Dependent Origination is a foundational teaching of Buddhism. It was through the understanding of Dependent Origination that the Buddha attained Enlightenment.
The Buddha said, “Deep indeed is Dependent Origination. It is by not realizing this principle that all have become entangled like a ball of thread, unable to stop dukkha and rebirth.”
The basis of Dependent Origination is life and the world are built on sets of relationships, in which the arising and the ending of things depend on some other factors which condition them.
When this is, that is.
This arising, that arises.
When this is not, that is not.
This ceasing, that ceases.
“This” + Certain Causes + Certain Conditions = “That”
On this principle of interdependence and relativity rests the arising, continuing, and the stopping of existence.
The Law of Dependent Origination emphasizes all phenomena in the Universe are inter- or co-dependent. Phenomena do not arise independently of supportive conditions.
A phenomena arises because combinations of conditions are present to support its arising. Phenomena will cease when the conditions and components supporting its arising change and no longer sustain it.
The presence of these supportive conditions, in turn, depend on other factors for their arising, sustenance, disappearance, and possible re-arising. In this sense, all things are empty (have the characteristics of Emptiness) of an independent self-nature.
Dependent Origination explains how Rebirth occurs.