Dependent Origination For the Layman
If you have read my other books, you know that I like to take complex ideas and break them down so they become accessible to all who read it. I will attempt to do so in this book as well. I have always resonated with the Eastern paths and like my work with the Occult, I found that all these teachings are so very technical and complex. If you know me, you know that I think complexity is never a sign that the underlying teaching is effective or any good for that matter. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the most part, there is absolutely no reason for the complexity other than to impede you from understanding.
Many Buddhist concepts are not easy to understand. This seems so very counterintuitive since the Buddha himself taught ideas that were simple. Not necessarily easy to apply, but certainly simple. Like almost all religions, ideas start from a simple core set of ideas and then evolve. For example, no one could have possibly conceived that when Jesus first started to preach, that a complex ideological monolith like the Catholic Church would form as a result. Of course, the history is a lot more nuanced than that, but if Jesus did not preach the sermon on the mount, chances are, Christianity would have never formed in any of its forms. It’s the nature of humanity to over complicate what is often a simple idea. As they say, put two theologians in a room and come out with three opinions. It is what it is. I am going to try to strip all that away when it comes to Buddhist teachings in my new series “Baal on Buddhism”.
In this volume, I will be discussing a central idea within Buddhism called Dependent Origination. Most are familiar with The Four Noble Truths, which I will cover in a future book, but this particular teaching I will discuss has all of the Buddhist core ideas within it.
When we look at the world, we see all the vast interdependencies at play. For one thing to occur, something else had to occur that preceded it and on and on ad infinitum. This includes the suffering “Dukkha” that we experience in this world. All suffering, as Buddhism states, is based on attachments to “things” and “ideas”. All suffering is a result of causality, if we do not jump off this wheel of causality, it controls our every move and we will be forever slaves to it, its cause and effect. Buddhism offers a way out of this cycle of suffering.
However, it is not only suffering on this earth that occurs when we stay on the wheel of cause and effect; according to Buddhism, we create conditions in which we will need to reincarnate yet again in this world and live through the suffering yet again. In some instances, one may not reincarnate on earth but, in other spiritual dimension in which suffering is taking place there as well. The first step to stopping the insanity is to know how these dependent originations come about. Buddhism explains this through something called The Twelve Nidanas. Each Nidana or “link” leads us to further understand how these dependencies arise. Let us take a look at each one.