company logo

Everything Leans

"Deep is this dependent origination, and deep its appearance."

"Whoever sees dependent origination sees the Dharma;
whoever sees the Dharma sees dependent origination."

- Buddha [MN:28, DN:15]



MAP OF DEPENDENT ORIGINATION


A small selection of excellent expositions; suttas, articles, and poems & songs, that explain, expound, or elucidate Dependent Origination. Author's listed (broadly) in chronological order.

BUDDHA & SENIOR SANGHA CONTEMPORARIES
Maha-hatthipadopama Sutta: The Great Elephant Footprint Simile
MN 28

Friends, just as when — in dependence on timber, vines, grass, & clay — space is enclosed and is gathered under the term 'house,' in the same way, when space is enclosed in dependence on bones, tendons, muscle, & skin, it is gathered under the term, 'form.'
...

The form of what has thus come into being is gathered under the form clinging-aggregate. The feeling of what has thus come into being is gathered under the feeling clinging-aggregate. The perception of what has thus come into being is gathered under the perception clinging-aggregate. The fabrications of what has thus come into being are gathered under the fabrication clinging-aggregate. The consciousness of what has thus come into being is gathered under the consciousness clinging-aggregate. One discerns, 'This, it seems, is how there is the gathering, meeting, & convergence of these five clinging-aggregates.' Now, the Blessed One has said, "Whoever sees dependent co-arising sees the Dhamma; whoever sees the Dhamma sees dependent co-arising."
And these things — the five clinging-aggregates (The form clinging-aggregate, the feeling clinging-aggregate, the perception clinging-aggregate, the fabrication clinging-aggregate, & the consciousness clinging-aggregate.) — are dependently co-arisen. Any desire, embracing, grasping, & holding-on to these five clinging-aggregates is the origination of stress.
Any subduing of desire & passion, any abandoning of desire & passion for these five clinging-aggregates is the cessation of stress.

Ven. Sariputta

Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, 2003.

Originally published at AccessToInsight.org

Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse
Part 1
DN 15

There Ven. Ananda approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "It's amazing, lord, it's astounding, how deep this dependent co-arising is, and how deep its appearance, and yet to me it seems as clear as clear can be."

The Buddha:
"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.
"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for aging and death?' one should answer, 'There is.'
"If one is asked, 'From what requisite condition do aging and death come?' one should say, 'Aging and death come from birth as their requisite condition.'
"If one is asked, 'Is there a demonstrable requisite condition for birth?' one should answer, 'There is.'
... (repeating formula for all links)
"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. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging. From clinging as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, aging, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress.

...
"This is the extent to which there is birth, aging, death, passing away, and re-arising. This is the extent to which there are means of designation, expression, and delineation. This is the extent to which the sphere of discernment extends, the extent to which the cycle revolves for the manifesting (discernibility) of this world."

Buddha

Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, 1997.

Originally published at AccessToInsight.org

Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse
Part 2
DN 15

"Now, craving is dependent on feeling, seeking is dependent on craving, acquisition is dependent on seeking, ascertainment is dependent on acquisition, desire and passion is dependent on ascertainment, attachment is dependent on desire and passion, possessiveness is dependent on attachment, stinginess is dependent on possessiveness, defensiveness is dependent on stinginess, and because of defensiveness, dependent on defensiveness, various evil, unskillful phenomena come into play: the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies.

"And this is the way to understand how it is that because of defensiveness various evil, unskillful phenomena come into play: the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies. If there were no defensiveness at all, in any way, of anything anywhere, in the utter absence of defensiveness, from the cessation of defensiveness, would various evil, unskillful phenomena — the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies — come into play?"

"No, lord."

Buddha

Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, 1997.

Originally published at AccessToInsight.org

NAGAJUNA
Verses on the Heart of Dependent Origination - by Ārya Nāgārjuna
In the language of India: pratītyasamutpāda hṛdaya kārikā
In the language of Tibet: རྟེན་ཅིང་འབྲེལ་པར་འབྱུང་བའི་སྙིང་པོའི་ཚིག་ལེའུར་བྱས་པ།, (rten cing 'brel par 'byung ba'i snying po tshig le'ur byas pa)

Homage to Mañjuśrī, the Youthful!

These different links, twelve in number,
Which Buddha taught as dependent origination,
Can be summarized in three categories:
Mental afflictions, karma and suffering.

The first, eighth and ninth are afflictions,
The second and tenth are karma,
The remaining seven are suffering.
Thus the twelve links are grouped in three.

From the three the two originate,
And from the two the seven come,
From seven the three come once again—
Thus the wheel of existence turns and turns.

All beings consist of causes and effects,
In which there is no ‘sentient being’ at all.
From phenomena which are exclusively empty,
There arise only empty phenomena.
All things are devoid of any ‘I’ or ‘mine’.

Like a recitation, a candle, a mirror, a seal,
A magnifying glass, a seed, sourness, or a sound,
So also with the continuation of the aggregates—
The wise should know they are not transferred.

Then, as for extremely subtle entities,
Those who regard them with nihilism,
Lacking precise and thorough knowledge,
Will not see the actuality of conditioned arising.

In this, there is not a thing to be removed,
Nor the slightest thing to be added.
It is looking perfectly into reality itself,
And when reality is seen, complete liberation.

This concludes the verses on ‘The Heart of Dependent Origination’ composed by the teacher Ārya Nāgārjuna.

Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2008.

Originally published at LotsawaHouse.org

TAI SITU RINPOCHE
Union of Emptiness and Dependent Origination

The union of emptiness and interdependence is to be understood as follows. As long as we have not realized the nature of our mind we are subject to the normal course of the twelve links of interdependent origination. Absence of realization is ignorance and from this starting point the subsequent eleven links will form one after the other, each giving rise to the next. Thus everything continues in one way. However, once we realize the nature of our mind, the links of interdependent origination are traced back to their source and in this way dissolved: when there is no ignorance the other links cannot come about. This is emptiness. Once emptiness is realized, this is enlightenment.

Emptiness is limitless and therefore beyond any definition in terms of "It is this," "It is not this," and so forth; it cannot be restricted to such limitations. When the nature of mind is realized, this proves to be the nature of all phenomena, the essence of everything. This is what is meant here by the term "basis-consciousness". The secret of the essence of everything is the fact that everything is buddha and thus beyond any limitation. In my view this is quite easy to understand once the proper connection is made. Without this it could be quite complicated.

Originally published at ViewOnBuddhism.org

TENZIN GYATSO THE 14TH DALAI LAMA
Positing The Present

We find that between the past and the future there is an extremely thin line-something that cannot really withstand analysis. Past and future exist in relation to the present. But if the present cannot be posited, how can past and future be posited? This is a demonstration of dependent origination.

Originally published in ViewOnBuddhism.org

Mere Dependent-Arisings Do Exist

Inherent existence has never been validly known to exist; therefore, it is impossible for there to be any phenomenon that exists through its own power. Since it is experienced that mere dependent-arisings, which are in fact empty of inherent existence, do cause all forms of help and harm, these are established as existent. Thus, mere dependent-arisings do exist. Therefore, all phenomena exist in the manner of appearing as varieties of dependent-arisings. They appear this way without passing beyond the sphere or condition of having just this nature of being utterly non-inherently existent. Therefore, all phenomena have two entities: one entity that is its superficial mode of appearance and one entity that is its deep mode of being. These two are called respectively conventional truths and ultimate truths.

Originally published in The Buddhism of Tibet and ViewOnBuddhism.org

GIL FRONSDAL
Awakening to Dependent Origination

When the Buddha awakened, he awakened to something. With the stilling of his mind and the dropping of his attachments, he awoke to Dependent Origination and attained liberation. This insight is the foundation of everything else he subsequently taught.

The principle of Dependent Origination is that when anything arises dependent on particular conditions, it ceases with the ceasing of those conditions. So, for example, rain is dependent on clouds; when the clouds vanish, the rain stops. The Buddha used the principle of Dependent Origination to understand human suffering and how to bring that suffering to an end. According to the principle, if suffering depends on something, and that thing is eliminated, the suffering will come to an end. With his awakening, the Buddha understood the causes and conditions of suffering and how to remove them. It is with this insight that the Buddha could then teach a path to liberation.

By understanding the concept of Dependent Origination, the Buddha’s teachings become clear. By personally seeing Dependent Origination, the Buddha’s teachings become liberating. The importance of this insight is emphasized in the ancient saying, “One who sees Dependent Origination sees the Dhamma; one who sees the Dhamma, sees Dependent Origination.

Originally published in SpritRock.org