Twelve Links of Dependent Arising (12연기)
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Twelve Links of Dependent Arising (paticca-samuppada)
All beings come into being or cease to be based on the causes and conditions which brought them into existence. In other words, they arise or cease only through interdependent relationships. This is the principle of dependent arising. Things exist as they are because of the phenomenon of causation. Nothing exists on its own independent of anything else. Dependent arising clarifies phenomenal existence and its formation. Because twelve phases interact with each other in the process of causation, Buddhists call them the “twelve links of dependent arising.”
① Ignorance (avijja): A fundamental delusion which does not know the truth, including the Four Noble Truths.
② Mental formations (sankhara): Intentional actions due to ignorance; from this comes the karma we create.
③ Consciousness (vinnana): The six consciousnesses which are: visual, auditory, olfactory, taste, tactile and conceptual consciousnesses.
④ Name and form (nama-rupa): “Name” refers to mind which has name but no form while “form” refers to the material and physical which have form.
⑤ The six sensory gates (salayatana): The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin and mind.
⑥ Contact (phassa): This arises when there is interaction between the six sense organs, the objects they perceive and the six consciousnesses.
⑦ Feeling (vedana): There are three types of feeling: pleasant, painful and neutral which is neither pleasant nor painful.
⑧ Craving (tanha): Drives, longings and cravings that seek to satisfy desires.
⑨ Clinging (upadana): Grasping or attachment when one wants something for their own.
⑩ Becoming (bhava): The karmic consciousness of sentient beings which repeats the cycle of birth and death in samsara.
⑪ Birth (jati): The entrance of a sentient being into the realm of sentient beings.
⑫ Ageing and death (jara-marana): Birth, sickness, ageing and death represent the suffering of sentient beings.
- excerpt from Buddhist English (Elementary 2) published in 2014 by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism