as his frame.
Ye dhammā hetuppabhavā, tesaṃ hetuṃ tathāgato āha. "Of things that arise from a cause, their cause the Tathāgata has told."
When a wise man hears that something has arisen due to causes and conditions, he immediately understands that it could be made to cease by the removal of those conditions, even without further explanation. It is the dustless stainless Dhamma-eye that enables one to see the Nibbānic solution in the very structure of the saṃsāric problem.
In our quotation from the MahāNidānasutta it was said that all pathways for verbal expression, terminology and designation exist so long as the vortex of saṃsāra is kept going. The implication, therefore, is that they have no existence beyond it. This is the significance of the word ettāvatā, "in so far only".
Ettāvatā jāyetha vā jīyetha vā mīyetha vā cavetha vā upapajjetha vā.. "In so far only can one be born, or grow old, or die, or pass away, or reappear."
So the concepts of birth, decay-and-death, passing away and reappearing, are meaningful only in the context of the saṃsāric vortex between consciousness and name-and-form. If somehow or other this interrelation could be broken, this saṃsāric vortex, the whirlpool, could be stopped, then, after that, nothing remains to be said, nothing remains to be predicated. And as it is said in the Upasīvasutta of the Sutta Nipāta:
Yena naṃ vajju, taṃ tassa natthi, "that by which they would speak of him, that for him exists not".
There are a number of Canonical passages that show us the relevance of this vortex simile to the understanding of the doctrine of paṭicca samuppāda. In the MahāPadānasutta of the Dīgha Nikāya we find a lengthy description of the manner in which the bodhisatta Vipassī got an insight into paṭicca samuppāda. We are told that his mode of approach was one of radical reflection, or yoniso manasikāra, literally: "attention by way of the matrix". One might as well say that it is an attention by way of the vortex. It is as if a man with keen vision, sitting under a tree by a river, were to watch how a fallen leaf gets carried away by the water current, only to get whirled up and disappear in a vortex.
It is clearly stated in the case of Vipassī bodhisatta that his understanding through wisdom came as a result of 'radical reflection', yoniso manasikārā ahu paññāya abhisamayo. So his insight into paṭicca samuppāda was definitely not due to recollection of past lives. Yoni means the 'matrix', or the 'place of origin'. So in yoniso manasikāra always the attention has to turn towards the place of origin.
So, true to this method, we find the bodhisatta Vipassī starting his reasoning from the very end of the paṭicca samuppāda formula: Kimhi nu kho sati jarāmaraṇaṃ hoti, kiṃ paccayā jarāmaraṇaṃ? "Given what, does decay-and-death come to be, from which condition comes decay-and-death?" And to this question, the following answer occurred to him: Jātiyā kho sati jarāmaraṇaṃ hoti, jātipaccayā jarāmaraṇaṃ. "Given birth, does decay-and-death come to be, from birth as condition comes decay-and-death."
In the same manner, taking pair by pair, he went on reasoning progressively. For instance his next question was: Kimhi nu kho sati jāti hoti, kiṃ paccayā jāti? "Given what, does birth come to be, from which condition comes birth?" And the answer to it was: Bhave kho sati jāti hoti, bhavapaccayā jāti. "Given becoming, birth comes to be, from becoming as condition comes birth."
He went on reasoning like this up to and including name-and-form. But when he came to consciousness, he had to turn back. When he searched for the condition of consciousness, he found that name-and-form itself is the condition, whereby he understood their interdependence, and then he gave expression to the significance of this discovery in the following words:
Paccudāvattati kho idaṃ viññāṇaṃ nāmarūpamhā, nāparaṃ gacchati. Ettāvatā jāyetha vā jīyetha vā mīyetha vā cavetha vā upapajjetha vā, yadidaṃ nāmarūpapaccayā viññāṇaṃ, viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṃ, nāmarūpapaccayā saḷāyatanaṃ, saḷāyatanapaccayā phasso, phassapaccayā vedanā, vedanāpaccayā taṇhā, taṇhāpaccayā upādānaṃ, upādānapaccayā bhavo, bhavapaccayā jāti, jātipaccayā jarāmaraṇaṃ sokaparidevadukkhadomanassūpāyāsā sambhavanti. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.
By means of radical reflection the bodhisatta Vipassī understood that all concepts of birth, decay-and-death converge on the relationship between consciousness and name-and-form:
"This consciousness turns back from name-and-form, it does not go beyond. In so far can one be born, or grow old, or die, or pass away, or reappear, in so far as this is, namely: consciousness is dependent on name-and-form, and name-and-form on consciousness; dependent on name-and-form, the six sense-bases; dependent on the six sense-bases, contact; dependent on contact, feeling; dependent on feeling, craving; dependent on craving, grasping; dependent on grasping, becoming; dependent on becoming, birth; and dependent on birth, decay-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair come to be. Thus is the arising of this entire mass of suffering."
The fact that this understanding of paṭicca samuppāda signified the arising of the Dhamma-eye in Vipassī bodhisatta is stated in the following words:
Samudayo samudayo'ti kho, bhikkhave, Vipassissa bodhisattassa pubbe ananussutesu dhammesu cakkhum udapādi, ñāṇaṃ udapādi, paññā udapādi, vijjā udapādi, āloko udapādi. "'Arising, arising', thus, O! monks, in regard to things unheard of before, there arose in the bodhisatta Vipassī the eye, the knowledge, the wisdom, the science, the light."
In the same way it is said that the bodhisatta clarified for himself the cessation aspect through radical reflection: Kimhi nu kho asati jarāmaraṇaṃ na hoti, kissa nirodhā jarāmaraṇaṃ nirodho? "In the absence of what, will decay-and-death not be, with the cessation of what, is the cessation of decay-and-death?" And as the answer to it, the following thought occurred to him: Jātiyā kho asati jarāmaraṇaṃ na hoti, jātinirodhā jarāmaraṇaṃnirodho. "In the absence of birth, there is no decay-and-death, with the cessation of birth is the cessation of decay-and-death."
Likewise he went on reflecting progressively, until he reached the link between name-and-form and consciousness, and then it occurred to him:
Nāmarūpanirodhā viññāṇanirodho, viññāṇanirodhā nāma-rūpanirodho. "From the cessation of name-and-form comes the cessation of consciousness, from the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-and-form."
Once this vital link is broken, that is, when consciousness ceases with the cessation of name-and-form, and name-and-form ceases with the cessation of consciousness, then all the other links following name-and-form, such as the six sense-bases, contact and feeling, come to cease immediately.
The MahāPadānasutta goes on to say that the bodhisatta Vipassī continued to dwell seeing the arising and passing away of the five grasping groups and that before long his mind was fully emancipated from the influxes and that he attained to full enlightenment. It is also said in the sutta in this connection that the bodhisatta followed this mode of reflection, because he understood that it is the way of insight leading to awakening:
Adhigato kho myāyaṃ vipassanā maggo bodhāya. "I have found this path of insight to awakening, to enlightenment."