Can you explain the Twelve Links Of Dependent Origination? Nobody ever asked me that question in a class. Thankfully. But I do remember hearing about one of the seniors putting a new teacher he was mentoring on the spot. He announced to the gathered congregation that the young Reverend was now going to explain this bit of Buddhist doctrine! Off the cuff and without notes.
There is much written on the subject which you can go and look up if you want to understand in detail how one-thing-leads-to-another in the never ending cycle of birth and death. That’s the big stage this doctrine plays out on. And there is the stopping in a particular instance, of grasping for example, where the flow of cause and effect stops. For an instant. Thus opening up a space to decide to do something differently, or not at all. I seem to remember it was around link eight and nine, craving and clinging (attachment), where a link in the chain could be weakened. I’ve a happy memory of coming to the small realization that attachments were not the problem. Sticky fingers, grabby hands and the like were the problem, the relationship to attachments was what to watch out for. Ah, happy insights. Only to then fall to the ground, and be forgotten, for others to rise up.
The basics of practice do not change however I’d say now that ones relationship with ones interior becomes less self centered as the years go by. By that I mean the self conscious practice of earlier years gives way to a more reflexive response to existence. Sounds good ay? Well, nobody rests in there ever lasting place of understand. We say that there are always grand opportunities to be disturbed by the truth. In this case the teaching of The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination as they enact in ones day.
Here is a daily life example of how the understanding and appreciation of Buddhist teaching deepens, quite naturally. Books are fine, plants on a windowsill are fine too.
…the remarkable bit is the link between contact and desire, I never even thought about it until I saw it, but there is a complete and powerful link of dependency between the two that you don’t even know is there until you spot it and the ‘penny drops’. From a blog post titled Desire by Iain of Little House In The Paddy.