Saṃyutta Nikāya 12

Connected Discourses on Causation

23. Proximate Cause

At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, I say that the destruction of the taints is for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know and does not see. For one who knows what, for one who sees what, does the destruction of the taints come about? ‘Such is form, such its origin, such its passing away; such is feeling … such is perception … such are volitional formations … such is consciousness, such its origin, such its passing away’: it is for one who knows thus, for one who sees thus, that the destruction of the taints comes about.

“I say, bhikkhus, that the knowledge of destruction in regard to destruction has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for the knowledge of destruction? It should be said: liberation.

“I say, bhikkhus, that liberation too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for liberation? It should be said: dispassion.

“I say, bhikkhus, that dispassion too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for dispassion? It should be said: revulsion.

“I say, bhikkhus, that revulsion too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for revulsion? It should be said: the knowledge and vision of things as they really are.

“I say, bhikkhus, that the knowledge and vision of things as they really are too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for the knowledge and vision of things as they really are? It should be said: concentration.

“I say, bhikkhus, that concentration too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for concentration? It should be said: happiness.

“I say, bhikkhus, that happiness too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for happiness? It should be said: tranquillity.

“I say, bhikkhus, that tranquillity too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for tranquillity? It should be said: rapture.

“I say, bhikkhus, that rapture too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for rapture? It should be said: gladness.

“I say, bhikkhus, that gladness too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for gladness? It should be said: faith.

“I say, bhikkhus, that faith too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for faith? It should be said: suffering.

“I say, bhikkhus, that suffering too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for suffering? It should be said: birth.

“I say, bhikkhus, that birth too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for birth? It should be said: existence.

“I say, bhikkhus, that existence too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for existence? It should be said: clinging.

“I say, bhikkhus, that clinging too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for clinging? It should be said: craving.

“I say, bhikkhus, that craving too has a proximate cause; it does not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for craving? It should be said: feeling.

“For feeling, it should be said: contact. For contact: the six sense bases. For the six sense bases: name-and-form. For name-and-form: consciousness. For consciousness: volitional formations.

“I say, bhikkhus, that volitional formations too have a proximate cause; they do not lack a proximate cause. And what is the proximate cause for volitional formations? It should be said: ignorance.

“Thus, bhikkhus, with ignorance as proximate cause, volitional formations come to be; with volitional formations as proximate cause, consciousness; with consciousness as proximate cause, name-and-form; with name-and-form as proximate cause, the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as proximate cause, contact; with contact as proximate cause, feeling; with feeling as proximate cause, craving; with craving as proximate cause, clinging; with clinging as proximate cause, existence; with existence as proximate cause, birth; with birth as proximate cause, suffering; with suffering as proximate cause, faith; with faith as proximate cause, gladness; with gladness as proximate cause, rapture; with rapture as proximate cause, tranquillity; with tranquillity as proximate cause, happiness; with happiness as proximate cause, concentration; with concentration as proximate cause, the knowledge and vision of things as they really are; with the knowledge and vision of things as they really are as proximate cause, revulsion; with revulsion as proximate cause, dispassion; with dispassion as proximate cause, liberation; with liberation as proximate cause, the knowledge of destruction.

“Just as, bhikkhus, when rain pours down in thick droplets on a mountain top, the water flows down along the slope and fills the cleft, gullies, and creeks; these being full fill up the pools; these being full fill up the lakes; these being full fill up the streams; these being full fill up the rivers; and these being full fill up the great ocean; so too, with ignorance as proximate cause, volitional formations come to be; with volitional formations as proximate cause, consciousness … with liberation as proximate cause, the knowledge of destruction.”