Earlier in my teens,whenever I inquired about Buddha,all I got to hear was his life-story.No body knew anything about his teachings.Since past one year,I was desperate to learn more about the teachings of the Buddha.Soon,the Universe,just like it always does,answered back in mysterious way when I found one of the best books to learn & practice the Teachings of Siddhartha Gautama.
Buddha devised his teachings with infinite care.The way he taught is likened to the behavior of a lioness towards her young.When a lioness carries her young in her teeth,she is most careful to see that her grip is neither loose nor too tight.If her grip is too tight,it will injure or kill the cub & if it is too loose,the cub may fall & get hurt.
We all know what ‘interdependence’ means & ‘birth/origination/arising’ means.Only when we look at the contents of the teaching do we recognize Interdependence Origination is a profound & significant teaching.Here we shall see two examples to understand it better.
Flame in oil lamp:A flame of an oil lamp depends on the lamp,oil & the wick.Even if one of the above is absent,the flame would cease to burn.
Sprout:A sprout depends upon the seed,earth,water,air & sunlight.Only when all of these are present can a sprout arise.
Similarly,we can look around ourselves & contemplate interdependence of every other thing.For example,one of the factors you are sitting in your house now is it was constructed by several workers.You are able to breathe effortlessly because Earth has a continuous supply of Oxygen.One of the factors which led to the evolution of humans is that water living organisms moved to the land billions of years ago.And the main factor for everything can be traced back to Big Bang.
Interdependence origination leads us to emptiness.All that exists,is conditioned & relative to other factors,empty of independent existence.
Emptiness is a difficult concept to grasp for most people.Emptiness is not a view or a metaphysical entity.It is a therapeutic device which corrects our belief of real & independent existence of things around us.
Emptiness is likened to medicine which cures our residual belief in independent existence of things.However,just like a medicine,it should not be taken in excess.What that means is one should not abide or cling to emptiness.When the disease (of taking things for granted) is cured,one should stop the treatment.
Interdependence Origination works on the principle of cause & effect.The flame & the sprout are the effect while they have their corresponding causes.Similarly,according to the Buddha,suffering is the effect & the cause of suffering is Ignorance (the idea of False self or ‘I’),Attachment & Aversion.