I am listening through the talks and guided meditations from the retreat at Amaravati Just One More: Dependent Origination and the Cycles of Addiction Retreat, where there are a number of references to the teachings, and using them in meditation. However, although I've found many websites referencing the Paṭiccasamuppāda, I've been unable to find study materials for learning how to practically use the teachings.

Not having any teacher nearby, I have been looking online for materials. Wikipedia mentions the Twelve Nidānas, but that resource is mostly fact oriented, which is not what I am looking for. Can anyone direct me towards any online materials (website, pdf, audio, video) that help develop techniques in this area?

EDIT for clarification. There are many writings on the subject, and many try to explain the concepts of dependent origination. However, this question is regarding finding practical instructions to applying the teachings in meditation. In other words, instead of focusing on acquiring some intellectual "understanding" of the teachings, I am following the "see for yourself" approach, by not taking anyone's word for granted. Instead, using the teachings to access the wisdom they describe.

In essence, it's like being thirsty, and finding a sign saying "water this way ->". You have the choice to walk the path leading to the water, and drink, or study the sign, which won't leave you any less thirsty.

8 Answers 8


Here's a few of resources from our tradition:

http://www.aimwell.org/dependentorigination.html - a book by the Mahasi Sayadaw, one of Burma's greatest meditation teachers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_llBSCXt6c - a video by me, some monk from the Internet

http://www.sirimangalo.org/teachings/lessons-in-practical-buddhism/practical-dependent-origination/ - a written piece based on the above video.

You'll find a lot of stuff centring on the debate over three-life/one-life, which is terribly unhelpful, IMO. Here's a piece I appreciated from one of Thailand's top scholar monks:


Edit: here's something I wrote about practical application of PS:


  • a few reflections on your answer. Most of the resources respond to "what is it?", whereas I am looking for "how to practically use it?". Real life practice in techniques and guided meditations, for example. Also, links from that YouTube video are broken, just FYI. Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 19:32
  • You don't actually practice dependent origination... It's something you realize through insight practice. Here's something i wrote, though, about practice according to it: yuttadhammo.sirimangalo.org/2009/07/… Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 20:12
  • In one or more of the talks / guided meditations from the retreat linked to in the question, Ajahn Amaro uses the teaching quite skillfully (in my humble opinion) with reflection on a single condition at a time. These types of methods are the background to asking the question. Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 5:28
  • If you include the title of the article in the hyperlink, and/or a direct quote from the article's content, then there's a possibility that people can find the article again even if the link becomes broken. How should we deal with broken links on posts?
    – ChrisW
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 16:35

Two most interesting pieces of analysis I found are


a decent bibliography can be found at the end of Dhivan Thomas Jones' "New Light On The Twelve Nidanas" (http://www.academia.edu/2593517/New_Light_on_the_Twelve_Nidanas)


The best and most detailed explanation of paticcasamuppada I know of is in Buddhagosa's Visuddhimagga. There is an English translation by Bh. Nanamoli in the book The Path of Purification (free pdf, look at chapter XVII: Dependent Origination).


You need to be very careful when you find teaching materials on the internet specially for Paṭiccasamuppāda. It is core of Buddhism (someone had name it The Theory of Everything). The problem is lot of authors had been expressed their personal perspectives than to root of Lord Buddha's teaching so you may get confused when you compare each of them, Good luck!!

  • Thank you for your answer. Yes, I am very selective in which teachings to consume. I am not interested in the theory as a doctrine, but in practical teachings with instructions that can be put to use. Perhaps this was unclear in the question? Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 8:53

Good question. I still have the book to this very day, but I still haven't finished reading it.

Why, because I have been taking my time on it. And it has been years since I first acquired it.

I would like to share what I experience by reading the book and so hopefully you could take pieces from here and there and piece them towards your solution.

Again, I have not finished reading it, but one thing I do know:

Don't follow affixed on the words, the physical practices or forms it may mention.

The whole practice is supposed to be a guide, words are guides as well as forms may it be bodily, mindfully or expressively, for every of these should be abandoned at the end (beginning) when one is "awoken".

Hence, may I suggest, if it teaches us this way as mentioned, we shall convey it to others likewise. It is not about the type of incense we burn, the body must not have to be perfectly sat down with legs equally crossed, music needn't be of certain type and the most important of all - words and meanings (doctrine) needn't be studied word for word when one is stuck at certain chapter / point. Let it rest, come back to it later.

Again, all words and wordings are guides and should be abandoned eventually.

For Buddhism, I often find that the best teaching and learning experience is when one doesn't feel or make others feel "special" or "different" than others during the journey of teaching / learning. If not, ego is therefore proven to still exist and with this as attachment, understanding is still not acquired.

Thanks for the question.

  • Thanks for the answer, quite in line with my perspective. Could you please specify the book you are referring to? Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 19:16
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    Hey, this is the same Buddhadasa guy that I referenced in my answer. I kinda like his perspective.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 1:00

From the Theravada tradition:

There is a audio dhamma talk by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi called "Dependent Origination" which can be found here.

Here is also some text material about Dependent Origination, also from Ven. Bhikkhu Bodi:

Lastly there is an audio dhamma talk called "Dependent Origination" by Ajahn Punnadhammo which can be found here.



Thanisarro's internet PDF called: 'Shape of Suffering' is the only publication I know of that provides a practical guided meditation through each of the conditions. Buddhadasa's work is good but 'Shape of Suffering' is the most practical. If you follow the meditation guidance in 'Shape of Suffering', you can decide for yourself whether the explanation is true or not. Most of the other interpretations are mere unverifiable meta-physical theories. Regards

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