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Dependent Origination: Ignorance

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2013-03-12
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



Ignorance, or "ignoring" the facts, begins the conditioned chain of events known as Dependent Origination. Our refusal to acknowledge and look is the essential first cause of the sequencing of conditions that leads to struggle and separation. To reverse this process all we have to do is be amenable to seeing what is in front of our eyes. This, together with our willingness not to turn away from the implications of what we see, are the sole requirements necessary for the interruption of the links of causality. Awareness ends the belief that the world is static and fixed. We usually gloss over the continual unfolding and disarray we call, "our living experience," so we can use ignorance as a life preserver and steady our position by fixing it within the world.  How much of this unfixed universe we are willing to see will be determined by our sincerity, but the seeing, and therefore the ending of struggle, is always possible.


Dharma is the undefended fact, and facing facts is fundamental to Dharma growth.  Many times it is more convenient to pretend the facts do not exist. Turning away does not eliminate the fact; it sustains its damaging effects through repression. Look at your life and see which facts you allow in and which facts are denied.  Notice the fear that turns you away from the fact and how this fear competes with your Dharma understanding. Is it fear of change, fear of insecurity, or fear of mortality?  Work to release the psychic tension that governs these facts.


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