Posts Tagged ‘ignorance’

What Is Dependent Arising?

I said that dependent arising is both very simple, and very complex, but always helpful, and worth the effort to understand. Let me start with the very simple. It Really Is Simple Dependent arising says that we come into the world with certain drives that cause us to build a view of the world and…

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Yes, Dependent Origination Can Be Saved

This post is going to get personal. It can’t be helped. I’ve looked for some other way to write it, but there isn’t one in which I can be straightforward and tell the truth. I’m not going to attack anyone. I might — oh, okay, I will — argue against methods and conclusions, though. But…

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A Secular Understanding of Dependent Origination: #0 The Taints

There are three taints: the taint of sensual desire, the taint of being and the taint of ignorance. With the arising of ignorance there is the arising of the taints. With the cessation of ignorance there is the cessation of the taints. The way leading to the cessation of the taints is just this Noble…

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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: #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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A Secular Understanding of Dependent Origination: #2 Sankhara

In the last post I offered a fairly plain description of what was meant by “ignorance” in the first link in the chain of dependent arising. It is ignorance of what dukkha is, how it comes about, that it can come to an end, and the way to do that. I said that dukkha is…

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A Secular Understanding of Dependent Origination: #1 Ignorance

This post is the first in a series of twelve on dependent arising (the translation of paticca samuppada that I prefer over dependent origination, or co-dependent arising, or interdependent origination or any of the other variations). I plan to take each link in the classic chain of twelve and explain — in the plainest language…

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Asking the Wrong Questions, and Letting Go of the Unknowable

Science is the process of asking questions, but not any question. Science is the pursuit of asking the right questions, intelligent inquiry. And there lies the rub . . . What is a wrong question? Here is an example of a wrong question.

Let’s say you went back in time, and found a man staring at the horizon. He asks you, “What happens when you fall off the horizon?”

Since you come from a time when we know that one can never reach the horizon, let alone fall off, you see immediately that you can’t specifically answer his question as he worded it. His question is incorrect. The right question might be, What is the horizon? Or Why does the horizon move away from me as I try to approach it? Can a person ever reach the horizon? You could answer those questions.

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