1

Namo Buddhaya.

Craving is said to be the root of the fuel. Without fuel consciousness can not arise. However in the dependent origination craving manifests very late in the sequence of dependent originations. Consciousness arises at the 3rd step immediately after ignorance and volitional formations. But the fuel or craving arises after consciousness and feelings have arisen. Ideally first the craving should have arisen and then the consciousness should arise. This sutta explains how craving is the fuel for consciousness. As the sutta is very long I will quote some parts of it for better understanding.

Consciousness is described as "like a fire".

It’s like fire, which is reckoned according to the specific conditions dependent upon which it burns.

What is the fuel ?

In my opinion it is logically implied here that consciousness is fuelled by craving: because fire can not exist without fuel. And what is the fuel ? Craving. Simple.

“Mendicants, there are these four fuels. They maintain sentient beings that have been born and help those that are about to be born. What four? Solid food, whether coarse or fine; contact is the second, mental intention the third, and consciousness the fourth.

What is the source, origin, birthplace, and root of these four fuels? Craving.

When does Craving occur?

ignorance is a condition for choices. Choices are a condition for consciousness. Consciousness is a condition for name and form. Name and form is a condition for the six sense fields. The six sense fields are conditions for contact. Contact is a condition for feeling. Feeling is a condition for craving.

My question is : How can consciousness arise without the arousal of craving in the first place in the dependent origination ?

0

This question that I had asked is relevant to this question.

According to MN9:

From the origination of fermentation comes the origination of ignorance. From the cessation of fermentation comes the cessation of ignorance. .....

From the origination of ignorance comes the origination of fermentation. From the cessation of ignorance comes the cessation of fermentation.

To answer your question, ignorance is the cause. But to break the cycle, craving must be uprooted through the Noble Eightfold Path.

Also see Andrei's answer on the vicious cycle.

  • Once craving is uprooted feelings gets uprooted once feelings get uprooted. Can I say that it is the craving which is fueling the feelings as well ? – Dheeraj Verma Apr 14 '18 at 14:26
0

The sutta describes several things and uses more than one simile. The sentences you quote come from different parts of the sutta, and aren't directly related.


The first quote i.e.

It’s like fire, which is reckoned according to the specific conditions dependent upon which it burns. A fire that burns dependent on logs is reckoned as a log fire.

... is describing what consciousness is.

I think this simile is saying that ...

"A fire that burns dependent on logs is reckoned as a log fire"

... similarly consciousness depends on the six senses (e.g. "eyes", "touch", etc.) and so is called "Eye consciousness" and "touch consciousness" etc.).

The bits of Pali which say that, for example ...

Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati viññāṇaṃ, cakkhuviññāṇantveva saṅkhyaṃ gacchati

... is immediately after the bit you quoted, and isn't translated.

See also Ayatana on Wikipedia, and/or another translation of MN 38 like this one:

Just as fire is classified simply by whatever requisite condition in dependence on which it burns — a fire that burns in dependence on wood is classified simply as a wood-fire, a fire that burns in dependence on wood-chips is classified simply as a wood-chip-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on grass is classified simply as a grass-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on cow-dung is classified simply as a cow-dung-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on chaff is classified simply as a chaff-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on rubbish is classified simply as a rubbish-fire — in the same way, consciousness is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.


The Dharmafarer site has more-detailed translations of many suttas -- which include an introduction and footnotes.

The URLs are a bit fragile but currently MN 38 is here.

The author has also tried to format his translations for easier reading -- for example using section titles for different parts of the suttas.

  • The point I wanted to emphasize by quoting fire analogy was "It’s like fire" i.e consciousness is like a fire ...i.e not without the fuel . And what is the fuel ? Craving is the fuel. How does craving arise ? Craving arises due feelings. How does feelings arise ? Due to contact.... and so on..including due to consciousness. BUT Consciousness is like fire, dependent upon craving therefore craving must have existed before consciousness. I do not see why they are not related. They are part of the same dialogue in same sutta. – Dheeraj Verma Apr 14 '18 at 15:00
  • 1
    The sutta doesn't say that consciousness is fuelled by craving. It says that there are (six) different kinds of consciousness, e.g. "eye consciousness" etc. -- types of consciousness are called e.g. "eye consciousness" etc. for the same reason you might call different kinds of fire e.g. a "log fire": i.e. each type of consciousness is named after what it's dependent on. The six consciousnesses depend on the six senses-bases. – ChrisW Apr 14 '18 at 15:06
  • It is logically implied.Fire can not exist without fuel. And what is the fuel ? Craving. Simple. I will edit the question to your satisfaction. – Dheeraj Verma Apr 14 '18 at 15:13
  • I do not see why they are not related. They are part of the same dialogue in same sutta. They're not directly related: because "fire" as a simile is used in several places in several ways, to describe different things -- see e.g. Fire Sermon. In this part of the sutta, the way in which consciousness is "like fire" is that it's named after what it depends on (i.e. i.e. the types of consciousness are named after the the various sense-bases). – ChrisW Apr 14 '18 at 15:53
  • You are confusing fire with fuel. Every fire needs a fuel. The 3 fires are lust , hate ,delusion. They are fueled by Craving which is the root fuel and not immediately apparent to one. I do not see any contradiction so far but only a little suspicion based on some confusion between fire and fuel. When craving meets the feelings fire is produced. When craving meets the eye-consciousness fire is produced. When craving meets the nose-consciousness fire is produced. We can ignore craving and say nose-consciousness is burning or eye consciousness is burning. – Dheeraj Verma Apr 14 '18 at 16:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.