Discrepancy in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada)

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Discrepancy in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada)

Postby faraway » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:14 am

Hi all,

I found there are two differences in number of factors in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada).

1. Ignorance as the origin of suffering (12 factors)
I think this is the most known explanation of dependent co-arising (Paticca Samuppada) which consists of 12 factors.

Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta (SN 12.2)
Kaccayanagotta Sutta (SN 12.15)
Paccaya Sutta (SN 12.20)
Avijjapaccaya Sutta (SN 12.35)
Lokayatika Sutta (SN 12.48)
Bodhi Sutta( UD 1.1)

Special case:
Upanisa Sutta (SN 12.23)

This sutta even extends more than the 12 factors we commonly heard:
1. Ignorance -> Fabrications
2. Fabrications -> Consciousness
3. Consciousness -> Name-Form
4. Name-Form -> Six Sense Media
5. Six Sense Media -> Contact
6. Contact -> Feeling
7. Feeling -> Craving
8. Craving -> Clinging
9. Clinging -> Becoming
10. Becoming -> Birth
11. Birth -> Stress & Suffering
12. Stress & Suffering -> Conviction
13. Conviction -> Joy
14. Joy -> Rapture
15. Rapture -> Serenity
16. Serenity -> Pleasure
17. Pleasure -> Concentration
18. Concentration -> Knowledge & vision of things as they actually are present
19. Knowledge & vision of things as they actually are present -> Disenchantment
20. Disenchantment -> Dispassion
21. Dispassion -> Release
22. Release -> Knowledge of ending
23. Knowledge of ending.

So there are 23 factors in total. I think this sutta put more emphasis on the origin of Knowledge of ending instead of origin of suffering.

2. Consciousness & Name-Form as the origin of suffering (10 factors)
These sutta only explain 10 factors exluding Ignorance and Fabrication (sankhara). Also, the origin factor, Consciousness is mutually co-dependant with the second factor, Name-Form. It's explained well in Nalakalapiyo Sutta (SN 12.67), they are both inseparable, when one is ceased, other is ceased too. But I can't found this mutual explanation on other sutta which explain for 12 factors.

Maha-nidana Sutta (DN 15)
Nagara Sutta (SN 12.65)
Nalakalapiyo Sutta (SN 12.67)

I can draw relationship of the 10 factors like this:
1. Consciousness <-> Name-Form
2. Name-Form -> Six Sense Media
3. Six Sense Media -> Contact
4. Contact -> Feeling
5. Feeling -> Craving
6. Craving -> Clinging
7. Clinging -> Becoming
9. Becoming -> Birth
9. Birth -> Stress & Suffering
10. Stress & Suffering.

Special case:
Loka Sutta (SN 12.44)

This sutta, despite it tells the consciousness & Name-Form as origin of world (birth & suffering), the explanation of the cessation of the world starts from craving first, instead of Consciousness & Name-Form.

Now, from the remainderless cessation & fading away of that very craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance...

I think this sutta is somekind of an elaboration of 3rd noble truth:

"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving."

I would like to hear your explanation about this discrepancy.

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Re: Discrepancy in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada)

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:33 am

faraway wrote:Hi all,

I found there are two differences in number of factors in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada). . . .
I would like to hear your explanation about this discrepancy.
There are actually more variations, and that is simply a result of talking about things from differing points of view.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

      >> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<<
      -- Proverbs 26:12

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Re: Discrepancy in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada)

Postby LXNDR » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:58 am

if in some representation of paticca samuppada causal link of certain factors would be reversed or their order changed, which doesn't seem to be the case, that could be a matter of concern, otherwise i believe it's just a case of suiting it to a particular rhetoric need

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Re: Discrepancy in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada)

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:07 am

Hi Faraway,

This is a good point. We have discussed many of these suttas in the Study Group Forum.

You might find some of these threads helpful:


See also Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes from In the Buddha's Words:
IX. Shining the Light of Wisdom
http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/buddhas- ... ght-wisdom
Here is a small part of his discussion on Dependent Origination:
An entire chapter of the Saṃyutta Nikāya, the Nidānasaṃyutta (chapter 12), is devoted to dependent origination. The doctrine is usually expounded as a sequence of twelve factors joined into a chain of eleven propositions; see Text IX,4(4)(a). A Buddha discovers this chain of conditions; after his enlightenment, his mission is to explain it to the world. Text IX,4(4)(b) declares the sequence of conditions to be a fixed principle, a stable law, the nature of things. The series is expounded in two ways: by way of origination (called anuloma or forward order), and by way of cessation (called paṭiloma or reverse order). Sometimes the presentation proceeds from the first factor to the last; sometimes it begins at the end and traces the chain of conditions back to the first. Other suttas pick up the chain somewhere in the middle and work either backward to the end or forward to the front.


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Re: Discrepancy in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada)

Postby culaavuso » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:31 pm

The Shape of Suffering: A Study of Dependent Co-Arising by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:For these reasons, it is best not to view dependent co-arising as a circle, for such a simplistic image does not do justice to the many different timeframes simultaneously at work in the production of suffering. Nor does it do justice to the ways in which the complexity of dependent co-arising provides an opening for suffering to be brought to an end. A better image would be to view dependent co- arising as a complex interplay of many feedback loops that, if approached with ignorance, can produce compounded suffering or, if approached with knowledge, create repeated opportunities to redirect the sequence and dampen the experience of suffering or stress.
When people speak of cutting dependent co-arising at one of its links—such as the link between feeling and craving—what is actually happening is that full knowledge with regard to that link has replaced ignorance with regard to that link. With the ceasing of ignorance, fabrications cease, and so cessation cascades throughout the entire sequence.
The complexity of the feedback loops in dependent co-arising not only allowed the Buddha and his students to focus attention on particular factors as appropriate to his audience. It also allowed them to explore further feedback loops within the loops, and alternative ways of expressing the sequence as a whole. For example, in DN 15 the Buddha plays two changes on the basic sequence. On the “results” end of the sequence, he explores another way in which feeling can lead to suffering. On the “cause” end, he replaces the standard sequence of ignorance, fabrication, consciousness, and name-&-form with another pattern in which name-&-form and consciousness condition one another. This latter change is less radical than it may appear at first glance, because name-&-form contains the sub-factor of attention. Inappropriate attention is a synonym for ignorance; appropriate attention, a synonym for knowledge. Thus in both patterns, ignorance is the prime cause for stress, and knowledge the prime cause for bringing stress to an end.

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Re: Discrepancy in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada)

Postby SarathW » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:03 am

I think we have to understand the DO the same way a medical student study anatomy.
All the body parts are interdependent and interrelated though we can study each organs as separate units.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Discrepancy in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada)

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:19 am

SarathW wrote:All the body parts are interdependent and interrelated though we can study each organs as separate units.

True, though unlike anatomy there seem to be different interpretations of what the different organs are, and what they are for. ;)

Something I do find a bit puzzling is the mutual dependence of consciousness and name-and-form in the 10-factor version - I'm not sure how that fits in.
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Re: Discrepancy in Dependent Co-arising (Paticca Samuppada)

Postby SarathW » Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:20 am

I agree with you. These are the chicken and egg questions.
I do not think we will ever get to the bottom of these questions unless we attain Arahantship.
Until such time , however I value these sort of academic investigations.
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