The doctrine of Pratityasamutpada (Teachings of Buddha)!
In the second great truth of Buddha’s teachings, there is a reference to the doctrine of twelve Nidanas.
This is the doctrine of Pratityasamutpada. i.e., dependent origination. This doctrine is the main principle of Buddha’s teachings while all others are based upon it.
The doctrine of Karma, the principle of momentarism, the theory of no-soul and all other Buddhist doctrines are based on the principle of dependent origination.
Literally speaking, Pratityasamutpada means, “This being given that follows; or that a certain effect follows a certain cause.” Thus the doctrine of dependent origination explains the cause of suffering, etc., in the world. Pratityasamutpada is relative as well as absolute. Relatively, it is the ‘world’ while from the absolute point of view it is ‘liberation’. The Buddha has called it Bodhi as well as Dharma. “Whoever sees Pratityasamutpada, sees dharma and whoever sees dharma sees pratityasamutpada.” The forgetting of the doctrine of the dependent origination is the cause of suffering, and by its knowledge all suffering is annihilated.
Pratityasamutpada is a middle path between Sasvatavad or the principle of eternity and Uchedavad or the principle of annihilation. According to the former, some things are eternal; they have neither beginning nor end; they are uncaused and do not depend on anything else.
According to the latter view, nothing remains -after the destruction of things. The doctrine of Pratityasamutpada maintains a middle way between these extremes. According to it, things have existence, but they are not eternal. On the other hand, they are never completely annihilated but something always remains. The origination of one thing is due to another. External or mental happenings are always due to some cause. The chain of cause and effect is ever-recurring.
After seeing the instances of disease, old age and death, the Buddha left his place to find out their solution. This solution he got in the doctrine of dependent origination. Then, the Blessed one, during the first watch of the night, fixed his mind upon the chain of causation in direct and in reverse order.
From ignorance spring predispositions; from predispositions spring consciousness; from consciousness spring name and form; from name and from spring the six provinces of the six senses, viz., eye, ear, nose, tongue, body or touch and mind; from the six provinces spring contact; from contact springs cessation; from cessation springs thirst or desire; from thirst springs attachment; from attachment springs becoming; from becoming springs birth; from birth spring old age and death, grief, lamentation, suffering, detachment and despair. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.
Again, action is destroyed by destruction of ignorance, which in its turn, is destroyed by the annihilation of predispositions; the pre-dispositions are destroyed by the destruction of contact; contact is destroyed by the destruction of feeling; Feeling is destroyed by the destruction of thirst; thirst is destroyed by the destruction of the attachment; attachment is destroyed by the destruction of becoming; becoming is destroyed by the destruction of birth; and by the destruction of birth, old age and death, grief, lamentation, suffering, detachment and despair are destroyed. Such is the cessation of the whole mass of suffering.