What is so important about Patthana ?
It has to be studied, preached and above all, to be realized. Avoiding the two extremes of Self-Indulgence (Kaama Sukkallikaanu Yogha) and Self-Motivation (Attha Kilamathaanu Yogha). The disciple has to follow the Middle Path (Mahjjima Patipadha) which leads into Serenity, Peace, Calm and Bliss of the ultimate goal, Nibbana…..
Immediately after the demise of the Lord Buddha, the chief Arahants compiled and arranged Dhamma in its present form of Tripitaka. the three baskets. The Vinaya Pitakaya deals with rules and regulations of the Monks and the Nuns. The Suttha Pitaka consists chiefly of discourses delivered by the Lord Buddha. This refers to as “Vohara Deshana” – the conventional teachings, while in the Abhidhamma Pitakaya is found the ultimate teaching “Paramattha Deshana”, including “Patthana Dharmaya”.
The Abhidhamma Pitaka investigates Mind and Matter (Naama & Roopa) which constitutes the complex machinery of the being called Man and explains in detail the process of birth and death. It helps us to understand things as they truly are, in their true perspective. Although a philosophy has been developed in these lines, Buddhism always emphasizes practice and realization.
On the seventh night of the Buddha’s Enlightenment He directed his attention to the question of creation: who actually created this universe with all its creatures and their destinies? This was a subject of utmost importance to the Buddha, as His objective of research was to find a solution to the existential suffering of all creatures. He had grave doubts about a benevolent God being responsible for creating man and beast destined to go through such pains of birth, disease, old age and death as he had himself witnessed. But the fact was that all of the religious teachers and philosophers of his day were thatching that the universe and its creatures were created and sustained by an all powerful God, whom they named Ishvara or Brahma. Thus it was a matter of priority for him to obtain clarification on this through the Enlightened Wisdom that he had attained.
The knowledge and vision that he received on this subject was that not only the universe, above all, everything else with no exception what so ever, all things, even the minutest elements, substances and compounds and all mental formations such as feelings, perceptions, thoughts, ideas, intentions, emotions and desires of all beings come into existence through the interaction of other things reckoned as Cause (Hethu) and are sustained by causes, which then are recognized as Conditions. (Pratthya) and with cessation of those causes and conditions they fall away, leaving room for other things similarly to arise, exist and then be subject to all manners of change before they fall away.
This activity of one thing determining something else, called Sankharic activity or conditionality, is by no means a simple process; it is a highly complex and complicated process. The Patthana text, under the term Paccaya, enumerates and describes 24 different modes in which this interaction takes place, with particular reference, of course, to our psychological life experience.
Patthana Dharmaya is the detailed exposition of Cause and Effect
(The English terms are from the Most Venerable Nyanaponika Maha Thera’s Buddhist Dictionary – Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines)
The Paticca Samuppada (Law of Cause and Effect) and the Patthana Dhamma should be studied under a Teacher well versed in Abhidhamma. Patthana is the detailed exposition of Cause and Effect
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