13-14 September, 2014

The Twelve Nidānas or Twelve Links of Dependent Arising/ pratītyasamutpāda

with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Twelve nidanas 

  1. Ignorance (Skt. avidyā; Tib. མ་རིག་པ་ma rigpa;Wyl. ma rig pa): Fundamental ignorance of the truthsand the delusion of mistakenly perceiving theskandhas as a self.
  2. Formation (Skt. saskāra; Tib. འདུ་བྱེད་dujeWyl.'du byed): As long as there is ignorance there is the formation of karma: positive, negative and neutral. This forms the rebirths in the various realms.
  3. Consciousness (Skt. vijñāna; Tib. རྣམ་པར་ཤེས་པ་,nampar shepaWyl. rnam par shes pa): Formations cause the consciousness of the next existence. The consciousness which propels one towards the next existence is called the impelling consciousness. And the consciousness that is led to that particular state, once the conditions have come together, is known as the consciousness of the impelled result. These two aspects of consciousness are counted as a single link since together they establish the link between two lives.
  4. Name-and-form (Skt. nāma-rūpa; Tib. མིང་དང་གཟུགས་ming dang zukWyl. ming dang gzugs): Thefive skandhas. By the power of consciousness one is linked to a womb, and there the body develops: the form and the four ‘name’ skandhas of sensation, perception, formation and consciousness.
  5. The six ayatanas (Skt. aāyatana; Tib. སྐྱེ་མཆེད་དྲུག་kyemche drukWyl. skye mched drug): The six innerayatanas of the sense faculties then arise.
  6. Contact (Skt. sparśa; Tib. རེག་པ་rekpaWyl. reg pa): The coming together of objects, sense faculty and consciousness is contact.
  7. Sensation (Skt. vedanā; Tib. ཚོར་བ་tsorwaWyl. tshor ba): From contact arises sensation: pleasurable, painful and neutral.
  8. Craving (Skt. tṛṣṅā; Tib. སྲེད་པ་sepaWyl. sred pa): There then develops a desire not to be separated from pleasurable sensations and to be free from painful sensations.
  9. Grasping (Skt. upādāna; Tib. ལེན་པ་lenpaWyl. len pa): As craving increases, it develops into grasping, i.e. actively striving never to be separated from what is pleasurable and to avoid what is painful.
  10. Becoming (Skt. bhava; Tib. སྲིད་པ་sipaWyl. srid pa): Through this grasping one acts with body, speech and mind, and creates the karma that determines one’s next existence.
  11. Rebirth (Skt. jāti; Tib. སྐྱེ་བ་kyewaWyl. skye ba): Through the power of this becoming, one is reborn in a particular birthplace whenever the necessary conditions are assembled.
  12. Old age and death (Skt. jarā-maraa; Tib. རྒ་ཤི་ga shiWyl. rga shi): Following rebirth there is a continual process of aging as the aggregates change and develop; and eventually there is death when the aggregates finally cease.




Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo is a renowned Buddhist teacher, popular worldwide for her warm, clear and down-to-earth presentation of the Dharma and its application in daily life. The inspiring story of her life, including 12 years of secluded retreat in a Himalayan cave, is the subject of a well-known biography, "Cave in the Snow". Jetsunma is the founder and abbess of Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery near Tashijong, H.P