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9 May 2014

Solving Problems Using Dependent Origination

As we know, nothing happens by itself and everything has a cause and an effect.  This causality is also explained as Dependent Origination, which means that something is always depending on something else, and without the origin of something, something will not happen.  

The reason is nothing is absolute or permanent.  Everything is relative and impermanent.  Nothing exists on its own, but arises from something else.  Things continue to exist and transform owing to the coming together and dissolution of factors

This natural law can be simply stated as: When A arises, B comes to be.  When A does not arise, B does does not come to be. Similarly, when A ceases to arise, B ceases to come to be. In short, without A, there is no B.  With A, there is B. 

For example, this blog arises because I attended a talk by Justin Fong in April 2013 and was advised by him to start writing regularly.   

As you can see, there is constant dynamism in things.  Understand that there are multiple causes, i.e., many As and Bs.  All the factors interact with one another and each is a cause and also an effect for something else.  Everything is interacting with one another and there is no absolute existence for any one thing on its own.  

Knowing Dependent Origination means that we are the masters of our destiny.  Once we know this cause and effect, we can use it to solve any problem in the world.  Since nothing is permanent including problems, we can solve any problem if we know how. 

All we need to know is to identify the links where we can interfere and manipulate. For example, in business, the quality of customer service is due to the interaction of many factors, like trained staff, customers' expectations, product quality and technical factors.  It's obvious that product quality affects customer service, and customer service too affects product quality in the way it is perceived.  If we want to raise service quality, we need to identify the link that contributes the most to service quality.  Often times customer service has the most to do with customers' expectations.  So if we can manipulate customers' expectations, we can change customer service. 

One point to note in using Dependent Origination: there is no need to find out the first cause, as doing so is not productive as the first cause could be too far away.  Everything is circular and not linear, there is no starting and no ending, only doing.  A more productive way is to find out the cause that caused the most impact to the outcome, and we just tackle that would be enough.  Like we no need to find out the first instance when customer service is bad, we just need to find the biggest contributing factor to bad customer service. 

By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers, details of courses (not causes) at here.   Related articles:
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