Paticcasamuppada, Paticca-samuppada, Paṭiccasamuppāda: 7 definitions


Paticcasamuppada means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Paticcasamuppada in Theravada glossary
Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

Dependent co arising; dependent origination. A map showing the way the aggregates (khandha) and sense media (ayatana) interact with ignorance (avijja) and craving (tanha) to bring about stress and suffering (dukkha). As the interactions are complex, there are several different versions of paticca samuppada given in the suttas. In the most common one, the map starts with ignorance. In another common one, the map starts with the interrelation between name (nama) and form (rupa) on the one hand, and sensory consciousness (vinnana) on the other.

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

Conditioned production of the twelve interdependent causes. It is the explanation of the anatta process, it rules over the appearance and disappearance of each phenomenon.

See also: paticca samuppada

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

'dependent origination', is the doctrine of the conditionality of all physical and psychical phenomena, a doctrine which, together with that of impersonality (anattā), forms the indispensable condition for the real understanding and realization of the teaching of the Buddha. It shows the conditionality and dependent nature of that uninterrupted flux of manifold physical and psychical phenomena of existence conventionally called the ego, or man, or animal, etc.

Whereas the doctrine of impersonality, or anattā, proceeds analytically, by splitting existence up into the ultimate constituent parts, into mere empty, unsubstantial phenomena or elements, the doctrine of dependent origination, on the other hand, proceeds synthetically, by showing that all these phenomena are, in some way or other, conditionally related with each other. In fact, the entire Abhidhamma Pitaka, as a whole, treats really of nothing but just these two doctrines: phenomenality - implying impersonality and conditionality of all existence. The former or analytical method is applied in Dhammasangani, the first book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka; the latter or synthetical method, in Patthāna, the last book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. For a synopsis of these two works, s. Guide I and VII.

Though this subject has been very frequently treated by Western authors, by far most of them have completely misunderstood the true meaning and purpose of the doctrine of dependent origination, and even the 12 terms themselves have often been rendered wrongly.

The formula of dependent origination runs as follows:
  • 1. Avijiā-paccayā sankhārā: "Through ignorance are conditioned the sankhāras," i.e. the rebirth-producing volitions (cetanā), or 'karma-formations' .
  • 2. Sankhāra-paccayā viññānam: "Through the karma-formations (in the past life) is conditioned consciousness (in the present life)."
  • 3. Viññāna-paccayā nāma-rūpam: "Through consciousness are conditioned the mental and physical phenomena (nāma-rūpa)," i.e. that which makes up our so-called individual existence.
  • 4. Nāma-rūpa-paccayā salāyatanam: "Through the mental and physical phenomena are conditioned the 6 bases," i.e. the 5 physical sense-organs, and consciousness as the sixth.
  • 5. Salāyatana-paccayā phasso: "Through the six bases is conditioned the (sensorial mental) impression."
  • 6. Phassa-paccayā vedanā: "Through the impression is conditioned feeling."
  • 7. Vedanā-paccayā tanhā: "Through feeling is conditioned craving."
  • 8. Tanhā-paccayā upādānam: "Through craving is conditioned clinging."
  • 9. Upādāna-paccayā bhavo: "Through clinging is conditioned the process of becoming," consisting in the active and the passive life process, i.e. the rebirth-producing karma-process (kamma-bhava) and, as its result, the rebirth-process (upapatti-bhava).
  • 10. Bhava-paccayā jāti: "Through the (rebirth-producing karma-) process of becoming is conditioned rebirth."
  • 11. Jāti-paccayā jarāmaranam, etc.: "Through rebirth are conditioned old age and death (sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair). Thus arises this whole mass of suffering again in the future."


The following diagram shows the relationship of dependence between three successive lives:


  • 1 Ignorance (avijjā)
  • 2 Karma-formations (sankhārā)
Karma-Process (kammabhava) 5 causes: 1,2,8,9,10


  • 3 Consciousness (viññāna)
  • 4 Mind & Matter (nāma-rūpa)
  • 5 Six Bases (āyatana)
  • 6 Impression (phassa)
  • 7 Feeling (vedanā)

Rebirth-Process (upapattibhava)

5 results: 3-7

  • 8 Craving (tanhā)
  • 10 Process of Becoming (bhava)
Karma-Process (kammabhava) 5 causes: 1,2,8,9,10


  • 11 Rebirth (jāti)
  • 12 Old Age and Death (jarā-marana)
Rebirth-Process (upapattibhava) 5 results: 3-7

Before taking up the study of the following exposition, it is suggested that the reader first goes thoroughly through the article on the 24 conditions (s. paccaya). For a thorough understanding of the paticcasamuppāda he should know the main modes of conditioning, as decisive support, co-nascence, pre-nascence, etc.

For a closer study of the subject should be consulted:

  • Vis.M. XVII;
  • Fund. III;
  • Guide (Ch. VII and Appendix);
  • Dependent Origination, by Piyadassi Thera (WHEEL 15);
  • The Significance of Dependent Origination (WHEEL 140).

Source: This is Myanmar: The Doctrine of Paticcasammupada

Paticcasamuppada is Pali language, a combination of three words, i.e. Patticca means because" and "dependent upon." Sam means well, Uppada means arising of effect through cause, so dependent on cause there arises effect, hence it is known in English as Law of Dependent Origination or Cycle of Rebirth.

Source: This is Myanmar: The Doctrine of Paticcasammupada

Paticcasamuppada is Pali language, a combination of three words, i.e. Patticca means because" and "dependent upon." Sam means well, Uppada means arising of effect through cause, so dependent on cause there arises effect, hence it is known in English as Law of Dependent Origination or Cycle of Rebirth.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Paticcasamuppada in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

paṭiccasamuppāda : (m.) causal genesis; dependent origination.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Paṭicca-samuppāda, (p. +samuppāda, BSk. prātītyasamutpāda, e.g. Divy 300, 547) “arising on the grounds of (a preceding cause)” happening by way of cause, working of cause & effect, causal chain of causation; causal genesis, dependent origination, theory of the twelve causes.—See on this Mrs. Rh. D. in Buddhism 90 f. , Ency. Rel. & Ethics, s. v. & KS. II, , preface. Cpd. p. 260 sq. with diagram of the “Wheel of Life”; Pts. of Controversy, 390 f.—The general formula runs thus: Imasmiṃ sati, idaṃ hoti, imass’uppādā, idaṃ uppajjati; imasmiṃ asati, idaṃ na hoti; imassa nirodhā, idaṃ nirujjhati. This being, that becomes; from the arising of this, that arises; this not becoming, that does not become: from the ceasing of this, that ceases M. II, 32; S. II, 28 etc. The term usually occurs applied to dukkha in a famous formula which expresses the Buddhist doctrine of evolution, the respective stages of which are conditioned by a preceding cause & constitute themselves the cause of resulting effect, as working out the next state of the evolving (shall we say) “individual” or “being, ” in short the bearer of evolution. The respective links in this chain which to study & learn is the first condition for a “Buddhist” to an understanding of life, and the cause of life, and which to know forward and backward (anuloma-paṭilomaṃ manas’âkāsi Vin. I, 1) is indispensable for the student, are as follows. The root of all, primary cause of all existence, is avijjā ignorance; this produces saṅkhārā: karma, dimly conscious elements, capacity of impression or predisposition (will, action, Cpd.; synergies Mrs. Rh. D.), which in their turn give rise to viññāṇa thinking substance (consciousness, Cpd.; cognition Mrs. Rh. D.), then follow in succession the foll. stages: nāmarūpa individuality (mind & body, animated organism Cpd.; name & form Mrs. Rh. D.), saḷāyatana the senses (6 organs of sense Cpd.; the sixfold sphere Mrs. Rh. D.), phassa contact, vedanā feeling, taṇhā thirst for life (craving), upādāna clinging to existence or attachment (dominant idea Cpd.; grasping Mrs. Rh. D.), bhava (action or character Cpd.; renewed existence Mrs. Rh. D.), jāti birth (rebirth conception Cpd.), jarāmaraṇa (+soka-parideva-dukkhadomanass’ûpayāsā) old age & death (+tribulation, grief, sorrow, distress & despair). The BSk. form is pratītya-samutpāda, e.g. at Divy 300, 547.

The Paṭicca-samuppāda is also called the Nidāna (“basis, ” or “ground, ” i.e. cause) doctrine, or the Paccay’ākāra (“related-condition”), and is referred to in the Suttas as Ariya-ñāya (“the noble method or system”). The term paccay’ākāra is late and occurs only in Abhidhamma-literature.—The oldest account is found in the Mahāpadāna Suttanta of the Dīgha Nikāya (D. II, 30 sq.; cp. Dial. II. 24 sq.), where 10 items form the constituents of the chain, and are given in backward order, reasoning from the appearance of dukkha in this world of old age and death towards the original cause of it in viññāṇa. The same chain occurs again at S. II, 104 sq.—A later development shows 12 links, viz. avijjā and saṅkhārā added to precede viññāṇa (as above). Thus at S. II, 5 sq.—A detailed exposition of the P. -s. in Abhidhamma literature is the exegesis given by Bdhgh at Vism. XVII. (pp. 517—586, under the title of Paññā-bhūmi-niddesa), and at VbhA. 130—213 under the title of Paccayākāra-vibhaṅga. ‹-› Some passages selected for ref. : Vin. I, 1 sq.; M. I, 190, 257; S. I, 136; II, 1 sq. , 26 sq. , 42 sq. , 70, 92 sq. , 113 sq.; AI. 177; V, 184; Sn. 653; Ud. 1 sq.; Ps. I, 50 sq.; 144; Nett 22, 24, 32, 64 sq.; DA. I, 125, 126.

—kusala skilled in the (knowledge of the) chain of causation M. III, 63; Nd1 171; f. abstr. °kusalatā D. III, 212. (Page 394)

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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