(the Law of Dependent Origination) is fundamental to the teaching
of the Buddha. Emphasizing its importance, the Buddha said :
who sees paticcasamuppada
explains that samsara, the process of repeated existences,
is perpetuated by a chain of interconnected links of cause and effect
; it also reveals the way of breaking this chain and putting an end
to the process. Man has been continuing in this Samsara since
millenia - through countless aeons-millenia upon millenia.
The Buddha said:
man with craving as his companion has been flowing in the stream of
repeated existences from time immemorial. He comes into being, experiences
various types of miseries, dies again and again, and does not put
an end to this unbroken process of becoming.
is samsara, the world of suffering, as explained by the Buddha.
He further said:
understanding the perils of this process, realizing fully craving
as its cause, becoming free from craving and attachment, one should
mindfully lead the life of detachment.
is the binding force in the world. Rolling thought processes are its
ever-changing base. With the complete eradication of craving, The
state called nibbana is attained.
statements made by the Buddha describe the nature of samsara,
the state of suffering, and the nature of Nibbana, the state
of final emancipation. But how can detachment be developed, and craving
is the practical aspect of Dhamma discovered by Siddhartha
Gotama, the realization that made him a Buddha (enlightened one),
and that he in turn revealed to the world by the doctrine of Paticcasamuppada.
to this doctrine, twelve links form the wheel of becoming (bhava-cakka).
on ignorance, reaction (conditioning) arises;
arises this entire mass of suffering.
the complete eradication and cessation of ignorance, reaction (conditioning)
this entire mass of suffering ceases.
other words, the origin of each link depends upon the preceding one.
As long as this chain of twelve causal relations operates, the wheel
of becoming (bhava-cakka) keeps turning, bringing nothing but
suffering. This process of cause and effect is called anuloma-paticcasamuppada
(the Law of Dependent Origination in forward order). Every link of
anuloma results in misery (dukkha), as a result of avijja
which is at the base of every link. Thus the process of anuloma clarifies
the first two Noble Truths, dukkha-sacca (suffering), and samudaya-sacca
(its origination and multiplication).
have to emerge from this bhava-cakka of dukkha. Explaining
how to do so, the Buddha said that when any one of the links of the
chain is broken, the wheel of becoming comes to an end, resulting
in the cessation of suffering. This is called patiloma-paticcasamuppada
(the Law of Dependent Origination in reverse order) which clarifies
the third and fourth Noble Truths, nirodha-sacca (the cessation
of suffering), and nirodha-gamini- patipada-sacca (the path
that leads to the cessation of suffering). How can that be achieved?
Which link of the chain can be broken?
Through deep insight, the Buddha discovered that the crucial link is vedana. In the anuloma-paticcasamuppada, he says "vedana-paccaya tanha'' (with the base of sensation, craving and aversion arise). Vedana is the cause of tanha, which gives rise to dukkha. In order to remove the cause of dukkha or tanha; therefore, one must not allow vedana to connect with tanha; in other words, one must practise Vipassana meditation at this juncture so that avijja becomes vijja or panna (wisdom). One has to observe vedana, to experience and to comprehend the truth of its arising and passing away, i.e., anicca.
Vipassana (the observation of the reality 'as it is'), as one
experiences vedana properly, one comes out of the delusion
of nicca-sanna (perception of permanence) by the development
of anicca-bodha or anicca-vijja (the wisdom of impermanence)
towards vedana. This is practised by observing with equanimity,
the arising and passing away of vedana. With aniccabodha,
the habit pattern of the mind changes. Instead of the earlier pattern
of vedana-paccaya tanha, through anicca-vijja it becomes
vedana paccaya panna (with the base of sensation wisdom arises).
As panna becomes stronger and stronger, naturally the sanna
and with it tanha, becomes weaker and weaker. The process of
the multiplication of suffering with the base of avijja then
becomes the process of the cessation of suffering, with vijja
as the base. As this process continues, a time comes where there is
the complete cessation of vedana as well as tanha: "vedana-nirodha
tanha nirodho" (with the cessation of sensation, craving
and aversion cease).
state of emancipation is a state beyond mind-matter ; where both vedana
and sanna cease. One can experience this for a few seconds,
minutes, hours, or days when according to one's own capacity, one
becomes established in nirodha-samapatti by practising Vipassana.
After the period of nirodha-samapatti (the attainment of cessation),
when one comes back to the sensual field of mind-matter, one again
experiences vedana. But now the whole habit pattern of the
mind has been changed, and continued observation leads to the stage
where one does not generate aversion or craving at all because the
anusaya kilesa and the asava (the deep-rooted mental
impurities) are eradicated. In this way by the breaking of one link,
vedana, the whole process is shattered and the wheel of repeated
existence is broken completely.
we want to advance on the path of liberation, we have to work at the
level of vedana because it is here that the rotation of the
wheel of misery can be arrested. With vedana starts the turning
of the bhava-cakka (wheel of becoming), leading (because of
avijja) to vedana-paccaya tanha which causes suffering. This
is the path which ignorant persons (puthujjana) follow, since
they react to vedana and generate tanha. And from here
also the Dhamma-cakka, (wheel of Dhamma) or the wheel of cessation
of suffering (dukkha-nirodha-gamini-patipada) can start to
rotate, leading to vedana-nirodha, tanha-nirodho: the end of
craving, as a result of anicca-vijja or panna, leading
to the cessation of suffering. This is the path which wise persons
(sapanna) follow by not reacting to vedana, because
they have developed anicca-bodha by the practice of Vipassana.
of the contemporaries of the Buddha held the view that craving causes
suffering and that to remove suffering one has to abstain from the
objects of craving. In order to develop detachment, the Buddha tackled
the problem in a different way. Having learned to examine the depths
of his own mind, he realized that between the external object and
the mental reflex of craving is a missing link: vedana (sensation).
Whenever we encounter an object through the five physical senses or
the mind, a sensation arises; and based on the sensation, tanha
arises. If the sensation is pleasant we crave to prolong it, and if
it is unpleasant we crave to be rid of it. It is in the chain of Dependent
Origination that the Buddha expressed his profound discovery.
on contact, sensation arises.
immediate cause for the arising of craving and of suffering is, therefore,
not something outside of us but rather the sensations that occur within
us. To free ourselves from craving and suffering we must deal with
this inner reality of sensations. Doing so is the practical way to
emerge from suffering. By developing anicca-vijja (the wisdom
of impermanence) we learn to cut the knots of our misery and witness
the true nature of Dhamma. Vedana then is the cause of our
bondage when not properly observed, as well as the means of our liberation
when properly observed by understanding the Dhamma, the law of paticcasamuppada.
-BASED ON a VRI Research article, Sayagyi U Ba Khin Journal-VRI (Pg. 254-256)
''The law of patthana'' of the Abhidhamma Pitaka is known as the ''law of relations'' or cause-effect and paticca samuppada can be more accurately translated as ''law of dependent origination''. There are 24 types of relations, as explained in ''the law of ''patthana'', on which cause-effect are based. 'hetu' (condition) and kamma (karma) are 2 of these 24 types. Sayagyi U Ba Khin has said: ''hetu is the condition of the mind at one conscious moment of each karma action whether physical, vocal or mental.
karma therefore produces a condition of mind which is either moral,
immoral or neutral. (These are mental forces or Dhamma, the
content of mind is called dhamma). ... All beings are subject
to the law of karma. As the karma comes out of the mind
which is everchanging the effects of karma must necessarily
also be changing''
49-50 sayagyi U Ba Khin journal VRI
can be studied from an Abhidhamma book or the discourse given by Sayagyi
on this in the Sayagyi Journal-VRI. All this is not for intellectualization
but it is 'what is' or self knowledge; This is 'reading the book which
is oneself' with insight and ending all misery and sorrow.
(Please refer to the Dhamma teaching as quoted under ''Journey from sensations to sacred-State beyond mind and matter''/''Nibbana-sacred-freedom'' in this study.)