Week Eight:

  1. Presentation: (Concepts Part 2)
    1. Dependent Origination.
  1.  Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada) 
  2. The doctrine of Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada) is one of the most profound and far-reaching teachings of the Buddha and as such this law of causality requires very thorough investigation and comprehension by anyone seeking liberation. Without clearly knowing the causal law, the Three Signata (These three basic signs or facts of all existence are: Impermanence or Change (anicca), Suffering or Unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), Not-self or Insubstantiality (anattaa).) the Four Noble Truths cannot be fully understood with the full insight that leads to dispassion, to Nibbāna. All of these are included within Paticcasamuppada which demonstrates their relation with each other. The Buddha himself pointed out the great significance of this teaching to Ananda when Ananda said that he found the causal law quite plain. The Buddha admonished him saying, "Say not so, Ananda, say not so! Deep indeed is this causal law, and deep indeed it appears. It is through not knowing, not understanding, not penetrating, that doctrine, that this generation has become entangled like a ball of string... unable to overpass the doom of the Waste, the Woeful Way, the Downfall, the Constant Faring on." (K.S., II, p.64) And elsewhere Sariputta quotes the Exalted One as saying, “Whoever sees conditional genesis sees the Dhamma, whoever see the Dhamma sees conditioned genesis." (M., I, p. 237) The general all-encompassing form of the law of Dependent Origination is a very simple statement of cause and effect but is something to which the meditator must give "his mind thoroughly and systematically"; succinctly it states "this being that comes to be; from the arising of this, that arises; from the ceasing of this that ceases." (K.S., II, p.45) This is really just another more abstract formulation of the Second and Third Noble Truths — the cause of and the cessation of suffering. The full twelve-link formula of the Paticcasamuppada is an expansion of these two middle Truths, a full explanation of the process by which suffering is generated and how by the removal of the causes, suffering also comes to cease. Thus in order to understand completely the Four Noble Truths, one must have contemplated on and gained insight into dependent origination as well. Another very important aspect of this doctrine to be understood is how its description of the process of life, the process of becoming, clearly demonstrates how it is totally impersonal manifestation of certain causes, with no "I" or 'being' in any way involved in or related to it, anatta. Finally, this doctrine enables us to discern just how kamma operates in generating the causes of rebirth. Excerpt taken from Investigation for Insight by Susan Elbaum Jootla © 1994
  3. "Impermanent, subject to change, are component things. Strive on with heedfulness!" This was the final admonition of the Buddha Gotama to his disciples. And when the Buddha had passed away, Sakka, the chief of the deities, uttered the following: Impermanent are all component things, they arise and cease, that is their nature: They come into being and pass away, Release from them is bliss supreme. Sutta (DN 16)[1]
  4. Even up to present times, at every Buddhist funeral in Theravada countries, this very Pali verse is recited by the Buddhist monks who perform the obsequies, thus reminding the congregation of the evanescent nature of life.
  5. It is a common sight in Buddhist lands to see the devotees offer flowers and light oil lamps before a Buddha image. They are not praying to the Buddha or to any "supernatural being." The flowers that fade and the flames that die down, speak to them of the impermanency of all conditioned things.
  6. It is this single and simple word Impermanence (anicca) which is the very core of the Buddha's teaching, being also the basis for the other two characteristics of existence, Suffering and No-self. The fact of Impermanence means that reality is never static but is dynamic throughout, and this the modern scientists are realizing to be the basic nature of the world without any exception. In his teaching of dynamic reality, the Buddha gave us the master key to open any door we wish. The modern world is using the same master key, but only for material achievements, and is opening door after door with amazing success.
  7. Change or impermanence is the essential characteristic of all phenomenal existence. We cannot say of anything, animate or inanimate, organic or inorganic, "this is lasting"; for even while we are saying this, it would be undergoing change. All is fleeting; the beauty of flowers, the bird's melody, the bee's hum, and a sunset's glory. Excerpt taken from The Fact of Impermanence by Piyadassi Thera.
  8. SN 12.52 PTS: S ii 84 CDB i 589Upadana Sutta: Clinging translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu © 1998
  9. Dwelling at Savatthi. There the Blessed One said to the monks: "In one who keeps focusing on the allure of clingable phenomena (or: phenomena that offer sustenance = the five aggregates), craving develops. 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, & despair come into play. Such is the origin of this entire mass of suffering & stress.
  10. "Just as if a great mass of fire of ten... twenty... thirty or forty cartloads of timber were burning, and into it a man would time & again throw dried grass, dried cow dung, & dried timber, so that the great mass of fire — thus nourished, thus sustained — would burn for a long, long time. In the same way, in one who keeps focusing on the allure of clingable phenomena, craving develops. 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, & despair come into play. Such is the origin of this entire mass of suffering & stress.
  11. "Now, in one who keeps focusing on the drawbacks of clingable phenomena, craving ceases. 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, illness & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress.
  12. "Just as if a great mass of fire of ten... twenty... thirty or forty cartloads of timber were burning, into which a man simply would not time & again throw dried grass, dried cow dung, or dried timber, so that the great mass of fire — its original sustenance being consumed, and no other being offered — would, without nutriment, go out. In the same way, in one who keeps focusing on the drawbacks of clingable phenomena, craving ceases. 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, illness & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress."
  13. "This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'
  14. "As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self-arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.-Mn-2
    1. Impermanence.
    1. Attachment, Relinquishment.
    1. Not Self.
  1. Group Discussion Question and answer session. Questions: (students are encouraged to ask any questions especially related to the class topic at this time). Some topics for discussion are also listed below.
  1. What do you think of these topics?
  2. What do you think of the idea of Not Self?
  3. What do you think about the “Thicket of Views”?

Weekly Schedule

Sunday

8.00 am - 9.00 am: Public Services in English: Such as chanting, Meditation,  Dharma discussing

10:30 am – 12.30 pm: Public Services in Vietnamese: Such as chanting, Dharma discussing (with English translator), offering to the deceased ones 

Tuesday

English Dharma Class, open discussion.
@ Dharma Hall, Virginia Beach
1st, 2nd and 3rd  and 5thTuesdays, 7pm-8.30pm.

English Dharma Class, open discussion.
@ Pitts Center, Southern Shores, NC
4th Tuesday, 6.30pm - 8.30pm 

Wednesday

5:45 - 6:45 pm: One Hour Meditation. Public is welcome. English language introduction. Silent, seated meditation in the Dharma Hall.

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm: Public service in English: Chanting, meditating, Dharma discussing in English

Thursday

8:00 pm – 9:00 pm: Chanting 21 time Great Compassion Mantra (Vietnamese)

ĐÔNG HƯNG TEMPLE

423 Davis Street

Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Phone: (757) 689 - 3408

Direct: 757 - 406 - 1726 (Mr. Mark P.)

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