In Buddhist teachings, phenomena are said to be conditioned and impermanent. Could you explain the various types of conditions that are recognized in Buddhism, and how they contribute to the cycle of samsara and the development of individual experience?

What are some of the types of conditions in the Abhidhammas or even modern understanding. Answers could include perhaps a physical condition, mental condition, conditioned by absences or so on.

  • In Buddhist teachings, conditioned phenomena are said to be impermanent. Unconditioned phenomena are said to be permanent. Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 19:35

2 Answers 2


The Teacher himself gave three characteristics for conditions:

Mendicants, conditioned phenomena have these three characteristics. What three? Arising is evident, vanishing is evident, and change while persisting is evident. These are the three characteristics of conditioned phenomena.

AN 3.47

The various abhidhammas of the various schools have invented all manner of further classifications and intricate systems to describe conditioned phenomena some more skillful than others, but none of them describe the ultimate truth.

  • 2
    Good answer. Though I must point out that types of conditions is different than characteristics of conditions. Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 2:38
  • That's a good point.
    – user13375
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 13:55

In Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosabhasya and Nagarjuna's chapter 1 of Mulamadhyamakakarika, we find mention of 4 conditions- causal condition, Perceptive condition, immediate condition, Dominant condition. This would be valid in the context of conditions responsible for an effect to arise from a cause.

  • Should point out that Nagarjuna specifically refutes the 4 conditions in chapter 1.
    – user13375
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 13:55
  • I must clarify that Nagarjuna specifically refutes essential conditions or conditions as existing in an ultimate sense. He does not hold the position that there are no conditions at all. Recall the middle way- middle of essential existence and no existence at all [in this case]. Commented Nov 11, 2023 at 7:39
  • Yes, I agree. Was just pointing out that the verse mentioning the 4 types of conditions in MMK was from the opponent not from Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna himself did not assert 4 types of conditions.
    – user13375
    Commented Nov 11, 2023 at 12:54
  • Ah yes, thank you for pointing it out. While Nagarjuna does indeed not assert that, the opponent is a person from another Buddhist scchool. Commented Nov 12, 2023 at 3:50

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