Teaching Buddha Teaching Buddha

The Essence of What
the Buddha Discovered


Buddhism has developed into many forms with many teachings. However a close look at the suttas of the Pali Canon reveals the essential teachings of the Buddha.


Notice that the full 12 links of Dependent Origination are not required for the Buddha to discover the path to liberation; not even the 10 links are required. The only essential links needed are

Notice that this is not solely a linear unfolding - there is mutual dependency here in that the negative nature of dukkha will tend to lessen the likelihood of craving once the dependency is discovered. Furthermore this "reverse" linkage is propigated downstream to the vedana in that there is less enchantment associated with the vedana and with the objects that produce the vedana. Attempting to understand Dependent Origination in a solely linear fashion will miss many of the most important aspects.

There is certainly a larger set that has a linear explaination:

But is seems rather doubtful that the more complex 10 & 12 link recensions of Dependent Origination should be thought of as a linear explaination with regard to the Buddha's awakening - and given his single minded drive to present only the "handful of leaves" necessary for awakening, it is not even likely that the Buddha taught these more complex chains as a linear explaination. He was only interested in "the end of dukkha" and he never really attempted to present a coherent metaphysical explaination of anything.

Certainly the Buddha understood individual sections of the 10 & 12 link recensions in a linear fashion such as

But it seems doubtful the Buddha ever considered the entire complex linkage in the linear fashion that became such a critical part of the Abhidamma and the later commentaries. These 10 & 12 link recensions are a mnemonic device to aid one in remembering a collection of important necessary conditions. They are not a linear explaination of anything!

The really key element, the true breakthru, is "this that conditionality". The Buddha's genius was the recognition that seeking ultimate causes was fruitless but that finding necessary conditions could bear great fruit.

Dukkha is A Bummer
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Leigh Brasington / / Revised 02 Nov 12