Emptiness vs. Dependent Arising, part 1

We typically have an incorrect view of the world, as though things appear to definitely exist, somehow independently. This article explains why this view is incorrect from two perspectives. The key points are summarised here:

Dependent Arising Emptiness
Analysis Dependent on causes and conditions. Empty of inherent existence.
Reality Things are dependent arising. Things are merely labelled.
Conclusion Things do exist conventionally based on causes and conditions. Things do not ultimately exist.
Opposite Nihilism. Eternalism.

Dependent Arising

On analysis of Dependent Arising we find that all things depend on causes and conditions. For example, a meal of beans on buttered toast required (a) beans and bread from grains that were planted, harvested, and transported, requiring farmers, bees, good weather conditions, and (b) milk from a cow that mated with a specific bull, the milk for the calf has been collected, and transported. The beans, grains, and butter were prepared for mass consumption, packaged, and transported to stores before we could buy them. Even with a simple example, there are a multitude of people and effort required, miles covered, and sensitive variables such as weather.

Things are based on their causes and conditions, they abide for a period of time, finally they must disintegrate as causes and conditions for the next thing. For example, a meal of beans on buttered toast will inevitably grow mouldy and willingly eaten by insects or animals if left unattended. Once eaten, the meal will provide nutrition to our bodies and allow us to continue living our lives.

All things are based on causes and conditions, and because of this change is inevitable. For some reason we are often surprised by change. As though we didn’t know it was happening. As though we expected things to remain the same forever. For this reason the suffering of change is one of the three types of suffering.

Based on this understanding, we can see that things do exist conventionally based on causes and conditions. This helps to overcome the idea of ‘nihilism’, as though nothing exist. Things obviously exist, but they are in an ever-moving sea of change.

Love, @happy_ops

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