dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

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clyde
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dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by clyde » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:06 pm

I understand the simple version of dependent co-arising
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
But my understanding of the “12-fold chain of dependent origination” and it’s relationship to the cessation of suffering is lacking.
From the Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising,
"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
I ‘get’ that the cessation of ignorance leads to “the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering”. This seems obvious as the Buddha defines ignorance as not knowing the Four Noble Truths.
"And what is ignorance? Not knowing stress, not knowing the origination of stress, not knowing the cessation of stress, not knowing the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called ignorance.”

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
But my understanding is that dependent origination is seen as a “12-fold chain”, literally a cycle without beginning or end. Is that so? The Buddha spoke of examining “dependent co-arising in forward and reverse order,” but did the Buddha (explicitly) teach dependent co-arising as a cycle?

Also, regardless of whether dependent co-arising is cyclic or linear, I ‘get’ that the cessation of ignorance will break the links. But isn’t that so for any of the links that lead to suffering? And if that is so, then the cessation of consciousness (as when one is in deep sleep or unconscious) should break the chain, yes?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by Rinchen Samphel » Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:12 am

The appearance of the links is itself ignorance. None of the links cease without the cessation of ignorance, as all the links themselves are the movement of ignorance.

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by Vasana » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:51 am

clyde wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:06 pm

But my understanding is that dependent origination is seen as a “12-fold chain”, literally a cycle without beginning or end. Is that so? The Buddha spoke of examining “dependent co-arising in forward and reverse order,” but did the Buddha (explicitly) teach dependent co-arising as a cycle?
They were taught cyclically to better understand the causal process of samsaric transmigration. If further becoming and birth did not follow death then it wouldn't be cyclical. Depending on the personal aptitude of beings, some are taught dependent origination and some are taught emptiness directly. Neither are contradictory.
clyde wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:06 pm
Also, regardless of whether dependent co-arising is cyclic or linear, I ‘get’ that the cessation of ignorance will break the links. But isn’t that so for any of the links that lead to suffering? And if that is so, then the cessation of consciousness (as when one is in deep sleep or unconscious) should break the chain, yes?
Well you can examine this for yourself. Look at each link individually and see if that link alone is enough to uproot the root afflictions that bind us to samsara. Monks for example following the path of renunciation restrict the kinds of sensory contact they have with various phenomena. As I'm sure we have personal experience of, restricting our sensory contact of certain phenomena does not necessarily mean that the desire, craving or aversion for that particular contact is now permanently uprooted. It's just in a latent state, like a seed that hasn't met with all of the conditions necessarily for it's germination.

Suffering is not uprooted merely from eliminating contact but it can act as a supporting factor for reaching the right-view that will. The different vehicles of Buddhism have different ideas about contact so the above is in the context of the path of renunciation.

As for sleep, there are different views on this. But since even sleep is not permanent, any relative cessation of suffering will only be temporary, akin to someone who has just been hit by a truck and laying in a coma. They might not be awake to feel their injuries but sooner or later the conditions for the sleep or coma come to an end and the suffering felt again.



Salistamba Sutra:

'Whoever, monks, sees conditioned arising sees Dharma,and whoever sees Dharma sees the Buddha.'

http://xuanfa.net/buddha-dharma/tripita ... mba-sutra/
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by clyde » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:26 pm

Vasana; Thank you for your answers.
Vasana wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:51 am
They were taught cyclically to better understand the causal process of samsaric transmigration.
But did the Buddha teach dependent co-arising cyclically? Is there a sutta or sutra wherein the Buddha made this known?
Vasana wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:51 am
Look at each link individually and see if that link alone is enough to uproot the root afflictions that bind us to samsara.
Since each link is dependent on the previous link, it follows that any broken link breaks the chain, no?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by Vasana » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:02 pm

clyde wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:26 pm
Vasana; Thank you for your answers.
Vasana wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:51 am
They were taught cyclically to better understand the causal process of samsaric transmigration.

But did the Buddha teach dependent co-arising cyclically? Is there a sutta or sutra wherein the Buddha made this known?
I'm not certain of the best way to address that question. I will look in to it but hopefully someone else chimes in.

clyde wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:26 pm
Vasana wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:51 am
Look at each link individually and see if that link alone is enough to uproot the root afflictions that bind us to samsara.
Since each link is dependent on the previous link, it follows that any broken link breaks the chain, no?
Hypothetically yes, but then which do you think can be broken on their own?

We can rule birth and death out for most. How do you break the cycle at desire or contact or grasping alone unless there is an accompanying wisdom to interrupt the conditions that give rise to them? You can't just will desire, contact and craving away can you? Only correct view and wisdom will render them harmless.

(I.e - a species of wisdom or insight that instantaneously interrupts the chain of ignorance that breeds grasping and the other links the first place)
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by clyde » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:27 am

Vasana wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:02 pm
clyde wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:26 pm
Since each link is dependent on the previous link, it follows that any broken link breaks the chain, no?
Hypothetically yes, but then which do you think can be broken on their own?
Let’s look at the second link, fabrications. In the Jhana Sutta, the Buddha is reported to say,
"'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.”

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by Aryjna » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:50 am

clyde wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:27 am
Vasana wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:02 pm
clyde wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:26 pm
Since each link is dependent on the previous link, it follows that any broken link breaks the chain, no?
Hypothetically yes, but then which do you think can be broken on their own?
Let’s look at the second link, fabrications. In the Jhana Sutta, the Buddha is reported to say,
"'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.”

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
This is not talking about the second link, it is talking about 'mental fermentations' which I suppose are the kleshas.

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by clyde » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:11 am

Aryjna; Yes. My confusion mixing fabrications and mental fermentation’s.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by clyde » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:23 pm

I’m not clear as exactly what “fabrications” (sankhara) means (but that’s for another topic), but the Buddha is reported to say,
"And what are fabrications? These three are fabrications: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, mental fabrications. These are called fabrications.”

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
The Buddha is also reported to say,
"And I have also taught the step-by-step cessation of fabrications. When one has attained the first jhāna, speech has ceased. When one has attained the second jhāna, directed thought & evaluation have ceased. When one has attained the third jhāna, rapture has ceased. When one has attained the fourth jhāna, in-and-out breathing has ceased. When one has attained the dimension of the infinitude of space, the perception of forms has ceased. When one has attained the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space has ceased. When one has attained the dimension of nothingness, the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness has ceased. When one has attained the dimension of neither-perception nor non-perception, the perception of the dimension of nothingness has ceased. When one has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, perception & feeling have ceased. When a monk's effluents have ended, passion has ceased, aversion has ceased, delusion has ceased."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
My understanding of the above passage is that the fabrications cease at the attainment of the fourth jhana. The passage goes on to describe the cessations associated with the formless jhanas (or attainments) ending with the cessation of ignorance. It seems to suggest that the cessations of the fabrications and effluents leads to the cessation of ignorance. Perhaps this is why the Buddha spoke of examining “dependent co-arising in forward and reverse order”.
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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:42 am

Fabrications are too much vrrti in the citta. And I was going to mention the ‘reverse pratityasamutpada’ but you beat me to it. But that is the exact thing: following the chain inwards instead of outwards; tracing it to its source.

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by SunWuKong » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:29 pm

clyde wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:06 pm
I understand the simple version of dependent co-arising
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.........Also, regardless of whether dependent co-arising is cyclic or linear, I ‘get’ that the cessation of ignorance will break the links. But isn’t that so for any of the links that lead to suffering? And if that is so, then the cessation of consciousness (as when one is in deep sleep or unconscious) should break the chain, yes?
the term "consciousness" as we use it in the West (e.g. phrases like "the ultimate ground of consciousness") defines something totally different that what it does in Buddhist literature, where it is merely the mental phenomena relating to processing stuff. While it's true that in deep sleep or knocked out, or under anesthesia, one is "unconscious" it in no way helps us to shed light upon our affliction and automatic processing that results in suffering. It's more like a "Pause" switch than a "stop".... the Stop switch is Waking Up and seeing What it Is... borrowing from another thread it is "stopping" and "seeing"
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by clyde » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:32 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:42 am
Fabrications are too much vrrti in the citta.
Thank you as I believe this was meant to be helpful . . . but what does that mean?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:08 am

Sorry, Clyde - it's a remark once made to me by a Sanskrit teacher and yogi, referring to the proliferation of thinking:
Wikipedia wrote:Vritti, literally "whirlpool", is a technical term in yoga meant to indicate that the contents of mental awareness are disturbances in the medium of consciousness. Vritti can be taken as a catch-all term for any content in consciousness, where consciousness is regarded as a medium or container for any possible mental content. The scope of the idea is very broad, referring not only to thoughts and perceptions experienced in a normal waking state, but also to all super-physical perceptions, such as dreams or in any altered state of consciousness. Vritti has also been translated as "waves" or "ripples" of disturbance upon the otherwise calm waters of the mind. The classical definition of yoga as stated in the Yoga Sutras is to calm the waves and return, or reunite (yoga = union) mind to its calm state, or samadhi.
Yogapedia wrote:Citta is a Sanskrit word meaning "consciousness" and is derived from the root word, cit, meaning "to perceive." It is all that is perceived and all that can be perceived. Consciousness is the space that holds all perceivable things.
Bear in mind, those definitions are rather more yogic than Buddhist, strictly speaking, but the meaning is similar.
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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by clyde » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:49 am

Thank you again.

I was familiar with the term “citta”, but not “vritti”. It’s interesting that the contents of consciousness are deemed ‘disturbances’, but I can understand how that may be seen as such.

In any case, how does this fit with the Buddha describing the fabrications as bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications and mental fabrications?
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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:05 am

The wording in that passage you mention doesn’t really spell out ‘bodily’ fabrications does it? It speaks of ‘cessation of speech’, then cessation of ‘directed thought and evaluation’. So I take that as a reference to a state of inner quietude, the cessation of mental chatter, and also of ‘vikalpa’, vikalpa being ‘discriminative judgements’. If you look at the linked passage, then ‘fabrications’ are described as ‘inconstant’, as being of a nature which ‘falls away’. In other words, they’re inconstant, subject to change, and are therefore dukkha [which Ven. Thanissaro customarily translates as ‘stress’.]

Then the passage catalogues the ‘higher jhanas’ which as we notice include ‘cessation of breath’ and then the other very rarified states [which I imagine few attain]. There’s another interesting term in yoga, called ‘nirvikalpa samadhi. So ‘nirvikalpa’ means ‘negation or absence of discriminative awareness, and that state has been translated as ‘contentless consciousness’ [see note here]. Again I think it conveys the idea of a state of rapture or rapt stillness.

But the point I was commenting on was the idea of ‘mental fabrications’, in the sense of continuous patterns or chains of internal chatter - which is what ‘falls away’ in meditation. Those are the ‘distubances’ in the ‘citta’. I think even for those of us who don’t reach those higher states of ‘perception of nothingness’ we can still observe some degree of ‘cessation’ on that level. And even on that level, it is beneficial, because you start to ‘see through your own stuff’. You realise that a lot of what seemed important was just mental chatter. ‘Oh, you again’. And that helps you to let things go. Might not be the be-all and end-all but an important step on the way regardless.
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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by clyde » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:55 am

Here’s how I understand the passage.

The passage begins,
And I have also taught the step-by-step cessation of fabrications.
So I understand what follows as the Buddha’s teaching of the “step-by-step cessation of fabrications” through the four jhanas.

The passage doesn’t use the term “bodily jhana”, but it does say this about the fourth jhana,
When one has attained the fourth jhāna, in-and-out breathing has ceased.
Now that clearly can’t mean one’s literal “in-and-out breathing” ceases in the fourth jhana . . . and the“bodily fabrications” (and the others) are defined in a sutta:
"There are three fabrications, householder: bodily-fabrications, verbal fabrications, & mental fabrications.”

"Very good, venerable sir." And, delighting in and approving of Ven. Kamabhu's answer, Citta asked him a further question: "But what are bodily-fabrications? What are verbal fabrications? What are mental fabrications?”

"In-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications.”

"Very good, venerable sir."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
So I took the wording in that passage to point to the cessation of the fabrication of in-and-out breath.

I agree that “fabrications” are, as you wrote, “inconstant, subject to change, and are therefore dukkha”. Perhaps, “fabrications” as used in the suttas corresponds to “dharmas” in the sutras and the Buddha categorized them into body, speech, and mind.

Comments?
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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by clyde » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:18 pm

Ooops! This:
clyde wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:55 am
The passage doesn’t use the term “bodily jhana”, but it does say this about the fourth jhana,
should have read
The passage doesn’t use the term “bodily fabrications”, but it does say this about the fourth jhana,
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by smcj » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:21 pm

I’d like to advocate for “dependent co-arising” to be simplified as “paradox”—or maybe even “Catch 22”.

Nah, that’s pushing it.
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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:10 am

Clyde wrote:I agree that “fabrications” are, as you wrote, “inconstant, subject to change, and are therefore dukkha”. Perhaps, “fabrications” as used in the suttas corresponds to “dharmas” in the sutras and the Buddha categorized them into body, speech, and mind.

Comments?
I like that the householder's name is 'Citta'.

I don't know about whether the 'cessation of in- and out-breathing' really is totally allegorical. Isn't the point that when yogis enter into profound states of absorption that their metabolic functions slow right down? There was a link to an article posted here a few months ago about this subject. Personally, I'm not sure what to make of it.

But in general terms, the word 'fabrication' has the clear meaning of 'something that is made', as 'fabricated' means, 'made' or 'constructed'. Whereas the aim of practice itself is concerned with realising ''the unconditioned, the unmade, the un-fabricated' (as per the Nibanna Sutta.) Actually it might be interesting to know what the Pali word was, that was translated as 'fabrications' - I guess we could check that at Sutta Central (although at this particular moment more mundane matters are pressing.)
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Re: dependent co-arising and the cessation of suffering

Post by clyde » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:19 am

I had some time and checked at Sutta Central. The Pali is “sankhara” and this is how the definition begins:
Saṅkhāra
one of the most difficult terms in Buddhist metaphysics, in which the blending of the subjective-objective view of the world and of happening peculiar to the East, is so complete, that it is almost impossible for Occidental terminology to get at the root of its meaning in a translation. We can only convey an idea of its import by representing several sides of its application, without attempting to give a “word” as a def. translation

https://suttacentral.net/define/saṅkhāra
It goes on to cover 4 approaches.

In researching “sankhara” I found this essay by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Anicca Vata Sankhara (“Impermanent, alas, are all formations!”) which defines and explores the term:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... ay_43.html
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