dependent origination

That there are a vast number of Buddhist scriptures is well known. So no one can say definitively which sūtra or sūtras are representative of Buddhism. Largely for this reason many schools of Buddhism emerged in China, each based on the perspective of particular sūtras or treatises. Nonetheless, there is a fundamental doctrine common to all Buddhism—what the Buddha discovered about life and the universe—the truth of conditioned arising, also known as dependent origination. Simply put, conditioned arising means that things originate from causes and conditions, or alternatively, combinations of different factors produce all phenomena. For instance, for an article to be written, reach the hands of a reader, and help the reader understand something about Buddhism, the sequence of causal relations (causes and conditions) may appear simple but is actually exceedingly complex. First, a writing system must be developed and the author must master it. The author must absorb and accumulate knowledge. Then the author must have good health, enthusiasm, and understanding. Other necessary factors include the manufacture and use of stationery; proofing, typesetting, and printing; and handling and delivery of the mail. Finally, to satisfy the author's purpose in writing the article, the readers need to be interested, intelligent, and motivated to read. This example of conditioned arising is only the simplest and the most obvious. If we investigate further, we will see that any single relationship is necessarily connected to innumerable other relationships. Such interdependency among relationships is what is meant by “causes and conditions.”Things arise when causes and conditions come together, and things pass away when causes and conditions disperse. This is the doctrine of dependent origination and extinction.   Because everything in the universe arises and passes away according to conditions, everything is impermanent and consta