The theory about the Dependent Origination (Pratiyasamutpada) and twelve links of interdependent arising in Buddhism
Dependent Origination (Sanskrit: Pratiyasamutpada) and the theory about the dependent origination and twelve links of interdependent arising in Buddhism are the basic Buddhism philosophies. In Sanskrit, “Pratitya” means “meeting each other”, “relying on”, or “depending on”. In general, it reflects “a dependence”. Hence, it refers to all phenomenon in the world are established by the combined factors or conditions. The presence of something being caused by other various elements. In other words, all Dharma in the whole universe is created and dissolved by the law of Dependent Origination.
The Story of Buddha’s Theory about The Dependent Origination (Pratiyasamutpada)
The idea of dependent origination was born before Buddha Times. It was also one of the main things of Buddha’s enlightenment which includes the Divine Knowledge(remembrance of previous lives), the Four Noble Truths, and the Law of Cause and Effect. From those supreme Bodhi, Buddhism was born firstly; and as the result, the eighteen Buddhism sects were established later. In Buddha’s lifetime, Lord Buddha had said: “If people see the dependent origination, it means they will see Dharma. And, seeing the Dharmas means meeting the Buddha”.
According to Buddha’s teachings, being well aware of the dependent origination also means to understand the egolessness of all Dharmas. In fact, the theory of egolessness is by far the most prominent feature in Buddhism philosophies. And it stands out from the crowd in all of the humanity’ doctrines or belief systems. Thus, it will be a dismiss to not mention about the dependent origination while studying the Buddhism’s theory.
What Does “Dependent Origination” Really Mean in Buddhism?
“Dependent Origination” (Pratiyasamutpada) is the condition of all physical and psychical phenomena. For more details, everything arises from conditional causation. They are not spontaneous but arise from the condition. In Buddhism’s worldview, the whole universe is the co-creation of all beings. Especially, all of the things are created by at least two causation. And the circle of dependent origination occurs perpetually from the previous time to the present and the future. You can imagine that it looks like the repeated chain of causation and result.
According to Buddhism’s theory about the dependent origination, this circle consists of twelve links of interdependent arising. People also call it the Twelve Division Cycle of Causation and Becomings. In the Dharma talks, Buddha had said: “From the existence of one thing, another one becomes; from the happening of this one, another one occurs. Respectively, from the non – existence of one thing, another one will not be available; and from the disappearance of one thing, another one will not appear.”
From the Buddhism perspectives, when twelve links of interdependent arise, it also means the suffering comes definitely. In contrast, if there are no longer twelve links of dependent origination, the suffering will be deleted forever.
As mentioned above, seeing the dependent origination shares the same meaning of meeting the Buddha. Why is it? While seeing the dependent origination or achieving the highest level of enlightenment – “Achieving egolessness, or deleting all suffering”, it means to become Buddha”.
In order to well aware of the theory about the Dependent Origination, it is vital to understand the Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising in Buddhism.
Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising in Buddhism
- Ignorance: No understanding of the Four Noble Truths.
- Influence of the whole body: It includes the effect of the body, mouth, and mind.
- Six Consciousnesses: They consist of visual consciousness, ear consciousness, olfactory consciousness, tongue consciousness, tactile consciousness, mental consciousness.
- Name and Form: Name in Buddhism includes feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness. Form in Buddhism refers to the abstract things that people can not realize by the consciousness. Both Name and Form in Buddhism are unreal and can give rise to delusion.
- Six entrances or locations which cover eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and ming.
- Contact/Sensation: The presence of objects and senses creates the contact.
- Feeling: People feel “Unpleasant/Hurt”, “Pleasant”, “Joyful”, “Sorrowful”, and “Neither pain nor pleasant” because the relation between the mind and external elements affect their mind.
- Craving: Because of feeling, people start to have the attitude of love and hate for those feeling. They prefer “Pleasure” and “Joy” to “Displeasure” and “Sorrow”. In contrast, they find it hard to maintain a neutral attitude. Thus, it is such a challenge for them to feel “Neither pain nor pleasant”.
- Clinging: The clinging will attach and control people due to their cravings.
- Becoming/Existence: It expresses the survival in three realms which covers the realm of desire, form, and formlessness.
- Birth: Birth from an egg, birth from a womb, birth from moisture, and birth from transformation. Birth is the condition for the appearance of old age and death in a living being.
- Old age and Death: They are the obvious truism of the human life. All of the individuals must go on this pathway.
The Meaning of The Theory about The Dependent Origination and Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising in Buddhism
From the Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising in Buddhism, we have discovered the circle of dependent origination. There are really many meaningful lessons from this theory. However, it is essential for us to know the basic as well as the root of this chain. The ultimate origination is the ignorance. Thus, if we can’t delete the ignorance, it will be much more difficult for us to find the pathway to get escape from this circle. In the simplest meaning, if we plant the bad seeds (bad words, actions, or thought), they will definitely lead us to the respective effect. In consequence, we will suffer from negative influence sooner or later. On the other hand, if we plant the good seeds, they will create positive benefit.
By practicing intelligent contemplation about the theory about the dependent origination and its links, we will be able to nourish our greater loving compassion for all beings. Moreover, we should take consider practicing mindfulness meditation and contemplation meditation in order to know the theory and its meanings deeply. Finally, it will lead us to see Buddha, or waking your Buddha nature and take a step closer on the Dharma pathway to the enlightenment and Nirvana.
From the existence of one thing, another one becomes; from the happening of this one, another one occurs. Respectively, from the non – existence of one thing, another one will not be available; and from the disappearance of one thing, another one will not appear