Don't let the gloves intimidate you; the gloves are off.

[Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]


[ Give Ear ]

Paṭicca Samuppāda X4

The Pali

Mrs. Rhys Davids' version

Bhikkhu Bodhi's version

Bhikkhu Thanissaro's version

Warren's version

Mike Olds Translation

Mahasi Syadow's exposition


The Oldest Version of the Paticca Samuppada

Glossology Paticca Samuppada This is a separate page which should be read in conjunction with this page. Links from this page of the Glossology go to descriptions of the individual terms.



[SN 2 12.001]


The Pali


Saṅyutta Nikaya
2. Nidāna Vagga

Namo tassa Bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa

12. Nidāna-Samyuttam
1. Buddha-vaggo

Sutta 1


Evam me sutaṃ ekaṃ samayaɱ Bhagavā Sāvatthiyaṃ viharati Jetavane Anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme|| ||
Tatra kho Bhagavā vhikkh āmantesi Bhikkhavo ti||
Bhadante ti te bhikkh Bhagavato paccassosuṃ|| ||
Bhagavā etad avoca||
Paṭiccasamuppādam vo bhikkhave desissāmi||
tām suṇātha sādhukam manasikarotha bhāsissāmīti||

Evaṃ bhante' ti kho te bhikkh Bhagavato paccassosuṃ|| ||
Bhagavā etad avoca||
Katamo ca bhikkhave paṭiccasamuppādo||
Avijjāpaccayā bhikkhave saṅkhārā||
saṅkhārapaccayā viññānaṃ||
viññāṇapaccayā nāmarpaṃ||
nāmarpapaccayā Saḷāyatanaṃ||
Saḷāyatanapaccayā phasso||
phassa-paccayā vedanā||
vedanāpaccayā taṇhā||
taṇhāpaccayā upādānaṃ||
upādāna-paccayā bhavo||
bhava-paccayā jāti||
jāti-paccayā jarā-maraṇaṃ soka-parideva-dukkha-domanassupāyasā sambhavanti||
Evam etassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti||
Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave samuppādo|| ||

Avijjāya tveva asesavirāganirodhā saṅkhāranirodho||
saṅkhāranirodhā viññāṇanirodho||
viññāṇanirodhā nāmarpanirodho||
nāmarpanirodhā Saḷāyatananirodho||
Saḷāyatananirodhā phassanirodho||
phassanirodhā vedanānirodho||
vedanānirodhā taṇhānirodho||
taṇhānirodhā upādānanirodho||
upādānanirodhā bhavanirodho||
bhavanirodhā jātinirodho||
jātinirodhā jarā-maraṇaṃ soka-parideva-dukkha-domanāssupāyāsā nirujjhanti||
Evam etassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hotīti|| ||

Idam avoca Bhagavā||
attamanā te bhikkh Bhagavato bhāsitam abhinandunti|| ||



Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids Copyright The Pali Text Society.
Public Domain


The Teaching

Thus have I heard:

The Exalted One was once staying near Savatthi at the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.
And there the Exalted One addressed the brethren, saying:


'Master!' responded those brethren.

The Exalted One said:

'I will teach you, brethren, the causal law.
Listen to it,
give your minds thoroughly
and I will speak.'

'Even so, lord,' responded those brethren.

The Exalted One spake this:

What, brethren, is the causal law?

Conditioned by ignorance activities come to pass;
conditioned by activities consciousness,
conditioned by consciousness name-and-shape,
conditioned by name-and-shape sense,
conditioned by sense contact,
conditioned by contact feeling,
conditioned by feeling craving,
conditioned by craving grasping,
conditioned by grasping becoming,
conditioned by becoming birth,
conditioned by birth old age-and death, grief, lamenting, suffering, sorrow, despair come to pass.

Such is the uprising of this entire mass of ill.

This, brethren, is called [causal] happening.

But from the utter fading away and ceasing of ignorance [comes] ceasing of activities;
from ceasing of activities ceasing of consciousness;
from ceasing of consciousness ceasing of name-and-shape;
from ceasing of name-and-shape ceasing of sense;
from ceasing of sense ceasing of contact;
from ceasing of contact ceasing of feeling;
from ceasing of feeling ceasing of craving;
from ceasing of craving ceasing of grasping;
from ceasing of grasping ceasing of becoming;
from ceasing of becoming ceasing of birth;
from ceasing of birth,
old age-and-death, grief, lamenting, suffering, sorrow, despair cease.

Such is the ceasing of this entire mass of ill.

It is the Exalted One who spake this.
Pleased in mind those brethren took delight in the saying of the Exalted One.



Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi Copyright Wisdom Publications. Reproduced with permission.

Before I give Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation, here is an important quote from his introduction to this section:

"Direct knowledge of dependent origination is not the unique mark of the arahant — a widespread misconception — but an achievement already reached by the stream-enterer on making "the breakthrough to the Dhamma' (dhammabhisamaya). The noble disciple's knowledge of dependent origination has two aspects: one is a direct perception of the relationships between each pair of factors in the present; the other, an inferential knowledge that this fixed order of phenomena holds invariably in the past and future, so that anyone who comprehends dependent origination must comprehend it in exactly the same way that the noble disciple has comprehended it."

I agree with the first statement, this is what I would call "The True Streamwinner" (as opposed to the Streamwinner by faith; or the one who is Streamwinner by virtue of his momentum in that direction). As for the latter statements: I don't think they hold up under examination.

The objection to the first idea is the statement '...a direct perception of the relationships between each pair...'. We get this formula stated in a number of different ways with differing pairs, and sometimes in the very brief form: This being that becomes, from the ending of this, the ending of that. And, also, the Four Truths is another way this formula is stated. If perception is, for some, in accordance with the various formulas and not the details of the PS, if even for just a fingersnap before going into the details, then the statement is not correct. The position here is that many of the phases are arbitrary points in a spectrum and that different points might just as easily be chosen with the same results. Downbound blindness rebounds bound up in own-making is actually the full formula stated in brief but also 'seen' 'in brief' as it were.

Here is Nyanaponika Thera's recounting of the dialogue that resulted in the attainment of Stream-entry by Sariputta The Life of Sariputta which speaks indirectly to this issue :

Among the sixty-one Arahats (Saints) whom the Master had sent forth to proclaim to the world the virtues of the Triple Gem, there was the Elder Assaji, who belonged to the group of five ascetics, the Buddha's erstwhile companions before his Enlightenment, and afterwards his first disciples. The Elder Assaji had returned to Rājagaha from his wanderings, and when one morning he was going for alms in the city he was seen by Upatissa, who was on his way to the Paribbajaka ascetic's monastery. Struck by Assaji's dignified and serene appearance, Upatissa thought: "Never before have I seen such a monk. He must be one of those who are Arahats, or on the way to Arahatship. Should I not approach him and ask, 'Under whom have you been ordained? Who is your teacher and whose teaching do you profess?'"

But then he thought: "It is not the proper time now for putting questions to this monk, as he is going for alms through the streets. I had better follow behind him, after the manner of supplicants." And he did so.

Then, when the Elder had gathered his almsfood, and Upatissa saw him going to another place intending to sit down and take his meal, he prepared for him his own ascetic's seat that he carried with him, and offered it to the Elder. The Elder Assaji took his meal, after which Upatissa served him with water from his own water-container, and in that way performed towards Assaji the duties of a pupil to a teacher.

After they had exchanged the usual courteous greetings. Upatissa said: "Serene are your features, friend. Pure and bright is your complexion. Under whom, friend, have you gone forth as an ascetic? Who is your teacher and whose doctrine do you profess?"

Assaji replied: "There is, O friend, the Great Recluse, the scion of the Sakyas, who has gone forth from the Sakya clan. Under that Blessed One I have gone forth. That Blessed One is my teacher and it is his Dhamma that I profess."

"What does the venerable one's master teach, what does he proclaim?"

Questioned thus, the Elder Assaji thought to himself: "These wandering ascetics are opposed to the Buddha's dispensation. I shall show him how profound this dispensation is." So he said: "I am but new to the training, friend. It is not long since I went forth from home, and I came but recently to this teaching and discipline. I cannot explain the Dhamma in detail to you."

The wanderer replied: "I am called Upatissa, friend. Please tell me according to your ability, be it much or little. It will be my task to penetrate its meaning by way of a hundred or a thousand methods." And he added:

"Be it little or much that you can tell,
the meaning only, please proclaim to me!
To know the meaning is my sole desire;
Of no avail to me are many words."
In response, the Elder Assaji uttered this stanza:

"Of all those things that from a cause arise,
Tathāgata the cause thereof has told;
And how they cease to be, that too he tells,
This is the doctrine of the Great Recluse."

Here is the Pali:


"Ye dhamma hetuppabhava||
tesam hetum tathagato aha,||
tesañca yo nirodho||
evamvadi mahasamano 'ti."|| ||

MS comments: "This gatha was later to become one of the best-known and most widely-disseminated stanzas of Buddhism, standing for all time as a reminder of Sariputta's first contact with the Dhamma and also as a worthy memorial to Assaji, his great arahant teacher. Spoken at a time when the principle of causality was not accorded the prominence it enjoys today in philosophical thought, its impact on the minds of the early Buddhists must have been revolutionary.|| ||

What is true here for all who see the point is:
that all see the "principle" of intentional action based in blindness giving rise to personal, subjective, results;
the nature of those results as always being painful to the degree one is attached as a consequence of their inherent nature as phenomena bound in time and therefore bound to end;
that by the cessation of the blindness, the cessation of the intentional activity and with that the personal, subjective results also cease;
and the fact that since the formula is describing the phenomena of becoming in general, once the nature of becoming is seen, all that becomes is encompassed and consequently this is necessarily the case for the past and future — that which became, that which will become.



The Connected Discourses of the Buddha
Part II.
The Book of Causation Nidāna-Vagga

Homage to the Blessed One,
the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One

Connected Discourses on Causation
I. The Buddhas

Sutta 1

Dependent Origination


Thus have I heard.

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta's Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.
There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus:


"Venerable sir!" those bhikkhus replied.

The Blessed One said this:

Bhikkhus, I will teach you dependent origination.
Listen to that and attend closely, I will speak."

"Yes, venerable sir," those bhikkhus replied.

The Blessed One said this:

"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.

But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes cessation of volitional formations;
with the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness;
with the cessation of consciousness, cessation of name-and-form;
with the cessation of name-and-form, cessation of the six sense bases;
with the cessation of the six sense bases, cessation of contact;
with the cessation of contact, cessation of feeling;
with the cessation of feeling, cessation of craving;
with the cessation of craving, cessation of clinging;
with the cessation of clinging, cessation of existence;
with the cessation of existence, cessation of birth;
with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation,
pain, displeasure, and despair cease.

Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering."

This is what the Blessed One said.
Elated, those bhikkhus delighted in the Blessed One's statement.



And here is the version by Bhikkhu Thanissaro

From SN 2 12.002, the second sutta in the collection, giving some analysis; Translated by Bhikkhu Thanissaro
For free distribution only.

Sutta 2

Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta

Analysis of Dependent Co-arising

Dwelling at Savatthi... "Monks, I will describe & analyze dependent co-arising for you.

"And what is dependent co-arising?
From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.
From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form.
From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media.
From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact.
From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.
From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.
From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance.
From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming.
From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.
From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death,
sorrow, lamentation,
pain, distress, &
come into play.
Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.

"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.

"And what is becoming? These three are becomings: sensual becoming, form becoming, & formless becoming. This is called becoming.

"And what is clinging/sustenance? These four are clingings: sensuality clinging, view clinging, precept & practice clinging, and doctrine of self clinging. This is called clinging.

"And what is craving? These six are classes of craving: craving for forms, craving for sounds, craving for smells, craving for tastes, craving for tactile sensations, craving for ideas. This is called craving.

"And what is feeling? These six are classes of feeling: feeling born from eye-contact, feeling born from ear-contact, feeling born from nose-contact, feeling born from tongue-contact, feeling born from body-contact, feeling born from intellect-contact. This is called feeling.

"And what is contact? These six are classes of contact: eye-contact, ear-contact, nose-contact, tongue-contact, body-contact, intellect-contact. This is called contact.

"And what are the six sense media? These six are sense media: the eye-medium, the ear-medium, the nose-medium, the tongue-medium, the body-medium, the intellect-medium. These are called the six sense media.

"And what is name-&-form? Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called name. The four great elements, and the form dependent on the four great elements: This is called form. This name & this form are called name-&-form.

"And what is consciousness? These six are classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness. This is called consciousness.

"And what are fabrications? These three are fabrications: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, mental fabrications. These are called fabrications.

"And what is ignorance? Not knowing stress, not knowing the origination of stress, not knowing the cessation of stress, not knowing the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called ignorance.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."



From Warren, Buddhism in Translations

The world, for the most part, O Kaccāna, holds either to a belief in being or to a belief in non-being. But for one who in the light of the highest knowledge, O Kaccāna, considers how the world arises, belief in the non-being of the world passes away. And for one who in the light of the highest knowledge, O Kaccāna, considers how the world ceases, belief in the being of the world passes away.

For the take on thePaṭicca Samuppadagiven in Warren, Buddhism in Translations, see the following chapters:

#25 The Middle Doctrine
#26 Ignorance
# 27 Karma
# 28 Consciousness
# 29 Name and Form
# 30 The Six Organs of Sense
# 31 Contact
# 32 Sensation
# 33 Desire
# 34 Attachment
# 35 Existence
# 36 Birth etc.
# 37 Discussion of Dependent Origination



Here is my version. Hear 'Bhagava' like you heard it when you were a student and referring to your instructor, you said: "Teach said..." And try to hear it as if it were being spoken:

The Exposition

Once upon a time Bhagava, roun-Savatthi revisiting, Jeta-woods, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There to the Beggars gathered round he said:


Broke-tooth! the Beggars responded to Bhagava.

Bhagava then said:

I will teach you rebounding conjuration
listen well, pay attention, I will speak.

Even so, Broke-tooth! the Beggars responded to Bhagava.

Bhagava then said:

What then Beggars is rebounding conjuration?

Rebounding off blindness beggars, own-making
rebounding off own-making, being conscious
rebounding off being conscious, named-form-ness
rebounding off named-form-ness, six-realm-ness
rebounding off six-realm-ness, touch
rebounding off touch, sensation
rebounding off sensation, thirst
rebounding off thirst, boundup-ness
rebounding off boundup-ness, living
rebounding off living, birth
rebounding off birth,
aging and death
grief and lamentation
pain and misery
and despair
become one's own

Even so is this pile of shit made to be.

Thus told, beggars, is it's conjuration.

But utterly-eradicating being blind, own-making is eradicated
own-making eradicated, being conscious is eradicated
being conscious eradicated, named-form-ness is eradicated
named-form-ness eradicated, six-realm-ness is eradicated
six-realm-ness eradicated, touch is eradicated
touch eradicated, sensation is eradicated
sensation eradicated, thirst is eradicated
thirst eradicated, boundup-ness is eradicated
boundup-ness eradicated, living is eradicated
living eradicated, birth is eradicated
birth eradicated, aging and death
grief and lamentation
pain and misery
and despair
are uprooted.

Even so is this pile of shit made to not be.

That is what Bhagava said
And, the Beggars, High-in-Mind at Bhagava's exposition, were exceeding-pleased



For an example of an unusual set of "pairs" in this formula visit:
Four Food Expansion
go to the bottom of the page, under "Where there is Lust" a short sutta which has a variation on the usual order.



Mahasi Syadow's take on the Patica Samupada:

Anyone interested in the development of Buddhism in the West needs to familiarize himself with the understanding of the system held by Mahasi Syadow. His influence has been enormous (note the similarity in translation of terms to Horner).

Some things to keep in mind:

Note that he uses the version in which consciousness appears twice.

Also note that in this very long discussion a great deal of time is spent on aspects of giving. I believe the approach is mistaken. Mahasi's take is that it is an aspect of the system to engage in giving, even on up to the stage of Arahant. This is in contradiction to the passage where the Buddha states: "Not only do I teach the giving up of bad deeds, I teach also the giving up of good deeds."

This issues is to be understood this way: Giving is a good thing for producing good kamma. Producing good kamma is not the goal of the system, the ending of kamma is the goal of the system. Giving is helpful to one starting out on the way in that it produces a sense of confidence and a feeling of calm. This is a good atmosphere in which to develop the higher understandings necessary to accomplish the goal of the system. Giving is maintained as a habit by Bhikkhus all the way to Arahantship as a matter of being a good example to others.

In another place, MS describes the outcome of a good deed of supporting the Saṅgha as resulting in a horrid rebirth. This is a blurring of the situation. The individual gives to support the Saṅgha, and follows the views of a misguided teacher. It is the following of the views of a misguided teacher that is the cause of the horrid rebirth, not the doing of the good deed, which will, no doubt, result in good consequences at a later time.

"It is not possible, it cannot come to be that the consequence of a good deed is a bad outcome. Should one see an individual who here performed good deeds suffering a bad rebirth it must be assumed that he did a bad deed before or a bad deed after or held on to wrong views at the time of death." (paraphrase see: The Great Analysis of Kamma

Also MS goes into the subterminology of the Abhidhamma far too much for my taste. Nevertheless MS discusses the various links in the chain in great detail and gives examples and the general discussion is useful towards understanding the system as well as the influence his views have had on Western Buddhism.

His terminology:

Paticca Samupada = Dependant Origination
Avijja = ignorance
Sankhara = effort, activity, or kamma-formations
Vinnana = consciousness
Nama/Rupa = psycho-physical phenomena
Salayatana = sense-bases (ayatana = bases)
Phassa = contact, impression
Vedana = feeling
Tanha = craving
Upadana = grasping or attachment, clinging
Bhava (he uses Kammabhava) = condition or kamma for renewed existence), becoming
Jati = rebirth
Jaramanara = Old age and death sorrow grief and lamentation

Other terms used:

Nivarana = hindrances
Vipassana = insight
panna = wisdom
upekkha = equanimity

Noble Eight-Fold Path:





Here is a little exercise to demonstrate Downbound Confounded Rebounding Conjuration

Lite a burner on your stove. [You should actually do this, don't just think it through.] Stand in front of the burner. Ask yourself: "What would happen if I placed my hand in the flame and left it there for a while?"

Now ask yourself: "Would I, willingly, place my hand in that flame?"

Of course not.

Why not?

Because you are not blind to the consequences.

Because you are not blind to the consequences, you do not engage in that activity of body that would place your hand in that flame.
Because you do not do that you do not suffer the pain of a burn't hand.

To that degree you have brought dukkha, Pain to an end.
To that degree you have experienced, first hand, with your own eyes, in the here and now, in this life, Nibbāna.

Now: Ask yourself:
'What is the nature of this Nibbāna I have experienced?
Does it have Form (rupa)?
Does it involve sense experience? (vedana);
is it pleasant, unpleasant, neither pleasant nor unpleasant
(it may be neither pleasant nor unpleasant but does it involve the senses?)?
Does it involve perception (sanna)?
Is it, in fact, any aspect of any kind of a world
I have created for myself
with any act of body, speech or mind?
Does it involve Consciousness (vinnana)?

Does it have anything at all to do with my self?

Does it exist?

Does it not exist?

See the difficult part is seeing how the same principle is involved in this Entire Stockpiled Pile Of Dukkha you calla "My ... a ... Me"



The Oldest Version of the Paticca Samuppada

I have been reading Wings to Awakening. I have many thoughts on this work, but one I thought I would pass along immediately as it solves a problem apparently perplexing Bhikkhu Thanissaro and others researching thePaṭicca Samuppada(or maybe not):

He says (pp 304): "Another point of disagreement is over the question of how the factors of fabrication and ignorance came to be added to the basic list." (of the paticca samuppada) He gives two sources for the basic list: S.XII.67 (which doesn't help on this issue) and DN.15 (his page 330), which begins (his translation):

Ānanda: It is amazing, lord, it is astounding, how deep this dependent co-arising is, and how deep its appearance, and yet to me it seems clear as clear can be.

The Buddha: Don't say that, Ānanda. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond the cycle of planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.

My translation:

"Miraculous Bhante!
Supernatural Bhante!
So very deep, Bhante,
is this rebounding conjuration,
and so very deep appearing.
And yet to me it seems
as clear as clear can be!"

"Not so Ānanda, should this be said!
Not so Ānanda, should you put voice to this.
Very deep, Ānanda
is this rebounding conjuration
and very deep does it appear.
It is, Ānanda,
because of not awakening to,
not penetrating this phenomenon,
that this age of excrudescence-covered
chord-bound birth,
this bull-rush-and-tule-grass
run-around way of living
rolls on to downbound,
painful ruination."

I read the Buddha's response to Ānanda as saying: "Because of Ignorance, there is Sankharaming," so actually (if we take this series as having come first at all) then the two factors of fabrication and ignorance were there all along, just in a different form.

We could also read this as the Buddha actually suggesting that this is how the series should be summarized, as opposed to the way Ānanda does it, which is just praise. If we read it this way it reveals much about how we should be reading the meaning of "paticca," (i.e., simply "because").




SN 2 65: Nagaram

[ DhammaTalk Contents ]

Copyright Statement