Unfolding Dependent Origination: A Psychological Analysis for Disclosing the Root of the Afflictive State of Mind


  • Sanjoy Barua Chowdhury Mahidol University, Thailand


Dependent Origination, Afflictive State of Mind


Based on Pāli and Sanskrit scriptures, early Buddhist teachings postulate that the doctrine of dependent origination (Pāli: paṭiccasamuppāda, Skt. pratītyasamutpāda) clarifies the cycle of life, in addition to fulfilling its doctrinal demand of the Buddha’s highest wisdom. What comes to light is a precise assessment of a concrete model of dependent origination which unfolds a clear picture of an unsatisfactory mental state between a being’s birth and death. Through the psychological analysis of the twelvefold links in the law of causation, both the Pāli canon (Nikāya) and the commentary (Aṭṭhakathā) demonstrate the three taproots of unsatisfactory mental state and the afflictive state of mind, including: ignorance (avijjā), expectation (taṅhā) and clinging (upādāna). Following early Buddhism, Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā offered a scholarship where the state of ‘no self-nature (Skt. nisvabhāva)’ incorporated by dependent origination leads to the lucid state of mind from mental dissatisfaction, i.e., emptiness (Skt. śūnyatā). Nāgārjuna illuminates nisvabhāva as an absence (empty) of existence, which he indirectly referred to as  ‘non-self’ (P. anattā or Skt. anatman) as found in early Buddhism. Prior to disclosing the taproot of the afflictive state of mind, the proposed paper examines the nature of dependent origination with its psychological analysis stemming from Buddhist philosophical thought.


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How to Cite

Chowdhury, S. B. . (2022). Unfolding Dependent Origination: A Psychological Analysis for Disclosing the Root of the Afflictive State of Mind. Journal of International Buddhist Studies, 13(1), 11–43. Retrieved from https://so09.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/jibs/article/view/2579