Paccaya; is the cause actually the effect? (proof by contrapositive in DN 15)

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I do not know much Pali, so I have to guess what you are saying here with all of those Pali words… Hope that I do not misunderstand the meaning of them, and may understand you correctly.

As I understand, this dukkhavedanas belongs to the body, and the arahant no longer sees that body as his body. If we ask him, he will tell us that the body/form is not his. Therefore, he knows that unpleasant feeling arose in that body, but he does not suffer because of that unpleasant feeling. He understands that the body is in pain and may need some resting or treatment. We may think the arahant is suffering from body pain because we see that body as the arahant.


I don’t think you’re missing anything.

So do you think the Arahant continues to suffer? Or is it actually that aging and death are no longer dukkha for the Arahant?

Here is how the aging and death nidana is described in SN12.2:

"And what, bhikkhus, is aging-and-death? The aging of the various beings in the various orders of beings, their growing old, brokenness of teeth, greyness of hair, wrinkling of skin, decline of vitality, degeneration of the faculties: this is called aging. The passing away of the various beings from the various orders of beings, their perishing, breakup, disappearance, mortality, death, completion of time, the breakup of the aggregates, the laying down of the carcass: this is called death. Thus this aging and this death are together called aging-and-death."


Of the two arrows the arahanths remove one, before death. After death they remove both. The issue is not arahanths or Nibbana, but that people have problems with delayed gratification!

With metta


If you read my previous posts, you will see that I never think an arahant suffer (actually I never meet any arahant, so this is simply my own view).

I am a simple practitioner, not very well verse in Dhamma and Pali, so you can take what I said as a grain of salt.

What I have tried to say is that I do not see DO as simple causal condition A=>B. When we simply say birth is sufficient condition for aging-and-death, we may ignore other factors.

In my simple water example, the heat is the condition for the boiling of the water. At first, it is the necessary condition for the boiling. If the heat is not enough or do not have enough time to bring the temperature to 100 degree Celsius, then boiling will not happen. However, as soon as the heat can make the temperature reaches 100 degree Celsius, it now becomes sufficient condition for the boiling, and boiling must immediately happen without exception or waiting.

In the example of meeting a beautiful girl, by ignorance, pleasant feeling arose in me. At first, this is necessary condition for the craving. However, if I do not have proper conditions to continue seeing that girl (such as distance, time, opportunities, money,…) I will soon forget her and go on. If I have proper conditions, and by ignorance, I want to continue seeing that girl because I feel good to do so and if I can repeat and maintain this interaction long and good enough that the pleasant feeling is so good that I will miss it if I do not have that feeling, then feeling now becomes sufficient condition for craving, and so on…The important point is the loop back that provide more fuels to the feeling. This is what I have tried to emphasize.

Therefore, to me, the key in DO is the continuing feeding (loop back between name-and-form and consciousness) driven by ignorance, the pursuing of dependently arisen phenomena that transform necessary condition into sufficient condition. Once we reaches sufficient condition, the next dependently arisen phenomenon must immediately arise without exception and without the need for other (external) factors.

Moreover, DO is a specific conditionality. Not a random one. “With feeling as condition, craving”. Must be craving, not anything else. Not that “With feeling as condition, aging-and-death”. Why? because we may have feeling or craving without reaching aging-and-death if we do not continue feeding that feeling or craving.


In a temporary sense, yes. One of the great insights you get from deepening your samādhi is about the dukkha related to doing. Understanding that non-doing is a state of greater satisfaction than doing, you realise the whole enterprise of doing to get what you want is highly problematic. This is especially so since samādhi really gives you everything you wanted in the first place. Doing just doesn’t work.

One of the reasons we keep on doing is because we identify with it. By doing we are expressing our sense of self. Non-doing is like an attack on our very identity and therefore so challenging. Our sense of identity tends to stop us from enjoying the happiness of non-doing. This is why samādhi is not sufficient and why full insight into our non-self nature is required to stop all doing. Only with the ending of delusion, avijjā, do intentional activities come to a final end.

This shows you the power of jhāna to undermine avijjā. The nutriment of avijjā is eliminated when you get into jhāna (AN 10.61+62), which makes avijjā weak. All you need is to look at the five khandhas in the right way and avijjā is eliminated once and for all.

Yet looking at the khandhas in the right way requires right view, or at least not adherence to wrong view. This is why right samādhi is sometimes defined as jhāna supported by the other seven factors of the noble eightfold path (MN 117), which includes right view.

Yes, I think this is largely correct. A reduction in delusion feeds through dependent origination and reduces suffering.

In a way, but you won’t necessarily see the causal nature of the sequence, especially the causal link between craving and rebirth. Seeing this causal link is what stream-entry is all about.

All intentional activities that are based on delusion are included. They affect your mind here and now, and they also create your next existence.

There is something more going on.


But is the first arrow still dukkha for an Arahant? What puzzles me is that in the First Truth and DO the physical process of aging and death is lumped together with the “mental” aspects of dukkha, as if aging and death are intrinsically dukkha.

Here for example in SN12.1:
"…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."


Do you mean that nidana B only arises in dependence on nidana A when A has reached a certain level or intensity? How would this work with the link between contact and feeling for example?


No it’s not. They have psychological relief though the body decays. The whole world will have to reach perfection for both arrows to be fully removed, during the arahanths lifetime, and that’s wishful thinking AFAIK.

With metta


Yes, that’s what I think. This feedback loop is like filling up an object. However, the object (example: a cup) can be flat, shallow or deep depends on what cup we are referring to.

Moreover, each link in DO does not alway have the same level or intensity. The intensity to trigger feeling -> craving is not the same with the intensity to trigger contact -> feeling. To make thing more complicated, the intensity to trigger feeling -> craving itself is also not the same in all cases and in all persons.

Some extremely simple examples:

When I see a beautiful girl, pleasant feeling arose in me, craving may immediately arise in me. However, craving may not arise in you in the same situation.

When I see a beautiful flower, pleasant feeling arose in me, but I do not crave for it. I do not think that I should have that flower even I feel pleasant.

Very good observation. Contact is very special in Buddhism, it is defined in special way: “In dependence on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact.”

We can see the eye (six-sense bases) is the condition for contact. However, if we look closely, the eye also needs its object and eye-consciousness to trigger contact. Without object(forms) or eye-consciousness, we do not have eye-contact.

We may say that eye-contact is sufficient to trigger feeling born of eye-contact (level or intensity = 0). It is like an always full cup (or flat cup), as soon as we pour more water into it, it will immediately overflow. This is very interesting, and we can see why we should guard our six senses.

Eye-contact is the meeting of eye, its object and eye-consciousness. The eye is from name-and-form, and eye-consciousness is from consciousness. Contact is maintained by this interaction between name-and-form and consciousness to meet its object. This is the loop back that I have said. If we remove one of them, contact will not arise.

Therefore, if seeing form that delight the mind (give pleasant feeling), we should not follow that pleasant feeling (or should not continue seeing that form). If seeing form that give no delight to the mind, we should also not follow that unpleasant feeling. This is how we cut off the loop.


Bhante, Thank you for highlighting in such a succinct and compelling way the necessity of both samādhi and paññā. I have been wrestling with some difficulties lately, and found your post very inspirational. So much so that yesterday I headed off to my local Monastery for the Evening Chanting and some meditation! :heart:


I can see a role for guarding the senses and appropriate attention, but to me vedana ( feeling ) looks like an inevitable aspect of initial experience, combined with sanna ( perception ) and vinnana ( consciousness ). In other words there is sufficient conditionality between phassa ( contact ) and vedana ( feeling ), so phassa always leads to vedana. For the Arahant tanha ( craving ) has ceased, but vedana ( feeling ) is still present. Actually the Arrow Sutta seems to say that “mental” vedana ceases for the Arahant, but “physical” vedana persists - though the Arahant feels it “disjoined”.



"Now, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when touched with a feeling of pain, does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. So he feels one pain: physical, but not mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, did not shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the pain of only one arrow. In the same way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. He feels one pain: physical, but not mental. SN36.6

With metta


I know this thread is from a while back, but I came over this interesting concept which I thought was relevant.

The concept is having a set of conditions where each one is individually necessary, but taken together they are sufficient. So to look at DO this way, it would be that each link is necessary for suffering, and taken together they are sufficient for suffering.

I thought this was quite elegant, because it removes the “burden” on each link to be a sufficient cause in itself, but it keeps the “this is why this is happening”-part of sufficiency.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting :slight_smile:

Here is the article “Direct causation: A new approach to an old question” where I came across the concept. The article itself was quite interesting from a linguistic point of view.