Friday, 12 December 2014

Blavatsky & the 12 Nidanas 2

Blavatsky gives further comments on the nidanas in her esoteric intstructions:

"The Nidanas have a dual meaning. They are: 1. The twelve causes of sentient existence, through the twelve links of subjective with objective Nature, or between the subjective and objective Natures. 2. A concatenation of causes and effects. Every cause produces an effect, and this effect becomes in its turn a cause. Each of these has as Upadhi (basis), one of the subdivisions of one of the Nidanas,and also an effect or consequence." (S.D. V, 558, 6 vol. ed.)

Buddhist iconography has very vivid illustrations of this concept, using symbols in a wheel: 1. blind old woman (ignorance), 2. potter making a pot (formation), 3. monkey in a tree (consciousness), 4. three men in a boat (name and form), 5. house with 6 windows (the 6 senses), 6. couple making love (contact) 7. man with an arrow in his eye (feeling) 8. man drinking milk and honey (craving) 9. monkey gathering fruit (grasping) 10. pregnant woman (becoming) 11. woman giving birth (birth) 12. man carrying a corpse (death)
 
In the Tibetan Kagyu tradition, Gampopa(1079-1153) in his Jewel Ornament of Liberation, offers the following description:

"This is explained according to the desire realm and according to birth from a mother’s womb.
(a) At the very first, there is ignorance, which is the confusion that misunderstands all knowledge.
(b) Under the influence of ignorance is created the mental formation of the karma of afflicted virtues and nonvirtues. This is called “mental formation conditioned by ignorance.”
(c) The seed of that karma is carried by the mind so that is called consciousness conditioned by mental formation.”
(d) By the power of that karma, the mind is fully confused, enters into a mother’s womb, and an embryo and so forth arise. This is called “name and form conditioned by consciousness.”
(e) By developing the name and form, all the senses of the eye, ear, and so forth are completed. That is called the “six increasing fields conditioned by name and form.”
(f) The interaction of the eye organ and so forth, the corresponding object, and the consciousness is called “contact conditioned by the six increasing fields.”
(g) Through contact, one experiences the feelings of joy, suffering, or indifference. That is called “feeling conditioned by contact.”
(h) When there is feeling, there is joy, attachment, and stronger attachment. That is called “craving conditioned by feeling.”
(i) From that attachment, one craves more and more, and wishes to not be separated from the object of attachment. That is called “grasping conditioned by craving.”
(j) Through that grasping, karma and existence by body, speech, and mind are again created. That is called “existence conditioned by grasping.”
(k) That karma creates the five aggregates (Skt. skandas). That is called “birth conditioned by existence”
(l) After birth, the aggregates which actually exist increase, ripen, and cease. “Ripen” means aging; “cease” means death. That is called “aging and death conditioned by birth.”
Due to ignorance, complete attachment, and craving, death causes the inner pain called sorrow. That sorrow causes expression in words, called lamentation. When the five consciousnesses experience unhappiness it is called suffering. Bringing that in the mind, that suffering is called “mental unhappiness.” Furthermore, in this way and so forth, the entire afflicted subconsciousness is called “disturbed mind.” (Chapter 16.2.c.3)