Title- Detailed Explanation of The Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada)-Part 1

The Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada)



The term “Paticcasamuppada” in Pali means Dependent Origination or Dependent Arising in English. Most persons here in my country and abroad have been familiar with this important, basic Buddhist technical term. Yet, since this type of Dhamma being very suitable and profound, many will fail to understand in full or in essence. However, whether Buddhists or not, all persons should at least have basic, clear knowledge of these actualities of truth of life which show causal connection in natural sequence every day.


The term in Pali has three features:


(a)    Paticca = dependent on, caused by, (b)   Sam = simultaneously, jointly, (c)    Uppada = arising or origination, coming-to-be.


So one can know that all existences have causal relations in reality, quite naturally.

Therefore, if sufficient conditions gather and meet together, there must be suitable results or sequences in life, stages by stages.




The Natural Order of Dependent Origination



Avijja paccaya sankhara

Sankhara paccaya vinnanam

Vinnana paccaya namarupam

Namarupa paccaya salayatanam

Salayatana paccaya phasso

Phassa paccaya vedana

Vedana paccaya tanha

Tanha paccaya upadanam

Upadana paccaya bhavo

Bhava paccaya jati.

Jati paccaya jara maranam sokaparideva dukkha domanassa upayasa sambhavanti, eva metassa kevalassa dukkhakhandhassa samudayo hoti.








Due to ignorance are conditioned volitional actions of kamma formations.

Due to volitional actions are conditioned consciousness.

Due to consciousness are conditioned mental and physical phenomena.

Due to mental and physical phenomena are conditioned six faculties, that is five physical sense-organs and mind.

Due to the six faculties are conditioned sensorial and mental contact.

Due to sensorial and mental contact is conditioned sensation/feeling.

Due to sensation/feeling is conditioned desire.

Due to desire is conditioned clinging.

Due to clinging is conditioned the process of becoming.

Due to the process of becoming is conditioned birth.

Through birth are conditioned decay, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.





Explanation of Each Factor




Avijja means ignorance (moha), delusion. It is 1-the ignorance of the truth of suffering, 2-the truth of the cause of the suffering, 3-the truth of the way to the cessation of suffering, 4-the truth of the cessation of suffering. Moreover, ignorance means 5-ignorance of past khandhas, 6-future khandhas, 7-past-future khandhas which signify 8-the rounds of births and deaths called “Paticcasamuppada”. Thus ignorance embraces eight points, not knowing eight things.

Those who are under eye-diseases cannot see clearly what are the things in front of them. So due to the ignorance dark clouds, no one can see all mentality and materiality that occur in three worlds as dukkha (suffering) all the time. This truth of suffering eludes all blind persons. So also, blinded with ignorance, most world-lings do not know the cause of suffering “samudaya sacca”, which means greed, lust, attachment. So also ignorant people do not know and understand that Nibbana is the only end of suffering. So they fail to understand the way to cessation of suffering called “magga sacca”, the Eightfold Noble Path.





All ordinary, common wholesome deeds as well as all evil deeds are caused by volitional actions (sankhara). So all sentient beings have meritorious deeds and evil deeds and jhanic(calm) deeds accordingly.





Due to volitional deeds there arise mundane resultant consciousness called rebirth consciousness of various kinds. In the past one had performed many wholesome deeds so he or she attains good rebirths in human, deva and brahma worlds, by means of their rebirth consciousness.

In the same way past evil deeds (akusala kamma) generate bad results, evil rebirths in lower planes of existence such as hells, animal kingdom, hungry ghosts and the world of devils. Due to the past volitional deeds (sankhara) , there arise present eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, etc., called vipaka resultant consciousness. These results come in the present existence, called “vipaka consciousness”.




4.Nama-Rupa (mind-matter)

When vipakas arise, there come to be mentality-materiality phenomena, in combination with vipakas. So due to vipakas sentient beings now have mind and matter.





Since six sense-organs (six faculties) are termed “salayatana”, all living bodies have to undergo these sense doors (some brahma realms are exceptional but there also have partial of these six faculties). So form, sound, smell, taste, touch, awareness appear, like thieves. They are like six robbers coming through six doors respectively.




6.Phassa (touch)

Touch or contact is called “phassa” in Pali. All sentient beings, due to six faculties, have also six types of contact. Contact of eye, contact of ear, contact of nose, contact of tongue, contact of body, contact of mind have to appear accordingly. These contacts in states of roughness, moderateness, subtleness types.




7.Vedana (feeling/sensation)

All living beings have to experience six types of feeling/sensation at six sense-organs. For example, a man may fall down from thirty feet hill. When we see him falling down from hill-top we feel anxiety, fear, and our body may feel coldness or dumbness. Our eye-consciousness feel many sensations for this view and experience. We feel ache and pains too.




8.Tanha (lust, greed, attachment)

Due to phassa-contact there arises tanha-lust, greed or attachment. We feel attached to sight, sound, smell, taste, physical thing and mental thing. Lust or greed can arise as a result.

Except sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, we can also have Dhamma Aramana called ideas, thoughts and awareness.

If feeling is good or moderate we feel attachment to this sensation. We get joys and smiles. When we feel pain or unwanted objects appear, our feeling is bad or low. But tanha still exists. We want to overcome unsatisfactoriness, pain or disgust. This longing remains. Even hungry ghosts while in famine state, want to eat food in future. Wants remain to create attachments. So tanha is still alive. When we get bad objects, we want something other than these. Longing remains.




9.Upadana (grasping, clinging)

Upadana means clinging or grasping. If lust/greed is in moderation it is called “tanha”, attachment only. However, if this attachment grows very strong, it becomes “upadana” clinging. Intensity develops. So there exist kamupadana-clinging of sensuality, ditthupadana-clinging of wrong view, silabbatupadana-clinging of rites and rituals, and attavadupadana-clinging of self or soul ;altogether four types of “Upadana”.





“Bhava” means “becoming”, “coming into existence”, “come-to-be”. We all now have khandha bhava, in process. There are two kinds of bhava. One is kamma bhava which signifies all mundane wholesome acts and unwholesome acts, a total of 29 kammic deeds (kamma bhava). The other is called upapatti bhava, creating physical bodies or appearance in existence.

The actual ten evils are unwholesome kamma bhava. The actual ten meritorious deeds are wholesome kamma bhava.





When those “becomings” exist there will be many kinds of births. Jati means birth, or concepts in wombs. Birth is very evil because one has to live as foetus, as a prisoner inside mother’s womb for at least nine or ten months. Birth needs evil and harm for foetus, for baby child.

Only Buddhas and Arahats know deeply the extreme dukkha of these births in exact clear manner.




12.Jara-marana (decay/old age and death)

All sentient beings come to be as a result of rebirth consciousness and the state of resultant “birth”. Due to “birth” existence now all have to experience old age (decay) and death. Even dieties, Brahmas, have to die in heavenly abodes. All human beings become old and then die.

Before old age and death, everyone must suffer by way of anxiety, sorrow, lamentation, grief, heartfelt sorrow of many types too. Thus “life is dukkha”.


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