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[Sticky] What is Dependent Origination?
We have some great articles and videos on Dependent Origination. It's an important concept in Buddhism, and worth learning about it and being mindful of in your own practice. But you need some information first!
It's about time, I guess, that I got around to watching this video of Doug's on my favorite subject, and I'm sorry I didn't do so much earlier. I may end up talking to myself here but what the heck: I'm unable to find a way to comment on the page for the video on this site, so I'll address some of my thoughts about it here. Well, I'll also put a comment or two on the video on youtube.
The titling in the video offers up these links in the chain (I'm beginning with the time in the video)
08:26 Name and Form Conditions Contact
09:03 Contact Conditions Feeling
09:46 Feeling Conditions Craving
10:58 Craving Conditions Clinging
11:49 Clinging Conditions Quarrels, Disputes, Suffering*
* that last threesome is effectively Dukkha, just as the last traditional step "Aging-and-Death" represents Dukkha.
The aspect of Doug's talk here that interested me the most is found at around 4:50 when he discusses leaving aside the first two links, Ignorance and "Volition" (saṅkhārā) and notes that they are "repetitious in that ignorance is also involved in the later links and volition… is related to the link of craving which is a volition." I love this.
Doug points out later spots where these come into play and he is just so right. What I see is that these two "missing links" are driving forces that influence what comes later, and here I find Doug saying so as well. I even argue in my paper "Anatomy of Quarrels and Disputes" that those first two are subtly included in that sutta, as if the Buddha was becoming aware of their necessity while teaching the ten-link version, but had yet to see how to include them overtly as he later did.
If we think about it, without "ignorance" none of what follows happens. If we already know and have seen -- thoroughly -- what is causing the chain of events, then there is no chain of events. The same is true for the craving/volition that saṅkhārā represents. Craving drives everything. It is, after all, what's discussed in the Second Noble Truth. It is both the cause of dukkha, and it is also the creation of dukkha that dependent arising describes. Both ignorance and craving are there driving all forward motion in the chain.