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laying bare the definitive cause of the thirst that is ever and always breaking forth anew and forming the source of continually repeated rebirth. Not only had the objective cause to be found out, as the Mahānidānasutta, we dealt with above, has done in concluding that it is "the corporeal organism together with consciousness;" but in correspondance with his practical purpose directed towards the annihilation of this thirst, he had, if at all possible, to penetrate to its final subjective condition, dependent upon ourselves, which condition he found to be the activities of the senses, but ultimately lack of knowledge of the real character of the world, and thereby, of the perniciousness of entering into connection with it by means of the six organs of sense, thus ignorance. This ignorance, even in the maternal womb, where, in the absence of a developed brain and thereby of thought-consciousness, it is complete, gives rise to the first and lowest activities of the senses, and also after birth during the whole life constitutes the real cause of every activity of the senses. We make unceasing use of the organs of sense, because we do not recognize, in accordance with truth, the consequences of these activities. Hence ignorance is the basis of the whole chain of suffering. It is the deep night, wrapped in which, beings from beginningless time have used their six senses-machine, with the result that ever and again new thirst for more of such activity arises, which thirst, then, in its turn, upon the break-up of the six-sense apparatus in death, effects the constant upbuilding anew of the same: "Ignorance is the deep night, wherein we here so long are circling round.” 187
But according to this, it is not only established beyond all doubt that thirst is conditioned as the immediate cause of the circle of rebirth and thereby is a purely physical phenomenon, but also its final fundamental conditioning is recognized as being something, the removal of which is
entirely in our power: If ignorance is abolished, thirst and, together with it, all causality is uprooted for ever. "Those who have vanquished delusion and broken through the dense darkness, will wander no more: Causality exists no more for them." 188 With this, we now know the whole formula of origination through dependence, and may well also have seen that in all its parts it is lucid to the utmost degree. No one can shut his eyes to the insight that one link hooks with logical necessity into the other, the whole chain of conditionings being thus not only correct, but also exhaustive. In particular it has been shown to us that ignorance as well as the Sankhārā, join on harmoniously to the conclusion of the formula treated above, which had the "corporeal organism together with consciousness" for its final link. Neither of them go beyond this last link, this being impossible according to the foregoing. For together with it, especially together with the corporeal organism which begins to take form at the moment of conception, there is given immediate linking up with the former "body endowed with consciousness" that had immediately proceeded conception. As the Sankhārā cleared up the mode in which consciousness was conditioned by the corporeal organism, so ignorance gives us the key to the understanding of how we have come to shape the germ, seized in consequence of our former thirst in a maternal womb, into a six senses-machine and to make use of this machine. Now we only need to run through the whole formula in its totality:
"Inasmuch as that is, this is. Through the arising of that does this arise. Thus, namely:
"In dependence on ignorance—avijjā — arise the processes,' that is, the organic processes, especially those of the senses, the Sankhārā.
"In dependence on the processes [of life, especially on the activities of the senses] arises consciousness, viññāna.
"In dependence on consciousness arises the corporeal organism-nāma-rūpa.*
"In dependence on the corporeal organism arise the six organs of sense-salāyatana.**
"In dependence on the six organs of sense arises contact -phassa.
"In dependence on contact arises sensation-vedanā.
"In dependence on birth arise old age and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.
"Thus comes about the arising of this entire sum of Suffering."
What, until now, has made the understanding of this formula so very difficult for us, was, among other things, the circumstance that it was generally thought to be an
* Compare our disquisitions on pp. 72, 73, above. There we saw that only a corporeal organism endowed with consciousness is able to develop and to live, that even the very first development of the fecundated germ is conditioned by consciousness being aroused by means of its organized matter, though this consciousness is at first only plant-like. Salāyatana is generally translated by "sixfold realm,” Ayatana signifying "residence, realm, cause."
The sixfold realm is divided into "the six inner and six outer realms." Whereas the six outer realms represent the totalities of the objects corresponding to the several organs of sense, as forms, sounds etc., the six inner realms mean the six organs of sense themselves.
Here, in the chain of causality, first of all, of course, the six inner realms, that is, the organs of sense, are meant, since it is the explanation of the five Groups of Grasping in form of the machinery of the personality that is in question.
This link of the six organs of sense that we see here and elsewhere inserted is, however, wanting in the chain of dependencies, as we know it until now according to the Mahānidānasutta. The reason is clear: it is essentially given by the corporeal organism, nāma-rupa, the fourth link, and therefore is really superfluous.
The links Sankhārā, Consciousness, corporeal organism together with organs of sense, are mutually conditioned, representing only the further explanation of the two links "corporeal organism" and "consciousness," conditioning each other, with which in the Mahānidānasutta the formula is closed. See above p. 268.
exposition of several links of the causal nexus simply in their temporal sequence. We saw the wrongness of this point of view from our foregoing explanations of the chain, given in accordance with the Buddha's own statements. According to these, the correct train of thought of the formula, and thereby the key to its understanding, is rather as follows: The Buddha in it wishes to show the relation of the single links in a purely abstract manner, in the way in which they condition themselves internally and in themselves, that is, as follows: Old age and death, sorrow, affliction, pain, grief and despair are only possible in and with a corporeal organism, as a six senses machine. Such an organism must be born, therefore it presupposes birth. But birth is nothing but a special case of Becoming. Every Becoming is conditioned by a grasping and grasping is conditioned by the thirst for Becoming (bhavataṇhā). Such thirst can appear only, where sensation is. But sensation is the consequence of contact between the senses and an object; therefore it presupposes organs of sense. Organs of sense, of course, presuppose a corporeal organism for their supporter. Such an organism unquestionably can only exist, even, only develop, if consciousness is added to it. But consciousness. is only known to us as the result of the organic processes, especially of the activities of the senses. But these are only set going, where ignorance exists as to the unwholesomeness of their results.
Taken in reverse series, and at the same time having regard to their actual realisation, these general dicta take shape as follows:
In the maternal womb, in the night of deepest ignorance, because of complete unconsciousness, the activities-Sankhārā— begin in the seized and fertilized germ, which gradually increase until they reach the stage of the processes of the senses, and then continue on during the whole subsequent
life in consequence of the continuance of ignorance. These activities in the seized organic matter, which include, the activities of the senses, constitute the necessary antecedent condition for the arising of consciousness. But consciousness, on its side, again constitutes the necessary condition for the development of the organism itself even in the maternal womb and for its continued existence after birth, so that it is only in dependence upon consciousness that the corporeal organism with the six organs of sense can come to maturity and continue maintaining itself. The organs of sense, on their side, again represent the necessary presupposition of every contact and thereby of every sensation. Out of sensation* in due sequence there ceaselessly springs forth thirst for the world of forms, sounds, odours and so forth, which on its side constitutes the sine qua non of grasping. With this, however, the immediate cause of all Becoming is laid bare: whatever becomes, becomes in consequence of such grasping. This grasping in particular is the cause of the becoming of a new organism, which is brought about by birth, that is, by conception and the corresponding following development in the maternal womb. With this the circle is again closed, and thus once more the antecedent conditions are provided for the arising of old age and death, of sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.
If thus we see explained in the formula of the causal nexus only the inner dependence of the several links of the chain of suffering, one upon the other, thus, how they are conditioned in themselves, none the less, as we might expect, the Buddha on the other hand also furnishes the formula as it takes shape from the point of view of the actual effectuation of the Sankhārā, of the processes of the senses:
"In dependence on the eye and forms arises visual consciousness; the conjunction of these three is contact;
* Reciprocally, out of perception that is always inseparably associated with it,