Dependent Origination - Paṭiccasamuppāda

I The General Principle of Dependent Origination

"This being; that exists. Through the arising of this that arises. This not being, that does not exist; through the ceasing of this; that ceases."

imasmiṃ sati idaṃ hoti, imassuppādā idaṃ uppajjati. imasmiṃ asati idaṃ na hoti, imassa nirodhā idaṃ nirujjhati [SN 2,1,3,1]

This is a statement of the Law of Causality. It states that the universe follows fixed laws. This denies theories of chance arising, predetermination by a supreme overlord etc. The Dep. Org. is the middle way between creationism and mechanical evolution.

II The Specific Dependent Origination

This whole series of twelve links represents a detailed exposition of the first and second noble truths. It answers the question "How did this whole mass of suffering come to be?"

1 Ignorance - avijjā
Ignorance of the Four Noble Truths in particular. That is to say, not seeing the realities of suffering and its origin.
2 Volitional Formations - saṅkhārā
Acts of the will in body, speech or mind. The making of karma.
3 Consciousness - viññāṇa
Knowing the sensory objects through the six types of consciousness, i.e. vision, hearing , smell, taste, touch and thought.
4 Body-Mind - nāmarūpa
The physical body and the three mental aggregates excluding consciousness, i.e. mental formations, perception and feeling. These together are sometimes called the mental body.
5 Sixfold Base- saḷāyatana
The psycho-physical bases of the six senses. The sense organs and their associated mental factors.
6 Contact - phassa
Sensory impingement. The coming together of three factors; the physical organ, its object and consciousness. Example - visual contact is the coming together of light waves and the sensitive cells of the retina together with conscious awareness.
7 Feeling - vedanā
Pleasant, unpleasant or neutral emotional reaction to sense contact.
8 Craving - taṇhā
Craving for sense pleasures, craving for existence, craving for nonexistence. NB the link between feeling and craving is the key point where the cycle can be broken and liberation can occur.
9 Clinging - upādāna
The intensification of craving to the level of obsession. Defilement is very difficult to deal with if it has been allowed to develop to this stage. Four kinds of clinging are listed; clinging to sense pleasure , to views, to rites and rituals and to the doctrine of a self.
10 Becoming - bhava
Coming into existence or being. There are three levels of being; sensual, fine-material and immaterial. These correspond to sensory, jhanic and formless jhanic consciousness. Also to existence in the various realms. Sensual being includes the lower realms, human and sensual heavens. Fine-material includes the brahma realms and immaterial the realm of formless deities. NB nibbana is outside all of these realms and is not a type of becoming at all.
11 Birth - jati
The emergence into one or another order of beings.
12 Old Age and Death- jarāmaraṇa
The inevitable result of being born.

III The Transcendental Dependent Origination

This is a series from the Upanisa Sutta [SN 2,1,3,3] showing the third and fourth truths. In other words, this is the causal sequence of liberation.

Links 1 through 10 are the same as in the general series.

12 Suffering - dukkha
The difference here is that one is conscious of the suffering inherent in existence so the inevitable progression of birth, aging & death is not mindless. This awareness of a problem allows the emergence of a solution.
13 Faith -saddhā
This is the first glimpse that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Faith is needed at this juncture because it is all you have to rely on.
14 Joy -pāmojja
The first result of faith is an emotional lightening. This is the pure happiness that arises from devotional practise.
15 Rapture-pīti
The intensification of that joy together with a deepening unification of mind gives rise to rapture experiences. This is counted a factor of the first two jhanas.
16 Tranquillity - passaddhi
This is the deep meditative peace that is on the other side of joy and rapture.
17 Bliss- sukha
The subtle happiness of the calmed and purified mind.
18 Concentration - samādhi
The fully unified state of mind. This mind is wieldy and malleable; i.e. fit to do the work of insight.
19 Knowledge and Vision of Things as They Are - yathābhūtañāṇadassana
This refers to the direct seeing that is done in Insight Meditation. Direct understanding of mind and body, rise and fall, and the three characteristics of suffering, impermanence and not-self.
20 Disenchantment- nibbidā
Having seen things in their real nature one becomes dis-enchanted like one awakening from a magic spell. Having seen reality clearly one is no longer fooled thereby.
21 Dispassion - virāga
Having seen the reality of samsara clearly in the previous stages, one loses interest in all objects of desire.
22 Liberation- vimutti
Without the motive force of desire for becoming the wheel is broken and samsara transcended. This is the realization of nibbana, the ultimate human experience.
23 Knowledge of Destruction of the Cankers- āsavakkhayeñāṇa
The enjoyment of the fruit. An end to all suffering and defilement.

See "The Transcendental Dependent Arising" by Bhikkhu Bodhi for a detailed explanation.