In the Visuddhimagga (but not in the suttas) and possibly other commentaries, we can find the triple round model, which can be used to explain dependent origination (paticcasamuppada).

The first round is called the round of defilement (kilesa-vaṭṭa) which includes ignorance (avijjā), craving (tanha) and clinging (upādāna).

The second round is called the round of action (kamma-vaṭṭa) which includes mental formations (saṅkhāra) and becoming (bhava).

The third round is called the round of results (vipāka-vaṭṭa) which includes consciousness (viññāṇa), name-form (nāmarūpa), sixfold sense base (saḷāyatana), contact (phassa) and feeling (vedanā). Sometimes, it also includes birth (jāti), death and the rest of suffering (jarāmaraṇa).

The meaning of vaṭṭa according to wisdomlib is:

Vaṭṭa, 1 (adj. -nt.) (pp. of vṛt, Sk. vṛtta in meaning of “round” as well as “happened, become” etc. The two meanings have become differentiated in Pāli: vaṭṭa is not found in meaning of “happened. ” All three Pāli meanings are specialized, just as the pres. vaṭṭati is specialized in meaning “behoves”) 1. round, circular; (nt.) circle PvA. 185 (āyata+); KhA 50 (°nāli). See cpd. °aṅguli.—2. (fig.) “rolling on, ” the “round” of existences, cycle of transmigrations, saṃsāra, evolution (=involution) (as forward or ascending circle of existences, without implying a teleological idea, in contrast to vivaṭṭa “rolling back” or devolution, i.e. a new (descending) cycle of existence in a new aeon with inverted (vi-) motion, so to speak)

Question 1: How can we use the triple round model to understand dependent origination, especially within this lifetime? What is the correct interpretation of the triple round model?

Question 2: How can we understand the link from the triple round to the Wheel of Becoming (bhavachakra)? (statement below from here):

So this Wheel of Becoming, having a triple round with these three rounds, should be understood to spin, revolving again and again, forever, for the conditions are not cut off as long as the round of defilements is not cut off.

Question 3: Is it true that ignorance is always the starting point to get the perpetual wheel-turning started?

Perspectives from different traditions are welcomed.

  • Actually, they all come from ṭipitaka if you memorize Tipitaka in pāli-language you will see it in everywhere. However, It's a very long answer. It maybe take a week to write it, so I give you this and this. And this is the way to read Visuddhimagga. – Bonn Jan 5 at 10:47

The short answer is that it is easier to understand the vital conditions since each of the 22 conditions is individually and directly verifiable through personal experience. The three rounds are organizational rather than strictly experiential. They are a framework for discussion. Personally, I favor the 22 vs. the 3 because I have found that the 22 are more useful day-to-day. For example:

I say that faith has a vital condition...you should say, "suffering".

The Buddha sums up the sutta like this directly answering the last two of your questions:

In the same way, ignorance is a vital condition for choices. … Freedom is a vital condition for the knowledge of ending.

Go look up Freedom in the sutta. The sequence is verifiable and amazing. And once your read and understand it, understanding the rounds and the wheel makes sense.

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.