The Discourse giving the Analysis of the Topics


5. The Twelve Factors of Conditional Origination

Herein, monastics, what are the twelve factors of conditional origination?

It is as follows:

This being so, that is; from the arising of this, that arises.

They are (also) as follows:

  1. With ignorance as condition: volitions,
  2. with volitions as condition: consciousness,
  3. with consciousness as condition: mind and body,
  4. with mind and body as condition: the six sense-spheres,
  5. with the six sense-spheres as condition: contact,
  6. with contact as condition: feeling,
  7. with feeling as condition: craving,
  8. with craving as condition: attachment,
  9. with attachment as condition: continuation,
  10. with continuation as condition: birth,
  11. with birth as condition:
  12. old age, death, grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair (all) arise, and so there is an origination of this whole great mass of suffering.
  1. (But) from the cessation of ignorance, there is the cessation of volitions,
  2. from the cessation of volitions, the cessation of consciousness,
  3. from the cessation of consciousness, the cessation of mind and body,
  4. from the cessation of mind and body, the cessation of the six sense-spheres,
  5. from the cessation of the six sense-spheres, the cessation of contact,
  6. from the cessation of contact, the cessation of feeling,
  7. from the cessation of feeling, the cessation of craving,
  8. from the cessation of craving, the cessation of attachment,
  9. from the cessation of attachment, the cessation of continuation,
  10. from the cessation of continuation, the cessation of birth,
  11. from the cessation of birth:
  12. old age, death, grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair (all) cease, and so there is a cessation of this whole great mass of suffering.

5.1 Ignorance

Herein what is ignorance?

It is as follows:

Not knowing the past, not knowing the future, not knowing the present; not knowing the internal, not knowing the external, not knowing the internal and the external; not knowing what are (volitional) deeds, not knowing results, not knowing (volitional) deeds and their results; not knowing good actions, not knowing bad actions, not knowing what are good actions and bad actions; not knowing causes, not knowing fruition, not knowing causes and fruition; not knowing the origination of causes in things, not knowing conditional origination, not knowing the conditional origination of things; not knowing the Buddha, not knowing the Teaching, not knowing the Community; not knowing suffering, not knowing origination, not knowing cessation; not knowing the path, not knowing wholesome and unwholesome things, not knowing blameable and blameless things; not knowing what things should and should not be practiced, not knowing what things are inferior and superior, (or) dark and light.

In regard to the six sense-spheres, darkness, or lack of penetration, lack of insight, lack of knowledge of the way things are, complete delusion, bewildered ignorance.

This is said to be ignorance.

5.2 Volitions

With ignorance as condition: volitions is said.

What are volitions?

There are these three volitions:

  1. Bodily volitions,
  2. verbal volitions,
  3. mental volitions.
  1. What are bodily volitions?

    Breathing in and breathing out, these things are indeed bodily, (they are) dependent on body, connected with body, existing dependent on body. Therefore breathing in and breathing out is said to be bodily volitions.

  2. What are verbal volitions?

    After thinking and reflecting he speaks words, not without thinking, not without reflecting. Therefore thinking and reflecting are said to be verbal volitions.

  3. What are mental volitions?

    Whatever passionate intentions, hateful intentions, deluded intentions (there are), these are mental factors, (they are) dependent on mind, connected with mind, existing dependent on mind. Therefore intention is said to be mental volitions.

These, monks, are said to be the three volitions.

5.3 Consciousness

With volitions as condition: consciousness is said.

What is consciousness?

The group of six consciousnesses.

Which six?

They are as follows:

  1. Eye-consciousness,
  2. ear-consciousness,
  3. nose-consciousness,
  4. tongue-consciousness,
  5. body-consciousness,
  6. mind-consciousness.

These are said to be the consciousnesses in the group of six consciousnesses.

5.4 Name and Bodily-Form

With consciousness as condition: mind and bodily-form is said.

Herein, what is mind?

Mind is the four formless components.

Which four?

  1. The feelings component,
  2. the perception component,
  3. the volitions component,
  4. the consciousness component.

This is mind.

What is bodily-form?

Whatever has form, all of these: the four great existents, and whatever is derived from the four great existents.

Which four?

They are as follows:

  1. The earth element,
  2. the water element,
  3. the fire element,
  4. and the wind element.
  1. What is the earth element?

    Whatever is weighty and solid.

  2. What is the water element?

    Whatever is fluid and flowing.

  3. What is the fire element?

    Whatever has heat and ripens.

  4. What is the wind element?

    Whatever is flexible, circulates and is light in motion.

This is bodily-form and previously mind.

The two of them together in brief is what is said to be mind and bodily-form.

5.5 Six Sense-spheres

With mind and bodily-form as condition: the six sense-spheres is said.

What are the six sense-spheres?

The six internal sense-spheres.

They are as follows:

  1. The eye sense-sphere,
  2. the ear sense-sphere,
  3. the nose sense-sphere,
  4. the tongue sense-sphere,
  5. the body sense-sphere,
  6. the mind sense-sphere.

This is said to be the six sense-spheres.

5.6 Contact

With the six sense-spheres as condition: contact is said.

What is contact?

The group of six contacts.

Which six?

  1. Eye-contact,
  2. ear-contact,
  3. nose-contact,
  4. tongue-contact,
  5. body-contact,
  6. mind-contact.

This is said to be contact.

5.7 Feeling

With contact as condition: feeling is said.

What is feeling?

The group of six feelings.

What six?

(1) Feeling arising from eye-contact, pleasant, unpleasant, and neither unpleasant nor pleasant, and so (2–6) feeling arising from ear-, nose-, tongue-, body and mind-contact, pleasant, unpleasant, and neither unpleasant nor pleasant.

This is said to be feeling.

5.8 Craving

With feeling as condition: craving is said.

What is craving?

The group of six cravings.

Which six?

  1. Craving for form,
  2. craving for sounds,
  3. craving for smells,
  4. craving for tastes,
  5. craving for tangibles,
  6. craving for thoughts.

This is said to be craving.

5.9 Attachment

With craving as condition: attachment is said.

What is attachment?

There are four attachments.

What four?

  1. Attachment to sensuality,
  2. attachment to views,
  3. attachment to virtue and practice,
  4. and attachment to self-view.

This is said to be attachment.

5.10 Continuation

With attachment as condition: continuation is said.

What is continuation?

(There are) three continuations.

Which three?

They are as follows:

  1. Continuation in the sense-realm,
  2. continuation in the form-realm,
  3. continuation in the formless-realm.

Herein, what is continuation in the sense-realm?

The (sense-realms) are as follows:

  1. Hells

    There are eight hot hells.

    Which eight?

    They are as follows:

    1. The reviving (hell),
    2. the black-thread (hell),
    3. the crushing (hell),
    4. the hot (hell),
    5. the great hot (hell),
    6. the remorseful (hell),
    7. the scolding (hell),
    8. and the never-ceasing (hell).

    There are eight cold hells.

    (Which eight?)

    They are as follows:

    1. The tumurous (hell),
    2. the very tumurous (hell),
    3. the squealing (hell),
    4. the squaking (hell),
    5. the screaching (hell),
    6. the blue-lotus (hell),
    7. the red-lotus (hell),
    8. the great red-lotus (hell).
  2. ghosts,
  3. animals,
  4. humans,
  5. gods.

There are gods in six sensual-realms.

What are the six?

  1. The gods known as the Four Great Kings,
  2. the gods of the Thirty-three Divinities,
  3. the Yāma (gods),
  4. the Contented (gods),
  5. those gods Delighting in Creation,
  6. those gods Wielding Power over the Creation of Others.

Herein, what is continuation in the form-realm?

They are as follows:

  1. the High Divinities’ retinue,
  2. the Ministers of the High Divinities,
  3. the Great High Divinities,
  4. (the High Divinities of) Limited Radiance
  5. (the High Divinities of) Unbounded Radiance,
  6. (the High Divinities of) Streaming Radiance,
  7. (the High Divinities of) Limited Beauty,
  8. (the High Divinities of) Refulgent Beauty,
  9. the cloudless (High Divinities),
  10. (the High Divinities) Born of Merit,
  11. the (High Divinities) of Increasing Fruit,
  12. the No-Longer Increasing (High Divinities),
  13. the Untroubled (High Divinities),
  14. the Good-looking (High Divinities),
  15. the Beautiful (High Divinities)
  16. and the Highest (High Divinities).

What is continuation in the formless-realm?

They are as follows:

  1. The Sphere of Infinite Space,
  2. the Sphere of Infinite Consciousness,
  3. the Sphere of Nothingness,
  4. and the Sphere of Neither-Perception-nor-Non-Perception.

The formless gods arise in four ways according to (the level of) mind-only meditation.

This is said to be the formless element.

These are the three continuations.

This is said to be continuation.

5.11 Birth

With continuation as condition: birth is said.

What is birth?

For the various beings in the various classes of beings there is (the process of) birth, being born, rebirth, appearing, turning up, manifestation, the acquisition of the components, the acquisition of the elements, the acquisition of the sense-spheres, the production of the mind-components, the arising of the life faculty, being brought together in their respective divisions.

This is said to be birth.

5.12 Old Age and Death

With birth as condition: old age, death is said.

What is old age?

Whatever baldness, greying hair, wrinkled skin, agedness, bentness, crookedness, warpedness, twistedness, rattling in the throat when breathing in and breathing out, moles on the limbs, being propped up on crutches, forward bending of the body, decay of the sense faculties, breaking up of the conditions (for life), the state of being ancient, decrepitude, indisposition, weakness, dwindling away, complete dwindling away.

This is said to be old age.

What is death?

For the various beings in the various classes of beings there is a fall, a falling away, a dwindling away, a disappearance, a making of time, a dwindling away of the lifespan, a dwindling away of the vital heat, a cessation of the life-faculty, a throwing off of the components.

This is said to be death.

This death together with the former old-age, these two together are in short what is said to be old-age and death.

This, monastics, is the twelve-fold conditional origination.