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there is no more arising of suffering: this is the second consideration (that must be entertained);' "182 and finally : “When one has penetrated this misery, that suffering depends upon the Sankhārā, then the end of suffering comes in consequence of the coming to rest of all Sankhārā, the abrogation of perception." 183 Whoso, for all that, doubts that here the processes of the senses especially are meant, may compare the hundred-and-second Discourse of the Middle Collection with these passages. There the theme discussed is that all the states a man may reach in life, or that he can imagine at all for the period after death, is always sankhata, become, and therefore transitory. This holds good even of the highest state that may be attained in the world: "There, ye monks, an ascetic or a Brahmin has left off investigating the past, has left off investigating the future, has entirely thrown off the chains of desire, has overcome the joy of solitude, has overcome the blessedness of selflessness, has overcome the feeling that is without joy or sorrow, and observes within himself: 'Peaceful am I, extinguished am I, no more a grasping one am I.' But now, ye monks, the Perfected One recognizes: 'Certainly this venerable one has spoken of the path leading directly to Nibbana... But that he cognizes within himself: 'Peaceful am I, extinguished am I, no more a grasping one am I,' this must be called grasping in this dear ascetic or Brahmin. And this also is sankhata (become, produced); but there is a dissolution of the Sankhārā [producing the sankhata]. “Only this complete annihilation of all Sankhārā is the great final goal. As this dissolution of the Sankhārā it is finally and solemnly proclaimed: “There, ye monks, the Exalted One has opened the incomparably high path of peace, that is to say, the understanding as they really are, of the six realms of sense, of their arising and passing away, their comfort and misery and the way of escape from them and to be free without grasping."
And in the 105th Discourse of the same Collection the six inner realms, that is, the six organs of sense, are compared to a wound that must be closed. According to this, all suffering is produced by the actions of these organs of sense; they are the Sankhārā creating suffering.
With this, we have arrived at the point where we may now proceed with the formula of the causal nexus, which we left at the close of the last chapter at the following link: "In dependence on the Sankhārā arises consciousness." After what we have just seen, this will now become clear at once. It simply means: In dependence on the activities of sense arises consciousness.* The truth of this dictum, however, has already been seen by us in the chapter on personality, where it was pointed out to us: "Through the eye-which is just the activity of the eye directed towards seeing-and forms consciousness arises: 'visual consciousness' accordingly is the term applied. Through the ear and sounds consciousness arises: 'auditory consciousness' accordingly is the term applied. Through the nose and smells consciousness arises: 'olfactory consciousness' accordingly is the term applied. Through the tongue and flavours consciousness arises: 'gustatory consciousness' accordingly is the term applied. Through the body and objects of taction consciousness arises: 'tactile consciousness' accordingly is the term applied. Through the organ of thought and ideas consciousness arises: 'mental consciousness' accordingly is the term applied."
* This might be concluded already from the following passages 185: “But what is consciousness? What its arising? What its ceasing? What the way that leads to its ceasing?"-"Of consciousness, friends, there are six kinds: eye-consciousness, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body-mind-consciousness. The arising of the Sankhārā conditions the arising of consciousness; the ceasing of the Sankhārā conditions the ceasing of consciousness." From this, it results quite evidently, that these Sankhārā forming the conditions for the origination and annihilation of consciousness are nothing but the activities of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind, the sixfold division of consciousness being therefore made according to the cause of its origin.
Thus the saying: "In dependence on the Sankhārā arises consciousness" at bottom means nothing else but this: Consciousness is the product of the physiological processes of our body in general, and of the functions of the senses in particular. Or, to speak in the spirit of Schopenhauer: Consciousness is a secondary phenomenon, conditioned by the functions of the cerebral nervous system, based upon the somatic life of the individual; "only by means of organic life is consciousness possible," dicta which are almost verbally identical with the lapidary apophthegm of the Mahāpadhānasutta: "Retroactively, consciousness depends on the corporeal organism (nāma-rupa); the series goes no farther."
This is nothing new to us. We saw before and indeed more closely, that consciousness is dependent on the corporeal organism, and that the latter also again as regards its maintenance is dependent upon the accession of this same consciousness. Thereby, however, our presumption proves to be justified-at least as far as the Sankhārā are concernedthat the continuation of the causal nexus beyond the "corporeal organism together with consciousness" to the Sankhārā and to ignorance, at bottom could tell us nothing new, but only represent a closer explanation of the conclusion of the formula dealt with by us before, the continuation of the formula up to the Sankhārā making specially clear the manner in which consciousness is conditioned by the corporeal organism; consciousness being conditioned by the setting in of the activities of the senses of the corporeal organism.
It now remains only to show how ignorance also as the cause of the Sankhārā fits in harmoniously with the formula of causality treated above.
SUMMARY OF THE CHAIN OF SUFFERING
"In dependence on ignorance arise the Sankhara" this means,
according to the foregoing: In dependence on ignorance arise the activities of the senses. With this we have come to the last link of the formula of the causal nexus, also in its amplified form. From this placing of ignorance at the extreme end of the chain of causality alone we may judge it to be of fundamental importance; and this really is the case.
First, it is clear that in this dictum the Buddha wishes to say that the activities of the senses are the outcome of the ignorance of something, and would not come about, if this something were known. What now may this something be, with respect to which this unknowingness, this ignorance exists? The Buddha tells us in the following words: "To be ignorant as regards Suffering, to be ignorant as regards the arising of Suffering; to be ignorant as regards the ceasing of Suffering, to be ignorant as regards the path leading to the ceasing of Suffering-this, friends, is what is called ignorance." "186 In the first of the four most excellent truths we saw what this suffering is. It is the great misery of the world, transitoriness, to which everything is subject, so that the whole world is only one great world of suffering. Everything is transitory, and thereby painful; the eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odours, the tongue and sapids, the body and tangibles, the organ of thought and the thinkable. This the "average man" does not cognize according to truth. He is not able to understand that ultimately, ever and always, the inevitable collapse of all the enjoyments and satisfactions of sense of every kind, even of the highest and most ideal kind, must ensue, and that these, either in this present life or in some later form of existence, perhaps even in the animal kingdom or in some hell-world, must
flow into a measureless ocean of woe. And so "he delights in the eye and in forms, in the ear and sounds, in the nose and in odours, in the tongue and in sapids, in the body and in tangibles, in the organ of thinking and in thoughts,” as it is said in the 149th Discourse of the Middle Collection. This means: he cultivates the activities of sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking, in short, the activities of the senses, the Sankhārā. In consequence of this, the whole chain of suffering runs its course again, inevitably leading the careless creature in the course of time, as so often already during the immeasurable past, down again into all the abysses of existence. For just because of these renewed activities of the senses, consciousness ever and again flames up anew, and thereby new sensation, and therewith new thirst for the world of forms, sounds, odours, flavours, tangibles and thoughts; whereupon that factor again is actualized which at the next approaching death again must lead to a new grasping exactly corresponding to the quality of this thirst. This quality of thirst, however, is expressed in the kind of activities of the sense, more especially the kind of thinking, in which all the activities of the senses unite as in their focus. Therefore the 120th Discourse of the Middle Collection, with which we dealt above, is called "Rebirth according to the Sankhārā," that is, according to our respective processes of mind or thought. The activities. of the senses, on their part, are in themselves as well as in the direction they take, only the self-evident consequence of our not being clear, or, at any rate, not sufficiently clear, about their evil consequences; which just means, they proceed from ignorance. With this it at once becomes apparent, why the Buddha, in the formula of the causal nexus did not confine himself to the objectively last link, "the corporeal organism together with consciousness," but carried it on to the Sankhārā and ignorance. For him it was a question of