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Who experiences the 12 links?

62 Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature

Part of an ongoing series of teachings (retreat and Friday) based on the book Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature, the third volume in The Library of Wisdom and Compassion series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

  • Reviewing the example from Pali explanation with a chart
  • Effects of reflecting on the 12 links
  • Recognizing the weak point between feeling and craving
  • Using serenity and insight to counteract craving
  • Explanation of how nothing permanent goes from one life to the next
  • Examples of bud and flower, image of face in the mirror

Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature 62: Who Experiences the 12 Links? (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Do some analysis of your daily activities. Where are you creating complete karmas for virtue or nonvirtue? Are you dedicating and rejoicing afterwards? Are there activities in your day that could create great virtue if you simply shifted your mind in that way? Resolve to make effort towards being mindful of the karma you create, abandoning nonvirtue and making your virtuous karma stronger.
  2. Explain what are projecting causes and results and what are actualizing causes and results?
  3. When we understand our situation in samsara and turn towards the Dharma for refuge, why is it that we pay particular attention to our relationship with sense objects? Do you often relate to cyclic existence as a pleasure grove? How does this relationship with sense objects begin to change as we deepen our spiritual practice? Make examples of how you’ve seen this in your own life. What benefits have you experienced as a result?
  4. Explain in your own words why the space between feeling and craving is such a powerful place in the twelve links.
  5. Ven. Chodron taught that the twelve links are talking about depending arising. How do you understand this?
  6. Consider the Buddha’s words from the Rice Seedling Sutra that “Nothing whatsoever goes from this world to the next.” Do you feel any resistance when contemplating this as you think about yourself or loved ones transmigrating from life to life?
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.