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Paṭicca Samuppada

Nidāna Paccay'ākāra

Dependant Uprising, Downbound Dependent Own-making
(Dependent Origination, Conditioned Genesis, The Causal Law)

The Simile for Paccayā

Imagine two sheaves of reeds the one leaning against the other.

In the same way consciousness depends on named-shapes, named shapes depend on consciousness, the realm of the sensess depends on named-shapes, contact depends on the realm of the sensess, experience depends on contact, thirst depends on experience, yielding depends on thirst, existing depends on yielding, birth depends on existing, aging and death depend on birth — the coming into existence of upset, grief, lamentation, pain and misery.

Thus is it that this entire heap of pain arises.

If, however, friend, I were to remove one of those sheaves of reeds one would fall down if I were to remove the other the other would fall down.

SN 5.67



Nidanavagga of the Samyutta Nikaya
[MN 38]
Horner: Pali Text Society, The Middle Length Sayings of the Buddha I: #38: Destruction of Craving (Greater), pp319
WP: Nanamoli/Bodhi: Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, #38: The Greater Discourse on the Destruction of Craving, pp 357
[DN 15]
BD: The Great Downbinding Spell, mo translation
PTS: Rhys Davids: Dialogs of the Buddha, III: The Great Discourse on Causation, pp50
WP: M.Walshe, The Long Discourses of the Buddha, #15: The Great Discourse on Origination, pp 223
ATI: Bhikkhu Thannissaro, The Great Causes Discourse
[SN 2.12.2]
ATI: Analysis of Dependant Co-arising, Bhk. Thanissaro
Puremind, M. Punnaji, Awakening Meditation, pp7-18
Warren, Buddhism in Translations, Chapters 25-37
DhammaTalk: Give Ear: Paticca Samuppada X4 for a comparison of several translations of this Dhamma.

Pali MO Hare Horner Punnaji Bodhi Rhys Davids (Mrs)Rhys Davids Thanissaro Walshe Woodward Warren Saydow
paṭicca samuppada Dependent Uprising, or Downbound Dependent Own-making, downbound confounded rebounding conjuration Conditioned Genesis (logically-)Anticedential Concurrence Dependant Origination happen by way of causes The Causal Law Dependent Co-Arising Dependent Origination Dependent Origination (The Middle Doctrine) Dependant Origination
avijjā blindness ignorance ignorance unconsciousness ignorance ignorance Ignorance Ignorance ignorance Ignorance Ignorance ignorance
sankhāra Confounding, Personalization, Forming one's own personal world activities, the five skandhas of attachment karma-formations construction volitional formations activities Fabrications karma-formations activities Kamma effort, activity, or kamma-formations
viññāṇa Double-knowing-knowning, consciousness, re-cognition, individualized consciousness consciousness consciousness cognition consciousness cognition consciousness consciousness consciousness consciousness Consciousness consciousness
nāma/rūpa mind/matter, identity/entity, phe-nomena Name and Form name-and-form; psycho-physicality identity/entity name and form, mentality-materiality name-and-form name-and-shape name-and-form Mind-and-Body ?-and-Material forms Name and Form psycho-physical phenomena
Saḷāyatana realm of the senses the six bases of sensory impression fields of sense experience the sixfold base, the six sense bases sense the six sense media The Six Sense Bases ?Six Points The Six Organs of Sense sense-bases
phassa touch contact sensory impingement sense experience contact contact contact contact contact contact Contact contact, impression
vedanā sense experience feeling feeling sensations feeling sensation feeling feeling feeling feeling Sensation feeling
taṇhā hunger/thirst craving craving emotional urge craving craving craving craving craving craving Desire craving
upādāna going-after-getting, grasping grasping grasping personalization clinging grasping grasping clinging/sustenance clinging grasping Attachment grasping or attachment, clinging
bhava living becomings becoming being being, existence becoming becoming becoming becoming becoming Existence (using Kammabhava) = condition or kamma for renewed existence), becoming
jāti birth birth birth birth birth birth birth birth birth Birth rebirth
jarāmaraṇa ageing and death, grief and lamentation, pain and misery, and despair ageing and dying, grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation and despair aging, death ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair old age and death aging-and-death Aging-and-death ageing-and-death old age and death Old age and death sorrow grief and lamentation




The Dependant Uprising of Knowing and Seeing

pali mo horner nanamoli/bodhi
saddhaa faith faith faith
upasa.mkamanto approach drawing close visits
payiruupaasati sticking around sits down pays respect
sota.m odahati give ear lends ear gives ear
ohitasoto dhamma.m su.naati giving ear he hears dhamma hears dhamma hears the dhamma
sutvaa dhamma.m dhaareti hearing dhamma he bears it in mind remembers it memorises it
dhammaana.m attha.m upaparikkhati testing retained dhamma tests the meaning of the things he remembers examines the meaning of the teachings he has memorized
nijjhaana.m khamanti acceptance of the understood approves of gains a reflective acceptance of those teachings
chando jaayati wanting is born desire is born zeal springs up
ussahati determination makes an effort applies his will
tuuleti weighing weighs it up scrutinises
padahati taking a stand strives strives
pahitatto samaano kaayena c'eva paramasacca.m sacchikaroti, pa~n~naaya ca ta.m ativijjha passati. taking a stand he becomes one who in this very body reaches the truth and penetrating it with wisdom, he sees being self-resolute he realises with his person the highest truth itself; and penetrating it by means of intuitive wisdom, he sees resolutely striving, he realises with the body the ultimate truth and sees it by penetrating it with wisdom



Pali Text Society
Pali English Dictionary
Edited by T. W. Rhys Davids and William Stede


Paṭicca-samuppāda: [p.+samuppāda...] "arising on the grounds of (a preceding cause[1])" happening by way of cause, working of cause and effect, causal chain of causation; causal genesis, dependent origination, theory of the twelve causes... The general formula runs thus: Imasmiṃ sati, idaṃ hoti, imass' uppādā, idaṃ uppajjati; imasmiṃ asati, idaṃ na hoti; imassa nirodhā, idaṃ nirujjhati. This being, that becomes; from the arising of this, that arises; this not becoming, that does not become: from the ceasing of this, that ceases M II.32; S II.28 etc. The term usually occurs applied to dukkha in a famous formula which expresses the Buddhist doctrine of evolution, the respective stages of which are conditioned by a preceding cause and constitute themselves the cause of resulting effect, as working out the next state of the evolving (shall we say) "individual" or "being," in short the bearer of evolution. The respective links in this chain which to study and learn is the first condition for a "Buddhist" to an understanding of life, and the cause of life, and which to know forward and indispensable for the student, are as follows. The root of all, primary cause of all existence, is avijjā ignorance; this produces sankhārā: karma..., which in their turn give rise to viññāṇa...consciousness,..., then follow in succession the foll. stages: nāmarūpa individuality (mind and body...; name and form...), Saḷāyatana the senses (6 organs of sense...), phassa contact, vedanā feeling, taṇhā thirst for life (craving), upādāna clinging to existence or attachment (...grasping...), bhava (action or character...renewed existence...), jāti birth (rebirth conception...), jarāmaraṇa (+soka-parideva-dukkhadomanass' ūpayāsā) old age and death (+tribulation, grief, sorrow, distress and despair).
The Paṭicca-samuppāda is also called the Nidāna ("basis," or "ground," i. e. cause) doctrine, or the Paccay' ākāra ("related-condition"), and is referred to in the Suttas as Ariya-ñāya ("the noble method or system"). The term paccay' ākāra is late and occurs only in Abhidhamma-literature. - The oldest account is found in the Mahāpadāna Suttanta of the Dīgha Nikāya (D II.30 sq.; cp. Dial. II.24 sq.), where 10 items form the constituents of the chain, and are given in backward order, reasoning from the appearance of dukkha in this world of old age and death towards the original cause of it in viññāṇa. The same chain occurs again at S II.104 sq. - A later development shows 12 links, viz. avijjā and sankhārā added to precede viññāṇa (as above)[2]. Thus at S II.5 sq. ... Some passages selected for ref.: Vin I.1 sq.; M I.190, 257; S I.136; II.1 sq., 26 sq., 42 sq., 70, 92 sq., 113 sq.; AI.177; V.184;...

Pacceti [paṭi+i] to come on to, come back to, fig. fall back on, realise, find one's hold in D I.186...ger. paṭicca.

Paṭi [Ved, prati, to Idg. *preti as in Lat. pretium (fr. *pretios) "price" (cp. precious), i. e. equivalent; Gr. pre/s (aeol.), proti/, pro/s against] directional prefix in well-defined meaning of "back (to), against, towards, in opposition to, opposite." As preposition (with acc. and usually postponed) towards, near by, at; usually spelt pati...; J I.457 (paṭi suriyaṃ thatvā standing facing the sun)... The composition (assimilation-) form before vowels is pacc- Meanings. I. (lit.) "back," in the sense of: (1) against, in opposition..., contrary: viz. (a) often with the implication of a hostile attack (anti-. against): -kaṇṭaka, -kosati (re-ject), -kūla, -khipati (re-fuse, op-pose), -gha, -codeti (re-prove), thambhati, -disā, -deseti, -pakkha, -patha, -piṃsati, -pī'ita, -magga, -manteti, -yodha (at-tack), -vacana (re-ply), -vadati, -vedeti, -sattu (enemy), -suṇāti, -hata; - (b) warding off, protecting against (counter-, anti-): -kara (antidote), -sedhati (ward-off). - (c) putting against, setting off in a comparison (counter-, rival): -puggala (one's equal), -purisa (rival), -bala (adequate), -bimba (counterpart), -bhāga (id.); -malla (rival wrestler), -sama, -sāsana, -sūra, -seṭṭha; - (d) close contact (against, be-): -kujjita (covered), -gādha, -channa ("be-deckt") -vijjhana. - (2) in return, in exchange (in revenge) -akkosati, -āneti, -katheti, -karoti, -kūṭa1, -kkamati, -khamāpeti, -gāti (sing in response), -gīta, -daṇḍa (retribution), -dadāti, -dāna, -nivāsana, -paṇṇa (in reply), -pasaŋsati, -piṇḍa, -pucchati (ask in return), -māreti (kill in revenge), -bhaṇḍa (goods in exchange), -bhaṇḍati (abuse in return) -rodana, -roseti, -vera (revenge), -sammodeti, -sātheyya. - (3) (temporal) again, a second time (re-): -dasseti (re-appear), -nijjhatta, -nivattati, -pavesati, -pākatika (re-stored), -bujjhati, -vinicchinati, -sañjīvita (re-suscitated), -sandhi (re-incarnation), -sammajjati. - (4) away from, back to (esp. in compn paṭivi-): -kuṭati (shrink back), -ghāta (repulsion), -dhāvati, -neti, -paṇāmeti (send away), -bandhati (hold back), -bāhati (id.), -vijacchati, -vineti, -vinodeti (drive out), -virata, -saŋharati, -sallīna, -sutta, -sumbhita. - II. (applied, in reflexive sense): (1) to, on to, up to, towards, at-: -oloketi (look at), -gijjha (hankering after) -ggaha, -jānāti -pūjeti, -peseti (send out to), -baddha (bound to), -bhaya, -yatta, -rūpa, -laddha, -labhati (at-tain), -lābha -lobheti, -sāmeti, -sevati (go after), -ssata. (2) together (con-, com-), esp. combd with -saŋ-; -saŋyujati; -passaddha, -maṇḍita, -sankharoti, -santhāra. - (3) asunder, apart ("up"): -kopeti (shake up), -viṃsa (part), -vibhatta (divided up). (4) secondary, complementary, by-, sham (developed out of meaning I. 1 c.): -nāsikā (a false nose), -sīsaka (sham top knot); esp. freq. in redupl. (iterative) cpds., like anga-paccanga (limbandby-limb, i. e. all kinds of limbs), vata-paṭivatta (duties and secondary duties, all duties). In the latter application paṭi resembles the use of ā, which is more frequent (see ā5)....


[1] The idea "cause" here and throughout, is a misunderstanding. The idea is "dependance."

The method is to determine not the cause of a thing, but the factor or factors without which a thing is unable to come to be.

An illustration from an unrelated topic on DhammaTalk might help to clarify:
What is being [mistakenly] said here is that things arise from a cause (tanha; hunger/thirst);
kamma is the action based on that cause and the consequence of that action (it is two-sided).
The paticca samuppada (dependant origination) is another way of describing the mechanism of action of kamma.
The Paticca Samuppada (or Kamma) is not, itself a cause.
The Paticca Samuppada describes (in outline) factors on which events depend for their arising.
Blindness (not just ignorance of, but lack of understanding of) the final outcome is not a cause of that outcome, it is the factor on which an action resulting from thirst depends for it's outcome.
The simile of the cup of tea illustrates:
A cup of tea is not the water, or the tea leaves, or the cup, but a cup of tea depends on each of these factors for its existance.
Seen in reverse, in order to illuminate the idea that there is a difference between causes and dependancies:
Neither the tea, nor the water, nor the cup cause the cup of tea to appear, but it is only when the will, or intent of an individual, his actions, and the other necessary factors come together that the cup of tea is the outcome.

[2]See the discussion of this point at: DhammaTalk: Give Ear: The Oldest Version of the Paticca Samuppada


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