RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

Posts: 1623 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
After reading Shaila Catherine's WWD I feel I still need more detail. I would appreciate some suggestions on books that deal with the subject in great depth. If it's complicated that's okay because I'm sure it is. emoticon
Jason B, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Thanissaro's ebooks are usually very good. There's one on dependent origination called the Shape of Suffering. I haven't read it yet, but it might meet your needs: http://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html#study_guides
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Simon E, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

Posts: 245 Join Date: 9/23/11 Recent Posts
Not a book, but an hour long video by Sister Khema of Dhamma Sukha:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN1vhgGpfDY

The Dhamma Sukha folks are big on dependent origination.

Simon
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Ian And, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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In addition to the other two suggestions made, you might want to consider one of the books from the thread Essential Books from Theravadin Resources. It was written with the exact need you have in mind: increasing understanding of dependent co-arising.

It's title is The Great Discourse on Causation, The Mahanidana Sutta and Its Commentaries, and it was translated, compiled, and written by Bhikkhu Bodhi. It's been around for a while, and was the book I used to help me better understand this most important of concepts. It's only 140 pages long, but contains an in-depth analysis of dependent co-arising (or dependent arising, as some like to term it). I used to term it as "dependent origination," too, before I realized that "dependent arising" or, my preferred term, "dependent co-arising" was a more accurate term and way to characterize this phenomenon. This book comes well recommended (there may be others out there, but I have not recently searched for any that have addressed this study as I have been well served by the present book).

The blurb on the back of the book sums up it contents very well:

book blurb:
The Mahanidana Sutta, "The Great Discourse on Causation," is the longest and most detailed of the Buddha's discourses dealing with dependent arising (paticca samuppada), a doctrine generally regarded as the key to his entire teaching. The Buddha often described dependent arising as deep, subtle and difficult to see, the special domain of noble wisdom. So when his close disciple Ananda comes to him and suggests that this doctrine might not be as deep as it seems, the stage is set for a particularly profound and illuminating exposition of the Dhamma.

This book contains a translation of the Mahanidana Sutta together with all the doctrinally important passages from its authorized commentary and subcommentary. A long introductory essay discusses the rich philosophical implications of the sutta; an appendix explains the treatment of dependent arising according to the Abhidhamma system of conditional relations.
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katy steger, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Ha! Ian, we were moments apart from posting the same recommendation: Bodhi, Bhikkhu, trans., The Great Discourse on Causation: The Maha Nidana Sutta and its Commentaries (Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1984)

He also has his lectures online on the Pali language and the Mahanidana Sutta.


This is such an excellent point of study and practical experience: to realize the mind is like a an antennae constantly co-creating with environment, learning (through loooooooooooooots of mistakes in my experience emoticon an equanimous, wholesome participation, naturally sprouting paramis. Whoaaa nelly!
Andy W, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

Posts: 59 Join Date: 10/13/10 Recent Posts
Sister Khema, whose is associated with Bhante Vimalaramsi, has a neat video on Dependent Origination.

John Peacock's talks on Dependent Origination are also good.

EDIT: Also wanted to add Leigh Brasington's talks on DO at Gaia House in 2010 - I was there, and they were enlightening.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Thank you so much guys! I have some reading to do. Yes Sister Khema has a good video but I think more depth might be necessary. She is right on regarding clinging. I still think it's a little too linear and some brief dharma talks I've listened to point out that it's not exactly linear. Also Rob Burbea's discussion on time is interesting: If the present moment has a beginning middle and end then the beginning must also have a beginning middle and end until the concept disappears.
Andy W, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Richard Zen:
Also Rob Burbea's discussion on time is interesting: If the present moment has a beginning middle and end then the beginning must also have a beginning middle and end until the concept disappears.


Rob Burbea seems to me a kind of wonderful dharma wizard who can magically straddle the mainstream mushroomy stuff and the hardcore technical stuff. Like Jack Kornfield, but with better metaphors and more sass.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Hey Andy, I have some time at Gaia House booked in March where Rob Burbea is one of the teachers. Do you have any eerpeicne with hime personally? What kind of technique(s) does he teach?
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Check out his dharmaseed.org lectures. I find he's good at emptiness teachings.
Andy W, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Bagpuss The Gnome:
Hey Andy, I have some time at Gaia House booked in March where Rob Burbea is one of the teachers. Do you have any eerpeicne with hime personally? What kind of technique(s) does he teach?


I went to his recent London Insight day retreat and thought he said some excellent stuff, particularly in the afternoon. Other than that, not a lot. Although his talks are good, and one of my other one-time dharma teachers recommended him.

Is this your first time at GH? Are you doing a personal retreat?
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Andy W:
Bagpuss The Gnome:
Hey Andy, I have some time at Gaia House booked in March where Rob Burbea is one of the teachers. Do you have any eerpeicne with hime personally? What kind of technique(s) does he teach?


I went to his recent London Insight day retreat and thought he said some excellent stuff, particularly in the afternoon. Other than that, not a lot. Although his talks are good, and one of my other one-time dharma teachers recommended him.

Is this your first time at GH? Are you doing a personal retreat?


Yes. First time. Personal retreat.

I've heard its a good place, and I can't wait to get 15 whole days with no interruptions!
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Martin Sokolski, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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"This Being, That Becomes", by Dhivan Thomas Jones, Windhorse Publications. Haven't read it personally, but am told it's very clear.
Shawn Rene Ingram, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Buddhadasa Bhikku's Paticcasamupadda: Practical Dependent Origination is excellent and available free online.

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books6/Bhikkhu_Buddhadasa_Paticcasamuppada.htm

He very deliberately attempts to remove a lot of the unfortunate inclusion of ideas around "rebirth / reincarnation" from the topic.
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Richard Zen, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Thanks for the recommendation! I did a review on it with mostly Thanissaro Bhikkhu resources. He tended to focus on the danger of Becoming or the impulse "to be somebody!" https://youtu.be/GCxtgwoJmbc It will be good to get more perspectives on it.

The timelessness side of things will be difficult for people who haven't gotten to stream entry. Zeno of Elea tended to look at time more as displacement of space and the reordering of things. That will probably help people more until they get further along and scan more of their mental movements to see how it operates and the peace of when things cease.
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Alesh Vyhnal, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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I think Leigh Brasington is writing a book on dependent origination. I hope it will be a jewel like his book on jhanas.
Martin, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Alesh Vyhnal
I think Leigh Brasington is writing a book on dependent origination. I hope it will be a jewel like his book on jhanas.


That would most definitely be awesome!

I liked Buddhadasa Bhikku's Paticcasamupadda best but, after quite a bit of study, I have come to the interim conclusion that the sutta material on DO that we have is not very clear and so a little guesswork is going to be inevitable and it probably doesn't matter. The name of the thing says almost everything we need to know. All experience originates in a dependent (causal) manner, like every other thing in the world. The labeling of the events involved will inherently be somewhat arbitrary so any description will be somewhat imperfect, which is fine. 

My favorite Do quote is, "'... it seems as clear as clear can be.' 'Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that.'"
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George S, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

Posts: 1483 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
The most useful things I learned about DO are:

​​​​​​​1. Sankhara are between ignorance and consciousness, so they are those "ignorant" activities of body, thought, feeling and perception of which we are unconscious.

​​​​​​​2. Consciousness arises separately at each sense door dependent on the sense organ and a sense object, resulting in "contact". There is no universal field of consciousness, simply eye conscious, ear consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness, body consciousness and "mind consciousness". Furthermore, there is no consciousness independent of individual sensations - sensations are simply "aware of themselves" and that's it! Also, most objects striking the sense doors don't result in consciousness, so they are sankhara.

​​​​​​​3. Nama-rupa is "mentality-materiality" and covers all possible conscious sense objects. Rupa is all physical matter, both inside and outside the body. Nama is all the mental factors - feeling and perception again (conscious this time), but also intention and attention. So that's where you can make wholesome decisions like deciding to meditate and control your attention, which lead to weakening of unhealthy DO cycles. Intention is the assumed ability we have to make decisions. Attention is the assumed ability we have to control what we are conscious of. In reality, intention and attention are dependent as well, driven by unconscious sankharas, but we don't see that until we dig deeper.

​​​​​​​4. The best place to pry apart DO is to watch again and again how feeling produces craving for pleasant sensations, resistance to unpleasant sensations and ignoring neutral sensations.

​​​​​​​5. Irrespective of your views on reincarnation, jati or "birth" also covers cycling through different mental, emotional and psychological states throughout the day and over your life, which is also samsara (traveling through different "realms"). Bhava or "becoming" thus refers to a habitual tendency to fall into certain states (e.g. an alcoholic has a tendency to get drunk, a narcissist to get angry). And "death" refers to the tendency of those states to end (e.g. sobering up, rebirth in new state of hangover, renewed craving to get drunk again). 

My understanding is still evolving, but I feel like I've cleared up some of the common misconceptions I had and wanted to share. Probably there are more!
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Griffin, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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"Seeing that Frees".
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Stirling Campbell, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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At the most basic (but complete) level, I'd recommend Thich Nhat Hahn's "Fullness of Emptiness" essay: 

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-fullness-of-emptiness/

Not sure why, but no-one seems to have mentioned Buddhisms Einstein, Nagarjuna - surely one, if not THE authoratative author on the subject. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1048288.The_Fundamental_Wisdom_of_the_Middle_Way

IMHO this would be the way to go for deeper study.

Having said all of this, keep in mind that this isn't and will NEVER be an intellectual understanding, meaning you WON'T really get it by reading a book. It is only available as an understanding via enlightenment. IMHO it is more important to be intellectually familiar with it as an idea, then to let go of grasping at it. It isn't actually complicated, EXCEPT (notoriously) when attempting to communicate it as an idea.
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Chris Marti, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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You can read the chapter on dependent origination in Nagarjuna's "The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way" here:

https://bodhiwisdom.blogspot.com/2012/06/wisdom-of-dependent-origination-as.html
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Nicky2, modified 20 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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The Mahanidana Sutta, "The Great Discourse on Causation," only discusses nine of twelves links therefore it is not the longest and most detailed discourse. In fact, it appears fake and unlikely spoken by the Buddha.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Nicky2
The Mahanidana Sutta, "The Great Discourse on Causation," only discusses nine of twelves links therefore it is not the longest and most detailed discourse. In fact, it appears fake and unlikely spoken by the Buddha.


It's likely NONE of the suttas are available anything close to verbatim, considering that the earliest works of the Tripitaka were set down at least 500 years after his death. I wouldn't get hung up on that. emoticon
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Nicky2, modified 16 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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Stirling Campbell
Nicky2
The Mahanidana Sutta, "The Great Discourse on Causation," only discusses nine of twelves links therefore it is not the longest and most detailed discourse. In fact, it appears fake and unlikely spoken by the Buddha.


It's likely NONE of the suttas are available anything close to verbatim, considering that the earliest works of the Tripitaka were set down at least 500 years after his death. I wouldn't get hung up on that. emoticon

No. SN 12.2 reflects the words of a Buddha. When Dependent Origination is known via experience, there will be no doubts. Therefore, i wouldn't get hung up on not having any direct experience of the 12 links because the Enlightened never expect most people to penetrate Dependent Origination. 
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Nicky2, modified 20 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

Posts: 48 Join Date: 4/18/20 Recent Posts
The only mostly correct book on Dependent Origination is Thanissaro's "Shape of Suffering". It is the only book that correctly describes the operation of the sankhara & namarupa links. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ati/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf

Buddhadasa's book is a useful rant but can get convoluted. The correct link for Buddhadasa's book is below (and not the poor translation from Chinese posted in a previous post):  https://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/BuddhadasaBhikkhu-PaticcasamuppadaDependentOrigination.pdf


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Stirling Campbell, modified 15 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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...the only "mostly correct" book in ALL traditions?
Ca I, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Any books that explain Dependent Origination well?

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This is the note on dependent origination from Nanavira's Notes on Dhamma:

https://nanavira.org/notes-on-dhamma/paticcasamuppada

Here is a video that gives some context to the note:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igsI_pMfrrQ

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