D.A. Process


revised on 2019-04-20

D.A. Process (Dependent Arising Process)

D.A. Process

Mogok Sayadaw's Dhamma Talks and the Chart of Dependent Arising Process

Here onwards will use the short form D.A. for the Dependent Arising Process. Mogok Sayadaw's talks were based on the D.A. process.

For this purpose he constructed a chart which is called the circular chart of the D.A. process. This chart was based on the suttas and commentaries. Therefore to understand more clearer on his talks have to understand this chart. He wrote some verses and explained the teaching systematically (Note: Paṭicca-samuppāda is translated in different ways: 1. Dependent Co-origination; 2. Dependent Arising; 3. Dependent Origination).

The verses on the chart of D.A. process

First verse: Two roots (mūla), 2 truths, 4 groups of layers and 12 factors with its meanings. Three connections, again 2 roots, 3 rounds for existence (vaṭṭas), 3 periods of time, 20 factors of causes and effects, and have to study these 8 points by heart and realize it with practice. This is the liberation from saṁsāra.

Second verse: Base on ignorance (avijjā) and craving (taṇhā), clinging (upādāna), action (kamma) and mind-body arise. Like a tree from a seed, and a seed from a tree, which are connecting without break. With the cause of kamma and mind-body; and with mind-body and kamma arises. In this way these are arising again and again. Contemplating with knowledge as many humans, gods and living beings appear are not by the Mahā Brahma's or God's Creation.

First it needs to learn the 8 points, just mentioned in the first verse, and then to study the 12 factors of D.A. process. By itself it can be a long lecture for many hours. Here only give a short introduction for it. After having the basic ideas on it and we can contemplate to find out more by ourselves. The Buddha's Teachings are always practical and developing wisdom faculty. Faith without wisdom is blind faith and leading to sufferings.

Study of the 8 points

D.A. process is the khandha process. Paṭiccasamuppāda, khandhas and saṁsāra are the same thing.

  1. Two roots: Ignorance and craving, these are the beginning of the 12 links of the D.A. process. It doesn't mean that it is the first cause. These also have their causes. These are the roots of saṁsāra (rounds of existence), or the root causes of the khandhas. Written in the middle of the circle is like a wheel axle in bold letters as avijjā and taṇhā. They are turning the samsāric wheel on and on non-stop.
  2. Two truths: It was written in the 1st section bottom layer as samudaya sacca, in the 2nd section as dukkha sacca, and then in the 3rd and 4th section as samudaya and dukkha. saccas respectively. Combine the same together and become 2 truths; i.e., samudaya and dukkha saccas.
  3. Four groups of layer: In section ①, it's the layer of the past causes. In sec. ②, it's the layer of the present results. In sec. ③, it is the layer of the present causes. In sec. ④, it is the layer of future results. All these are only in different periods of time. With combination become 2 layers of the causes and 2 layers of the results. Sec. ③ also can be written as the layer of the future causes.
4. Twelve factors:
Section ① includes avijjā and saṅkhāra – (ignorance and volitional formation).
Section ② includes viññāṇa, nāma-rūpa, saḷāyatana, phassa, and vedanā (consciousness, mind-matter, 6 sense-bases, contact, feeling)
Section ③ includes taṇhā, upādāna and kammabhava (craving, clinging, existence)
Section ④ includes jāti, jara, maraṇa (birth, ageing, death)

There is an arrow from the top of the circle running through to the bottom and separated the circle into 2 halves. On the right hand side half are the 7 factors of avijjā, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa……. vedanā. These are leading by the past root of avijjā. On the left hand side half are the 5 factors of taṇhā, upādāna, kammabhava, jāti, jara-maraṇa.

These are leading by the present root of taṇhā. Leading by the past root of avijjā are 7 factors and leading by the present root of taṇhā are 5 factors. And totally all are 12 factors. These 12 factors with its meanings will be discussed later.

5. The 3 connections:
① The first connection; sec. ① saṅkhāra with sec. ② viññāṇa.
② The 2nd connection; sec. ② vedanā with sec. ③ taṇhā.
③ The 3rd connection; sec. ③ kammabhava with sec. ④ jāti.

As the causes and effects connections;
① The past 5 causes connect with the present 5 results. (i.e., avijjā ….. bhava viññāṇa … vedanā)
② The present 5 results connect with the present 5 causes. (i.e., viññāṇa…. vedanā taṇhā…. saṅkhāra)
③ The present 5 causes connect with the future results. (i.e., taṇhā… saṅkhāra viññāṇa…. vedanā)

As layers connections;
(1) The past cause layer connects with the present result layer.
(2) The present result layer connects with the present cause layer.
(3) The present cause layer connects with the future result layer.

As truth connections;
(1) Samudaya sacca and dukkha sacca connection (i.e., sec ① to sec ②)
(2) Dukkha sacca to samudaya sacca connection (i.e., sec ② to sec. ③)
(3) Samudaya sacca to dukkha sacca connection (i.e., sec ③ to sec. ④)

6. Three rounds of existence (3 vaṭṭas):
The 3 rounds show the cyclic pattern of existence in Saṁsāra. Written at sec. ① are kilesa vaṭṭa and kamma vaṭṭa. At sec ④ is vipāka vaṭṭa. Kilesa means it makes beings become tired, defiled and suffered. Also it is burning beings like fire and destroying wholesome dhammas.

Vaṭṭa means round of event, moving round in a circle or round of existence. Therefore kilesa vaṭṭa means oppressive dhamma which afflict or torment beings with tiredness and suffering in a circle. In see ① and sec ③ kilesa vaṭṭas are indicating by arrow as avijjā, taṇhā and upādāna.

Kamma vaṭṭa means actions are going on in a cycle. In sec ① and sec ③ the 2 kamma vaṭṭas are indicating by arrow as saṅkhāra and kamma bhava.

Vipāka vaṭṭa means results are going on in a circle. In sec ④ the 8 vipāka vaṭṭas are indicating by arrow as viññāṇa … vedanā, jāti, upapattibhava, jara–maraṇa. In some places not including upapattibhava and mentioned 7 vipāka vaṭṭas only. upapattibhava means khandhas arise or cause by kamma. It seemed to be kammabhava and upapattibhava both related to the Abhidhamma. A Burmese teacher said that jāti must take kammabhava.

Kilesa vaṭṭa and kamma vaṭṭa are the causes for round of existence. And vipāka – is the result of the round of existence. The most fundamental round is the round of defilements (kilesa vaṭṭa).

7. Three periods of time:
Section ① is past life. Section ② and ③ are present life. And section ④ is the future life.

8. Twenty factors of causes and effects:
① Sec. ① has the 5 past causes. These are avijjā, saṅkhāra, taṇhā, upādāna and bhava.
② Sec. ② has the 5 present results. These are viññāṇa…. vedanā.
③ Sec. ③ has the 5 present causes. These are taṇhā, upādāna, bhava, avijjā, saṅkhāra
④ Sec. ④ has the 5 future results. These are viññāṇa…. vedanā. Therefore all together are 20 factors of causes and effects.

Have to study these 8 points:
① 2 roots ② 2 truths ③ 4 groups of layers ④ 12 factors ⑤ 3 connections ⑥ 3 rounds of existence ⑦ 3 periods of time ⑧20 factors of cause and effect

Learn by heart:
Study the D. A. process with its chart is called pariyatti — learning/studying. Learn it by heart and can use it any time in need.

To realize it:
To understand them with practice is called patipatti — direct knowledge.

This is the liberation from saṁsāra:
It's called pativeda — realization of Nibbāna, the ending of dukkha. All these 3 stages are also can be described as follow.

With full understanding – pariññā:
Learn by heart is ñāta pariññā — full understanding by study.
Practise is tīraṇa pariññā full understanding by contemplation.
Pahāna pariññā — full understanding with abandoning of kilesa.

With truths (sacca):
Learn by heart is sacca nyan (ñāṇa) — knowledge of truth comes by listening talks. Kicca ñāṇa — functional knowledge of the truth comes by contemplation, in accordance with the truth.
Kata ñāṇa — the knowledge of the ending of the practice.

The ending of the first verses are about the 3 sāsana (Buddha's Teachings). These are called pariyatti, patipatti and pativeda. As pariññā; ñāta pariññā, tīraṇa pariññā and pahāna pariññā. As knowledge (ñāṇa); sacca ñāṇa, kicca ñāṇa and kata ñāṇa. These are the duties which have to fulfill them.

① For learning by heart is the teacher's duty to teach and talk.
② Practice is the yogi's or student's duty.
③ Realization is the Dhamma's duty and it comes by itself with the practice.

Study of the 12 factors of D.A. process

① Avijjā (Ignorance)

Avijjā means not knowing. This is not knowing of the 4 Noble Truths. These are:

(1) Not knowing the noble truth of dukkha (Dukkha Sacca).
(2) Not knowing the noble truth of the origination of dukkha (Samudaya Sacca).
(3) Not knowing the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha (Nirodha Sacca).
(4) Not knowing the noble truth of the path of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha (Magga Sacca).

It's also not knowing what should be known and knowing what should not be known. Avijjā is also called delusion (moha). It has the function of delusion, and also has the nature of covering up.

Therefore avijjā is darkness. Also not knowing what is right and wrong. So it's also called wrong knowledge (micchā ñāṇa).

② Saṅkhāra (Volitional formation)

Here Saṅkhāra means actions condition for khandhas to arise.

1. Saṅkhāra conditioning for the 5 khandhas to arise, i.e., mind and body.
2. Saṅkhāra conditioning for the 4 mind khandhas to arise, i.e., nāmakkhandhas.
3. Saṅkhāra conditioning for the body khandha, i.e., rūpakkhadha to arise.

There are 3 kinds of saṅkhāra.

(1) Puññābhisaṅkhāra-wholesome volitional formation
It has 2 kinds; kāmāvacara puññābhisaṅkhāra – sense sphere of wholesome volitional formation, and rūpāvacara puññābhisaṅkhāra – fine material sphere of wholesome volitional formation.
(2) Āpuññābhisaṅkhāra — unwholesome volitional formation.
(3) Āneñjābhisaṅkhāra — volitional formation of immaterial jhāna.

Khandhas arise by different kinds of saṅkhāra.

(1) Puññābhisaṅkhāra

(a) With kamavacara puññābhisaṅkhāra; human beings, heavenly being
(b) With rūpāvacara puññābhisaṅkhāra, rūpabrahma khandhas.

(2) Āpuññābhisaṅkhāra

Beings in the 4 woeful planes (apāyabhūmi)

(3) Āneñjābhisaṅkhāra

Ārūpabrahma khandhas

The 31 planes of existence:

(1) Kama sugati – sensual good destinations
one human plane + 6 heavenly planes = 7 planes
(2) Rūpabrahma planes = 16 planes
(3) Ārūpabrahma planes = 4 planes
(4) Woeful planes = 4 planes
(Hell, animal, peta, and asura) 31 planes

③ Viññāṇa (consciousness)

Viññāṇa is knowing. There are 2 types of viññāṇa. Patisandhi viññāṇa rebirth-linking consciousness, consciousness during the pregnancy. And pavutti viññāṇa – consciousness arises in this present life, while still alive. Rebirth-linking consciousness had already gone. Now, we're living with these pavutti viññāṇa.

These are 6 types:

(1) Arising in the eye is eye-consciousness — cakkhu-viññāṇa.
(2) Arising in the ear is ear-consciousness — sota-viññāṇa.
(3) Arising in the nose is nose-consciousness – ghānaviññāṇa.
(4) Arising on the tongue is tongue-consciousness – jivhāviññāṇa.
(5) Arising in/on the body is body-consciousness – kāyaviññāṇa.
(6) Arising in the heart is mind-consciousness – manoviññāṇa.

Nearly every living being is alive with these 6 consciousnesses. Except non-percipient beings (asaññasattā) and immaterial beings (arūpabrahmas), they are a little different from the mind-body beings. In every mind moment, it can only arise one consciousness. Because 2 consciousnesses can't arise together at the same moment.

④ Nāma-rūpa/ (Mind-matter)

Nāma — mind has the nature of inclining towards objects. And rūpa has the nature of change. Some examples of mind-matter are:

Wanting to eat is mind and eating is matter.
Wanting to move is mind and moving is matter.
Wanting to sit is mind and sitting is matter.
The master is mind and the slave is matter.

In nāma-rūpa, nāma has 4 groups and matter has one group.
The 4 groups of nāma are:

(1) vedanā – feeling
(2) Saññā – perception
(3) Saṅkhāra – Mental formation
(4) viññāṇa – consciousness.

⑤ Salāyatanaṁ (6 sense – bases)

The meaning of āyatana is dhamma extending the saṁsāra. Therefore the 6 sense – bases; eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind bases are extending the saṁsāra. Eye, ear, nose, tongue and body are 5 material bases. Heart or mind is mind base. Combine both of them become mind and body.

⑥ Phassa (Contact)

There are 6 contacts:

(1) Eye contacts with physical form — cakkhu samphassa rūpam.
(2) Ear contacts with sound
(3) Nose contacts with smell
(4) Tongue contacts with taste
(5) Body contacts with physical object
(6) Mind contacts with mind object

⑦ vedanā (Feeling)

There are 6 types of feeling according to the 6 sense – doors. Feelings arise in the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind doors.

Analysis of feeling

(a) Feelings in the body

(1) In the eye just only seeing is neutral feeling (upekkhā vedanā)
(2) In the ear just only hearing is neutral feeling (upekkhā vedanā)
(3) In the nose just only smelling is neutral feeling (upekkhā vedanā)
(4) On the tongue just only tasting is neutral feeling (upekkhā vedanā)
(5) In the body, pleasant and unpleasant feelings (sukha and dukkha, vedanās) arise.

Therefore with the whole physical body, pleasant and unpleasant and neutral feelings can arise.

(b) Feelings in the mind

(1) With the pleasant feeling in/on the body and pleasant mental feeling (somanassa vedanā) arises.
(2) With the unpleasant feeling in/on the body and unpleasant mental feeling (domanassa vedanā) arises.
(3) With equanimity to things and neutral mental feeling (upekkhā) arises.

Therefore in the mind, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feelings can arise. Combine all the body and mind feelings together only have 3 kinds of feelings i.e., pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feelings (sukha, dukkha, and upekkhā vedanā)

⑧ taṇhā (Craving)

taṇhā means wanting, craving; and has 3 types:

(1) Kama taṇhā — craving to the 5 cords of sensual pleasures.
(2) Bhava taṇhā — craving for existence.
(3) Vibhava — taṇhā without knowledge and not wanting any existence.

The differences between (1) and (2) are; craving for external objects is kamma taṇhā and for the internal khandha is bhavataṇhā. Their nature is greed (lobha).

⑨ upādāna (Clinging)

There are 4 kinds of clinging;

(1) Kāmupādāna – clinging to the 5 cords of sensual pleasure.
(2) Diṭṭhupādāna – clinging to the 62 kinds of wrong views.
(3) Sīlabbatupādāna clinging to rites and ceremonies (One Burmese teacher said, clinging to wrong practices are the right meaning, e.g., such practices as behave like a dog, a cow, etc. as mentioned in some suttas)
(4) Attavādupādāna — — Clinging to the doctrine of self, 20 types of identity views (sakkāya diṭṭhi).

Four clingings, and combine together only has two. (1) is clinging with taṇhā. (2), (3) and (4) are clinging with diṭṭhi (views). taṇhā becomes stronger is upādāna. Both of them are lobha nature.

⑩ Kammabhava (existence)

Kammabhava means kammically active process of existence or actions conditioning for existence. In the diagram of the D.A. process, kammabhava at see ③ was written with incomplete form; such as Bhava Kamma. Why is that? Because upapattibhava and kammabhava combine together only become completion (upapattibhava – passive or resultant process of existence). For an arahant it's only functional kamma and no more existence. In the original 12 factors of D.A. process was written as bhava only. Under the influence of clinging one engages in actions that are accumulated as kammas.

There are 3 types of kamma;

(1) Bodily action
(2) Verbal action
(3) and Mental action.

Bodily action has 3 kinds:
(a) Taking life
(b) Stealing
(c) Sexual misconduct.

Verbal action has 4 kinds:
(a) Telling lies
(b) Malicious Speech
(c) Harsh speech
(d) Frivolous talks

Mental action has 3 kinds:
(a) Covetousness (abhijjhā)
(b)Ill-will (Vyāpāda)
(c)Wrong view – not believing in kamma.

All these 10 negative kammas are called 10 unwholesome dhamma (akusala dhamma) or 10 duccarita dhamma (misconducts) or 10 apuññābhisaṅkhāra (black kammas). These dhammas can lead to bad destinations (dugati). To avoid them become 10 wholesome dhamma (kusala dhamma) or 10 good conducts (sucarita dhamma) or 10 puññābhisaṅkhāra, (white kammas). These can lead to good destinations (sugati).

The 3 wholesome mental actions (mano kusala kamma)are:

(1) Anabhijjhā – joy and gladness in others' successes.
(2) Avyāpāda – has metta (loving kindness) on others.
(3) Sammādiṭṭhi – right view, here is believing in the law of kamma.

The differences between saṅkhāra and kammabhava are:

(1) Saṅkhāra was past kamma and kammabhava is the present one.
(2) Saṅkhāra had given the result and kammabhava not yet.
(3) The result of saṅkhāra had already arisen and can't do anything about it. The result of kammabhava is not arising yet. So with the help of a good teacher and practice can make it becomes fruitless.

⑪ jāti (Birth)

Getting a new life or khandhas.

There are 4 kinds of births:

(1) Born from a mother's womb – jalābuja.
(2) Born from an egg – aṇdaja.
(3) Born from inside the woods, bamboos, moss, decomposed meats and fishes, these beings attached to these things saṁsedaja (many kinds of worms and can be regarded as natural cloning).
(4) Spontaneous births – opapātika (e.g., heavenly beings) – having their full grown sizes with births. The differences between (3) and (4) are: saṁsedaja beings were rare and small and grown up slowly, e.g., lotus born human.

Beings also can have different numbers of khandha. Some have 5 khandhas, some have 4 mind khandhas (e.g., arūpabranma) and some only have the physical khandha (e.g., non-percipient beings).

⑫ Jara, maraṇa (Ageing and death)

There are 4 kinds of death

(1) Die after kammic energy has consumed – kammakkhaya maraṇa.
(2) Die after life span has consumed Āyukhaya maraṇa.
(3) Die after with both kammic energy and life span have consumed- ubayakkhaya maraṇa.
(4) Die after the physical process is cutting off with destruction – upaghātaka maraṇa. (e.g., killed by accident).

Note on Kammabhava:

On the factor of kammabhava and has mentioned about the bodily action – kāya kamma. It doesn't include taking intoxicants (liquors and drugs). Also, we can't find it in the 10 unwholesome kammas. In the 5 precepts the last one is abstinence from intoxicants.

We know that it's very harmful to human beings and society and no doubts about it. If we break this one precept and can break all the other four. Even the Buddha mentioned about its future result was not good. So why don't we find it in the 10 unwholesome kammas? A Burmese teacher said that it was including in the sexual misconduct.

But he didn't explain the reason. Truly, sexual desire is intoxicating. Because of sexual desire, some had done unlawful and wrong sexual practices. Such as adhamma rāga and micchā dhamma mentioned in some suttas, moral of humans was degenerated when the time came. Nowadays we can see more and more these things in society.


revised on 2019-04-20; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4026&sid=3207e081493aa85b45cac011b736d533 (posted on 2018-12-14)


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