Dependent Origination in Plain English (Paperback)
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In his famously accessible language, the author of Mindfulness in Plain English unpacks the foundational Buddhist theory of dependent origination, showing the reader how by eliminating ignorance we can eliminate suffering.
Nothing happens by accident. All things, no matter how mundane or meaningful, arise based on causes and conditions. And without those causes and conditions they would not arise at all. This, in short, is the Buddha’s teaching of dependent origination. Embedded in this fundamental theory are central teachings such as nonself, impermanence, and the four noble truths. And from it we can see for ourselves how suffering and rebirth, the great problems lying at the heart of the dhamma, arise—and how they pass away.
In Dependent Origination in Plain English, the venerable scholar-monk Bhante Gunaratana and his student Veronique Ziegler break down this keystone Buddhist teaching from the Pali canon into its core components, guiding the reader step by step from ignorance to suffering and its end. The process leading to future rebirths may seem far off, but it’s not some distant event. It’s happening now, with every breath you take.
About the Author
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana was ordained as a Buddhist monk at the age of twelve in Malandeniya, Sri Lanka. He’s the author of Mindfulness in Plain English, Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, and several more books—including his autobiography, Journey to Mindfulness. He currently lives at Bhavana Society Forest Monastery in West Virginia.
Veronique Ziegler earned her doctorate degree in experimental high-energy physics from the University of Iowa working on the BaBar experiment at SLAC National Laboratory in Menlo Park, California. She then took a research assistant position at the same lab and later a staff scientist position at Jefferson National Laboratory in Newport News, Virginia, where she currently works full time and is involved in the lab particle spectroscopy experimental program. In 2018, she started attending Bhante Gunaratana’s Dhamma classes. She has been an avid Dhamma student ever since.
“As the title suggests, Bhante Gunaratana has a unique ability to convey in plain English even the most profound aspects of the Buddha’s teachings. The Law of Dependent Origination was the culminating insight of the Buddha’s enlightenment as he sat under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya; it details the chain of causation that leads to cycles of suffering, and in reverse, to the potential for our own liberation. Bhante G. combines a scholarly acumen, a depth of practical, meditative wisdom, and a clarity of language that makes these teachings eminently accessible to the reader and so valuable and transformative for us all.”
— Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening