2

The doctrine of paṭicca-samuppāda, or dependent arising, forms one of the core teachings of the Buddha. The Theravāda commentarial text Nettipakaraṇa divides the applications of this doctrine into two major categories. The first category, ‘lokiya paṭicca-samuppāda’ is very well known, representing ‘worldly’ conditionality as a sequence of twelve nidānas. The second category, called ‘lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda’, creates a model of the process of liberation from the same lokiya paṭicca-samuppāda at the point of ‘jarā- maraṇa’, a term that is curiously replaced by ‘dukkha’, suffering. Applications of the second category are also referred to as the ‘Spiral Path’ after the coinage of Sangharakshita, the pre-eminent modern exponent of this aspect of Buddhist doctrine.

I have some queries regarding this:

The Upanisā Sutta that deals with lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda in detail, traces the chain of this transcendental conditionality step-by- step in a retrograde fashion from the ‘Destruction of the Cankers’ to ‘Faith’ and it is easy to understand how each such nidāna becomes the supporting condition of the next. However, I am unable to make out how ‘Suffering’ forms the supporting condition for ’Faith’ to arise. Could this be clarified?

The second query is why is lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda also called the ‘Spiral Path’ by Bikśu Sangharakshita?

Lastly, why is the nidāna of jarā- maraṇa replaced by the more general term dukkha in the concept of lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda?

1

OP: why is the nidāna of jarā- maraṇa replaced by the more general term dukkha in the concept of lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda?

Suffering (stress) is a more general term while disease and death are specific forms of suffering.

This sutta uses the general form of dukkha, because that's the basis for connecting the lokiya paticcasamuppada to the lokuttara paticcasamuppada

Birth is stress, aging is stress, death is stress; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stress; association with the unbeloved is stress; separation from the loved is stress; not getting what is wanted is stress. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stress.
AN 6.63

OP: However, I am unable to make out how ‘Suffering’ forms the supporting condition for ’Faith’ to arise. Could this be clarified?

One learns of the Dhamma and grows to have faith in it, but only because he seeks an end to suffering. That's the connection of suffering to faith.

In the paper "The Spiral Path or Lokuttara Paṭicca-samuppāda" by Jayarava Attwood, he explains:

In particular, the Upanisā Sutta begins the sequence with faith arising from suffering as a precondition. Suffering is the culmination of the nidānas, and replaces jarā-maraṇa in the usual nidāna sequence. This requires some exegesis, and some assumptions must be made about how saddhā arises out of dukkha. ...

He seems to be saying that as a result of our experience of dukkha we develop faith in the possibility of liberation. However, it is not clear that saddhā does develop directly from the experience of dukkha, or Buddhism would spontaneously break out everywhere. In his 1966 and 1967 lectures, however, Sangharakshita filled in the gaps a little: awareness of dukkha gives rise to “restlessness”, which sets us “searching for something higher”, and once we contact something higher then faith arises. Sangharakshita, in effect, introduces three intermediate steps: restlessness, searching, and contact with something higher.

OP: why is lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda also called the ‘Spiral Path’ by > Bikśu Sangharakshita?

From the same paper, we see the suggestion that Sangharakshita called the lokuttara paticcasammupada the spiral path, to denote that it's a progressive path, as opposed to the lokiya paticcasammupada, which is the cyclic path, meaning repeating:

Dr Beni Barua took up the theme in his lecture Buddhism as Personal Religion, published in the Mahabodhi Society Journal in 1944. It appears to be Barua who first used the terminology ‘cyclic’ and ‘progressive’ of the two forms of conditionality; a terminology popularised by Sangharakshita in his writing. Barua presents a progressive sequence of steps, but attempts to locate this precise sequence in the Canon have not found it, and it seems Barua may have used poetic licence with canonical lists. ....

Sangharakshita also highlights the singular nature of the Upanisā Sutta (SN 12.23) in combining the two categories of paṭicca-samuppāda (p.136). It was Sangharakshita who coined the term ‘Spiral Path’ for this sequence, to contrast it with the cyclic nidānas. 40

40 Sangharakshita has always taught the traditional ‘three lifetimes’ interpretation of the twelve nidānas, and often makes use of the bhavacakka

1
1

However, I am unable to make out how ‘Suffering’ forms the supporting condition for ’Faith’ to arise. Could this be clarified?

People trust in paṭicca-samuppāda and the PaṭiccaSamuppāda-Blessed One because they feel suffering and want to get out of suffering. If they never been effected by the suffering, they will laugh without any trust when they hear even only a word "paṭicca-samuppāda".

You can see the explanation in upanissasutta's commentary too.

Lastly, why is the nidāna of jarā- maraṇa replaced by the more general term dukkha in the concept of lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda?

I think it is because it is not supporting the context. The context is about the origin. The last origin is Jati. It is very long and make confuse, if the Buddha taught "'Rebirth is a condition for old age and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress to come to be. That is how this entire mass of suffering originates' cause Saddha".

2
  • while agree with the above answer about the Upanisā Sutta, the second part of the answer about "aging & death" sounds like unsubstantiated personal or cult speculation Jun 29 at 22:58
  • It is opinion because it is about the context. Pali can have tons of meaning. But I sill think same because Jati shouldn't be included in UpanissaSutta too if Jara Marana are self-view as what you've mentioned.
    – Bonn
    Jun 30 at 1:37
1

The Upanisā Sutta refers to suffering as the condition for faith because the Buddha has taught suffering experienced can be ended, for example, as follows from MN 38:

He [the person discussed above], hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction (faith) in the Tathāgata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. Life gone forth is the open air. It isn't easy, living at home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. What if I, having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe, were to go forth from the household life into homelessness?

Keep in mind the 1st noble truth (SN 56.11) also says birth (jati; identity) is suffering. Since you (Sushil Fotedar) are Indian, you show know the word "jati" means "identity" (rather than physical birth from a mother's womb).

As for aging & death, SN 12.66 explains they are types of suffering, as follows:

As he explores he understands thus: ‘The many diverse kinds of suffering that arise in the world headed by aging-and-death: this suffering has acquisition as its source, acquisition as its origin; it is born and produced from acquisition. When there is acquisition, aging-and-death comes to be; when there is no acquisition, aging-and-death does not come to be.

Aging & death do not refer to physical aging & death but refer to self-identification with physical aging & death, which is why SN 12.2 refers to the birth, aging & death of "beings in a category of beings". SN 23.2 & SN 5.10 define "a being" as a "self-view".

If we read the Vibhanga of the Abhidhamma, birth, aging & death are defined therein as the birth, aging & death of "things" ("dhammas"). Here we see the beginnings of the corruption & destruction of the Buddha's Teachings; which continues today in the world by the heretical self-proclaimed "Theravada" or "Elders".

4
  • In SN Nidanavagga VibhanghaSutta, self-view is the 4th Clinging (Upadana Paticcasamuppada). In DN Mahavagga MahasatipatthanaSutta DukkhasaccaNiddesa, Jati-Jara-Marana are in DukkhaSaccaNiddesa, not SamudayaSacca, as ""And what is aging? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging."
    – Bonn
    Jun 30 at 1:31
  • SN 23.2 & SN 5.10 define "a being" as a "self-view". Jul 2 at 5:24
  • It is clearly that SN 23.2 & SN 5.10 define "a being" as "thing (5 aggregates)" and define "diṭṭhigataṃ/(bhava&vibhava-)taṇhā" as "self-view (attavada-upadana[4th clinging])". 84000.org/tipitaka/read/…
    – Bonn
    Jul 2 at 12:52
  • yo chando yo rāgo yā nandi yā taṇhā tatra satto tatra visatto tasmā sattoti vuccati. 84000.org/tipitaka/read/…
    – Bonn
    Jul 2 at 12:53
0

The second query is why is lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda also called the ‘Spiral Path’ by Bikśu Sangharakshita?

Possible because once one has hear the good Dhamma, and as Dukkha is for sure (at least in ones death bed) to be perceiced, there is no way to get out of this "Dhamma-Wheel. Maybe good to add that it's the wheel of Ariya (right view gained) in regard of samma-vimutti. Actually this wheel works also similar for miccha paths. Everybody may know it. And good also to understand that Saddhā comes for Saddha, meaning sacrifice, let off. If a piece iron, hot gets you hurt, good householder would let go of it. Observe it.

Lastly, why is the nidāna of jarā- maraṇa replaced by the more general term dukkha in the concept of lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda?

Because this wheels turn isn't interrupted by another birth and ends with vimutti.It's the wheel toward the deathless, good householder.

Nevertheless, althought possible insured in this wheel, it's not smart to wait the heavy cause approach. So may good householder put effort into the task and stop avoiding Dukkha by running away from it.

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.