciousness, etc.) and not generalizable to all things or events.

I did not mean the general statement of idappaccayatā (“When this is, that is.”) although that is also referred to as DO.
Right. I don't think of it in the Theravadan-translated version. Maybe there's another translation or an Agama?
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Re: dependent origination

Post by fuki » Sat May 18, 2019 11:38 pm

clyde wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 10:34 pm
To be clear, I was using DO as described in the Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html and in other suttas) which describes twelve steps, beginning with “ignorance”, including “contact”, and ending with “the entire mass of stress & suffering.” This series of cause-effect seems specific to sentient beings (with sense organs and consciousness, etc.) and not generalizable to all things or events.
Yes that was clear.
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Re: dependent origination

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sat May 18, 2019 11:58 pm

No I don't have one category for "mental things" different from everything else. Everything is mind.

maybe farther down the wikipedia page then? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%A ... tp%C4%81da

super handy chart, worth looking at, and of course this, maybe this is closer to how i concieve of it?

Traditionally, the reversal of the causal chain is explained as leading to the annihilation of mental formations and rebirth:[2][50][51][web 2] "From the remainderless fading and cessation of ignorance comes the cessation of (volitional) fabrications" et cetera.[note 27]

Transcendental Dependent Arising
The Upanisa Sutta in the Samyutta Nikaya describes the reversed order, in which the causes for enlightenment are given. This application of the principle of dependent arising is referred to in Theravada exegetical literature as "transcendental dependent arising".[71][note 28] The chain in this case is:

suffering (dukkha)
faith (saddhā)
joy (pāmojja, pāmujja)
rapture (pīti)
tranquillity (passaddhi)
happiness (sukha)
concentration (samādhi)
knowledge and vision of things as they are (yathābhūta-ñāna-dassana)
disenchantment with worldly life (nibbidā)
dispassion (virāga)
freedom, release, emancipation (vimutti, a synonym for nibbana[72])
knowledge of destruction of the cankers (āsava-khaye-ñāna)}}
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Re: dependent origination

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sun May 19, 2019 12:05 am

https://suttacentral.net/sn12.20/en/sujato

linked discourses 12

2. fuel

20. Conditions
At Sāvatthī.

“Mendicants, I will teach you dependent origination and dependently originated phenomena. Listen and pay close attention, I will speak.”

“Yes, sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

“And what is dependent origination? Rebirth is a condition for old age and death. Whether Realized Ones arise or not, this law of nature persists, this regularity of natural principles, this invariance of natural principles, specific conditionality. A Realized One understands this and comprehends it, then he explains, teaches, asserts, establishes, clarifies, analyzes, and reveals it. ‘Look,’ he says, ‘Rebirth is a condition for old age and death.’

Continued existence is a condition for rebirth … Grasping is a condition for continued existence … Craving is a condition for grasping … Feeling is a condition for craving … Contact is a condition for feeling … The six sense fields are a condition for contact … Name and form are conditions for the six sense fields … Consciousness is a condition for name and form … Choices are a condition for consciousness … Ignorance is a condition for choices. Whether Realized Ones arise or not, this law of nature persists, this regularity of natural principles, this invariance of natural principles, specific conditionality. A Realized One understands this and comprehends it, then he explains, teaches, asserts, establishes, clarifies, analyzes, and reveals it. ‘Look,’ he says, ‘Ignorance is a condition for choices.’ So the fact that this is real, not unreal, not otherwise; the specific conditionality of it: this is called dependent origination.

And what are the dependently originated phenomena? Old age and death are impermanent, conditioned, dependently originated, liable to end, vanish, fade away, and cease. Rebirth … Continued existence … Grasping … Craving … Feeling … Contact … The six sense fields … Name and form … Consciousness … Choices … Ignorance is impermanent, conditioned, dependently originated, liable to end, vanish, fade away, and cease. These are called the dependently originated phenomena.

When a noble disciple has clearly seen with right wisdom this dependent origination and these dependently originated phenomena as they are, it’s impossible for them to turn back to the past, thinking: ‘Did I exist in the past? Did I not exist in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? After being what, what did I become in the past?’ Or to turn forward to the future, thinking: ‘Will I exist in the future? Will I not exist in the future? What will I be in the future? How will I be in the future? After being what, what will I become in the future?’ Or to be undecided about the present, thinking: ‘Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? This sentient being—where did it come from? And where will it go?’ Why is that? Because that noble disciple has clearly seen with right wisdom this dependent origination and these dependently originated phenomena as they are.”

Seems pretty simple to me, it's not the fall that kills you. but the sudden stop at the end.
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Re: dependent origination

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sun May 19, 2019 12:10 am

in other words, things arise, we don't know where from, because causations are inscrutable, unfathomable, chain upon chain, everything dependent on something else. So this mind is like a wave and this practice like a surfboard. It's not rocket science. It's getting on the board and riding.

So this text starts with ignorance, and upon that volitional impulses, upon that arises Sensual consciousness.... etc.... until....consciousnesses of becoming (craving) upon that a consciousness of birth (or having been born), upon that arises death. Full circle from ignorance back to death again. Throw of the ignorance and the reverse process begins. Where is ignorance thrown off? I'll just call it "realization" here. Where does realization arise from? First from understanding the nature of dukkha, then arising from that faith, saddhā, etc. etc.
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Re: dependent origination

Post by Spike » Sun May 19, 2019 12:15 am

Great Sage EofH wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:10 am
in other words, things arise, we don't know where from, because causations are inscrutable, unfathomable, chain upon chain, everything dependent on something else. So this mind is like a wave and this practice like a surfboard. It's not rocket science. It's getting on the board and riding.
Cf. TNH, "Interbeing".

Or, the hydrologic cycle.

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Re: dependent origination

Post by Great Sage EofH » Sun May 19, 2019 12:56 am

Yes, individual consciousness is just like a wave upon the water, if the mind is likened to a wave, out of ignorance arises, the perceptions, assumptions, delusions of "I am a wave" and ultimately the "oh shit the wave is going away, its becoming/merging with other waves" - so beginning in ignorance, the wave not knowing it is the ocean itself - it won't also know its freedom, its emancipation, it's release into the fullness of understanding it IS the ocean!

-but another level of complexity is that our minds are much smarter than we are, but to follow where it leads, you have to listen to your heart-

:chicken:

okay i gotta go read this ---> https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el277.html
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