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shabkar's picture

I think the question of whether enlightenment depends on causes and conditions is a very interesting one. Clearly ultimate reality does not depend on anything, or it wouldn't be ultimate. Our recognition of it might arguably depend on something, but doesn't that suggest that ego can "get" enlightenment? I have always said, and it seems to accord with my experience, that ego is the only thing that can seek enlightenment and the only thing that can never get it. Krishnamurti said that we can open the doors and window, but we can't make the wind blow. Somebody else said enlightenment is always an accident, and practice makes you accident prone. I wonder if this is a Theravadin/Mahayana split. Theravadins do seem to list causes and conditions for it, but I have not seen that in the Mahayana. My own sense is that it always takes something beyond self, like the love of the guru/teacher or a sudden shock. Just chewing on this.

Katarina Fischer's picture

Wonderful clear teaching! Thank you!

mitaky's picture

Although nirvana (unconditioned) is not in the map of dependent origination, isn't attainment of nirvana contingent on supporting causes and conditions like right view etc. of noble 8-fold path and factors of enlightenment? Looking forward to listen to the next one. Thank You.

Tempel's picture

In a partially joking manner you could say the aim of Buddhist practice is to remove the "A" from "Avijja", which would unravel the entire process of DO. There are some people with "little dust in their eyes" which might be another way of saying the "A" in their Avijja is already weak or small.

Conversely, this means their wisdom faculty is strong as is the establishment of Right View. The 8-fold path is mean to weaken and disrupt the forces within DO, and to finally once and for all uproot Avijja.

The 7 Factors of Awakening are those factors of mind that support penetrative insight, which again destroys Avijja and thus destroys the chain reaction of DO. When the process of DO is temporarily very weak, we are likely to get glimpses of nibbana.

Barbra's picture

Apologies for complaining but it does not make sense to me that the audio quality is so poor, would not this be your first concern when publishing the retreats? I almost quit listening and this topic is crucial and teacher is excellent. Can you please pay more attention to the audio quality in the future? Thank you.

stanoly30's picture

Link not working here.

Joanna Piacenza's picture


Please contact our Customer Service team at or 1-800-873-9871. They should be able to help you from there.

Thank you,

DLTotemeier's picture

Such a wonderful topic; thank you. I, too, hope the audio quality for the remaining segments is better. It was often difficult to hear the speaker clearly.

jrand333's picture

Thank you! I so needed this as I am suffering so much after the loss of my best friend, Sage, an 85 pound yellow Labrador who became ill suddenly over three weeks ago. Your teaching has reminded me that my grasping and wanting her to still be present as she has been for the last 8 years is what is causing my suffering. Your words have brought me back to my foundation in Buddhist teachings that the grief process has muddied.

kammie's picture

We seem to get away from basic teachings; maybe that's why this seems so interesting and useful. Thank you.

muditakaruna's picture

This is wonderful, thank you. I went to the original retreat at Spirit Rock and this is a very helpful review. Tempel's clarity is superb.

gwenmhakoltov's picture

One of my favorite subjects, and ticket outta here! Mas, por favor!

tanenbaumd's picture

Thank you! Your examples brought great clarity to mind in understanding that a mislabling or particpating in forces will add to and continue the ignorance or suffering etc.

mamalester's picture

This was a challenge. The teaching is intense. Hopefully the distracting fidgeting noises overriding the speaker's microphone will not be present in future retreats.

Russosharon's picture

Unfortunately, the audio quality probably won't get much better. These retreats are just one presentation, but delivered in chunks over the month. So I expect the next one will be exactly the same. Glad I'm not the only one that was distracted by the noises!

jao118's picture

Really enjoyed this teaching.

nikos's picture

Thank you for this retreat!

Hugh Tenkan Ohaire's picture

Very helpful. I look forward to more on this vital subject.