Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Pratityasamutpada and Theory of Causality

To me the doctrine of the pratityasamutpada (or paticcasamupada) is the core of the Buddha Dharma. In my research on the subject, I have come across some materials that are, should I say, eyebrows-raising. One of them states that "the Buddha refutes all theories of causality," and that "the Buddha related to the theory of causality from the standpoint of the pratityasamutpada."

There was this incident about the Buddha reprimanding Bhiksu Sati for his erroneous belief about the vijna (consciousness or mind) in relation to the pratityasamutpada. There was also another incident about the Buddha telling Ananda not to take the pratityasamutpada so lightly because it is far more than a mere mechanical law of causality.

It seems there was misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the Buddha's teaching on the pratityasamutpada in the course of history (of Buddhism); consequently, the erroneous (?) focus and teachings on the theory of causality even by mainstream schools. This is getting interesting.


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