缘起 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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yuánqǐ 缘起

Dependent Origination

梵文pratītyasamutpāda的意译。“缘起”就是“依缘(一定的条件)而起(发生)”。意思是一切事物、现象乃至社会的一切活动都是因缘和合体,都处于相续不断的因缘关系中,依一定条件而有生灭变化。“缘起”是佛教思想的起点,也是佛教各宗派所共有的理论基础。佛教以此解释宇宙万物、社会乃至各种精神现象变化无常、生灭变化的内在法则。

The term is a translation of the Sanskrit word pratītyasamutpāda. Yuan (缘) means conditions; qi (起) means origination. That is to say, all things, phenomena, and social activities arise out of the combinations of causes and conditions. They exist in the continuous relationship between causes and conditions. Thus all things originate, change, and demise depending upon certain conditions. Dependent origination is the fountainhead of Buddhist thought and forms the common theoretical basis for all Buddhist schools and sects. Buddhism uses this concept to explain everything in the universe, the constant changes of social and spiritual phenomena, and the internal laws of origination, change, and demise.

引例 Citation:

◎物从因缘故不有,缘起故不无。(僧肇《肇论》引《中论》)

(万物依因缘的聚合而成,故不能说“有”;又依一定的缘而有生灭变化,故不能说“无”。)

All things originate out of the combinations of causes and conditions, thus they cannot be regarded as original existence; at the same time, they arise, change, and demise upon certain conditions, so they cannot be said as non-existence. (Sengzhao: Treatises of Sengzhao)

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