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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Over the past few weeks, we focused on exploring how the feeling of me, mine, and I arise from the five aggregates: body, feeling tone, perceptions, fabrications, and consciousness. Each of these arise as a part of the human condition. In fact, they’ve been necessary to our evolution as a species. Without a feeling of I, you might not bother to feed yourself.

The problems of the aggregates comes from not recognizing them as the processes that go into the making of a perception of self, not recognizing that these are impermanent, and the focus for this week, how we cling to them and crave for more.

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You wouldn’t know from the title of the sutta — “The Greater Discourse on the Destruction of Craving” — that this is one of the suttas that gives the most detail on dependent arising (aka dependent origination, interdependent co-arising, etc) but it is one in which the Buddha attempts to put across the concept that was the backbone of all his teachings. He describes it backwards (which is normal) and forwards (used almost as frequently). He covers arising, and he covers cessation (backwards and forwards). And then he describes it in terms of fire, in terms of nutriment, and in terms of one person’s life, as well as pointing out what we should and shouldn’t care about if we properly understand it (we would not, for example, have any reason to be wondering who we were in the past or who we will be in the future).(1)

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A reflection on the difficulties involved in and the methodology of a secular approach to Buddhism, followed by a reading of and comments on the Kalama Sutta, considered as a primary source text for secular Buddhism

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Dependent Arising (paṭicca samuppāda, also known as Dependent Origination, Interdependent Arising, &c) is of special interest to me. The other day while I was browsing various online forums, I found a monk expressing amazement that anyone could think it was about — well, I’m not going to say what he was amazed by, but suffice…

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This is the third installment in which I discuss ideas presented by Stephen Bachelor in a series of dharma talks in late 2010. You can hear them at dharmaseed.org. Christians have some explaining to do. If, as they believe, God is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving, why is there so much suffering in…

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