Lion's Roar

HOW SAMSARA WORKS

ONE of the core insights of the Buddha—that all phenomena arise and pass away in profound interdependence with one another—is said to have come to him on the night of his awakening. Traditional sources portray him as seeking a solution to suffering, characterized by the relentless flowing-on (samsara) of beings from one life to another. His inquiry led him, through a series of questions and answers, investigating past, present, and future lifetimes, to uncover ignorance as a primary cause of both rebirth and suffering.

The line of investigation pursued by the Buddha begins with the question, What needs to be present in order for something to occur, both in the present and the future? If we can determine the condition upon which something depends, we can bring it to an end by removing that factor. For example, smoke occurs only when there is fire; extinguish the fire and the smoke will cease.

The result of his inquiry is summed up in twelve stages. They are known as the , or causal

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