Daily Wisdom / Tibetan Dharma

Twelve Links of Dependent Origination

Book coverCyclic existence continues to evolve through the power of the unbroken relationship of the twelve links of dependent origination. What are these twelve? They are (1) ignorance, which afflicts wandering beings by keeping them from seeing true reality. In obscuring the perception of true reality, ignorance also functions as the source for the subsequent links, such as karmic formation, by grasping as if there were an “I” and “mine.” (2) Formation afflicts wandering beings by implanting the seeds of subsequent existence in the consciousness. In this way, when the root text states: “Wandering beings are afflicted due to…,” it should be understood to apply to all the remaining links as well, from consciousness on. Accordingly, (3) consciousness becomes infused with habitual tendencies and leads sentient beings to the place of their birth. (4) Name and form take hold of the body of one’s coming existence. (5) The six sense sources bring the state of name and form to completion. (6) Contact determines the experience of an object based on the coming together of three factors: object, faculty, and cognition. (7) Sensation experiences the various types of enjoyable and painful karmic ripening. (8) Craving creates the cohesion necessary for a future existence. (9) Grasping totally binds one to such an existence. (10) Becoming brings about the actual acquisition of this birth. (11) Birth serves as the support for the suffering of old age and so on. (12) Aging and death is the essence of suffering.

From Middle Beyond Extremes: Maitreya’s Madhyantavibhaga with Commentaries by Khenpo Shenga and Ju Mipham, pages 34-35

One thought on “Twelve Links of Dependent Origination

  1. This text is not clear to me. Far above my understanding.
    Can someone recommend a foundational text I can start with? Thanks.

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