What is Regarding the Theory of Dependent Origination Mentioned above, Is There Any Sutta or Treatises Available for Further Study?

There are many suttas and abbidhamma texts which discuss the Theory of Dependent Origination. For example, the fore-mentioned Eleven Meanings of Paticcasamuppada were quoted from Fenbie Yuanqi Chusheng Famen Jing, which is worth reading. Also, relevant parts of Abhidharmakosa-sastra (Abhidharma Storehouse Treatises), which is translated into Chinese by Xuanzang, and the Mahaprajnaparamita-sastra (Treatises on the Great Perfection of Wisdom) translated into Chinese by Kumarajiva, are also instructive. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)

2022-12-05

What Is Meant by “Cause and Effect-Continuously Connected without Interruption”?

All Dhammas are produced by Hetu-paccaya. Though impermanent, constantly arising and ceasing, they are continuously connected without interruption, just like flowing water. The preceding one, passing away, is followed by the succeeding one, causes producing effects in continuous series without interruption. This is looking at dhammas in a vertical sense in time. Horizontally, there are infinite differences among the varied types of causes and effects. Despite the complicated relationships between various types of causalities, they are bound by orderly rules without the least confusion. Each category of causes produces effects of the same type. For instance, a good cause leads to a good effect. Causes give rise to concordant effects, and effects correspond to causes. One type of cause can’t give rise to another type of effect. For instance, if one sows melon seeds, one reaps the fruit of melons, and not beans. Buddhism believes that the law of causality is determined and unalterable even by the Buddhas of the successive epochs (past, present and future). This is the simple explanation of “causes and effects continuously connected without interruption”, “various causes and effects falling into different categories”, “cause and effect transferring in harmony and in compliance with each other” and “cause and effect functioning in order without confusion”. Again, Buddhism also opposes the view that after its cessation, a phenomenon can’t arise again, and terms this “the Annihilation-view”. As to Buddhist analyses of cause, condition and effect, there are theories such as Six Causes, Four Conditions and Five Effects, which I shall not discuss I detail here. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)

2022-12-05

What is Pali?

Pali is a language used in ancient India. To be more specific, it was a popular dialect in Magadha at the time of the Buddha. The Buddha was said to have preached his summons in this language, so his disciples used this language to memorize and recite his teachings. Although it is no longer a living language now, Pali has been preserved through the Buddhist scriptures. The word “Pali” means “classics”. The ancient Indians were in the habit of reciting and passing on canonical texts orally instead of in writing. According to The History of the Island of Ceylon, Buddhists texts began to be written down during the 1st century BC in Ceylon. By the 5th century AD, Ven. Buddhaghosa, Tipitakacariya from Magadha, came to Ceylon and made a copy of the whole Pali Tipitaka in the Sinhalese script. (According to another account, when Buddhaghosa was in Ceylon, he translated a great many Sinhalese commentaries of Tipitaka to Pali.) As the original Pali alphabet is no longer in existence, the current Pali Tipitaka of Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand are all recorded in the indigenous alphabets. Recently India too has been engaged in recording and publishing the Pali Tipitaka in the Hindi alphabet. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)

2022-11-24

Were the Buddhist texts written by Sakyamuni himself?

No, they were recited and recorded by his disciples after the Buddha’s death. In the year of the Buddha’s Parinibbana, his five hundred disciples headed by Ven. Mahakassapa held an assembly at Saptaparna Cave near Rajagaha to compile and edit the Buddha’s teachings for posterity. At the assembly Ven. Ananda recited the Suttas preached by the Buddha, Ven. Upali recited the Vinaya established by the Buddha, and Ven. Mahakassapa recited, and latter supplemented, the Abhidamma which is an exposition and study of the Buddhist creeds. The Sutta, Vinaya and Abhidamma comprise Tipitaka. The word Pitaka originally meant basket for containing things. The compilation of Sutta, Vinaya and Abhidamma into Tipitaka is something like the designation of Jing (classics), Shi (history), Zi (academic schools) and Ji (miscellany) as the “Four Treatures” in China. This Buddhist school council was termed the First Samgiti. Samgiti is generally rendered as “Jieji” in Chinese, while its original meaning in Sanskrit or Pali is “sangha meeting”. The ancient Chinese translators used the word “Jieji” to mean “recital”, which implies both the collection of Dhamma, and the assembly of people. The Tipitaka was not written down at that time, so it was passed on by oral recital. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)

2022-11-24

Why is the Buddha Called “Fo” in Chinese? What does It Mean?

“Fo” is the abbreviation for “Fotuo” which was used to translate the word “Buddha”. “The characters used for “Fotuo” were pronounced “Buda” at the time of translation). Buddha means “an enlightened one” or “an awakened one”. The term “Buddha” existed in India from the earliest times, but Buddhism has attributed three additional connotations to the term. They are as follows: ⑴ enlightenment (Sambodhi, which means thoroughly realizing the properties and appearance of all dhammas as they are); ⑵ perfect enlightenment (Samma-sambodhi, which means not only enlightening oneself but also equally and universally enlightening others); ⑶ supreme or paramount enlightenment (Anuttara samma-sambodhi, which means one’s wisdom and achievement have reached the highest and the most perfect sphere in enlightening oneself or others). (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)

2022-11-18

What is “Dharma”?

“Dharma” in Sanskrit means “retaining one’s own nature, so that it can be recognized”. That is to say, everything has its own attributes and appearance and maintains its own properties, by which people can perceive it as what it is. For instance, water maintains its property of wetness and acts according to its fixed track, so people recognize it as water when they see it. Conversely, when something is devoid of wetness and obey different rules from water, there then can be no conception of water. Therefore, Buddhism views everything as “dhamma”. The terms “all dhammas”, “each dhamma” appearing in Buddhist canons indicate “all things” or “universal existence”. According to this interpretation, the discourses delivered by the Buddha based on his own empirical comprehension of dhammas are also “Dhamma” since they hold true to the principle of “retaining its own nature, so that it can be recognized.” (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)

2022-11-18

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