This is my personal note on lecture by Emeritus Professor Karunadasa on Fundamental Doctrine of Early Buddhism. Early Buddhism is Module I of the Diploma Course in Buddhist Studies conducted at the Buddhist Library by the Graduate School of Buddhist Studies (Singapore). For other lesson updates please go to: www.geocities.com/lee_mengkai/ – Part I
Dependent Origination (DO) also deals with suffering and cessation of suffering.
Another name for DO is Conditioned Origination or
Paticca (because of or depending on) – Samuppāda (arising) = dependent arising.
Imasmim sati, idam hoti = when this is present, that comes to be or
when “A” is present, “B” comes to be
Imassa uppādā, idam uppajjati = with the arising (originates) of this, that arises (originates) Imasmim asati, idam na hoti = when this is not present, that does not comes to be
Imassa nirodhā idam nirujjhati = with the cessation of this, that ceases to be
This theory can be applied to every teaching of the Buddha. Buddhism explained everything with this theory, be it Buddhist ethics, Buddhist psychology etc..
It is NOT correct to say that this is a Theory of Causality. This is a . Idappaccayata = the fact of being conditioned.
Theory of Causality = “A” is the cause of “B”. This means “A” has the power to create “B”. This implies the notion of substance, which Buddhism rejects. Buddhism recognizes anatta, absent of substance. Buddhism does not recognize any substance, that is something that can persist on its own. Therefore when “A” causes “B”, it means “A” creates “B” and “A” is a substance by itself.
1) Vasavatti – vāda = “cause” totally influence its “effect” Therefore “cause” is a substance and
has the power to create. “A” cause “B”. But in the theory of DO, the Pali word used is “imasmin”. If the “effect” comes from “cause” then the correct Pali word should be “imasmā”
2) Parinamavāda = cause gradually evolve into its effect = the theory of evolutionary causation.
Example yarn gradually evolves into cloth.
The Theory of DO is not similar to Vasavatti-vāda or Parinamavāda. Buddha said DO is the heart of his teachings. He who has insight into DO has the heart of his Dhamma, whether it is ethics, psychology etc… Any aspects of his Doctrine we will find the doctrine of DO.
1) Sassatavada and Ucchedavada. Buddhism transcends Sassatavada and Ucchedavada on
the basis on DO. Buddhism began by rejecting sassatavada on its religious view of life, which recognize some form of spiritual entity within us. Buddhism is not spiritualistic, does not recognize spirit within us. It also rejected ucchedava because it considers man as material, reducible to matter.
Sassatavada recognize a permanent entity while “paticca” means becoming of, or depending on. This goes against the notion of permanent entity. Therefore “paticca” rejects sassatavada. “samuppāda” = rejects ucchedavada as ucchedavada means complete annihilation after death of body, an abrupt end to life. In Buddhism, life has no abrupt beginning and no abrupt end. By rejecting both views, Buddhism transcends both by going beyond extremes.
Steven Lee 24-3-04 1