What Is Dependent Origination?
The crucial mindset of a Mahapurisa is that He views things based entirely on Dependent Origination. Unique to Buddhism, Dependent Origination is the most exceptional teaching of the Buddha. Its apex position was declared by the Buddha Himself as “One who sees Dependent Origination sees the Dhamma; one who sees the Dhamma sees Dependent Origination.”
 Majjhima Nikāya Sutta 28 Mahāhatthipadopama Sutta
Dependent Origination, in brief, means everything is interrelated. Absolutely nothing has an independent inherent existence.
It has four important qualities, namely, non-conclusive conclusion, necessity, invariability of change and conditionality.
Traditionally, Dependent Origination is often mistakenly interpreted as “A” produces “B”.
Then, there are authoritative studies which correctly understand it as “A” co-arising with “B”.
However, hitherto, the teaching of Dependent Origination as having these four crucial qualities has never been emphasized, intensively studied or deeply comprehended and succinctly stated.
This, we submit, is the pinnacle approach to Dependent Origination.
What are the four qualities?
- Non-Conclusive Conclusion
Non-conclusive Conclusion of Dependent Origination means that:
“Nothing is what you wish to conclude, as it is there or it is not there.
It is not what you wish to conclude it is or it is not.
It is not what we like to conclude as it is nothing or it is something.”
In other words, the trick is, due to the interdependency of conditions, we should never hastily jump to any conclusion or remain fixated on any one view and yet, for ostensible progressive development, we also need to conclude inconclusively.
The quality of “Necessity” of Dependent Origination is that it is the all invasive, ever impending law which overwhelms and governs every single aspect of sentient beings.
It compulsively conditions and reconditions the lives of all sentient beings from all angles, even if uninvited.
Fire necessarily burns. Whether a person is ignorant or aware of the quality of a burning fire, he will be burnt.
Hence, this quality of necessity can be interpreted in a more practical sense as it is necessary for us to know and apply Dependent Origination in our daily lives or else, we will be immediately caught in the backlash.
Every gain simultaneously invites a loss. Whether a person has this knowledge or not, while he is enjoying a gain, inevitably, the hard knock of loss will immediately haunt him.
Therefore, it is necessary to know the necessity quality of Dependent Origination.
- Invariability of Change
The Invariability of Change of Dependent Origination means that all conditions are consistently impermanent.
This means that we will always experience the unchanging reality of change.
As an illustration, it is like a continuously reshuffled deck of playing cards which is dealt out with no set rules, in infinite configurations, be it 3 cards or 10 cards or 27 cards or any combination, all from that seemingly fixed deck of cards. Invariability is the fixed set of cards and Change is the infinite configurations of this fixed set of cards.
Conditionality means that all conditions at the same time invariably unfold infinite permutations and possibilities.
As an example, if “0” co-arises with “1”, when we have condition “0”, conditionally “0” can give rise to another “0”; “0” can give rise to “1”, “0” can give rise to “01” or “10”, “0” can give rise to “00” or “11”, etc.
As another example, Prince William is a condition which could interplay with many sets of conditionalities.
The first set of conditionality is his nuclear family, Princess Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
The second set is his immediate family, Prince Charles, the late Princess Diana and Prince Harry.
The third set of conditionality are his subjects. Prince William is just a condition which is a reflection of an interplay of myriad sets of conditionalities.
He is reflectively a “son”, a “husband”, a “father”, a “future king” and other infinite conditionalities.
In summary, non-conclusive conclusion of Dependent Origination, reveals that each situation may have an apparent conclusion but it is non-conclusive.
Dependent Origination is a necessity because it governs every aspect of life and therefore, we need to face all conditions with earnestness and fearlessness. Otherwise, they will consume you, now or slowly.
If Dependent Origination is correctly understood and the invariability of change of conditions accordingly navigated, we will triumph over the matrix of conditions within infinite conditionalities.
 ‘tathatā avitathatā anaññathatā idappaccayatā ayam vuccati … paticcasamuppādo Paccaya Sutta (No 20), Nidānavagga Nidānasamyutta, Samyutta Nikāya