The Twelve Links – Part 1

Posted on Feb 18, 2018 | 0 comments

Jordan Zea a student at Langri Tangpa Buddhist Centre in Brisbane wrote the following story as an assignment for the Discovering Buddhism course in 2004, it outlines The Twelve Links of Interpendent Origination or The law of Dependent Origination, The Four Truths and a few other Buddhist teachings as experienced by a character named Nap. It is a rather long story so we have divided it up into parts for ease of reading.

“It is because of the mystery of birth, old age and death that Buddhas arise in the world. There is no realm of existence in which these realities do not exist, and it is the sole purpose of the Buddha’s enlightenment to penetrate into their root causes. Perhaps the most profound part of the Buddha’s teaching is the description of how this wheel of life, death and rebirth continues rolling on. The insight into all the links of the chain of existence is expressed in what is called the Law of Dependent Origination. There are twelve links in this Law of Dependent Origination.” Joseph Goldstein

In the world of Samsara was a place called Ignorance. In this place called Ignorance lived a being called Nap. Nap like all the other beings living in Ignorance was of the contaminated appropriated aggregate tribe. Conappaggs for short. Being a part of this tribe meant that you had five attributes, form, feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness. These five attributes were bestowed upon you when entering Ignorance. It was with these five attributes that the Conappaggs viewed the world of Samsara.

Nap was no different from the other Conappaggs. He lived in Ignorance therefore he had these five attributes and thus viewed the world through these. However, Nap was beginning to change, he wanted to step outside the boundaries of Ignorance. His work as a traveling musician had enabled him to explore all the areas of ignorance and to meet the many kinds of beings that inhabited these places.

After traveling the circuit for many years he began to notice a pattern emerging, amongst the beings of the towns he played in. He noticed that the beings living in Hurryup seemed to be extremely impatient and couldn’t wait for his act to finish so they could watch the next one. Then in Allforme they were greedy. They wanted to see him play but they didn’t want to pay. In Onlyme they were jealous; they didn’t want him to leave and play in other places. They had become very attached to him and wanted him to stay in Onlyme forever. In Shutup they would get angry if he didn’t play the songs they wanted to hear and they would boo and hiss at him. In his hometown of Ignorance, which was actually the capital of Ignorance, they were a mix of angry, greedy, impatient and jealous.

Once Nap had noticed this pattern of unhappiness there was no turning back. He wasn’t satisfied with life in Ignorance anymore. He vowed to travel far and wide until he found a place where beings were happier.

Now, apart from being widely traveled (within Ignorance that is) Nap was also widely read. He had once read of a place called Bodhicitta where the beings of the Bodhisattva tribe were very happy and very kind to each other, and worked only to help their fellow beings. He thought finding Bodhicitta would be a good place to start.

Nap wasn’t quite sure how he would find Bodhicitta though, for the book he read wasn’t too clear on where Bodhicitta was in relation to Ignorance. He asked around but no one knew how to find Bodhicitta. He looked for books in the library but he couldn’t find a map with Bodhicitta on it. Eventually he decided that the best thing to do would be to leave Ignorance and seek directions once he was on the path.

Not knowing where Bodhicitta was, or what to expect once he got there, he wasn’t sure of what to pack. Best to travel light he thought, and not carry too much baggage. So he threw some clothes into a small bag added his piano accordion and some food and water and he was packed. To carry him on his journey he chose two grey horses, Karma and Delusion. He would ride Karma and Delusion would carry his baggage. Although Nap didn’t fully understand, he had a sense of the enormity of his journey. He was going where no Conappagg (that he knew) had gone before.

So on a fairly nice day, (it wasn’t raining or anything) Nap set off from Ignorance in search of happiness and Bodhicitta. As this was his first trip outside of Ignorance Nap was very excited. He traveled for a day and a night carried along by Karma and Delusion. Not long into his second day he came across a place called Karmic Action.

See Part 2 to learn more of Naps adventure in Karmic Action…..


 

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