Dependent co-arising 1-4?

Hi Carl,

If you take a closer look it says suffering is a proximate cause of faith, and birth is a proximate cause of suffering. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you. I’m not sure how either of a disputable. Without knowledge of suffering there is no basis for faith in potential liberation. Like I said earlier, the Buddha could see those with little dust in their eyes, which is none other than those who were acutely aware of suffering and were prepared to listen - which would begin with faith. That would be the basis from which they would seek an escape. As far as birth being a proximate cause of suffering, the first noble truth is pretty explicit about that.

Was the gain of liberation not supported by effort?

I guess I’m not sure what you are saying here. Do you disagree with SN 12.23? It isn’t the only sutta that describes the principle of DO using different terms. See SN 12.11.

Another general DO question:

Is “dependent co-arising” supported by the EBT, or should it just be “dependent arising”?

I’m not sure what the “co-” prefix means here. As far as I can see, it only applies to the mutual dependence of vinnana and nama-rupa described in some DO suttas. Otherwise, it’s just one nidana arising in dependence on another, ie dependent arising.

Sorry. I obviously meant to say faith is caused by suffering; suffering is caused by birth and birth is caused by ignorance. Therefore, as I posted, if SN 12.23 is about “dependent origination”, then if ignorance ceases then faith must also cease. Let me remind you DO follows the basic principle of idappaccayatā, namely:

When this exists, that is; due to the arising of this, that arises.
When this doesn’t exist, that is not; due to the cessation of this, that ceases.

Therefore, following the above principle, as I posted, if faith arises due to suffering, faith must cease when suffering ceases. As soon as ignorance ceases, faith must cease, liberation must cease, knowledge of destruction must cease.

If SN 12.23 follows the principle of dependent origination then it seems all 24 dhammas in SN 12.23 must cease when ignorance ceases.

Respectfully, the impression is you have become so accustomed to reciting/repeating SN 12.23 that in this current query by my good self and Martin you are falling back upon what you have become accustomed to, thus are preventing the arising of critical thinking (yoniso manasikara).

My post was quite detailed & clear. It seems SN 12.23 may not be an excellent example of dependent origination.

Both Martin & I questioned you about SN 12.23. It seems both Martin & I saw the elephant :elephant: in the room :hut:. Both Martin & I asked the question: “In SN 12.23, what is the significance of the phrase “proximate cause (upanisa)”?

I don’t disagree with SN 12.23, which is about "upanisa”. In case it was missed, the specific sutta is called ‘Upanisa Sutta’. However, I disagree with your insistence it is about the principle of DO. I apologise if my post was too linguistically complex and any differences between terms such as "upanisa”, “samudaya”, “sambhava”, “paṭiccasamuppannaṁ”, “nirodha”, “pahoti”, etc, were not discernable. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu called the twenty-four dhammas in SN 12.23 “the Radiant Wheel of Dependent Origination”. It seems this is questionable. It seems very questionable Liberation & Knowledge of The Destruction of the Cankers are “dependently originated”. :thinking: :dizzy_face:

Yes, the gain of liberation was supported by effort. However, the term “dependent origination” seems not applicable to this example of cause & effect. If we refer to the explicit definition of Dependent Origination in the suttas, it says:

“And what, bhikkhus, is dependent origination? With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be; with volitional formations as condition, consciousness; with consciousness as condition, name-and-form; with name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as condition, contact; with contact as condition, feeling; with feeling as condition, craving; with craving as condition, clinging; with clinging as condition, existence; with existence as condition, birth; with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. This, bhikkhus, is called dependent origination.

SN 12.1


“And what, bhikkhus, is the wrong way? With ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be; with volitional formations as condition, consciousness…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. This, bhikkhus, is called the wrong way.

SN 12.3

SN 12.3 seems to say quite explicitly that “dependent origination is the wrong way” :face_with_spiral_eyes:. Yet you appear to be saying faith as an “upanisa” for the destruction of the cankers (asava) is “the wrong way”; just as Buddhadasa Bhikkhu seemed to call “the wrong way” a “Radiant Wheel”. Obviously, dependent origination is a Dark Mara Wheel rather than a Radiant Wheel. :grimacing: :mask:

do satan

As far as I recall, I’ve rarely if ever discussed SN 12.23. Though you are free to search my posts.

Our interactions seem to be trending in the direction of a competition between views, which is something I have little interest in engaging in. If we aren’t coming to middle ground, it makes for uninteresting reading. Clearly we interpret these things differently, and clearly this medium allows for both to be presented. All are free to take or leave what they read.

Thanks SDC. I am simply interested analyzing texts. Sure, this linguistic focus can be fairly ‘dry’ or ‘uninteresting’ to some. Obviously, from a linguistic viewpoint, there is no “middle ground” between right & wrong. In other words, I am happy to be linguistically wrong.

MN 9 uses the term “samudaya” when referring to dependent arising. SN 22.5 describes such “samudaya” as “approves, welcomes and keeps clinging”. SN 12.23 uses the term “upanisa”. “Upa” means “near”. “Nissaya” means “support”. Thus the four requisites for a monk of food, clothing, shelter & medicine are examples of “nissaya”. It seems the word “upanisa” is not a synonym for “samudaya”. As was posted, both Martin & I questioned you, in a respectful manner, similar to the questionings & answerings described in the suttas, about the significance of the term “upanisa”.

We can leave the subject you introduced there. Take care. :slightly_smiling_face:

I didn’t see Martin’s post until now but I will respond to it later. Thanks for pointing it out.

I always take these discussions to be a matter of understanding and interpretation; the translator’s, the tradition’s and our own. We may have to agree to disagree on this point.


Well that would be a long explanation! For the concept of namarupa is a bit alien to our times. However, put very very briefly, the idea is that the arising of consciousness refers to rebirth, the continuance of consciousness from a past life. It gets reborn in a new body and along with other characteristics, this is namarupa. (So the being is technically not just namarupa, but consciousness and namarupa together.) This is the traditional interpretation of these links in the Theravada and many other schools. For explanation of namarupa in this way see Bhikkhu Bodhi’s works, like his introduction to the Nidana Samyutta.

The point being that you can not be reborn without namarupa, that there can be no pure consciousness, as the brahmins thought there could be (and, to be fair many Buddhist nowadays).

The text that replaces namarupa with ‘the being’ is SN12.12, by the way.:

Consciousness is a fuel that conditions rebirth into a new state of existence in the future. When that which has been reborn [bhuta=being] is present, there are the six sense fields. (Sujato)

See here how consciousness > rebirth of the being > six sense fields, where the rebirth of the being takes the place of namarupa.

My main reason for saying this is that there are many (mostly recent) interpretations which take away the very important idea of rebirth from these factors, usually also from the factors of ‘birth’. Including some modern idealist kind of ideas (“the world is all in your mind”), which aren’t in line with the Buddha’s, as I see it.

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I think the point of SN12.12 is that there is no self or agency involved in DO, just nidanas. And SN5.10 reminds us that a “being” is just a convention.
As for nama-rupa, it is clearly described in SN12.2. Consciousness is not included in this nidana.

As for the continuance of consciousness from one life to the next, how does this square with the Buddha’s advice to Sati in MN38?
How does relinking consciousness actually work?

As I see it:

The definition of namarupa in SN12.2 does not oppose it refering to parts of the being. In fact, when the rupa is defined it is done with the exact same words as rupa in the definition of the aggregate of rupa, which largely (if not solely) refers to the physical body, indicating that rupa in namarupa refers also to the being’s body, not to external objects or whatever. (See e.g. SN22.79 or MN74 for explanation of rupa as the body.)

The word ‘being’ is used in a conventional way throughout the suttas, and also in teachings on Dependent Origination. It doesn’t mean a self of some sort but just the person as a whole.

Sati saw it as a consciousness that doesn’t change, or, in other words, a permanent consciousness. But to the Buddha consciousness is always changing. That’s how his view differs from Sati. Notice that the Buddha did not deny the fact that consciousness transmigrates. Only when Sati claim it is the same, unchanging consciouness, then the Buddha calls him out.


So how does consciousness transmigrate? What’s the mechanism?

I belief:

Based on ignorance we have always had urges, an impetus, a motivational vinnana (3 factor PS).
During many lives we have made this vinnana with urge, with impetus, strong. We fed it.

That has led to the current situation that we cannot anymore just perceive things without urge, without impetus. This leads to constant anxiety and unrest.

The kamma-vinnana, (3 factor) the vinnana with motivation, with urge, is never ever noble. It can be meritorious or demeritorious but not noble. Noble is the domain without urge, without impetus.
This is, i belief, described in MN117

We have never understood that feeding this vinnana-with-urge is the motor of samsara and the ground for our own unrest. Our inability to just perceive and relate to what we perceive in a non-emotional and non-reactive way. That inability shows how strong we have made the vinnana with urge (3 factor)

Now we understand this we can see we must not feed that vinnana with urge, with impetus, that kamma-vinnana.

So, based on ignorance (first factor) there were in former lives and are in this life urges arising in the mind, there is impetus, (sankhara’s, 2 factor) which can be meritorious or demeritorious but do not lead to the end of suffering. This leads to a loaded vinnana, kamma vinnana (3 factor). A vinnana with urge or impetus. Its’nature is re-active.

When ignorance ceases the urges cease. When the urges cease there does not arise a vinnana with an urge. All sense contact become just sense-contacts without urge. That is the end of ignorance-contact.
Also the sense of Me arises out of urge.

Buddha talked about this urge in different ways: asava, tanha and anusaya. Just different angles but refering all to urges, reactive patterns, accumulated and made strong over many lives.

When vinnana with urge becomes strong we cannot even relax anymore because we feel constant the power of that urge and feel we must do something, seek something. And while we do, we again feed the vinnana with urge. It becomes even more difficult to relax. This is being trapped in samsara.

Urge is the fire the Buddha saw everywhere. We are always living on hot embers because we feed the vinnana with urge and do not cool down.

This is, i belief, the meaning of the first 3 factors.


Hi Martin,

I missed this question when it was posted.

It is my position that each and every sutta in SN 12 is a description of the principle of DO. It seems plausible that the Buddha would use different terms to make the issue more clear. Whether is be upanisa (proximate/based on), āhāra (fuel/support), nidāna (ground/cause), or any of the more common terms for in suttas about DO, the Buddha is describing things that need to be there in order for other things to stand. Makes senses to me that the more directions he were to approach the issue, the more chance that it would be understood.

Based on Carl’s responses to me and his impression of your posts, it seems my intentions here have been misunderstood. I hope this makes what I was saying earlier more clear.

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I find Dependent Orgination (DO) tricky. I can’t claim I fully understand it. However, there are some variations on the basic sequence. A rather interesting one is SN 12.67, which starts off with nama-rupa and consciousness, codependent on each other, like " two bundles of reeds leaning up against each other".

“Just now I understood you to say: ‘No, Reverend Koṭṭhita, name and form are not made by oneself, nor by another, nor by both oneself and another, nor do they arise by chance, not made by oneself or another. Rather, consciousness is a condition for name and form.’

But I also understood you to say: ‘No, Reverend Koṭṭhita, consciousness is not made by oneself, nor by another, nor by both oneself and another, nor does it arise by chance, not made by oneself or another. Rather, name and form are conditions for consciousness.’

How then should we see the meaning of this statement?”

“Well then, reverend, I shall give you a simile. For by means of a simile some sensible people understand the meaning of what is said. Suppose there were two bundles of reeds leaning up against each other.

In the same way, name and form are conditions for consciousness. Consciousness is a condition for name and form. Name and form are conditions for the six sense fields. The six sense fields are conditions for contact. … That is how this entire mass of suffering originates. If the first of those bundles of reeds were to be pulled away, the other would collapse. And if the other were to be pulled away, the first would collapse.

In the same way, when name and form cease, consciousness ceases. When consciousness ceases, name and form cease. When name and form cease, the six sense fields cease. When the six sense fields cease, contact ceases. … That is how this entire mass of suffering ceases.”

I guess name-and-form and consciousness seem more fundamental to me that the six senses. Without that pairing, sense organs or sense consciousness don’t make sense (function as a framework in which sensory perception can operate).

If you think namarupa is the being in DO, then this being does not have the six senses yet since it will need appropriate conditions for the six senses to arise. That means namarupa is a fetus with no sense base.

Assume that is the case, now we have the being with all the six senses. This being can contact the world through the six senses and have feelings, cravings…and sufferings because of ignorance. However, in this case, this process cannot be reversed since after we have the fetus and it gets the six senses, we cannot undo that.

Therefore, if the being is enlightened in this life, there is no ignorance left. Without ignorance, namarupa or the being must cease, the six senses must cease, consciousness must cease. If you think they do not then please explain.

You can try to give us an example or explanation of Dependent Cessation to explain this.

SN 12.38: Cetanāsutta—Bhikkhu Sujato (

I have found the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions useful for understanding dependent origination.
As an example, vedana is a necessary but not sufficient condition for tanha.

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To my understanding, DO is not about necessary or sufficient conditions. It is about specific conditionality. I have explained this before.


That’s actually another indication that these links do not refer to momentary processes but to rebirth. Because, indeed, an enlightened being is still conscious. Consciousness and namarupa cease only after the enlightened being dies. Because there is no ignorance and no karma, there will be no continuance of consciousness after death.

If we’d say that the links namarupa and consciousness refer to processes in this life, then we would indeed have to say that the enlightened being loses consciousness at the moment of enlightenment. But this is obviously not the case. The Buddha still had all six types of consciousness, and namarupa too.


If you take namarupa as a being, then that being must cease if he is enlightened. If you do not take namarupa as a being, then you will see differently. However, I will not try to force any view on you, I only try to point out what could be a problem in that view.

You can keep your view if you are still comfortable with it. If you can explain Dependent Cessation using that view, please share with us since that is where we got stuck.

What exactly do you think is the problem with that view?

The factors of dependent arising do not cease immediately when you are enlightened. There is time gap between them. For example, with birth and death there is obviously a gap of decades, usually. And there will be one more death for someone who is enlightened. Death only ceases once the enlightened one is not reborn again, after they die their last time.

Likewise with consciousness and namarupa: they only cease after death. This is the whole point why birth is the reason for suffering, and not craving. Once you are born, you are alive, and you suffer, even if you are enlightened. Only if you don’t live, after the enlightened ones die, there is no more suffering.