Saṃyutta Nikāya 12

Connected Discourses on Causation

60. Causation

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Kurus, where there was a town of the Kurus named Kammasadamma. Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“It is wonderful, venerable sir! It is amazing, venerable sir! This dependent origination is so deep and so deep in implications, yet to me it seems as clear as clear can be.”

“Not so, Ānanda! Not so, Ānanda! This dependent origination is deep and deep in implications. It is because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma, Ānanda, that this generation has become like a tangled skein, like a knotted ball of thread, like matted reeds and rushes, and does not pass beyond the plane of misery, the bad destinations, the nether world, saṃsara.

“Ānanda, when one dwells contemplating gratification in things that can be clung to, craving increases. With craving as condition, clinging comes to be…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.

“Suppose, Ānanda, there was a great tree, and all its roots going downwards and across would send the sap upwards. Sustained by that sap, nourished by it, that great tree would stand for a very long time. So too, when one lives contemplating gratification in things that can be clung to, craving increases…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.

“When, Ānanda, one dwells contemplating danger in things that can be clung to, craving ceases. With the cessation of craving comes cessation of clinging…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.

“Suppose, Ānanda, there was a great tree. Then a man would come along bringing a shovel and a basket. He would cut down the tree at its foot … he would winnow the ashes in a strong wind or let them be carried away by the swift current of a river. Thus that great tree would be cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so that it is no more subject to future arising.

“So too, Ānanda, when one dwells contemplating danger in things that can be clung to, craving ceases. With the cessation of craving comes cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, cessation of existence; with the cessation of existence, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.”