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Lions Roar : September 2018
BEGINNER’S MIND Do Buddhists believe in sin? The dictionary defines sin as a violation of religious or moral law. Since the Buddha was not God and he didn’t hand down any commandments, the first part of the definition doesn’t apply. You’re not damned if you don’t do what the Buddha said. More broadly, good versus evil is not the central issue in Buddhism. It’s ignorance versus wisdom. Because we do not understand our own nature and the reality we inhabit, we create suf- fering for ourselves and others. This is the Buddha’s second noble truth— that the real cause of suffering is the ignorance that solidifies ourselves and our world and creates the three poisons of attachment, aggression, and ignorance (in the sense of ignoring or not caring about what doesn’t affect us personally). Good and evil—suffering and not suffering, if you will—is the result, not the first cause. Moral or ethical living is of course very important in Buddhism—it’s a big part of the fourth noble truth, the eightfold path to end suffering. But the ultimate antidote to suffering is wisdom. When we understand our true nature—which is open, interde- pendent, ever-changing, and has buddhanature—we can relax the harmful struggle to maintain the fictitious sense of self created by ignorance. That would be good. DHARMA FAQS We answer your questions about Buddhism & meditation. BUDDHISM BY THE NUMBERS ILLUSTRATIONSBYNOLANPELLETIER THE 12 NIDANAS, which are pictured as the outer circle in the Wheel of Life, describe the chain of causation by which the cycle of death and rebirth known as samsara is created. They are also known as the 12 links of dependent origination. With basic ignorance as the first cause, each link in the chain is both the result of the previous nidana and the cause of the next. This sequence operates moment to moment as well as lifetime to lifetime. 1. Fundamental ignorance (Pali: avidya) 2. Formation (sankhara) 3. Consciousness (vinnana) 4. Name and form (namarupa) 5. Sense faculties (salayatana) 6. Contact (phassa) 7. Feeling or sensation (vedana) 8. Craving or thirst (tanha) 9. Clinging or grasping (upadana) 10. Becoming or worldy existence (bhava) 11. Birth or becoming (jati) 12. Old age and death (jaramarana) Then we start all over again. RAYFENWICK LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2018 26