30 Jan
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One Thing Leads to Another

So what’s the point of all these links? Christina Feldman says that Dependent Co-Arising is “really the heart or the essence of all Buddhist teaching. What is described in the process is the way in which suffering can arise in our lives, and the way in which it can end…It describes a vision of life or an understanding in which we see the way everything is inter-connected — that there is nothing separate, nothing that stands alone, everything affects everything else.”

The Buddha described the basic principle of dependent co-arising as: When there is this, that is. With the arising of this, that arises. When this is not, neither is that. With the cessation of this, that ceases.

Christina Feldman says, “When one thing follows after another — one cycle of reaction, one cycle of response, once cycle of being locked into an opinion or a feeling or a mind-storm…when all of that is happening, there is a feeling of wandering, being pushed from one state to another, seemingly without choice, sometimes not knowing how we got there…

“This sense of wandering in confusion or blindly from one state of experience to another, one state of reaction to another, one state of contraction to another is called samsara…the movement from one state of perception and experience to another without knowing what’s going on…

“It is not unusual to have this experience…and to feel quite powerless because of the confusion present in that situation. Understanding how things come together, how they interact, actually removes that sense of powerlessness or that sense of being a victim of life or helplessness. Because if we understand how things come together, we can also begin to understand the way out, how to find another way of being, and realize that life is not random chaos.

“Another effect of understanding causes and conditions means accepting the possibility of change. And with acceptance comes another understanding that with wisdom, we have the capacity to create beneficial and wholesome conditions for beneficial and wholesome results.

“And that’s the path — an understanding that we have the capacity to make choices in our lives that lead toward happiness, that lead toward freedom and well-being rather than feeling that we’re just pushed by the power of confusion or by the power of our own misunderstanding. This understanding helps to ease the sense of separateness and isolation and it reduces delusion.”

(image: Phatansmagoric Theater Tarot)

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