The Buddhist 12 Nidanas … for Dummies.

Via on Mar 16, 2009

nidanas

“One Situation: Going to a Party”

…via Maggie, a Shambhala Buddhist community member. 

“For me, who is at the dharma-for-dummies stage, it’s an excellent Plain English description of the 12 nidanas; 12 links.”

…which describe the moment-by-moment formation and death of ego—our habitual struggle to maintain a sense of self. ~ ed. Waylon Lewis.

nidanas

Ignorance
enter the door, don’t know anyone, no reference point, freeze, go numb, heightened self consciousness

Formations 
can’t stay at the door all night, must do something, impulse to find a landing spot, vision narrows to find a reference point, head for the bar

Consciousness 
have now made it into the party, but need to nourish yourself, oral compulsion, have a drink

Name/Form 
feel warmth pervading body, feel fortified, empowered, embodied, feel more expansive

Six Senses 
survey the situation, look for someone to talk to

Contact 
See someone interesting who catches your eye.

Feeling 
person looks good, attractive, worthy of our attention, we feel good

Craving 
desire to talk to them, engage them, irresistible  impulse, so lonely

Grasping 
mind is fixated on how to approach them, Can’t ignore them, already

Becoming  
go over to talk to the person, yak, yak, yak

Birth 
Get to know the person, give birth to a relationship

Aging & Death  
conversation, focus starts to flag, diffuse, interrupted, reference point dies, gap no one to talk to

Ignorance  
panic, go numb again, heightened self consciousness, aloneness

Formation 
head back to the bar for another drink ...etc!

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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8 Responses to “The Buddhist 12 Nidanas … for Dummies.”

  1. Ken Green has given me permission to share his memory of who authored the "12 nids going to a party."

    Please see delightful tidbit below.
    Dear Maggie,
    Just to clarify this, I was at a talk many many years ago given by
    Douglas Penick who "riffed" this nidana description impromptu. It waa
    extemporaneous and on the spot as only Douglas can do.
    Hope this help shed some light on this wonderful tidbit.
    Yours in the dharma,
    Ken Green
    ********
    On Mar 16, 2009, at 11:12 AM, Maggie Scott wrote:

    I like to give, wherever possible, the authorsource of a document.
    No one I’ve asked knows who wrote the document below entitled One Situation: Going to a Party
    For me, who is at the dharma-for-dummies stage, it’s an excellent Plain English description of the 12 nidanas; 12 links; et al.
    One Situation: Going to a Party
    1. Ignorance – enter the door, don’t know anyone, no reference point, freeze, go numb, heightened self consciousness
    2. Formations – can’t stay at the door all night, must do something, impulse to find a landing spot, vision narrows to find a reference point, head for the bar
    3. Consciousness – have now made it into the party, but need to nourish yourself, oral compulsion, have a drink
    4. Name/Form – feel warmth pervading body, feel fortified, empowered, embodied, feel more expansive
    5. Six Senses – survey the situation, look for someone to talk to
    6. Contact – See someone interesting who catches your eye.
    7. Feeling – person looks good, attractive, worthy of our attention, we feel good
    8. Craving – desire to talk to them, engage them, irristable <sic> impulse, so lonely
    9. Grasping – mind is fixated on how to approach them, can’t ignore them, already caught
    10. Becoming – go over to talk to the person, yak, yak, yak
    11. Birth – Get to know the person, give birth to a relationship
    12. Aging & Death – conversation, focus starts to flag, diffuse, interrupted, ref <sic> point dies, gap no one to talk to
    1. Ignorance – panic, go numb again, heightened self consciousness, aloneness
    2. Formation – head back to the bar for another drink ETC!
    It was, I’m told, included in an outline for a course on karma from Shambhala International.
    Would anyone know who wrote this document?
    Thanks.
    ….Maggie

  2. Simonn says:

    Keep working ,great job!

  3. Margaret Scott says:

    Hi Waylon,

    I clicked on your link above entitled "The Buddhist 12 Nidanas … for Dummies" but was not taken to the site. It might be my "dummy mentality" of course! But could you please check to see if the permanent link is working? Thanks.

    • Sara Armendariz says:

      F'en awesome my dear! What a great job you did at bringing forth the teachings of the 12 Nidanas (which can be a tricky teachings to grasp) to a level that almost everyone can relate to.

    • Hunh…what should I link to? Whatever link was there isn't working for me, either.

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