This is dependent origination, also known as conditioned arising, interdependent arising, conditional nexus, causal nexus…. It refers to the idea that, as long as we remain ignorant, clinging, and hateful, we will continue to create karma, and so continue to be reborn into this world full of suffering and pain. It is described using the metaphor of a wheel of life, wherein one thing inevitably leads to another.
“All psychological and physical phenomena constituting individual existence are interdependent and mutually condition each other…” which is what entangles us in samsara. (The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion)
1. Ignorance (avidya). "A" is ignorant of the dharma. The blind man cannot see the truth
2. Impulses (samskara). "A" therefore has intentions (karma), good, bad, or neutral, and acts on them. A potter creates a new pot from clay and water.
3. Consciousness (vijñana). These create a new conscious being, "B," who enters a womb. A monkey, with no self control, jumps from one branch to another.
4. Name and form (namarupa). "B" takes form. Three or four men in a boat: The body is the vehicle that carries us through life.
5. The six bases (shadayatana). "B" comes into a world of objects ready to be experienced. House with doors and windows: The senses let in the world, like windows let light into a house.
6. Contact (sparsha). "B" has contact with that world of objects. Lovers symbolize the intimate contact between world and mind.
7. Sensation (vedana). "B" has perceptions of that world of objects. A man with an arrow in his eye: Sensations can be so strong that they blind us to the truth.
8. Craving (trishna). "B’s" perceptions give rise to desires. A man drinking: The promise of satisfaction only leads to intoxication.
9. Clinging (upadana). Desire leads "B" to cling to life, even at death. Like a monkey clinging to a fruit tree, we cling to things.
10. Becoming (bhava). And another conscious being, "C," is begun. A pregnant woman: A new life has begun.
11. Birth (jati). Thus, "C" is born. A woman gives birth.
12. Old age and death (jara-maranam). And "C’s" birth leads inevitably to his or her old age and death. An old man carries a corpse to its resting place.
And the cycle continues, one thing leading to another….
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