Law of Dependent Origination
Linear Causality – Independent Variables – Regression Analysis
Mutual Causality – Feedbacks – Dynamic Modeling – Systems Dynamics – Non Linear Sys – Circular Causality – Reciprocity.
Connected – No Boundaries – Interconnectedness – Entanglements – Action at a distance
- Codependent Origination
- Interdependent Origination
- Mutual Causality
- Linear Causality
- Cause and Effect
- Joanna Macy
- Paticca Samuppada
- Pratitya Samutpada
- Dependent Co-arising
- Theravada Buddhism
- Mahayana Buddhism
- Indira’s Net
- Great Chain of Being
- Four Noble Truths
- Twelve Nidanas
- Eightfold Path
Paticca Samuppada : Dependent Co-arising
Joanna Macy, in World As Lover, World As Self , made this concept clear to me. It’s not a common idea in Western religious talk, because it makes a divine Authority unnecessary for a moral imperative. She comes to it from systems theory, where it does have a Western parallel.
From page 54, here’s a taste:
According to Western religious thought, ethical values derive from divine commandment. A supernatural source is necessary to provide moral sanction. Without the ontological security of belief in an absolute, everything seems awash, with no clear guidelines, and it’s every man for himself. This assumption is so pervasive in the West that many noted scholars judged Buddhism’s moral teachings to be weak, since they do not issue from belief in any God. It is true that the Way the Buddha taught is freed from the necessity to believe in any supernatural authority. Indeed when he was asked by what authority he spoke, he cited again and again the law of dependent co-arising; not any entity ruling our world, but the dynamics at work within our world. He cited the interdependence of all phenomena. What did he mean by that? How can radical relativity serve as a moral grounding?
Her answer to that question, a description of the vigil under the Bodhi tree, takes too much space to quote at length here, but it begins (p. 540) with…
With fascination I studied the early Buddhist texts. I read how the perception of paticca samuppada dawned on the Buddha the night of his enlightenment, and featured in his discourses. I saw how it underlay everything he taught about self, suffering, and liberation from suffering. I noted how it knocked down the dichotomies bred by hierarchical thinking, the old polarities between mind and matter, self and world, that had exasperated me as a spiritual seeker and activist, and as a woman.
…and includes, on p. 56...
Tracing thus the sources of suffering, he did not find a first cause or prime mover, but beheld instead patterns or circuits of contingency. The factors were sustained by their own interdependence.
…and on p. 58…
According to this apparently simple set of assertions, things do not produce each other or make each other happen, as in linear causality; they help each other happen by providing occasion or locus or context, and in so doing, they in turn are affected. There is a mutuality here, a reciprocal dynamic.
I left out the narrative parts and the quotations from original sources. The argument hangs together better with them, and is more interesting. When I read it I felt I’d been given a great gift: how to understand morality as implicit in the basic nature of the universe, without pinning it on divinity. Instead of being subject to a top-down authority structure, we participate in an interdependent web of being Ñ which enfolds us, dancing with the endless exchange of energy which is our dependent co-arising, our giving and receiving of the life force, of compassion and service, of the dharma.
25 November 1998
When the Buddha taught, he was said to turn the Wheel of the Dharma. Indeed, his central doctrine is like a wheel, for through it he taught the dependent co-arising of all things, how they continually change and condition each other in interconnections as real as the spokes in a wheel.
I have been deeply inspired by the Buddha’s teaching of dependent co-arising. It fills me with a sense of connection and mutual responsibility with all beings. Helping me understand the non- hierarchical and self-organizing nature of life, it is the philosophic grounding of all my work.
The recognition of our essential nonseparateness from the world, beyond the shaky walls erected of our fear and greed, is a Dharma gift occurring in every generation, in countless individual lives. Yet there are historical moments when this perspective arises in a more collective fashion and when, within Buddhism as a whole (if we can even talk of “Buddhism as a whole”!), there is a fresh reappropriation of the Buddha’s central teaching. This seems to be occurring today. Along with the destructive, even suicidal nature of many of our public policies, social and intellectual developments are converging now to bring into bold relief the Buddha’s teaching of dependent co-arising–and the wheel of the Dharma turns again.
This is happening in many ways. I see it in the return to the social teachings of the Buddha, in the revitalization of the bodhisattva ideal, in the rapid spread of “engaged Buddhism,” be it among Sarvodayans in Sri Lanka, Ambedkarite Buddhists in India, or Dharma activists in Tibet, Thailand, or Southeast Asia. Western Buddhists, too, are taking Dharma practice out into the world, developing skillful means for embodying compassion as they take action to serve the homeless, restore creekbeds, or block weapons shipments. The vitality of Buddhism today is most clearly reflected in the way it is being brought to bear on social, economic, political, and environmental issues, leading people to become effective agents of change. The gate of the Dharma does not close behind us to secure us in a cloistered existence aloof from the turbulence and suffering of samsara, so much as it leads us out into a life of risk for the sake of all beings. As many Dharma brothers and sisters discover today, the world is our cloister.
Here new hands and minds, aware of the suffering caused by outmoded ways of thinking and dysfunctional power structures, help turn the wheel. Strong convergences are at play here, as Buddhist thought and practice interact with the organizing values of the Green movement, with Gandhian nonviolence, and humanistic psychology, with ecofeminism, and sustainable economics, with systems theory, deep ecology, and new paradigm science.
In his teaching of Interbeing, Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh captures the flavor of this turning. Not only does he model the many bodhisattva roles one life can play–scholar, activist, teacher, poet, meditator, and mediator; he opens as well through the concept and practice of Interbeing a wide gate into the Buddha’s doctrine of dependent co-arising.
Now we see that everything we do impinges on all beings. The way you are with your child is a political act, and the products you buy and your efforts to recycle are part of it too. So is meditation–just trying to stay aware is a task of tremendous importance. We are trying to be present to ourselves and each other) in a way that can save our planet. Saving life on this planet includes developing a strong, caring connection with future generations; for, in the Dharma of co-arising, we are here to sustain one another over great distances of space and time.
The Dharma wheel, as it turns now, also tells us this: that we don’t have to invent or construct our connections. They already exist. We already and indissolubly belong to each other, for this is the nature of life. So, even in our haste and hurry and occasional discouragement, we belong to each other. We can rest in that knowing, and stop and breathe, and let that breath connect us with the still center of the turning wheel.
Wikipedia on Pratitya Samutpada
Hua Yen school
The Huayan school taught the doctrine of the mutual containment and interpenetration of all phenomena, as expressed in Indra’s net. One thing contains all other existing things, and all existing things contain that one thing. This philosophy is based in the tradition of the great Madhyamaka scholar Nagarjuna and, more specifically, on the Avatamsaka Sutra. Regarded by D.T. Suzuki as the crowning achievement of Buddhist philosophy, the Avatamsaka Sutra elaborates in great detail on the principal of dependent origination. This sutra describes a cosmos of infinite realms upon realms, mutually containing one another.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh states, “Pratitya samutpada is sometimes called the teaching of cause and effect, but that can be misleading, because we usually think of cause and effect as separate entities, with cause always preceding effect, and one cause leading to one effect. According to the teaching of Interdependent Co-Arising, cause and effect co-arise (samutpada) and everything is a result of multiple causes and conditions… In the sutras, this image is given: “Three cut reeds can stand only by leaning on one another. If you take one away, the other two will fall.” In Buddhist texts, one cause is never enough to bring about an effect. A cause must, at the same time, be an effect, and every effect must also be the cause of something else. This is the basis, states Hanh, for the idea that there is no first and only cause, something that does not itself need a cause.
Sogyal Rinpoche states all things, when seen and understood in their true relation, are not independent but interdependent with all other things. A tree, for example, cannot be isolated from anything else. It has no independent existence, states Rinpoche.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Key Influences
- 3 Work
- 4 Writings
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Macy graduated from Wellesley College in 1950 and received her Ph.D in Religious Studies in 1978 from Syracuse University, Syracuse. She studied there with Huston Smith, the influential author of The World’s Religions(previously entitled The Religions of Man). She is an international spokesperson for anti-nuclear causes, peace, justice, and environmentalism,most renowned for her book Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World and the Great Turning initiative, which deals with the transformation from, as she terms it, an industrial growth society to what she considers to be a more sustainable civilization. She has created a theoretical framework for personal and social change, and a workshop methodology for its application. Her work addresses psychological and spiritual issues, Buddhist thought, and contemporary science. She was married to the late Francis Underhill Macy, the activist and Russian scholar who founded the Center for Safe Energy.
Macy first encountered Buddhism in 1965 while working with Tibetan refugees in northern India, particularly the Ven. 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, Sister Karma Khechog Palmo, Ven. Dugu Choegyal Rinpoche, and Tokden Antrim of the Tashi Jong community. Her spiritual practice is drawn from the Theravada tradition of Nyanaponika Thera and Rev. Sivali of Sri Lanka, Munindraji of West Bengal, and Dhiravamsa of Thailand.
Key formative influences to her teaching in the field of the connection to living systems theory have been Ervin Laszlo who introduced her to systems theory through his writings (especially Introduction to Systems Philosophy and Systems, Structure and Experience), and who worked with her as advisor on her doctoral dissertation (later adapted as Mutual Causality) and on a project for the Club of Rome. Gregory Bateson, through his Steps to an Ecology of Mindand in a summer seminar, also shaped her thought, as did the writings of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Arthur Koestler, and Hazel Henderson. She was influenced in the studies of biological systems by Tyrone Cashman, and economic systems by Kenneth Boulding. Donella Meadows provided insights on the planetary consequences of runaway systems, and Elisabet Sahtourisprovided further information about self-organizing systems in evolutionary perspective.
Macy travels giving lectures, workshops, and trainings internationally. Her work, originally called “Despair and Empowerment Work” was acknowledged as being part of the deep ecology tradition after she encountered the work of Arne Naess and John Seed , but as a result of disillusion with academic disputes in the field, she now calls it “the Work that Reconnects”. Widowed by the death of her husband, Francis Underhill Macy, in January 2009, she lives in Berkeley, California, near her children and grandchildren. She serves as adjunct professor to three graduate schools in the San Francisco Bay Area: the Starr King School for the Ministry, the University of Creation Spirituality, and the California Institute of Integral Studies.[cit
- Macy, Joanna (1983). Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age. New Society Pub. ISBN 0-86571-031-7.
- Macy, Joanna (1985). Dharma and Development: Religion as resource in the Sarvodaya self help movement. Kumarian Press revised ed. ISBN 0-931816-53-X.
- Macy, Joanna; Seed, John; Fleming, Pat; Naess, Arne; Pugh, Dailan (1988). Thinking Like a Mountain: Toward a Council of All Beings. New Society Publishers. ISBN 0-86571-133-X.
- Macy, Joanna (1991). Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory: The Dharma of Natural System (Buddhist Studies Series). State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-0637-7.
- Macy, Joanna; Barrows, Anita (1996). Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God: poems by Rainer Maria Rilke. Riverhead Books. ISBN 1-59448-156-3.
- Macy, Joanna; Young Brown, Molly (1998). Coming Back to Life : Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World. New Society Publishers. ISBN 0-86571-391-X.
- Macy, Joanna (2001). Widening Circles : a memoir. New Catalyst Books. ISBN 978-1897408018.
- Macy, Joanna (2005). World as Lover, World as Self. Parallax Press. ISBN 0-938077-27-9.
- Macy, Joanna (2010). Pass It On: Five Stories That Can Change the World. Parallax Press. ISBN 9781888375831.
- Macy, Joanna; Johnstone, Chris (2012). Active Hope : how to face the mess we’re in without going crazy. New World Library. ISBN 978-1-57731-972-6.
- David Korten, a collaborator with Macy on the Great Turning Initiative
- ^ a b George Prentice (January 18, 2012). “Anti-nuclear activist is ‘just a sucker for courage'”. Boise Weekly.
- “John Seed is founder and director of the Rainforest Information Centre in Australia”.
- Joanna Macy’s website on the work of Experiential Deep Ecology
- Gaia Foundation of Western Australia — an Australian organisation based on the principles of Deep Ecology.
- California Institute of Integral Studies
- Interview with Joanna Macy by John Malkin — published in ascent magazine, summer 2008
- The Healing on Mother Earth Project — a Sebastopol, Ca organisation based on the principles of deep ecology.
- A Wild Love for the World, an interview with Joanna Macy, by Krista Tippet on the American Radio Show “On Being.” This page provides links to the original program that first aired in 2010, along with the unedited version of the program. Macy also recites many Rilke poems during the show, but some of these poems are edited out so you can listen to them recited individually.
- “Allegiance to Life: Staying steady through the mess we’re in,” An interview with Joanna Macy from Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
Please see my related posts:
Key Sources of Research:
Dependent Origination: The Twelve Links Explained
The Co-arising of Self and Object, World, and Society:
Buddhist and Scientific Approaches
William S. Waldron
Dependent Origination and the Buddhist Theory of Relativity
By Kottegoda S. Warnasuriya
Lama Tsongkhapa’s In Praise of Dependent Origination
The Significance of Dependent Origination in Theravada Buddhism
Nagarjuna’s Seventy Stanzas: A Buddhist Psychology ofEmptiness
David Ross Komito
Translation and commentary on the Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness by Venerable Geshe Sonam Rinchen, Venerable Tenzin Dorjee, and David Ross Komito.
Examination of the Four Noble Truths
From Grasping to Emptiness – Excursions into the Thought-world of the Pāli Discourses (2)
The Doctrine of Dependent Origination as Basis for a Paradigm of Human-Nature Relationship of Responsibility and Accountability
Joanna Macy, Buddhism and Power for Social Change
Paticca Samuppada : Dependent Co-arising
Wikipedia on Pratitya Samutpada
Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory
The Dharma of Natural Systems
By Joanna Macy
A brief history of Interdependence.
Beyond Nature\Nurture Buddhism and Biology on Interdependence
W.S. Waldron. Middlebury College
World as Lover, World as Self
Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal
Toward a Buddhist Systems Methodology 1: Comparisons between Buddhism and Systems Theory