Detailed Explanation of the Two Basic Causes of Series of Lives
Two Basic Causes of Series of Lives
(1) For past rounds of existences, Avijja is the main cause
(2) For future rounds of existences, Tanha is the main cause. Previous bhava-khandha is the past main cause. Coming bhava-khandha is the future main cause.
Many persons accept Avijja to be the cause of immoralities and vices. But they do not fully understand it is also the main cause for meritorious or wholesome deeds. Can moha/ignorance give rise to kusala good deeds?
It is true in experiential existence. All persons, except Buddhas and Arahats, wish good effects, happiness in higher realms. But celestial happiness, heavenly bliss, deva-brahma lives are still within the sphere of dukkha as all living beings are transient, not eternal. Many do not know deva and brahma realms are full of sufferings so that, by the power of ignorance, they perform meritorious or wholesome deeds. Thus ignorance generates wholesome acts, which are nothing but Sankharas/volitional activities. So moha/ignorance can prompt virtuous deeds. However, since all Buddhas and Arahats have eradicated all ten defilements and seven latent impurities, they naturally and automatically avoid evil. Yet they do virtuous deeds such as teaching the Noble Dhamma, giving right method of salvation, sweeping the ground, etc., and they do not accumulate merits, as good deeds become neutral or functional only. They do wholesome acts only with neutral state of mind, for the sake of the welfare of beings.
Ignorance, in fact, creates both good and bad actions (kusala and akusala sankhara). As a result of such volitional activites there come rebirth consciousness with sense-faculties, such as eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, and so on.
Each and everyone who lives under the influence of Avijja, receive mind-body process or mind-matter process as the Law of Dependent Origination shows clearly. Those cyclic existences are always painful.
Due to ignorance, tanha-lust also appears. Ignorance gives rise to attachment, in rounds of birth and deaths without ceasing. This deep nature of all existences is called the Dependent Origination Dhamma. It is a profound teaching by the Buddha.
However one should hear, learn, study the Law of Dependent Origination. One can think deeply about one’s own life with the aid of the Natural Law of Life. Then one must practice samatha and vipassana bhavana (insight-meditation) (Vipassana Practice) in reality. Those who do not listen to this Noble Dhamma can fail to consider the Law of Life in cyclic rounds. So many wander in samsaric lives. Many do not understand the nature and function of Dependent Origination, just like legs of a hare cannot fathom the bed of ocean. Therefore ignorant persons suffer in this life and the next series of lives too.
Under the influence of Avijja, there are kusala sankharas and akusala sankharas (wholesome deeds and unwholesome deeds= volitional activities). Here the term “Sankhara” means mundane, worldly virtuous acts as well as evil acts (immoral acts). Indeed “volition” “attitude” “choice” occur in both worldly virtues (merits) as well as in demerits.
Although worldly virtuous deeds are not fully reliable, one must follow the path of virtue, just as a drowned person, driven away from a sunken ship, has to take help from a deed carcass of elephant which he sees and snatches nearby on the water. Otherwise he will become a dead person too. He must do, in the same way, all wholesome acts to save from pain and suffering. So kusala virtues are helpful in samsara ocean. Next an intelligent and wise person must do non-attached virtues that help him liberate from the ocean of samsara. This unique virtue is called Vivattanissita kusala—liberating wholesome deed or vipassana/magga/phala wisdom.
Those who seek true, lasting happiness must recite or memorize the 12-link Dependent Origination as mentioned in Abhidhamma Vibhanga scripture. Then only meanings must be sought from an able teacher in good time.
Those who recite Paticcasamupada Pali Text (the text of Dependent Origination) become shrines of Dhamma, repositories of Dhamma. They are similar to pagodas with holy, sacred relics worthy of homage and respect. Even deities and brahmas gods have to venerate such a person. This is nature and true. In the world there are four types of holy shrines or cetiyas: 1-Dhatu Cetiya=shrine of Buddha’s holy relics, 2-Dhamma Cetiya=shrine of Dhamma, 3-Paribhoga Cetiya=shrine of Buddha’s requisites such as holy robes, bowl, and 4-Uddissa Cetiya=shrine in memory of the Exalted Buddha like Shwedagon Pagoda. Those who recite and memorize Holy Dhamma such as Paticca-samuppada become shrines of Dhamma. Even devas and men should pay homage to him. These are revealed in Visuddhimagga Atthakatha.
But the vital fact I want you all to carry out is that by understanding the knowledge of Paticassamupada, change this memorized knowledge to applied knowledge in doing practical vipassana meditation. The main aim of doing vipassana meditation in fact is that cut off the connection between Vedana (in quad-circle number 2) and Tanha (in quad-circle number 3). So that the life-created volitional activities are annihilated/ no chance at all to be appeared. That’s the point I want you all to get.