The concept of Dependent Arising paticcasamuppada....

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The concept of Dependent Arising paticcasamuppada can be considered as the central philosophy of Buddhism. It expresses the content of the Buddha's enlightenment experience. It is the concept in terms of which the fundamental teachings of the Buddha can be explained. The Buddha himself emphasized its central importance when he said that he who sees dependent arising sees the dhamma. The Madhyamaka system of Buddhist thought developed its interpretation of the Buddha's teaching entirely on the principle of dependent arising. Upatissa who later became one of the chief disciples of the Buddha by the name of Sariputta was attracted to the Buddha's teaching when he heard from Assaji that the essence of the teaching is the causal dependence of things. Undestanding the dependent arising of things enables a person to seek a solution to what Buddhism considers to be life's main problem, i.e. the problem of interminable suffering.

The Buddha often used traditional terminology with new meanings in order to express his own vision into truth. But the term pat iccasamuppada is altogether a new term that was coined by the Buddha. There were certain causal theories of a rudimentary form in pre-Buddhist thought. The Buddha realized that all existing theories were inadequate to express the nature of reality. The unique contribution of the Buddha to Indian thought was his middle way doctrine, which avoided the two extremes of etemalism and annihilationism. The causal theories that were in existence at the time subscribed to one or the other of these two extreme philosophical positions. This is why the Buddha found it necessary to introduce a new term to express his vision into the nature of reality.

PROFESSOR P.D. PREMASIRI