This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Twelve Nidanas or the Wheel of Causation

The doctrine of Impermanence is elaborated via the Twelve Nidanas interconnected by the Law of Dependent Origination (Paticca-samuppada). The Twelve Nidanas, which we can call the wheel of causation, is a concept repeatedly mentioned in the Suttas and this is because it contains the general theory of phenomena in light of the Evil with which Buddhism is most concerned. The final outcome of the series is to demonstrate that the consciousness of ‘I’ is not situated within an immortal soul but arises from the stream of cause and effect, as foam upon the surface of the ocean. The purpose and use of the series is not so much to explain evil, for in Buddhism there is no question of theodicy as with Christianity, but rather to provide the necessary insight that will allow the source of evil to be destroyed. And the source of evil? The consciousness of ‘I’ and its desires.

Here, then, is the Wheel of Causation’ and its manner of revolution:[1]

Other lives (past)

Ignorance (avijja)

Pre-dispositions (sankhara): prejudices or habits of thought, mental complexes, will

Purpose or intention (cetana)

This present life

Sense organs (sadayatana)

Contact (sparsa)

Emotion (vedana)

Craving (tanha)

Attachment (upadana)

Other lives (future)

Coming-to-be (bhava)

Rebirth (jati)

Old age and death, sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief, despair (jaramaranam)

The formulation always ends with: “Such is the uprising of this entire body of Evil.”

The path to the cure lies in the removal of those conditions which support the pathological state, which could be summarized by a single term: the thought of the ‘I’ and of ‘mine,’ which are false and amount to Ignorance plain and simple.

[1] Majjhima Nikaya, i, 140.

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