There Is No Suffering 78

To summarize, the twelve links encompass past, present, and future lives, with each link arising out of the previous link. The present life arises because of the previous one, and the future one arises because of the present one, one lifetime leading to another, until the chain is broken. To begin to break the chain of the twelve links of conditioned arising, one can contemplate causes and conditions.

Contemplation of the Twelve Links

To contemplate these twelve links, one uses the method of contemplating causes and conditions. This is closely connected to the four noble truths of Buddhism: the existence of suffering, the cause of suffering, ending suffering, and the path out of suffering. The twelve links of conditioned arising are in fact, suffering. Not realizing the true nature and relationship of the twelve links is the cause of suffering. The realization of the un-arising nature of the twelve links is cessation of suffering. Contemplation of the twelve links is a path to the cessation of suffering.

In the agamas30 it is written, “This arises; hence that arises.” This means that our afflictions lead us to create karma; and once we create karma, we must suffer the consequences of karma. As we do so, we become vexed and create more karma, and so the cycle continues. This is called the transmigration of birth and death, which is the twelve links of conditioned arising.

In the agamas it is also written, “This perishes; hence that perishes.” This, too refers to affliction. When there is no affliction, or klesa, one does not create karma. When one does not create karma, there are no consequences, and without consequences, one has no affliction. Therefore, the cycle will be broken; one will transcend samsara and the transmigration of birth and death.