Is the doctrine of interdependent origination found in Vedas . What is real origin of this? I have heard of indra net .just curious


Joanna Jurewic would have tried to interpret Dependent Origination from the perspective of “Vedic thought", but what is important to you and I is to clearly understand what Dependent Origination (paticcasamupada) is. The Blessed One said that if you would be freed of dependant arising, if there is no dependant origination, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. Then you would be liberated”.

The doctrine of Paticcasamuppāda (Pāli); Dependant Arising is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of Buddhist metaphysics. It states that phenomena arise together in a mutually interdependent web of cause and effect. This is the understanding that any phenomenon ‘exists’ only because of the ‘existence’ of other phenomena in an incredibly complex web of cause and effect covering time past, time present and time future. Because all things are thus conditioned and transient (anicca), they have no real independent identity (anatta) so do not truly ‘exist’, though to ordinary deluded minds this appears to be the case. Simply stated this can be said as:

With this as condition, That arises. With this NOT as condition, That does NOT arise.

This "Coming to be, and Ceasing to be" is happening all the time. All phenomena are subject to this unending interaction. And since all phenomena are dependent on other phenomena, they are all transient and impermanent. Avidyā the first condition. And then because in this life one has been ignorant, and acted in such a way as to produce karma, the cycle continues. The realization one gets out of understanding of Paticca Samuppāda (the universal law of cause and effect) is the ability of seeing things in life according to cause and effect. Once a person acquires that skill, he will be able to free from the idea of ‘me’ by seeing it as a deceit (the true nature). Then, he understands that the concept of ‘me’ is just a (false) view.

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The doctrine of (Inter) Dependent Origination is solely the doctrine of the Buddha & unrelated to the Vedas. If it was related to the Vedas there would be no Buddha and no Buddhism since the term 'Buddha' solely rests on the premise that the Buddha 'discovered' or 'was enlightened' to the previously unknown truths that lead to Nirvana (here-&-now perfect peace & freedom of suffering).

There are some secular scholars such as Joanna Jurewicz, Linda Blanchard & possibly Richard Gombrich that claim Dependent Origination is related to the Vedas in that: "the 12-nidana chain mirror the creation myth involving the deity Prajapati & the Buddha repurposed the Brahmanic creation myth ". This view is wrong & primarily arises from a misunderstanding of the term 'nama-rupa' (the 4th link in Dependent Origination). 'Nama-rupa' is a term that originates from the Vedas however the Buddha redefined the term to mean 'mentality-materiality' ('mind-body') instead of the Vedic 'name-form'.

Unfortunately, the majority of official Buddhist translators today, such as Bhikkhu Bodhi & Thanissaro Bhikkhu, while not sharing the Vedic views of Linda Blanchard, etc, also mistranslate 'nama-rupa' in Dependent Origination as 'name-form'. This mistranslation occurs because there are contexts in the Buddhist scriptures where the Buddha is answering questions to Brahmans who have no understanding of Buddhism thus in these contexts (but not in the context of Dependent Origination) the translation of 'name-form' is appropriate since it has the same meaning as found in the Vedas.

The real origin of Dependent Origination is described in the Maha Sakyamuni Gotamo Sutta, where, before his enlightenment, the Buddha-To-Be was searching for how suffering occurs.

The Buddha-To-Be asked himself: "Why do people suffer?" He replied: "People suffer due to change & loss; due to aging & death"...he continued...Why does aging-&-death occur? Because of 'birth' ('identity'). People self-identify themselves to be 'of this clan', 'of this family', 'this self' or 'this person'. Why does 'birth' occur? Due to becoming. People 'become' what they believe themselves to be. Why becoming? Attachment. The mind attaches to sense objects & pleasurable feelings. Why attachment? Craving. The mind craves for sense objects & pleasurable feelings. Why feelings? Sense contact. Why sense contact? Sense organs. Why sense organs? Having a body & mind. Why does a body & mind exist? Due to consciousness. Why does consciousness exist? Due to having a body & mind. Why is the body, mind & consciousness not at peace & primed to create its own suffering? Due to 'sankhara' ('inner formations'). Why sankhara? Ignorance.

In summary, those that claim Dependent Origination has its origin in the Vedas cannot be Buddhists (since they deny the Buddha's enlightenment) and simply do not understand how suffering comes to be & how suffering is extinguished (which is the sole purpose of Buddhism).

The Buddha declared: "What I teach now as before, O monks, is suffering and the cessation of suffering". Thus, the Buddha did not teach from the Vedas.

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  • It's interesting what you say about namarupa and it sounds like there might be actual corroboration out there for it but it sounds like your own personal view when you say "those that claim Dependent Origination has its origin in the Vedas cannot be Buddhists". Why couldn't it be that they just have wrong view? Why can't they be Buddhists with wrongview? – Lowbrow Aug 10 '16 at 22:49
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    Thanks. As I explained at the start, the word 'Buddha' means 'self-enlightened' or 'completely original'. If one believes the Buddha borrowed from Brahmanism to devise his central teaching of Dependent Origination then one cannot believe in the self-enlightened Buddha. Regards. – Dhammadhatu Aug 10 '16 at 23:14
  • It is only in recent years Bhikkhu Bodhi turned to using the translation of 'name-form'. Previously, with his mentors, he used 'materiality-mentality'. Further, in DN 15 (which is a departure from the many other suttas on Dependent Origination), the nama-rupa described there is 'name-form'. There are certainly contexts in the suttas where the translation 'name-form' applies. But as Bhikkhu Bodhi explains in his recent book, he decided to change the translation to 'name-form' in all contexts, Imo, this is incorrect because there two different contexts. – Dhammadhatu Aug 10 '16 at 23:19
  • “Don’t blindly believe what I say. Don’t believe me because others convince you of my words. Don’t believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts.” – Lowbrow Aug 11 '16 at 6:48
  • The Buddha says not to believe a word we say. Not everyone is so logical when they believe things. People can believe some crazy stuff :) – Lowbrow Aug 11 '16 at 6:52

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