What does dependent origination teach?

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What does dependent origination teach?

Postby BlueLotus » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:26 pm

Can someone please help me understand what dependently origination teach? Is it the cause and effect of all things? Does it mean everything happen for a cause?


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Re: What dependent origination teach?

Postby reflection » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:15 pm


Everything does not happen FOR a cause, but it happens BECAUSE OF a cause. :smile:

And that's whats in dependent origination. Indeed! It describes cause and effect.

What dependent origination basically teaches, is that the cause of birth (and thus death and suffering) is clinging. Basically, because of delusion (not fully understanding suffering), we want to be reborn, we have a volition to be reborn, to keep consciousness going. So, it is a description of how rebirth occurs. It's an expanded version of the second noble truth, really.

So if you want the short version, here is the second noble truth:
"And this, monks is the noble truth of the origination of dukkha: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming."

So dependent origination also discusses how this suffering comes to be, and that the root cause of clinging is actually delusion, not seeing reality as it is, not seeing the first noble truth.

There are some other modern day interpretations that may have their value as well from time to time, but the above is what I think it originally describes.

With metta,

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Re: What does dependent origination teach?

Postby nowheat » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:43 am

Dependent origination (DO) teaches how dukkha arises from causes, specifically showing the causes. It describes, first, how it comes to be that we humans have the tendency to develop the sense that we have a lasting self by looking for confirmation of it in the world around us; second, it explains in detail just what we do that creates that sense of a lasting self; third, it describes the emergence of dukkha as a result.

It shouldn't be read as a description of the cosmic principal of cause-and-effect, but one very specific example of it: the specific chain that gives us the troubles we can cure with Buddhist practice. By showing us all the factors that lead to dukkha, it gives us the information we need to break the chain of events.

NOTE: The above is not intended to describe an understanding of DO within the school of Theravada, but it is as accurate a description -- in brief -- of what DO is about as I'm likely to be able to muster.


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Re: What does dependent origination teach?

Postby Dmytro » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:54 am

BlueLotus wrote:Can someone please help me understand what dependently origination teach? Is it the cause and effect of all things? Does it mean everything happen for a cause?

No. That's a common misconception.

Instead of 'causes', Conditioned Arising (aka Dependent Origination) teaches about the requisite conditions of how suffering continues from one life to another.
So it shows the way to end suffering, through removing these requisite conditions. It's like putting out the fire by removing its requisite condition, fuel.


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Re: What does dependent origination teach?

Postby cooran » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:45 am

Hello BlueLotus,

This article may take some study, but it will be worth it to increase understanding of Dependent Origination:


with metta
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: What does dependent origination teach?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:34 am

Hi BlueLotus

You might find this booklet by Ven P.A. Payutto on Dependent Origination helpful.

I particularly like "An example of Dependent Origination in everyday life " in Chapter 5.


With kind wishes


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Re: What does dependent origination teach?

Postby Way~Farer » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:53 am

It sometimes helps to break the principle of dependent origination down into the sequence of events that happen whenever there is contact with something.

When there is contact with an object of the senses, this is the sequence: form/matter: this is what is seen, the form both of the object seen and the seer of it. This creates a sensation or a feeling, either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. This leads to apperception, which is recognizing or not-recognizing the form that is seen (for example naming it). Then habit kicks in (I like those, I want one of those, it's been some time since I had that). This gives rise to ideas about the thing, one's knowledge of it, how one 'relates' to it, and so on.

The point is, that these sequences are happening in quick succession, all day long, without much awareness of what is going on. In other words one is caught up in reactions to what is seen, what is heard, and so on, reacting to it, judging it, wanting or disliking it. This leads to habituation, which leads to clinging, which leads to suffering when what is clung to is lost, or when it is not satisfying, and so on.

Of course it goes in to much more depth and detail, but that level of analysis might be useful in understanding how the principle applies in daily life.

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Re: What does dependent origination teach?

Postby Prasadachitta » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:49 pm

Hi BlueLotus,

This is how I see it.

All that is experienced comes to be in dependence upon other factors. There is no one part of experience that can be isolated from this dependent relationship.

To observe this and know it with confidence brings a cool and open hearted attitude that can become increasingly independent of the particularities of experience.

Take care

"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: What does dependent origination teach?

Postby BlueLotus » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:16 pm

Thanks to all. I got confused because lot of people say different things about many life and thoughts and there is a cause for everything. It is difficult to find a cause for everything. Is there a cause for every things ? Maybe there is :thinking:

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