The Doctrine of Paticcasamuppada

by U Than Daing | 1996 | 18,306 words

This book deals with Paticcasamuppada (‘dependent origination’): a Pali compound consisting of three words: 1) Patticca, which means “because” and “dependent upon”, 2) Sam, which means “well”, 3) and Uppada, which means “arising of effect through cause”. So dependent on ‘cause’ there arises ‘effect’; hence it is known in English as “Law of Depe...

Chapter 4 - How Cycle Of Paticcasamuppada Starts Revolving From Vedana

Reference to the Diagram is invited. In Section II, there will be seen Vinnana, Namarupa, Salayatana, Phassa and Vedana.

Whenever there is a combination of sense door, object and consciousness there arises Phassa which gives rise to Vedana whether pleasant, unpleasant or indifferent.

To illustrate this: One sees a very beautiful flower and if he is pleased with it he feels a pleasant sensation (Vedana). If there arises in him the desire or craving (Tanha) for it, there inevitably follows Upadana (clinging or grasping). This is where the chain of Paticcasamuppada starts revolving.

It is to be noted that the Paticcasamuppada does not stop then and there. When Upadana is followed by Kammabhava there inevitably will follow Jati (Rebirth). Reference to Section III and IV of the Diagram will show the connecting link between Kammabhava and Jati.

This connection means the process of the line of the action of the Paticcasamuppada.

The Buddha said,

'Where there is Tanha after Vedana, I will never say that Magga, Phala or Nibbana can be realised.'

'So also where Dosa or Domanassa follows after Vedana, Magga, Phala or Nibbana can never be realised.'

When it is said that the ceaseless process of Paticcasamuppada continues it means to imply that it is our own Khandha which undergoes the ceaseless process of the cyclic chain of Samsara. Here Khandha does not mean this body which weighs 140/150 lbs; but this is what it means in conventional parlance.

What Khandha means. When an object (Arammana) enters a sense door (Dvara) there arises Vinnanan or in other words Vinnanakhandha. Whenever there is Phassa there arises Vedana which is Vedanakkhandha. Whenever there is Phassa, there arises Sanna which is called Sannakhandha. Volitional activities (cetana) are called Sankharakkhandha and matter (Rupa) is called Rupakkhandha.

The arising of whatever Khandha whether Rupakkhandha, Vedanakkhandha, Sannakhandha, Sankharakkhandha or Vinnanakkhandha is the chain or the process of Khandha which in other words is none other than the Paticcasamuppada which in actual fact is not to be found in Pitaka Books (Pali Canons) or in the mere recitation but in our own Khandha. Where there is a continuation of the Paticcasamuppada or line of actions of Khandhas there is nothing but the whole mass of sorrow and suffering. ('Evametassa Kevalassa Dukkhakkhandhassa Samudayohoti').

In the NiddanaVagga Samyutta, it is said,

'If one leads the life of Paticcasamuppada, he is called Miccha patipada (one who leads wrong life). He who meditates or practises Vipassana is called Sammapatipada (one who leads a righteous life).'

It may therefore be asserted that he who practises Magga brahmacariya or Vipassana is trying to disconnect or to cut the relinking of Kammic force or Khandha, or in other words he is trying to discontinue Paticcasamuppada. Here reference to the Diagram is invited. Practice of Vipassana is the work of cutting the link between Section III and Section IV or in other words, killing Tanha in order to disallow Kammic force to arise.

It can also be said that Vipassana meditation is the work which tries to change Vedana Paccaya Tanha into Vedana Paccaya Panna. It is the work which tries to replace Tanha by Vipassanamagga (Vipassana magga means Samma Ditthi, Samma Samkappa, Samma Sati, Samma Samadhi.) after Vedana.

Unless there is Vipassana Magga or Vipassana Meditation, it is peremptory that Tanha will inevitably follow. Nothing else can stop the arising of Tanha. If one follows the way of Patticcasamuppada he will be faced with Samudaya and Dukkha. His companion will be Samudaya and Dukkha. He is just like a stump in Samsara and will ever remain as a stump even when Buddhas appear in the universe.

Is it the time for the reader to decide, to choose which way, i.e. Magga Phala or the way to remain as a stump of Samsara? Should he be willing to free himself from the whirlpool of Samsara he must follow the way of Magga or in other words he should practise Vipasssana and must try to perceive with insight knowledge the arising and passing away of Vedana by employing five maggangas (Pubbabhaga Magga).

It must be pointed out here that Vedana is not to be searched here and there as one generally thinks. No, it is not to be sought after. Vedana arises whenever there is an impact of Phassa. One or the other kind of Vedana is always prevalent in us, pleasant or painful, agreeable or disagreeable, different or indifferent, hence it is not necessary to purposely search for Vedana as it is prevalent all the time in one of the six sense doors.

Vedana shows and reveals to us its presence by arising and vanishing before us. It is for the Yogi to have the insight that Vedana is Anicca or arising or passing away. If the Yogi can apprehend Vedana properly, it can be said that he is out of the boundary of Nicca Sanna (permanence wrong view). He is on the right path when Anicca of Vedana is apprehended by insight Vipassana.

'Vedana Nirodha Tanha Nirodho' means when Vedana is exterminated so is Tanha 'Tanha Nirodha Nibbana', i.e. extermination of Tanha means Nibbana.


Footnotes and references:


'Vedananam Khaya Bhikkhu Niccato Pannibbuto' means when vedana is perceived as most abominable, despicable, detestable and repugnant as a result of intensive and repeated meditation, the desire, longing or lust for any kind of vedana comes to an end or vedana comes to the cessation. (Vedananan Khaya) as such the Bhikkhu (monk) can attain Kilesa Parinibbana.


Sutta Nipata

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