From Dhamma Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In Buddhism, there is much discussion of cause and effect, including the laws of kamma, Dependent Origination and in other teachings. This is compatible with the natural sciences and scientific method.

There are five levels of causation, namely:

Non-living matter (physical world), Seed (biological world), Mind (psychological), Kamma, Dhamma

(Note that kamma is only one of the levels of cause and effect and does not explain everything.)

There are many causes and effects listed in the Tipitaka, especially the Abhidhamma, which implies no singular effects. The Paṭṭhāna book of the Abhidhamma goes into detail about the 24 causal relations. This is confirmed by this statement from Ven. Buddhaghosa, the writer of the Visuddhimagga:

Here there is no single or multiple fruit of any kind from a single cause,nor a single fruit from multiple causes, but only multiple fruit from multiplecauses. So from multiple causes, in other words, from temperature, earth, seed,and moisture, is seen to arise a multiple fruit, in other words, the shoot, whichhas visible form, odour, taste, and so on. But one representative cause and fruitgiven in this way, “With ignorance as condition there are formations; with formations as condition, consciousness,” have a meaning and a use. (Visudhimagga XVII. 106)

The doctrine of multiple causes and effects (rather than the simplistic thinking of singular causes and singular effects) is compatible with modern psychology and the social sciences with their use of examining multiple causes and effects, probability, factor analysis, and spurious relationships.