Question about dependent origination

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

santa100
Posts: 2929
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Question about dependent origination

Post by santa100 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:53 pm

archaic wrote:My question however, is more philosophical. If everything arises from causes - everything is conditional - then would this not imply lack of free will?
Conditioned things and free will are not mutually exclusive of each other. Say a chained smoker who's addicted to smoking, if one traces every single variable in the lengthy conditioned equation that lead to his addiction, they might be: He was raised by parents who smoked, He grew up surrounded by friends who smoked, his job is stressful, etc... And those are the external variables. Now, quite often we tend to forget a very important "internal" variable: the smoker's intention to continue to smoke! Had this variable not existed at all, the Buddha wouldn't even bother to teach the Four Right Exertions!

freedom
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:44 am

Re: Question about dependent origination

Post by freedom » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm

pegembara wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:13 am

To me, anatta is a characteristic of existence regardless one's opinion or clinging. In this discourse, the Buddha clearly point towards the no self doctrine based on impermanence. As in there being no permanent person.

The realisation of anatta(seeing things as arising from causes and conditions or DO and not within our control) leads to dispassion, not the other way.
Going against normal stream is not very easy...

Even if I believe in "no permanent person" and things arise from causes and conditions not within my control, what will this view lead me to? I am not permanent now. There is no permanent person behind me now. I am arising from causes and conditions not within my control now. I am a stream of consciousness in this impermanent body now. However, I am perfectly OK now. I have a beautiful wife who loves me so much. I have a beautiful house. I am rich. I have everything that I need. I am so happy. Why so? According to this view, I should be suffer and it should lead me to dispassion - not satisfaction like that!

Do you see how do you suffer? There are many people died everyday. We can see this in newspapers, Internet,... They died because of impermanence, because of causes and conditions. Do you suffer because of this? Why not? Do these events lead you to dispassion?

You do not suffer because they are not "yours". You do not suffer because they do not relate to you. However, if there are your love ones in them, if they relate to you then you will suffer. Why? because there is "I, my, mine" in there. "Because my beloved wife just died, I am suffering."

A lovely lady in New York just died. She died because of impermanence. She died because of causes and conditions. Do you suffer because of this? Does this event lead you to dispassion?

A man in California just lost all of his saving money. He lost the money because money is impermanence. He lost the money because of causes and conditions. Do you suffer because of this? Do you have any dispassion if you even do not know about it?

Impermanence, causes and conditions that are not within our control do not always lead to suffering and dispassion. If they do not directly relate to "me", I do not suffer. Moreover, If I am in pain or suffering now, impermanence will lead me to relief and happiness.

Impermanence, causes and conditions that are not within our control lead to suffering if I am badly affected by them. If there is "I, me, my, mine, myself" in them, I will be affected. Otherwise, I am not.

Seeing this, we develop dispassion with whatever "I, me, my, mine, myself". How can I suffer if there is no "I, me, my, mine, myself" in anything?

DO shows us how do we suffer and how can we end that suffering.

When I see a beautiful car, I like it and I want it to be "my car". I will try to get it. When I got it. It becomes "my car". Now there is a new "my" in my possessions.
With this new car, I will need to pay for "my" new insurance payment, "my" new gas cost, "my" new maintenance cost... This is birth. Now I have many more new "my" (or many new potential sufferings).

When I ran off money (condition came), I cannot pay for those new "my"s. I suffer. When "my" new car gets in an accident, I suffer... Those "my"s again give new births to new law suits, new collections, new headaches... I suffer more...When I did not have that car, I did not need to deal with any of these!

A young boy has no idea about if there is a permanent person or not. He never care if he has a "self" or "soul" or not. He even never think about it. Yet, he is suffering. He suffers because he lost "his" toys. He suffers because he lost "his" mother. He does not suffer because he think that he lost his soul (or self) or his soul is impermanent or not in his control. He will be happy if he can find his toys and his mother.

The Buddha advised us not to identify with form, feeling, perception, mental volitions, consciousness. He told us do not take form, feeling, perception, mental volitions, consciousness as "I, my, my, mine, myself". This is what anatta is about.

Therefore, anatta is about "dispassion, relinquishment, cessation" of whatever relates to "I, mine, myself, me"; therefore, do not take anything to be "I, mine, myself, me". This is how we end our cravings. This is wisdom.
"So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.' SN22.59
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.

pegembara
Posts: 1220
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Question about dependent origination

Post by pegembara » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:46 am

freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
pegembara wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:13 am

To me, anatta is a characteristic of existence regardless one's opinion or clinging. In this discourse, the Buddha clearly point towards the no self doctrine based on impermanence. As in there being no permanent person.

The realisation of anatta(seeing things as arising from causes and conditions or DO and not within our control) leads to dispassion, not the other way.
Impermanence, causes and conditions that are not within our control do not always lead to suffering and dispassion. If they do not directly relate to "me", I do not suffer. Moreover, If I am in pain or suffering now, impermanence will lead me to relief and happiness.

Impermanence, causes and conditions that are not within our control lead to suffering if I am badly affected by them. If there is "I, me, my, mine, myself" in them, I will be affected. Otherwise, I am not.

Seeing this, we develop dispassion with whatever "I, me, my, mine, myself". How can I suffer if there is no "I, me, my, mine, myself" in anything?
First hearing the true teachings, then the realisation which leads to dispassion etc. Blindly repeating that things are not me or mine doesn't cut it because we don't truly see them as such.
"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in form, he finds estrangement in feeling, he finds estrangement in perception, he finds estrangement in determinations, he finds estrangement in consciousness.

I agree. :anjali:
At Savatthi. "Monks, eye-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

pegembara
Posts: 1220
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Question about dependent origination

Post by pegembara » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:24 am

archaic wrote:
My question however, is more philosophical. If everything arises from causes - everything is conditional - then would this not imply lack of free will?
Yes.
At Savatthi. "Monks, intention for forms is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Intention for sounds... Intention for smells... Intention for tastes... Intention for tactile sensations... Intention for ideas is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
OK, so for an arahant, who produces no kamma, do they have free will?
That is the wrong question. There is no "they" so the question of free will doesn't arise.
"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,' then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,' then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering."
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 2089
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Question about dependent origination

Post by DooDoot » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:29 am

freedom wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:10 pm
To my understanding anatta is not about if there is a self (permanent, impermanent, limited, unlimited,...) or there is no self . It is not about if there is a person or there is no person. It also is not about if there is a soul or there is no soul. All of these are just clinging to doctrine of self.

Anatta is about "dispassion, relinquishment, cessation" of whatever related to the identity "I" (me, my, mine, myself). What can relate to the "I"? form, feeling, perception, mental volitions, consciousness. That's all.
I think sutta support is required for this unusual way of explaining.
pegembara wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:24 am
To me, anatta is a characteristic of existence regardless one's opinion or clinging. In this discourse, the Buddha clearly point towards the no self doctrine based on impermanence. As in there being no permanent person.
This link appears to support this answer: https://suttacentral.net/en/an3.136
pegembara wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:24 am
The realisation of anatta (seeing things as arising from causes and conditions or DO and not within our control) leads to dispassion, not the other way.
It seems this way in the suttas.
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
A lovely lady in New York just died. She died because of impermanence... A man in California just lost all of his saving money. He lost the money because money is impermanence. He lost the money because of causes and conditions. Do you suffer because of this? Do you have any dispassion if you even do not know about it? Impermanence, causes and conditions that are not within our control do not always lead to suffering and dispassion.
All impermanence & unsatisfactoriness, if seen clearly, should lead to dispassion. No self-clinging is required to be dispassionate, according to Dhp.
277. "All conditioned things are impermanent" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

278. "All conditioned things are unsatisfactory" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

279. "All things are not-self" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .budd.html
:candle:
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
If they do not directly relate to "me", I do not suffer.
Yes. And, so?
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
Moreover, If I am in pain or suffering now, impermanence will lead me to relief and happiness.

I do not recall any teachings like this in the suttas. Impermanence is taught for the abandoning of the conceit "I" (MN 62; MN 118; SN 22.59; etc).
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
Impermanence, causes and conditions that are not within our control lead to suffering if I am badly affected by them. If there is "I, me, my, mine, myself" in them, I will be affected. Otherwise, I am not.

You appear to be mixing up the teaching of the 4NTs with the teaching of the Three Characteristics. The 4NTs seem to explain attachment is suffering but the Three Characteristics say all compounded things are impermanent, unsatisfactory & not-self; regardless of attachment. For example, a TV by its very nature cannot bring lasting happiness. It is unsatisfactory by its very nature.
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
Seeing this, we develop dispassion with whatever "I, me, my, mine, myself". How can I suffer if there is no "I, me, my, mine, myself" in anything?

The suttas say: "Now, that which is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard that as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?". This statement does not refer to dispassion with whatever "I, me, my, mine, myself".
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
DO shows us how do we suffer and how can we end that suffering.
Yes. But D.O. does not appear to explain the Three Characteristics of all compounded things.
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
When I see a beautiful car, I like it and I want it to be "my car". I will try to get it. When I got it. It becomes "my car". Now there is a new "my" in my possessions. With this new car, I will need to pay for "my" new insurance payment, "my" new gas cost, "my" new maintenance cost... This is birth.
And?
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
When I ran off money (condition came), I cannot pay for those new "my"s. I suffer. When "my" new car gets in an accident, I suffer... Those "my"s again give new births to new law suits, new collections, new headaches... I suffer more...When I did not have that car, I did not need to deal with any of these!

You suffer due to clinging; which occurs due to ignorance of impermanence & not-self.
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
A young boy has no idea about if there is a permanent person or not. He never care if he has a "self" or "soul" or not. He even never think about it. Yet, he is suffering. He suffers because he lost "his" toys. He suffers because he lost "his" mother. He does not suffer because he think that he lost his soul (or self) or his soul is impermanent or not in his control. He will be happy if he can find his toys and his mother.
It seems the young boy does not realise his mother & toys are impermanent, unsatisfactory & not-self. Therefore, the young boy does not have dispassion towards these phenomena.
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
The Buddha advised us not to identify with form, feeling, perception, mental volitions, consciousness. He told us do not take form, feeling, perception, mental volitions, consciousness as "I, my, my, mine, myself". This is what anatta is about.

My impression is the Buddha told us do not take form, feeling, perception, mental volitions, consciousness as "I, my, my, mine, myself" because these five aggregates are inherently anatta; regardless of whether or not we believe they are mine or myself. The act of non-identification I have never read is called 'anatta'. 'Anatta' I read in the suttas is a characteristic (lakkhana) of all compounded things. In other words, all compounded things do not have an "owner". A rock or cloud is "anatta".
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
Therefore, anatta is about "dispassion, relinquishment, cessation" of whatever relates to "I, mine, myself, me"; therefore, do not take anything to be "I, mine, myself, me". This is how we end our cravings. This is wisdom.

The suttas appear to say dispassion occurs when anatta is realised rather than say dispassion is anatta. Its like having passion towards a sexy girl until you realise the husband of the sexy girl is Mike Tyson. When you realise the sexy girl is not yours & cannot be yours & you might get beaten up by Mike Tyson, I imagine there arises dispassion.
freedom wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm
"So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.' SN22.59
The relevant quote appears to be as follows. The quote does not appear to say he finds estrangement in clinging to things as "I & "mine".
"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in form, he finds estrangement in feeling, he finds estrangement in perception, he finds estrangement in mental formations, he finds estrangement in consciousness.

When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated. When liberated, there is knowledge that he is liberated. He understands: 'Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.'"

SN22.59

User avatar
archaic
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:42 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada

Re: Question about dependent origination

Post by archaic » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:09 am

pegembara wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:12 am

Free will implies that there is a person making all those choices. In the face of anatta, one could say that choices are being made which are driven by causes and conditions without a self behind them.
This is a very good point! My understanding is that the truth of reality is that there truly is no "self" and the more we identify with this false notion, the more we suffer.
freedom wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:49 am

They always have a choice, but with so much ignorance and without wisdom they will choose to follow their cravings until they suffer so much that they could not handle it and start looking for an escape from that suffering. Once they see their ignorance, they will choose differently.

Yes, that's a great explanation as well. However its difficult to reconcile this with the view of non-self, because if there is no self, then who is making the choices?
Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:29 am
friend, read the long discourse on dependent origination https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
see if you still have questions
I will do that, thanks.
pegembara wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:24 am

That is the wrong question. There is no "they" so the question of free will doesn't arise.
Ahh... very interesting food for thought...
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Saengnapha
Posts: 1191
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

Re: Question about dependent origination

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:40 am

archaic wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:09 am
pegembara wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:12 am

Free will implies that there is a person making all those choices. In the face of anatta, one could say that choices are being made which are driven by causes and conditions without a self behind them.
This is a very good point! My understanding is that the truth of reality is that there truly is no "self" and the more we identify with this false notion, the more we suffer.
freedom wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:49 am

They always have a choice, but with so much ignorance and without wisdom they will choose to follow their cravings until they suffer so much that they could not handle it and start looking for an escape from that suffering. Once they see their ignorance, they will choose differently.

Yes, that's a great explanation as well. However its difficult to reconcile this with the view of non-self, because if there is no self, then who is making the choices?
Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:29 am
friend, read the long discourse on dependent origination https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
see if you still have questions
I will do that, thanks.
pegembara wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:24 am

That is the wrong question. There is no "they" so the question of free will doesn't arise.
Ahh... very interesting food for thought...
Why do you think about all this? Has your thinking gotten you out of all your troubles or does it cause them? Maybe both. What of the present moment? Does thinking have anything to do with it? Is it not a reflection of the past? Why live in the past? Why live in the world of words? Is that really your present experience?

Donga03
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:49 pm

Re: Question about dependent origination

Post by Donga03 » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:52 pm

archaic wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:36 pm
I have an intellectual grasp of dependent origination. Currently I am reading Under the Bodhi Tree by Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, which is wonderful and delves into many of the facets of dependent origination.

My question however, is more philosophical. If everything arises from causes - everything is conditional - then would this not imply lack of free will?

Or is this a case where free will, obtenir crédit and lack of free will form a non-dualistic relationship where both are true and yet both are also not true?

Or is my effort in striving to understand this concept misguided, and I would be better inclined to cease trying to cling to views?

I would appreciate feedback from those more permeated with the dhamma than I :thinking:

:namaste:
It's free will

ravana55
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:43 am

Re: Question about dependent origination

Post by ravana55 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:51 am

It's "cetana", intention. That's what drives kamma. Kamma is intentional, conscious action and it's results. Free will has a central place because without it, there is no moral responsibility.

User avatar
Dhammarakkhito
Posts: 1115
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:31 am
Contact:

Re: Question about dependent origination

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:15 am

"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests