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Craving and Painfulness 15 abrasion, dissolution, and disintegration ; and therein is this consciousness of mine, too, resting, for on that does it depend. D.I.76 As a description of what the "self" is, the Five Grasping Groups seems quite complete. They have no permanency, no ultimate reality, and for this reason lead to pain. For the average individual the origins of painfulness may not be immediately apparent. To come to grips with this inadequacy, the Buddha gave an even more intricate description of man and his involvement with painfulness in the well-known formula of the paticoasamuppada. 4. The Paticcasamuppada (Series of Dependencies) At the heart of the Buddhist enlightenment stands the patiooasamuppada (patiooa—grounded on, samuppada —origin, genesis: "arising on the grounds of a preceding cause," Series of Dependencies). It demonstrates that nothing can originate without being dependent upon something else—and this includes painfulness. This is brought out clearly in S.2.3f, the most comprehensive analysis of the arising of pain in the Buddhist Canon. Having given an elementary outline of painfulness, the Buddha goes on to reveal how in his enlightenment he came to understand it as becoming (samudaya), and becoming as a process of cause and effect (patiooasamuppada): Then to me, monks, came this thought: what now being present changes to decay and death? Thinking about this with great penetration (yoniso), there came this insight: let there be birth, then there is decay and death. Decay and death is conditioned (paeGaya) by birth. Then to me came this thought: what now being present does birth come to be? What conditions birth? S.2.10 The text goes on to list the traditional factors or "spokes" (nidana) of this well-known formula, working backwards from birth through becoming, grasping, craving, sensation, contact, the sense functions, personality, consciousness, unconscious volition, and ignorance. The recital ends with a sentence which points to its 16 Craving and Salvation centrality in Buddhist doctrine: Coming to be! Coining to be! (Samudayo samudayo). At that thought, monks, there arose in me, in things not learned before vision, there arose in me knowledge, insight arose, wisdom arose, light arose. 13 It should be made clear that the Series of Dependencies has a versatile role in Buddhist thought. This fact has confused some Western scholars, who have tried to defend a limited meaning for the formula. Thus A. B. Keith argued that the patioeasamuppada was only an "explanation of misery; it tells us nothing regarding the physical causes," an opinion endorsed by others as 14 well. Others emphasize the causal focus of the formula. So, George Grimm sees the series as an explanation of how the "inscrutable essence" of man comes to the world, to "the realm of not-self (anatta)," how he has got into this world of "becoming." T. W. Rhys Davids also stresses the causal theme of the patiaoasamuppada but points out that it is likewise an answer to the arising of painfulness , an argument he defends by recourse to many textual sources. He is supported by K. N. Jayatilleke, who argues that the formula gives "a causal account of the factors operating in maintaining the process of the individual and thereby of suffering" as well as being employed "to substitute an empirical causal explanation of the (relative) origin and development of the individual in place of an explanation in terms of metaphysical first causes or final causes." It is evident that in the Sutta Pitaka the Series of Dependencies answers to the problem of the origin of painfulness, and is likewise a description of the psychophysical and causal structure of human life. In this way it is a microcosmic picture of samsara, of each "wheel of life" (bhavacakka) that arises and passes away. It can also be averred that part of the patiocasamuppada is the most detailed structural concept of mind in the Sutta Pitaka. The term has, then, a variety of "metaphysical" and psychological functions in Buddhist thought. 15 16 17 Craving and Painfulness 17 The Series of Dependencies was not a fixed model in early Buddhism. This is demonstrated in the wide variation of this formula found in the Sutta Pitaka. Traditionally the formula begins with ignorance (avijja) and ends with old age and death (jaramara). Between these 18 spokes are ten causal factors. Thus ignorance is said to condition (paccaya) volition (sankhara). Volition, conditioned by the illusion of selfhood (egoism), produces consciousness (vinnana), which in turn conditions name and form of "personality" (namarupa). Name and form...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780889207103
Related ISBN
9780889201477
MARC Record
OCLC
1016791410
Pages
150
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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