Tag Archives: causes

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Repeatedly dwell on the swiftness of the passage and departure of things that are and of things that come to be. For substance is like a river in perpetual flux, its activities are in continuous changes, and its causes in myriad varieties, and there is scarce anything which stands still, even what is near at hand; dwell, too, on the infinite gulf of the past and the future, in which all things vanish away. Then how is he not a fool who in all this is puffed up or distracted or takes it hardly, as if he were in some lasting scene, which has troubled him for so long?

— Marcus Aurelius – Meditations – Book V – 23 (Translated by A S L Farquharson)

Substance is like a river in perpetual flux

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Buddhist monks gathered together in Bodhgaya under the Bodhi Tree of Enlightenment.

All mistakes that occur
And all the various kinds of wrongdoing
Arise through the force of conditions;
They do not govern themselves.

These conditions that assemble together
Have no intention to produce anything,
And neither does their product
Have the intention to be produced.

— Shantideva – Verses 25 and 26 / Chapter 6 of the Bodhicharyavatara

The world and its beings are full of aberrations. These various and varied aberrations are the result of dependent originations of phenomena. Causation means both, the main cause and the conditions for a resultant consequence to happen. The seed buried in the earth is the cause and the soil, the sun, the rain are the conditions which cause it to germinate and to become a plant as a resultant consequence. Anger and all the other afflictions, and the whole panoply of negative actions motivated by them – killing, stealing, and so on – are brought about by circumstances. They are not independent or self-governed. Therefore, there is no use exhibiting anger at others’ faults. When no physical object is present, the experience of seeing (on the part of the eye consciousness) does not occur. The same is true mutatis mutandis with hearing and all the other senses. And when there is no seeing or hearing and the like, there is no engaging in positive or negative deeds. Therefore, although anger arises on the basis of the coincidence of an object, the sense power, and the sense consciousness, the gathering of these three conditions does not itself intend to produce anger in a given person’s mind. And the resulting anger is not an entity that regards itself as produced by such conditions. In all of this, there is no trace of an independent, autonomous agent.

— This commentary is compiled by a combination of the Parmanda Sharma and Kunzang Pelden Commentaries

Causes and Conditions