What is Patichcha Samuppadaya – Dependent Origination in Buddhism?

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The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination (Patichcha Samuppadaya) is the Buddhist analysis of the causes and conditions which lead to life. Each link in the chain is the cause that gives rise to the next link, and each link can be broken by removing the link preceding it.

Lord Buddha mentioned: “If one sees the Patichcha Samuppadaya, he sees the Dhamma.” In this world there is a cause for everything that happens. When the cause is removed the effect ceases. A seed gives rise to a plant. In this manner we can explain the birth and the death of beings based on the Patichcha Samuppadaya Dhamma or the Dhamma of cause and effect.

As shown by the Buddha both the cause of suffering in samsara and the eradication of such suffering are explained in Buddhism in accordance with Patichcha Samuppada principle. We can make use of this knowledge in the analysis of problems as well as in the solving of problems in an experiential manner.

Patichcha Samuppada Cycle:

Dependent_Origination_wheel patichcha samuppada
It is with ignorance (Avijja) as condition that formations (Sankara) come to to be.
“1. Ignorance – avijjā

Ignorance of the Four Noble Truths in particular. That is to say, not seeing the realities of suffering and its origin.

2. Volitional Formations – saṅkhārā
Acts of the will in body, speech or mind. The making of karma.

3. Consciousness – viññāṇa
Knowing the sensory objects through the six types of consciousness, i.e. vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch and thought.

4. Body-Mind – nāmarūpa
The physical body and the three mental aggregates excluding consciousness, i.e. mental formations, perception and feeling. These together are sometimes called the mental body.

5. Sixfold Base- saḷāyatana
The psycho-physical bases of the six senses. The sense organs and their associated mental factors.

6 .Contact – phassa
Sensory impingement. The coming together of three factors; the physical organ, its object and consciousness. Example – visual contact is the coming together of light waves and the sensitive cells of the retina together with conscious awareness.

7. Feeling – vedanā
Pleasant, unpleasant or neutral emotional reaction to sense contact.

8. Craving – taṇhā
Craving for sense pleasures, craving for existence, craving for nonexistence. NB the link between feeling and craving is the key point where the cycle can be broken and liberation can occur.

9. Clinging – upādāna
The intensification of craving to the level of obsession. Defilement is very difficult to deal with if it has been allowed to develop to this stage. Four kinds of clinging are listed; clinging to sense pleasure, to views, to rites and rituals and to the doctrine of a self.

10. Becoming – bhava
Coming into existence or being. There are three levels of being; sensual, fine-material and immaterial. These correspond to sensory, jhanic and formless jhanic consciousness. Also to existence in the various realms. Sensual being includes the lower realms, human and sensual heavens. Fine-material includes the brahma realms and immaterial the realm of formless deities. NB nibbana is outside all of these realms and is not a type of becoming at all.

11. Birth – jati
The emergence into one or another order of beings.

12. Old Age (jara) and Death (maraṇa) and also sorrow and lamentation, pain grief and depair; that is how there is an origin to this whole aggregate mass of suffering. This is called the Noble truth of Suffering.
The inevitable result of being born.

Websites to learn Patichcha Samuppadaya

The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination (in English) – Guang Shan of Toronto

Patichcha Samuppadaya in Brief (in Sinhala) – Buddhist country


Dependent Origination Creates the World! – What Buddha said

Patichcha Samupadhaya – Sanskara by Kiribathgoda Gnanananda thero in Sinhala

The Later Buddhist Logic on Causation (Pratityasamutpada) (In English) – buddhistchannel.tv

Dependent Origination (Paticca Samuppada) by Piyadassi Thera. (In English) Buddhist Publication Society. Kandy • Sri Lanka

Bana (sermons) on dependent origination

Patichcha Samuppadaya – Ven Mankadawela Sudassana Thero. in Sinhala [ 02 05 2015 ]

Ven Walpola Gothama Thero – Patichcha Samuppadaya – Sankara in Sinhala [2014-03-28]

Maha Rahathun Wedi Maga Osse- Ariyagnana Thero’s Bana Sermons in Sinhala

Download pdf on Patichcha Samuppadha

patichcha samuppadaya

Budu Dahame Adyathmaya – Patichcha Samuppadaya – Book by Sri Kalyanadhamma Granthakara Mandalaya



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