The Bodhi-Dharma

Our rendition and exegesis of the Udāna begins with three parallel passages that concerns Dependent Co-Origination, both in “forward” and “reverse” order, i.e., in something occurring that affects another vs. refusing to engage the catalyst thus preventing and nullifying another consequential action. All of this, of course, has its import after the Buddha arises from his own Deep-Samadhi beneath the Bodhi-tree, or the “tree whose roots” first initiates the awakening of the first Bodhi-Dharma on the origin of all dukkha. It’s the tree of knowledge, not in the negative sense like in the Book of Genesis, but an auspicious one whose roots nourish and engender a deep-gnosis concerning the path to spiritual growth and enlightenment and thus liberation from the samsaric toil.

1: Awakening

1:1 Awakening (1) (Bodhi Sutta)

Thus it was made known. On one blissful occasion the Blessed One was contemplating near Uruvelā, on the bank of the river Nerañjarā which nearby stood the Bodhi-Tree with its unsullied-roots, having just realized Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. Throughout that most auspicious occasion the Blessed One remained seated in a singular position for seven days and came to experience the meritorious bliss of Final Release.

Now it happened at the end of those seven days that the Blessed One, during the first watch of the night, arose from his Deep Samadhis and unerringly drew his attention to the origin of Dependent Co-Arising, expressing it thus:

When this happens, that becomes.

Hence, from the arising of sensate data comes a conditioned response. 

From ignorance comes conditioned reactions.
From conditioned reactions arises consciousness.
From consciousness arises mind and corporeal form.
From mind and corporeal form arises the six sense faculties.
From the six sense faculties there arises tactile contact.
From tactile contact arises sensations.
From sensations arises induced-cravings.
From induced-cravings arises the act of grasping.
From the act of grasping there arises the act of becoming.
From the act of becoming arises the condition of birth.
From the condition of birth arises old age, death, grief and lamentations, suffering, bondage, distress and despair.
Thus there arises the origination of Dukkha.

Soon afterwards the Blessed One, upon discerning the acute significance of his realization, gave utterance to the following verse:

When all phenomena become manifest
To the ardent Arahant contemplative,
All his former doubts soon dissipate,
When he discerns the nature of interdependence between all things.

Uruvelā: (P. Uruvelā; T. Lteng rgyas; C. Youloupinluo; J. Urubinra; K. Urubinna 優 樓 頻 螺). In Sanskrit, said to mean “Great Bank of Sand,” the name of an area, encompassing several villages, on the banks of the NAIRAÑJANĀ River in MAGADHA (today in the Indian state of Bihar), and the site of several important events in the life of the Buddha. It was in Uruvilvā that the BODHISATTVA practiced austerities for six years together with the group of five ascetics (PAÑCAVARGIKA). It was also there that he renounced the practice of asceticism, as a result of which he was repudiated by his five companions, who left him in Uruvilvā and departed for ṚṢIPATANA. The bodhisattva then proceeded to the BODHI TREE, where he achieved enlightenment. In the forty-nine days after his enlightenment, the Buddha sat under various trees in Uruvilvā, where shrines were eventually established. It was also at Uruvilvā that BRAHMĀ SAHAṂPATĪ appeared before the Buddha and implored him to teach the dharma. After turning the wheel of the dharma (DHARMACAKRAPRAVARTANA) for the group of five in Ṛṣipatana, the Buddha returned to Uruvilvā, where he converted thirty young men, as well as the “Kāśyapa brothers,” led by URUVILVĀ-KĀŚYAPA and their followers.

Buswell  Jr., Robert E.; Donald S., Jr. Lopez. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Kindle Locations 71213-71229). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi: Unexcelled perfection in inseparable Bodhi—Supreme Enlightenment.

first watch of the night: also referred to as Jivamala, or an expansion of awareness that includes past incarnations and associations.

Arahant: the worthy Noble one, (ariyapuggala). One who has freed one’s Mind from all defiled dharmata. In the Udāna this is usually referred to as a Brahmin—not one who is born into a privileged priestly caste, but indeed one who has become enlightened. An epithet of the Buddha refers to him as an Arhat, or Arahant: “There now dwells that Exalted One who is an arahant, a rightly awakened One.” [F.L. Woodward]. Thus, we prefer this designation and will utilize it throughout this rendition of the Udāna.

1:2 Awakening (2) (Bodhi Sutta)

Thus has it been made known. On one blissful occasion…(as above)

Now it happened at the end of those seven days that the Blessed One, during the second watch of the night, arose from his Deep Samadhis and unerringly drew his attention to the origin of Dependent Co-Arising in reverse fashion, expressing it thus:

When this doesn’t happen, that doesn’t become.

From the cessation of ignorance comes the cessation of conditioned reactions.

From the cessation of conditioned reactions the arising of consciousness is nullified.
From the cessation of consciousness there is no arising of mind and corporeal form.
From the cessation of mind and corporeal form there is no arising of the six sense faculties.
From the cessation of the six sense faculties there is no arising of tactile contact.
From the cessation of tactile contact there is no arising of sensations.
From the cessation of sensations there is no arising of induced-cravings.
From the cessation of induced-cravings, the act of grasping is nullified.
From the cessation of the act of grasping, becoming never arises. From the cessation of the act of becoming there are no conditions of birth.
From the cessation of the condition of birth, then old age, death, grief and lamentations, suffering, bondage, distress and despair are nullified.
Thus is the cessation of the origination of all Dukkha.

Soon afterwards the Blessed One, upon discerning the acute significance of his realization, gave utterance to the following verse:

When the nature of all things is made known
To the ardent Arahant contemplative,
All of his doubts are erased through his knowledge
Concerning the eradication of all conditions.

second watch of the night: In the second watch, he remembers his name, his clan, his caste, his food, his pleasure and pain, and his life span for individual lives over the incalculable past.

Buswell  Jr., Robert E.; Donald S., Jr. Lopez. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Kindle Locations 51833-51834). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition

1:3 Awakening (3) (Bodhi Sutta)

Thus has it been made known. On one blissful occasion…(as above)

Now it happened at the end of those seven days that the Blessed One, during the last watch of the night, arose from his Deep Samadhis and unerringly drew his attention to the origin of Dependent Co-Arising in both forward and reverse fashion, expressing it thus:

When this happens, that happens.
From the arising of this follows the arising of that.
When this doesn’t happen, that never becomes.
Meaning:
With ignorance as catalyst, volitional reactions come into being.
With Birth as catalyst, there follows the chain of ageing and death,
Sorrow, lamentation, suffering, bondage, distress and despair commences.
This is thus the arising of this whole mass of dukkha.
But from the eradication of ignorance, all volitional activities cease…
From the cessation of birth, ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, suffering, bondage, distress and despair cease to function.
This is thus the cessation of the whole mass of dukkha
.

Soon afterwards the Blessed One, upon discerning the acute significance of his realization, gave utterance to the following verse:

When the nature of all things become well-known
To the ardent Arahant contemplative,
The ardent-one thus crushes Mara’s host,
As the radiant sun illuminates the heavens.

last watch of the night: the knowledge of the destruction of the contaminants.

Buswell  Jr., Robert E.; Donald S., Jr. Lopez. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Kindle Location 51833). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

It is evident that these verses on Dependent Co-Origination are the exact doctrinal basis for all future discourses in the Buddhist milieu. All manner of issues become analyzed through different angels in order to thoroughly position the lay of the land in dissecting the all-too-human predicament. Nothing is left to chance in Buddhism. When all is exhausted, what manner of argument dare dispute it?

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