Dependent Origination Chart

dependent origination

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Living beings of the 6 realms (the life-forms of samsaric existence), afflicted with ignorance and attached to illusory appearances, have been bewildered throughout beginningless samsara. They take what is selfless to be a self – what is egoless to be an ego – and thus adrift on the ocean of samsaric misery through compulsive attachment to the imprints of evil action. – Tibet’s Poetic Saint Milarepa explaining the general condition of samsara, or cyclic, mundane existence.

This chain of dependent origination is the process by which beings are born repeatedly into the samsaric condition with its 6 life states: hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, gods, and anti-gods. The state & condition of their births & lives is determined by their re-actions (Karma) to experience in previous lives. You must reflect on the fact that there’s no telling where you’ll be reborn after dying, and since we are inexorably impelled by the force of action, you must consider the cause-effect relationship of action.

Sp according to Milarepa, the first step is to have a thorough understanding of the samsaric conditions and its cause. To meditate on misery, death and impermanence to quicken the initial impulse for freedom into a powerful drive for liberation, and to understand that our present human existence is the best possible opportunity for overthrowing the oppression of ignorance and achieving such liberation.

Motivated by these understandings, one then enters the door of actual Buddhist practice:

“For protection from lower births, Caused by the force of evil deeds, Lama & The Triple Gem are my sole Refuge.”


( Extracted from Drinking The Mountain Stream , Songs of Tibet’s beloved Saint Milarepa )