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the defilement round and kamma round in the recent past, you
should go back in time a little further, to sometime previous to
that offering, and in the same way discern the mentality and ma-
teriality present at that time. After having discerned the mental-
ity and materiality at that time, you go back a little further again
and repeat the process. In this way, you will be able to discern
mentality and materiality that occurred one day in the past, one
week in the past, one month in the past, one year in the past, two
years in the past, three years in the past and so on. Discerning
the mentality and materiality in this way, you will eventually be
able to discern backwards into the past until you can see the
mentality and materiality associated with rebirth-linking con-
sciousness (patisandhi-citta) which occurred at the conception of
Knowing and Seeing
this present life.
By looking for the causes of conception, you will be able to go
back even further, and will see either the mentality and material-
ity present at the time near death of the previous life, or the ob-
ject of the near death impulsion consciousness (maranasanna-
There are three possible objects of the near death impulsion.
They are:
1. Kamma; again having the thoughts that produced the
actions of giving, etc.
2. Kamma sign (kamma-nimitta); such as a pagoda, a
monk, flowers, or an object offered.
3. Rebirth sign (gati-nimitta); the place where you will be
reborn. For a human rebirth it is the mother s womb,
and is usually red like a red carpet.
If you can discern the mentality and materiality near death,
you will also be able to discern the object of the near death im-
pulsion, be it kamma, kamma sign, or rebirth sign. This object
appears because of the kammic force which produced the re-
birth-linking consciousness (patisandhi-citta). If you can discern
this, you will be able to discern the volitional formations and
kamma that produced the related resultant aggregates in this pre-
sent life. When you have discerned volitional formations and
kamma, you should try to discern the ignorance, craving, and
clinging that preceded them. After that, you should discern the
other mental formations associated with that kamma round and
defilement round.
In order to make this clearer, let me give an example of what
one meditator was able to discern. When she concentrated and
investigated at the time near death, she discerned the mentality
and materiality there, and saw the kamma object of a woman
How to See the Links of Dependent-Origination
offering fruit to a Buddhist monk. Then beginning with the four
elements, she further examined the mentality and materiality
present while making that offering of fruit to the Buddhist monk.
She found that the woman was a very poor and uneducated vil-
lager, who having reflected on her own state of suffering, had
made an offering to the monk with the wish for life as an edu-
cated woman in a large town.
In this case, ignorance (avijja) is the wrong knowledge that  an
educated woman in a large town is a reality; the liking and
craving for life as an educated woman is craving (tanha); the
attachment to life as an educated woman is clinging (upadana).
The wholesome intentions (kusala-cetana) to offer fruit to a
Buddhist monk are the volitional formations (savkhara), and the
kamma is the kammic force of those volitional formations.
In this present life that woman is an educated woman in a large
town in Myanmar. She was able to directly discern with right
view, how the kammic force of offering fruit in her past life has
produced the resultant five aggregates in this present life.
The ability to discern causes and effects in this way is the
knowledge called the Knowledge of Discerning Cause and Con-
dition (paccaya-pariggaha-bana).
Here is a slightly different example. In this case, a man inves-
tigated and saw that around the time of the near death impulsion,
there were four kamma objects competing with each other.
There was one kamma involving teaching Buddhist texts, an-
other involving teaching dhamma, yet another involving medita-
tion, and finally one teaching meditation. When he investigated
which of the four kamma had caused the resultant five aggre-
gates in the present life, he found that the kamma of meditating
was the one that had given the result, and that that kamma was
the object of the near death impulsion (maranasanna-javana-
citta). When he further investigated to discern which meditation
subject was being practised, he saw that he had been practising
Vipassana meditation, applying the three characteristics of im-
permanence (anicca), suffering (dukkha), and non-self (anatta)
Knowing and Seeing
to mentality and materiality. Then he made further investiga-
tions and saw that before and after each meditation sitting, he
had made the wish to be reborn as a man, to become a monk, and
be a monk who disseminates the Buddha s teachings.
In this case, ignorance is the wrong knowledge that  a man, a
monk, or a monk who disseminates the Buddha s teachings is a
reality. Craving is the liking and craving for it, and clinging is
the attachment to it. Volitional formations are the acts of prac-
tising Vipassana meditation, and kamma is the kammic force of
that action.
When you are able to discern the immediate past life in this
way, and are able to see the five causes of ignorance, craving,
clinging, volitional formations, and kamma in the past life, and
also the five results of rebirth-linking consciousness (patisandhi-
citta), mentality-and-materiality, the six sense-bases, contact,
and feeling in the present life, you need to discern in the same
way progressively further back to the second, third, and fourth
past life. You should do this for as many lives as you can dis-
cern in the past.
How To Discern the Future
Once the power of this insight-knowledge has been developed
by discerning causes and effects through those past lives, you
can, in the same way, discern causes and effects in the future.
The future you will see, and which may still change, is the result
of past causes together with present causes, such as the medita-
tion practice you are doing. To do this you start by discerning [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]