A Secular Understanding of Dependent Arising: Table of Contents

Americans seem to use “dependent origination” as the most common translation of paticca samuppada, but I don’t think we’re talking about “origination” so much as about what is arising, so I prefer “dependent arising”. (For the sake of search engines, I used “dependent origination” in the title of each blogpost, but a rose by any…

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A Secular Understanding of Dependent Origination: #6 Contact

Up to this point what has been covered in the first five steps is an overview of the problematic situation as it’s given to us.The model for what’s going on in these first five steps is a well-known origin myth that gets referred to in various different places in the suttas: the story of the…

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A Secular Understanding of Dependent Origination: #5 Use of the Six Senses

When Sariputta describes step #5 (from MN 9, as translated by Bhikkhus Nanamoli and Bodhi), we are clearly in the field: ¬†There are these six bases: the eye-base, the ear-base, the nose-base, the tongue-base, the body-base, the mind-base…. This tells us nothing about how it relates to the process of dependent origination, it only tells…

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A Secular Understanding of Dependent Origination: #4 Name and Form

It is with this link in the chain that this secular understanding of dependent arising finds a deeper insight into the processes through which we create anatta, deeper insight than offered by the confusion of the traditional views of what’s going on. The Pali word for this step is namarupa — nama shares a root…

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A Secular Understanding of Dependent Origination: #3 Consciousness

We come into the world ignorant of the things we do that end up causing dukkha in our lives, and in particular ignorant of the drive for existence of our sense-of-self: that’s step #1: ignorance, and step #2: sankhara. Sankhara is simultaneously that natural tendency to develop and protect our sense-of-self taken to extremes, and…

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Awareness, Questioning, and the Path of Compassion

This is a wonderful talk by Martine Batchelor about the practice of awareness, questioning, and the path of compassion, and how they all fit together. Secular Buddhist practitioners often ask, So what is the practice? What do I do? Martine does a great job of explaining what we get out of the practice of meditation,…

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Be a Buddha, Not a Buddhist: Introduction to Weekly Practice

Be a Buddha, not a Buddhist is an important concept to me because the real value, as I see it, in Buddhism is not the ism but the practice itself. I’ve realized recently that I’d like to take my understanding of Buddhism into deeper territory. One of the best ways to do this is to revisit everything I’ve learned in the past, to start my practice from scratch, or with the beginner’s mind, so to speak.

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New Year Resolutions Buddhist Style

Much of Buddhist practice focuses on mindfulness in the here and now, but as 2012 approaches many of us look at the year ahead. Mr. Gotama said not to fixate on the past or future, and we all know from experience how that can get you lost in a mental ball of string. But intention…

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