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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Arising after getting something


twelve interdependent links (_dvadas'a@nga_) represent the pa@ticcasamuppada (_pratatyasamutpada_) doctrines (dependent origination) [Footnote ref 3] which are themselves but sorrow and lead to cycles of sorrow. The term pa@ticcasamuppada or pratityasamutpada has been differently interpreted in later Buddhist literature [Footnote ref 4].


[Footnote 1: This explanation probably cannot be found in the early Pali texts; but Buddhagho@sa mentions it in _Suma@ngalavilasini_ on _Mahanidana suttanta_. We find it also in _Abhidhammatthasa@ngaha_, VIII. 3. Ignorance and the actions of the mind belong to the past; "birth," "decay and death" to the future; the intermediate eight to the present. It is styled as tri@ka@n@daka (having three branches) in _Abhidkarmakos'a_, III. 20-24. Two in the past branch, two in the future and eight in the middle "_sa pratityasamutpado dvadas'a@ngastrika@n@daka@h purvaparantayordve dve madhye@s@tau_."]

[Footnote 2: Aung and Mrs Rhys Davids' translation of _Abhidhammatthasa@ngaha_, pp. 189-190.]

[Footnote 3: The twelve links are not always constant. Thus in the list given in the _Dialogues of the Buddha_, II. 23 f., avijja and sa@nkhara have been omitted and the start has been made with consciousness, and it has been said that "Cognition turns back

from name and form; it goes not beyond."]

[Footnote 4: _M. V._ p. 5 f.]


Samutpada means appearance or arising (_pradurbhdava_) and pratitya means after getting (_prati+i+ya_); combining the two we find, arising after getting (something). The elements, depending on which there is some kind of arising, are called hetu (cause) and paccaya (ground). These two words however are often used in the same sense and are interchangeable. But paccaya is also used in a specific sense. Thus when it is said that avijja is the paccaya of sa@nkhara it is meant that avijja is the ground (_@thiti_) of the origin of the sa@nkharas, is the ground of their movement, of the instrument through which they stand (_nimitta@t@thiti_), of their ayuhana (conglomeration), of their interconnection, of their intelligibility, of their conjoint arising, of their function as cause and of their function as the ground with reference to those which are determined by them. Avijja in all these nine ways is the ground of sa@nkhara both in the past and also in the future, though avijja itself is determined in its turn by other grounds [Footnote ref 1]. When we take the betu aspect of the causal chain, we cannot think of anything else but succession, but when we take the paccaya aspect we can have a better vision into the nature of the cause as ground. Thus when avijja is said to be the ground of the sa@nkharas in the nine ways mentioned above, it seems reasonable to think that the sa@nkharas were in some sense regarded as special manifestations of avijja [Footnote ref 2]. But as this point was not further developed in the early Buddhist texts it would be unwise to proceed further with it.

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