In Buddhism, is the effect ontologically independent of the cause? I'm not asking if the effect makes the cause, which I think would amount to "ontic" dependence; but if the effect can exist without the cause. I can't remember the word for this, but take smoking. It causes cancer, and some people's cancer is caused by smoking: but not all cancers are from smoking.

And what has that got to do with 'emptiness', in any Mahayana tradition?

4 Answers 4


No effects can arise without multiple causes. The causes can still be in state just possible to arise or may vanished long time ago. The causes can be unreality as well, knowing person, car, etc. But it is impossible for every effect to arise without causes.

Although the aggregates, which called cancer, can arise without smoking, but that aggregates must cause by other various origins definitely. The doctor, practitioner, should find the other else instead.

That's why aggregates is called "sankhata (being caused by causes)".


in Madhyamika,the effect depends on the cause,wich one can say IS the effect because arising and Cessation do not occur.in Theravadan Kshanabhanga however,the effect is independant of the cause and the effect arises only when the cause has ceased.


Cause and effect are not independent but are meditated by mind.


Good householder,

As for Unbound, Nibbana, yes, it's independent from cause, all else, no, no single phenomena can be found in the world, not depending on cause.

Suññata, how ever, is conditioned, required nourishment.

[Not given for stacks, exchange, world-binding trades of other kind but to be used torward the Unconditioned]

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