The principle of “dependent arising”, or paṭicca samuppāda, stands at
the heart of the Dhamma, the Buddha’s teaching. According to a
well-known saying, one who sees dependent arising sees the Dhamma, and
conversely one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent arising.
What such seeing requires, however, is perhaps not necessarily obvious.
In order to unpack this statement and relate it to the meditative
contemplation of vedanās, first of all it could be noted that a chief
principle behind expositions of dependent arising is the principle of
Simply said, this means that there are specific conditions required for
something to arise. In the absence of the relevant specific
condition(s), that which depends on them will cease, or not even arise
in the first place.
Not much time had passed after we started classes again in college
when the crisis started. Large masses of students, workers and other
segments of the population had decided they had enough of what they
perceived to be a tyrannical government. People took over the streets
chanting, yelling, and demanding their voices to be heard. The
government reacted with violence. Some protesters did also. Soon
afterwards, the cities became war zones. Nobody, no matter what
neighborhood you lived in, could walk to the park safely. In my city,
events proceeded relatively normal in comparison to the rest of the
country. We heard news of burnt town halls, of mysterious civilians
shooting unarmed protesters in the street, missing relatives all over
the place, dead protesters and dead cops, and overall chaos for
Having rested well in a deep sleep with a cleansed body and mind, I
woke up recharged and ready for the long day of meditation ahead. I was
beginning to like the feeling of a refreshing cold shower early in the
morning. My wake-up routine was down to a science by now—every minute
was counted out for each activity so I would be ready in 30 minutes flat
and seated on my meditation cushion in the Dhamma Hall by 4:30 am. The
fact that I wasn’t shaving helped knock off a good 10-15 minutes from
the morning rituals.
Today’s exercise was to persist with
observing the breathing process and learn to recognize the sensations in
and around the nasal area. As I tried to focus my mind towards
acknowledging sensations like itching, warmth and moisture, more
self-observations began to surface effortlessly...
In the spring of 1979, construction of the Dhamma Giri pagoda was in
full swing. A combined crew of Indian engineers and labourers, and
Western volunteers—some experienced in construction, some not—bustled
daily over the rising concrete bell, or dome. Student numbers continued
to swell on courses, so there was a push to make the pagoda fully
functional as soon as possible.