The Twelve Nidanas

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The Twelve Nidanas

Post by sherab zangpo on Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:21 am

Discuss the 12 Nidanas here.
sherab zangpo
sherab zangpo

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Re: The Twelve Nidanas

Post by muni on Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:06 am

Here an overview of the nidanas from wiki.


[edit] Summary

The basic principle of pratītyasamutpāda and the Twelve Nidānas is to see the conditioned causal connection of each state that supports the next in the cycle of our lives as we suffer in Samsara. It is explained in detail in the Visuddhimagga of Buddhaghosa, the central text of the Mahāvihāra commentarial tradition.
The causal chain of analysis employed in this type of analysis appears to operate from the position that individual phenomena are caused or conditioned by only a single cause. This reflects not a blanket declaration by the Buddha Śākyamuni or the Theravāda commentators that individual phenomena can have only a single cause, but rather a simplifying assumption employed to make the analytical technique more useful to the practitioner.
Like many of the techniques and theories contained in the Visuddhimagga and other commentarial works, the Twelve Nidāna analysis was intended to be used as one of many techniques available to a student of meditation, and its form reflects both the needs and experiences of Buddhist meditation practitioners.
The chain of twelve phenomena leading to future births and suffering was variously presented by the Buddha; Buddhaghosa recounts four methods- working from 'bottom to top', working from the 'middle to the top', working from 'top to bottom', and working from the 'middle to the source' (Buddhaghosa compares the teaching of the Twelve Nidānas to a creeper vine that is seized and removed in one of four different ways). The first method begins with ignorance and proceeds to sickness, old age, and death. The second method begins with attachment and proceeds to birth. The third method begins with birth and proceeds back to ignorance. The fourth method begins with attachment and proceeds to ignorance.

[edit] The Twelve Nidānas

Ignorance of Four Noble Truths, Three marks of existence, Five Skandhas, Karma, and Pratītyasamutpāda. This is the primary cause of duḥkha (suffering dissatisfaction, pain, unease, etc.)
Ignoring the inherently open, spacious and fluid quality. Turning away from the feeling of 'big open space' because it feels threatening.

  • Saṃskāra (Sanskrit) or Saṅkhāra (Pāli); Tib. du.byed (duche), Eng. "(mental) formations"

Mental Formations and Volitional Will. Mental constructs, based on a non-existent "I" or "Self".

  • Vijñāna (Sanskrit) or Viññāna (Pāli); Tib. or rnam.shes (namshe), Eng. "(dualistic) consciousness"

Various states of consciousness.

  • Nāmarūpa (Sanskrit and Pāli); Tib. ming.gzugs (mingzuk), Eng. "name and form"

Nāma the naming activity of the discursive mind and Rūpa its attendant form, without which mind cannot exist. Developing an internal representation of external objects.

  • Ṣaḍāyatana (Sanskrit) or Saḷāyatana (Pāli); Tib. skye.mched (kyemche), Eng. "six sense gates"

The six senses are eye/seeing, ear/hearing, nose/smelling, tongue/taste, skin/touch, mind/thought. Apart from the five senses which we are familiar with, in Buddhism, the sixth sense is the mind, and the object of mind is thought. Sadayatana refers specifically to the six sense organs.

  • Sparśa (Sanskrit) or Phassa (Pāli); Tib. (rekpa), Eng. "contact"

Contact between the eye and tree, between the ear and drum, nose and perfume, tongue and salt, skin and cut, mind and thought.

  • Vedanā (Sanskrit and Pāli); Tib. (tsorwa), Eng. "sensation"

Sensation refers to the quality of feeling. Is it pleasant, unpleasant or neutral? Swimming on a hot day - pleasant. Sharp stones under a bare foot - unpleasant. Sitting on grass - neutral.

  • Tṛṣṇā (Sanskrit) or Taṇhā (Pāli); Tib. (sepa), Eng. "craving" or "desire" or "thirst":

Desire is sometimes described as the cause of suffering : a constant dissatisfaction, frustration.
One feels compelled by this feeling of desire. Like a thirst compels us to seek water.

  • Upādāna (Sanskrit and Pāli); Tib. (lenpa), Eng. "attachment"

Attachment of all kinds, to persons, to life, material comfort, pleasant sensations, to unpleasant sensations too. There is also attachment to beliefs, thoughts, ideas/ideologies. (Sometimes resulting in clashes, confrontations, fighting, or even wars).
Fixation. We have created a mental version of the object or event, and we fixate on that, preferring our own internal version to external reality.

  • Bhava (Sanskrit and Pāli), Tib. (sipa), Eng. "becoming"

The steps or actions taken to recreate, that which was craved or desired in step eight above Tṛṣṇā.
The thirst/desire, plus our fixation, has picked up momentum.

  • Jāti (Sanskrit and Pāli); Tib. (kye wa), Eng. "birth":

Bearing fruit of the previous ten steps. That which was desired and conditioned now comes to be.

  • Jarāmaraṇa (Sanskrit and Pāli); Tib. rgas.shi (geshi), Eng. "aging (old age), decay and death"

That which is born, dies. All conditions, all experiences must end.

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