Friday, July 31, 2015

十二因缘 Twelve Nidānas


Nidana is a Sanskrit word (from ni = down, into + the verbal root da = to bind). 
It means 'chain of causation,' and is attributed to Shakyamuni Buddha. 
It has two specific meanings within Buddhism
The more common use refers to the Twelve nidanas or "a concatenation of cause and effect",[1] which is the cycle of rebirth as described by Gautama upon which a re-becoming is thought by Buddhists to rest, which is also called the twelve links of 'dependent origination'.[2]

The term is also less commonly used with reference to the jhanas or stages of Buddhist meditation. 
Though they are both chains of causation, the Twelve nidanas of samsara are regarded by Buddhists 
as driving beings helplessly by the force of karma, into successive rebirths, based upon ignorance, 
while the nidana of the jhanas, by contrast, is driven by the force of spiritual practice and is thus under an individual's control. 

In this sense, they are opposites of each other, like ladders, one leading 'down' into incarnational life and the other leading 'up' towards nirvana.

The Twelve Nidānas (Pali/Sanskrit: nidāna "cause, foundation, source or origin") are an application of the Buddhist concept of pratītyasamutpāda (dependent origination). 
They identify the origin of dukkha (suffering) to be in avidyā (ignorance).

1. Ignorance (Pali: Avijjā)
2. Mental fermentations/volitions (Pali: Saṅkhāra Sanskrit: Saṃskāra)
3. Status consciousness (Pali: Viññāṇa)
4. "Name" and "Form" (Pali: Nāmarūpa)
5. The six senses (Pali: Saḷāyatana)
6. Contact (Pali: Phassa)
7. Feelings (Pali: Vedanā)
8. Cravings/longings/desires (Pali: Taṇhā)
9. Clinging to (Pali: Upādāna)
10. Generation of factors for rebirth (Pali: Bhava)
11. Birth (Pali: Jāti)
12. All the sufferings (Pali: Jarāmaraṇa)

Thus one could observe that:

1. Due to ignorance (of underlying realities of existence) we process/ferment what comes to our mind.

2. This processing/fermentation causes karma to form and mould the status consciousness (vinyana).

3. The functioning/existence of the status consciousness has a close association with regards to sustaining life (one's existence).

4. "Name" and "Form" describes the non-material and material components of one's existence. "Name" are the constituents one's mind, consciousness and ideas... "Form" (material) are the constituents of the body (made of solids, liquids, gasses...).

5. The six sense bases of perception are composed of "Name" (the mind/vinyana...components) and "Form" (the solids, liquids, gasses... components).

6, 7. When the six sense bases of perception comes in contact with entities (ex. eye with external world, nose with fragrances,... mind with thoughts/memories...), they generate feelings (in the mind).

8. Next we generate/get desires for these feelings.

9. These desires makes one "cling onto" them (wanting more...).

10, 11. This clinging causes the generation of causations/factors (karma) that causes/leads/drags one into future births, so that such accumulated karma can take effect, can materialise... (The generation of sankhara /karma due to attachments, desires, longings, cravings... or due to the aversions, angers, hates... generated during the cause of such quests/pursuits... will lead one through eternal samsara resulting in the generation of yet further causations/karma, requiring further... Thus bonding one into this eternal journey...)

12. Then once one gets into a birth, one undergoes/endures all the sufferings associated with such...

1. But again due to our ignorance, we fail to realise the underlying nature/reality of existence. Thus veiled and shadowed by ignorance, we keep on generating the mental fermentations/volitions that keeps one further bonded to samsara...

Thus the cycle ever so continues for ever and ever unto perpetuity... Thus breaking away from this cycle (by "eradicating"/overcoming ignorance), leads to its cessation (cessation of the perpetual wandering)....


These are also some basic knowledge one has to at least know of, in terms of Foundation Building in the Beginning of the Cultivation Ladder. 

Cheers all

Om Guru Lian Sheng Siddhi Hom
Lama Lotuschef

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