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Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’

Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
6/5/16 7:27 PM
Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
 
The term ‘nama-rupa’ is a pre-Buddhist Brahmanistic and ‘creationist’  term (from the Chandogya Upanishad of the Samaveda), which refers to the process of evolution of differentiation into names and forms i.e. to the unfolding of the undifferentiated primal state into the manifest world, prior to which there was nothing that existed (Wikipedia: Namarupa-vyakarana). 
 
This Brahmanistic principle is also found in the Biblical Book of Genesis, where in the beginning  the earth was formless and desolate and God subsequently created and differentiated the world by naming, such as “day”, “night”, “sky”, “earth”, “sea”, etc.
 
In his enlightenment, the Buddha discovered this ‘naming’ activity to be irrelevant to the core matter of ending suffering since the Buddha discovered Nibbana is the cessation of craving (rather than the cessation of naming, perception or conceptualising per se). 
 
Therefore, in the Pali suttas, the non-Brahmanistic stock definition of nama-rupa is:
 
Feeling, perception, volition, contact and attention — these are called mentality (nama). The four great elements and the material form derived from the four great elements — these are called materiality (rupa).
  
That said, in the Pali scriptures, there are a number of passages about ‘nama-rupa’ that appear to retain the Brahmanistic or pre-Buddhist context.
 
A salient feature of the Pali scriptures is the Buddha did not teach his Dhamma to all people and, generally, when speaking to Brahmans, the Buddha taught something in accord, albeit an improvement to, their existing religious beliefs.

More obviously, since such Brahmans were not learned in the teachings of the Buddha, when the Buddha used the term ‘nama-rupa’ when speaking to them, obviously, ‘nama-rupa’ meant what was comprehensible to the Brahmans.
 
For example, the Kevatta Sutta and the Brahmanimantanika Sutta both share a similar theme, namely, they are about adventures with Brahma gods and are quite adversarial or humiliating towards Brahmanism (thus it is unlikely they were actually spoken by the Buddha but are likely to be some later-day anti-Brahman propaganda). At the end of each sutta, no listener attains enlightenment thus the teachings found within are not teaching about Buddhist enlightenment.

In both suttas is found the following verse:
 
Consciousness without feature,
without end,
luminous all around:
Here water, earth, fire & wind
have no footing.
Here long & short
coarse & fine
fair & foul
name & form
are all brought to an end.
 
The verse above obviously shows ‘name-form’ retains its Brahmanistic meanings for the following reasons:

1. In the stock suttas, ‘rupa’ is defined as the four great elements of earth, wind, fire & water.

2. In the Kevatta Sutta, it is made explicitly clear the four great elements do not cease without remainder (i.e., vanish). Instead, they can have ‘no footing’ in luminous consciousness.  

3. Yet, the verse above states, in contradiction, that: “name & form are all brought to an end” or ‘stop’, which means earth, wind, fire & water are brought to an end.  

Therefore, it appears the Buddha here was possibly attempting to guide these Brahmans into a state of samadhi where they abandon their creationist fixation with 'nama-rupa'.
 
Similarly, in the Jata Sutta, the brahman Jata Bharadvaja went to the Buddha for advice, from which the Buddha provided the final answer:
 
Where name-&-form...
totally stop without trace:
that's where the tangle
is cut.
 
At the end of the Sutta, Jata Bharadvaja seeks admission as a monk (but does not immediately attain enlightenment) however at a later time attains enlightenment.
 
Again, the above verse is contrary to Buddhist principles, such as the interdependence of consciousness & nama-rupa (SN 12.67) and the interdependence consciousness and wisdom (MN 43). In other words, nama-rupa, in the Buddhist context, cannot cease for enlightenment to occur since enlightenment wisdom is dependent upon consciousness and consciousness is dependent upon nama-rupa.
 
At SN 12.63, it is made explicitly clear when: “mind and body (nama & rupa) are comprehended, there is, no further work left to do for the noble disciple”. In other words, contrary to the Kevatta Sutta, Brahmanimantanika Sutta & Jata Sutta, SN 12.63 does not state when nama-rupa ceases there is no further work to do.
 
Here, it is important to distinguish between the Pali words ‘nirujjahati’ and ‘uparujjhati’ (found in the Brahman suttas above) and the Pali word ‘nirodha’ found in Dependent Origination. ‘Nirujjahati and ‘uparujjhati’ means to ‘vanish’, ‘end’, ‘stop’ or even ‘annihilate’. Where as ‘nirodha’, whilst often translated as ‘cessation’, actually means ‘non-confinement’, having the sense of ‘liberation’. ‘Quench’ has been suggested as a more fitting translation.
 
Thus, as explain in SN 22.53, when ignorance and craving 'nirodha', consciousness, nama-rupa, sense organs, contact and feelings do not cease to be or cease to operate. Instead, they are liberated from ignorance, craving and bondage.
 
It is made explicitly clear in numerous suttas (such as MN 38 or Iti 44) that the arahant remains consciousness, and thus retains nama-rupa, in the state of enlightenment.
 
In conclusion, it appears quite obvious the verses spoken to Brahmans about the ending or stopping of nama-rupa use the term ‘nama-rupa’ in a Brahmanistic context. This accords to the salient teaching and social style of the Buddha of not teaching Buddha-Dhamma to all listeners. Also, the Brahman listeners were not familiar with the Buddhist meaning of nama-rupa and could have only understood it in their own context. Here, the Buddha is obviously encouraging the Brahmanist pre-occupation with ‘creationism’ should come to an end.  


emoticon

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
6/5/16 8:10 AM as a reply to Nicky.
A great read.  Thanks!
Eric

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
6/5/16 7:28 PM as a reply to Eric B.
Thanks for the feedback, Eric. 

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/20/20 8:20 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Greetings Nicky,

  Your post was very welcome and addresses an issue I have been having difficulties with. Please allow me to explain. Nāma Rupa, the term has been a key, core part of both my practice and theory for as long as I have practiced. I was raised in Vipassana noting tradition, descended down from Mahasi. The defining of the Five Aggregates as Rupa plus four immaterial factors called, collectively Nāma, has been a stable clear part of all my practice. The awareness of the difference between Nāma and Rupa, the first part of the stages of Insight is therefore based on this. Distinguishing between Mind and Matter.
  Now. Since a few years back, when reading either Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi translated texts, or Access to Insight Ajahn Thannissaro translations the term 'Name and Form' kept appearing. This angered and frustrated me immeditately and seemed to show a lack of comprehension. The simple idea of collectively calling 'Feelings-Perceptions-Mind States- Sense-Awareness' as 'Name' seems absurd. So this stewed away and I didn't really address it, other than some quarrels with a student who refused to change his use of Name and Forn which he had read.
 Lately I have been audio recording suttas and therefore have stumbled up against the issue once again. This time it is with Sutta Central, Ven Sujato Bhikkhu. Now, on his website there are chat discussion forums and the issue of the term Nāma Rupa came up. It is 127 entries long. Ven Sujato goes far and wide in his explanation and justification of using Name and Form. He seems to pull the issue into areas such as the original spirit, aboriginal mind and recommends people to go and read The Golden Bough and understand early use of names in pre-rational society, and the anthrology of magic in order to understand the early Buddhist use of the term.
 As Ven Sujato has a stance of being anti-Mahasi Sayadaw practice, anti-'Abhidhamma' [which he seems to blame for the introduction of the use of Nāma-Rupa as I understand it - collective noun for the immaterial four aggregates ] the issue is muddied. The Thai Forest Tradition has a long history of aggressive antagonism towards Burmese Vipassana. Therefore the problem is enshrouded with a further complication.
  My concern is that the Western translator publishers Bodhi, Thanissaro and Sujato are likely to carry this meaning far into the mainstream Buddhist culture and may cause confusion or even loss of the meaning.
   The application of the translation often doesnt make any sense at all. For example there is a sutta describing birth, where the term nāma entering the womb is used...  so naturally they try to squeeze their own logic in and say 'Name enters the womb', and so on. During the Dependent Origination sequence we get 'Name & Form' in there, a kind of meaningless factor...meaning neither perception/perceiving/interpreting or Identity and form.. 

this problem goes on and on and i don't see much light at the end of the tunnel with it.

Recently I wrote to a friend monk about it .. and just said 'Well its obvious and clear in the Suttas that Nāma means Name - so thats that'

Actually in the Digital Pali Reader nāma has three meanings given:
1 - Name, to name, to be named.   2 - The collective four aggregates.    3 - nammati - to incline towards, to bow towards, to have the tendency towards...  such as a habit to like music, or food, or war. I believe it is the source of the term for homage or bowing towards 'Namo ....Tassa'.

So I have been looking for an independent observer who can shine some light on the issue and your post seems to add some clarity. The idea of that descent from the light of union with Brahma as going into division and naming and divided forms. I wonder if you have comment you could share to address the complications i have described?

Yours with metta

Bhante Ven Rakkhita Samanera

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/21/20 6:35 AM as a reply to Bhante Rakkhita Samanera.
Bhante Rakkhita Samanera:
 The simple idea of collectively calling 'Feelings-Perceptions-Mind States- Sense-Awareness' as 'Name' seems absurd. So this stewed away and I didn't really address it, other than some quarrels with a student who refused to change his use of Name and Forn which he had read.

 Lately I have been audio recording suttas and therefore have stumbled up against the issue once again. This time it is with Sutta Central, Ven Sujato Bhikkhu. Now, on his website there are chat discussion forums and the issue of the term Nāma Rupa came up. It is 127 entries long. Ven Sujato goes far and wide in his explanation and justification of using Name and Form. He seems to pull the issue into areas such as the original spirit, aboriginal mind and recommends people to go and read The Golden Bough and understand early use of names in pre-rational society, and the anthrology of magic in order to understand the early Buddhist use of the term.

The Thai Forest Tradition has a long history of aggressive antagonism towards Burmese Vipassana. Therefore the problem is enshrouded with a further complication.

  My concern is that the Western translator publishers Bodhi, Thanissaro and Sujato are likely to carry this meaning far into the mainstream Buddhist culture and may cause confusion or even loss of the meaning.
  
The application of the translation often doesnt make any sense at all. For example there is a sutta describing birth, where the term nāma entering the womb is used...  so naturally they try to squeeze their own logic in and say 'Name enters the womb', and so on. During the Dependent Origination sequence we get 'Name & Form' in there, a kind of meaningless factor...meaning neither perception/perceiving/interpreting or Identity and form.. 

Actually in the Digital Pali Reader nāma has three meanings given:
1 - Name, to name, to be named.   2 - The collective four aggregates.    3 - nammati - to incline towards, to bow towards, to have the tendency towards...  such as a habit to like music, or food, or war. I believe it is the source of the term for homage or bowing towards 'Namo ....Tassa'.

So I have been looking for an independent observer who can shine some light on the issue and your post seems to add some clarity. The idea of that descent from the light of union with Brahma as going into division and naming and divided forms. I wonder if you have comment you could share to address the complications i have described?

Yours with metta

Bhante Ven Rakkhita Samanera

Dear Bhante. Hello. 

As I posted, for Brahmins & Hindus, the word 'namarupa' means 'name-form', 'subject-object', 'division and naming and divided forms', etc. But for the Buddha, it meant 'mind-body' or 'mental-physical'. 

Bhikkhu Bodhi originally translated nama-rupa as mentality-materiality in his Majjhima Nikaya but appeared to possibly come under the influence of the Bhikkhu Sujato Group when translating his Samyutta Nikaya and certainly with his Anguttara Nikaya (as shown in the footnotes). In the introduction to his Samyutta Nikaya, on page 47, Bhikkhu Bodhi unconvincingly explains why he changed the translation. While generally refering to nama-rupa as mentality-materiality, in his explanation, Bhikkhu Bodhi appeared to give weight to his misunderstandings of SN 12.19 and DN 15 to decide to translate as name-form. DN 15 is another sutta composed for propagation to Brahmins, where 'namarupa' means 'conceptual designations'. Since the core Dhamma is found in SN 12.2 and since Bhikkhu Bodhi does not understand the Pali (kāyo bahiddhā ca nāmarūpaṃ) in SN 12.19, he appears to have given weight to the spurious DN 15. It is ironic that Bhikkhu Sujato appears to belittle the Digha Nikaya yet also appears to give weight to its teachings of nama-rupa. Sujato said about the Digha Nikaya: 
It is no coincidence that these elaborate texts are often addressed to the brahmins, who were the self-proclaimed spiritual leaders of the time. The brahmins were the custodians of the most sophisticated texts in ancient India up to this time, the Vedic literature. It seems that one aim of the Dīgha was to impress such learned men. These discourses offer a wide range of examples of how the Buddha related to those of other religious paths.

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/the-long-discourses-dhamma-as-literature-and-compilation/11523

As for Bhikkhu Thanissaro, he is highly studied in world philosophy and his often inaccurate translations often have a Zen bent, similar to how poorly sutta learned Thai Western Forest monks such as Ajahn Sumedho & Amaro explain nama-rupa in Brahmanistic-Hindu terms as 'subject-object' etc. However, Thanissaro has recently improved his understanding of nama-rupa, as shown in the examples on pages 3 to 6 of his book called Shape of Suffering. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/shapeofsuffering.pdf

The above said, I doubt this is a issue of the Thai Forest Tradition. I doubt AjahnChah would have used the term 'name-form'. I know Ajahn Buddhadasa never used the term 'name-form' but always used the term 'mind-body'. Yet Buddhadasa's Western translator now often uses the term translation 'name-form'. In short, apart from the Sri Lankan Nanananda, the issue of 'name-form' appears to be largely a Western issue or problem. 

As for Bhikkhu Sujato, generally, its difficult for me to take anything he says on the subject matter of Dependent Origination seriously because he appears to have the sole goal of promoting reincarnation. This said, again, it is ironic he would translate nama-rupa as 'name-form' given, based on Commentary tradition, there would be no 'mind-body' for a 'relinking-consciousness' to take reincarntion in. A 'relinking consciousness' needs a 'mind-body' to descend into. Thus Sujato's colleague Bhikkhu Brahmali adheres to 'mind-body' because Brahmali appears to not want to fall into this contradiction about his cherished 'reincarnation'. 

To end, namarupa for Buddhists means 'mentality-materiality' or 'mind-body'. The word 'namati' you mentioned is actually not related to the word 'nama' because they have different roots (thus Buddhaghosa in his Vissudhimagga appeared gramatically incorrect). However, what is true is 'nama-rupa' in Dependent Origination does actually mean the mind-body 'bending' or 'inclining' under the defiling power of the sankharas, as described in MN 19, below: 
Bhikkhus, whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination (nati) of his mind. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of sensual desire, he has abandoned the thought of renunciation to cultivate the thought of sensual desire, and then his mind inclines (namati) to thoughts of sensual desire. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of ill will…upon thoughts of cruelty, he has abandoned the thought of non-cruelty to cultivate the thought of cruelty, and then his mind inclines (namati) to thoughts of cruelty

https://suttacentral.net/mn19/en/bodhi

Ultimately, in Dependent Origination, nama-rupa means the mind-body becoming aroused & giving inappropriate attention to (that is inclining & bending under the push & pull of) the ignorant sankharas. This reality can clearly be known in meditation; which removes all doubts about the meaning of nama-rupa in Dependent Origination. 

Regards and thank you emoticon

Also, I wrote a guided meditation here, years ago: https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5843765#_19_message_5843772

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/21/20 8:07 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Dear Nicky,

  I just wish to express my deep gratitude for your sharing. It will take me some time to absorb and process the insights, information and references you have kindly provided. So while I do that I just wish to express my sincere gratitude for your intelligent and authoritative knowledge. I have been looking for a long time for explanations and now there seems to be help and assistance. So I would wish to resume the exchange and discussion, but first I will need time to gather and rearrange my ideas based on your helpful directions. Primarily I wish you to know that your objectivity , skill in clarifying this complex issue, lack of bias is deeply appreciated and valued. The guidance through this thicket of views currently presented by apparent schisms is rare. Many authority figures may be confusing the field and no one is addressing the issue with clarity.
 So before I collate the new information and start to process and research on it I wish to express graitude and hope your valued knowledge will be available for further feedback and guidance in the near future.
   With gratitude and humble respects

Bhante Ven Rakkhita Samanera

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/21/20 8:19 PM as a reply to Bhante Rakkhita Samanera.
You are most welcome Bhante.

Personally, my only interest is comprehending and respecting what the Buddha taught. I came to my own conclusions meditating upon each of the various individual dhammas & sub-dhammas listed in MN 9 and SN 12.2. 

Since I am an individual practitioner, I am not aligned to any group, sect or agenda.

I note: since Buddhism became a social or cultural religion, it appeared to alter its teachings on Dependent Origination to make the teaching more suitable to promoting morality among laypeople. 

As for "name-form", my impression is this is taught in the West because it sounds more interesting or mystical plus appeals to the popular "non-duality". 

Metta 

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/21/20 9:22 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Thankyou Nicky.

  I would appreciate to be able to run some sub-related questions by you as you seem well disciplined in processing the works we have to understand what the Buddha taught.
  I read Noa Ronkin's excellent 'Early Buddhist Metaphysics', from this I got that the 'Mind-Material' 'Nāma-Rupa' style as a listed categorisation of knowledges started off with Sariputta, in the Sanghiti Sutta, Dasuttara Suutas, that then became added into the Patisambhida Magga. All if which is very old, contemporary to the Buddha and not 12th Century Abhidhamma. Even though it may have appeared so as it was added on to the end of the Abhidhamma as the Seventh Book. This made it appear as the newer one chronologically. Why did Thanissaro leave Sanghiti Sutta, Dasuttara Suutas,  out of Access to Insight?
 These are the kind of works that some of the key people such as Ven Thanissaro and Ven Sujato seem to be throwing out. The reason has always baffled me. It seems a long way back tha the Sixteen Stages of Insight style of approach was rejected, by Ajahn Chah and thus on down the line. I met Ven Sumedho once and he openly mocked 'Vipassaninnies'. Such contempt seems to have been contagious. This may have added to the 'Nama-Rupa' = 'That Burmese Late Abhidhamma Non-authentic Commentary stuff' approach.
  Can you recommend a course of readings to shine light in this issue please? I know you already have done and I am committed to following them all up. I would love to get to the bottom of this and clearly understand the various dynamics and stances with more authority and clarity. I see the two Suttas you have just referred that is a good start, thank you.

   I text to speech listened to a complete thread on Sutta Central under the heading of 'What is Nāma Rupa?' it took three hours to listen through. During it Sujato was chipping in with odd tangents. In order to 'help people understand why the correct meaning and term is Name & Form' he was refering people to The Golden Bough and books on Anthropology of Magic, and the role of names in pre-rational society. Your references to Hindu and Brahminism helped me to understand why he would say so. I hoped to understand at least where his views were coming from, as he himself has now gained substantial credibility and influence - evidently as you say if he is bending Bhikkhu Bodhis ear.

 I continue to navigate this maze and your input is deeply appreciated. The fact that you are an independent, with just the sincere wish to understand the actualities around the authentic Buddha's teachings makes your clear, unbiased insight so rare and useful. I am deeply grateful for it and optimistic I can start to clear up some of the thicket I have found.

 I do wish to do so not for endless intellectualisation and simply wish to clarify matters and help to avoid schism and misinformation and confusion.

Thankyou for your prompt feedback. I am deeply indebted and grateful

May many beings be freed from avoidable suffering

Metta

Bhante Ven Rakkhita Samanera

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/21/20 11:29 PM as a reply to Nicky.
and a P.S
 I have made careful note of the tips, references provided in your above thread notes.
I am particularly interested in the Guided Meditation
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5843765#_19_message_5843772

I shall be text to speech audio using that later. As it allows me to work with eyes closed and mind in meditation.

I listened to P,3 - 6 of Ven Thanissaro's The Shape of Suffering. Excellent recommendation also. I see the nāma usage becoming much more applicable as you point out. Also the downsides of the circular graphic, sequential representation  of Dependent Origination which has been plaguing me for years is addressed there.

Metta
Bhante Ven Rakkhita Samanera

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/21/20 11:55 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:
You are most welcome Bhante.

Personally, my only interest is comprehending and respecting what the Buddha taught. I came to my own conclusions meditating upon each of the various individual dhammas & sub-dhammas listed in MN 9 and SN 12.2. 

Since I am an individual practitioner, I am not aligned to any group, sect or agenda.

I note: since Buddhism became a social or cultural religion, it appeared to alter its teachings on Dependent Origination to make the teaching more suitable to promoting morality among laypeople. 

As for "name-form", my impression is this is taught in the West because it sounds more interesting or mystical plus appeals to the popular "non-duality". 

Metta 

aloha nicky,

   I have enormous respect for your erudition and judicious sharing of the same.

   But...

   When the difference between "name and form" and "mentality and materiality" is considered great, you may be dealing with paper clips and rubber bands, and risking their monsterish permutations.

   It's not only here. I was thinking of the discussion on another thread of the difference between percepts and concepts, and how thin all those metaphysical constructs actually are when dealing with the One Pearl.

   Can you dig it?

   ("the popular non-duality"? what do you conceive this is? how about unpopular nonduality? is there a nonduality that fits into your conception or realization of the dhamma? please excuse if these questions seem intrusive, I'd like to hear you free form on these topics, with sutta references of course...smile)


terry




from "Green Man, Earth Angel, The Prophetic Tradition and the Battle for the Soul of the World" by tom cheetham:


Myths, or mythic moves, open spaces. Rational accounts limit them. This is necessary. Both are necessary. But we live after the Enlightenment. We live amidst the wreckage of the split between the Rational and the Irrational. When Reason is your God, the repressed returns, monstrous, titanic. The wreckage of Reason, its burned-out skeleton, is the logical device: rubber bands and paper clips.

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/23/20 4:44 AM as a reply to terry.
terry:

   
Thank you Terry 
 
"Name-form" means "naming-forms", such as naming a certain visual object a "tree" or "cloud". 

"Mentality-materiality" means when the mind & body are aroused by ignorance & primal desires and lose self-control. For example, there is an urge to eat pizza, which the mind struggles to control, even despite doctors orders to refraim from eating pizza & fatty foods. I trust you have been in a situation where your mind-body loses self-control and engages in some external activity via the senses. 

As for "non-duality", in my experience, it is a "bright delusion" or "beguilement of concentration". It is a conditioned state of mind. The Pali suttas do not teach "non-duality" as the goal. 

Kind regards emoticon

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/23/20 2:35 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:
terry:

   
Thank you Terry 
 
"Name-form" means "naming-forms", such as naming a certain visual object a "tree" or "cloud". 

"Mentality-materiality" means when the mind & body are aroused by ignorance & primal desires and lose self-control. For example, there is an urge to eat pizza, which the mind struggles to control, even despite doctors orders to refraim from eating pizza & fatty foods. I trust you have been in a situation where your mind-body loses self-control and engages in some external activity via the senses. 

As for "non-duality", in my experience, it is a "bright delusion" or "beguilement of concentration". It is a conditioned state of mind. The Pali suttas do not teach "non-duality" as the goal. 

Kind regards emoticon

   What nama actually means as a root word and what it stands for in philosophy are quite broadly different things. You choose a very narrow perspective. More narrow than your discussion above. The buddha would make allowances, as you have noticed.

   "In your experience" - that is to say, having not experienced nonduality, obviously - you call the ultimate attainment a "beguilement."

   The pali suttas teach no other than nonduality as a goal. I wonder how you would translate "nibbana"?


terry

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/24/20 12:13 PM as a reply to terry.
Nibbana.  terry (or indeed anyone), can I ask something, to help clarify some of these differences?

Do you think the buddha lived in nibbana?  Or did he only experience it sometimes - say during cessation, or during contemplation of the void. And if he only experienced it sometimes, what would you call his normal state of being?  And maybe just to add to that - was Uncle Sid in nibbanna when he was giving Ananda a telling off?

I ask because I think sometimes nibbana is used to mean liberation, and sometimes cessation.  And sometimes non-duality is used to mean absoprtion in the ground, and sometimes to mean cessation, and sometimes to mean non-clinging to concepts and separateness.  I think most of these arguments are therefore really just about definitions, not really about the phenomenal experience of liberation.

Just trying to trim the thicket here.  Want to help?

Malcolm

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/24/20 12:18 PM as a reply to terry.
terry:
Nicky:
terry:

   
Thank you Terry 
 
"Name-form" means "naming-forms", such as naming a certain visual object a "tree" or "cloud". 

"Mentality-materiality" means when the mind & body are aroused by ignorance & primal desires and lose self-control. For example, there is an urge to eat pizza, which the mind struggles to control, even despite doctors orders to refraim from eating pizza & fatty foods. I trust you have been in a situation where your mind-body loses self-control and engages in some external activity via the senses. 

As for "non-duality", in my experience, it is a "bright delusion" or "beguilement of concentration". It is a conditioned state of mind. The Pali suttas do not teach "non-duality" as the goal. 

Kind regards emoticon

   What nama actually means as a root word and what it stands for in philosophy are quite broadly different things. You choose a very narrow perspective. More narrow than your discussion above. The buddha would make allowances, as you have noticed.

   "In your experience" - that is to say, having not experienced nonduality, obviously - you call the ultimate attainment a "beguilement."

   The pali suttas teach no other than nonduality as a goal. I wonder how you would translate "nibbana"?


terry


the law, the path, the truth...
the dharma, the path, nibbana...
the path, the way...



from "the sufi doctrine of rumi," william chittick:

(chittick here is directly quoting rumi ffrom the mathnawi)

...the Religious Law is like a candle showing the way. Unless you gain possession of the candle, there is no wayfaring [i.e., unless you follow the Shari'ah, you cannot enter the Tariqah;] and when you have come on to the way, your wayfaring is the Path; and when you have reached the journey's end, that is the Truth. Hence it has been said, 'If the truths (realities) were manifest, the religious laws would be naught."As (for example), when copper becomes gold or was gold originally, it does not need the alchemy which is the Law, nor need it rub itself upon the philosopher's stone, which (operation) is the Path; (for), as has been said, it is unseemly to demand a guide after arrival at the goal, and blameworthy to discard the guide before arrival at the goal. In short, the Law is like learning the theory of alchemy from a teacher or book, and the Path is (like) making usef chemicals and rubbing the copper upon the philosophers stone, and the Truth is (like) the transmutation of the copper into gold. Those who know alchemy rejoice in their knowledge of it, saying, ''We know the theory of this (science)"; and those who practice it rejoice in their practice of it, saying, "We perform such works"; and those who have experienced the reality rejoice in the reality, saying, "We have become gold and are delivered from the theory and practice of alchemy: we are God's freedmen"....

The law is knowledge, the Path action, the Truth attainment unto God.

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/24/20 12:36 PM as a reply to terry.
terry :



pali suttas teach the abandoning of false speech. best wishes emoticon

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/24/20 2:07 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:
terry :



pali suttas teach the abandoning of false speech. best wishes emoticon


(smile)

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/24/20 8:36 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
curious:
Nibbana.  terry (or indeed anyone), can I ask something, to help clarify some of these differences?

Do you think the buddha lived in nibbana?  Or did he only experience it sometimes - say during cessation, or during contemplation of the void. And if he only experienced it sometimes, what would you call his normal state of being?  And maybe just to add to that - was Uncle Sid in nibbanna when he was giving Ananda a telling off?

I ask because I think sometimes nibbana is used to mean liberation, and sometimes cessation.  And sometimes non-duality is used to mean absoprtion in the ground, and sometimes to mean cessation, and sometimes to mean non-clinging to concepts and separateness.  I think most of these arguments are therefore really just about definitions, not really about the phenomenal experience of liberation.

Just trying to trim the thicket here.  Want to help?

Malcolm

The following definitions are from Pali suttas:

* Nibbana is the absence of craving or greed-hatred-delusion. The Buddha lived for 45 years in Nibbana. 

* "Cessation" means the "cessation of suffering" or "the cessation of ignorance". It does not mean the cessation of life. For example, when teachings related to dependent origination refer to "cessation of consciousness" or "cessation of sense contact", this refers to the cessation of ignorance polluting consciousness or sense-contact. It does not mean being "unconscious". 

* "Void" ("sunnata") means "void of self" (SN 35.85). The Buddha was always void for 45 years because his use of any personal pronoun was merely a "convention" (SN 1.25). 

* Yes. Buddha was void or in cessation or in Nibbana when censuring Ananda. 

* Nibbana is both liberation from and cessation of suffering. 

Sutta MN 1 distinguishes between 'ekatta' ('oneness') and 'Nibbana'. Therefore, per MN 1, 'oneness' ('non-duality') is not 'Nibbana'. 

Also: 

Non-duality is the bright delusion there is no internal & no external; that the mind & world or the self & world are the same or "one". "Advaita" means "One God" or "Brahman". Non-duality is a temporary state of mind; where as Nibbana for the Arahant is a permanent experience. 

There is nothing wrong with abiding in a Non-Dual Consciousness. It is beneficial for spiritual experience. However, ultimately, it is merely a subjective state of mind. It occurs due to the subjective suspension of discrimination; which is no different to the subjective activation of discrimination. Ultimately, there is no "Oneness" because all sense experiences (apart from Nibbana) are ultimately impermanent or vanishing. 

The above distinctions relate to experience because non-duality is actually not true. It is merely an illusion or hallucination. Given there is "separation" from every sense experience, non-duality cannot be true. 

The Buddha taught non-craving or non-attachment is how to abide in Nibbana. The Buddha didn't teach about non-duality. 


emoticon

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/25/20 12:53 AM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:
curious:
Nibbana.  terry (or indeed anyone), can I ask something, to help clarify some of these differences?

Do you think the buddha lived in nibbana?  Or did he only experience it sometimes - say during cessation, or during contemplation of the void. And if he only experienced it sometimes, what would you call his normal state of being?  And maybe just to add to that - was Uncle Sid in nibbanna when he was giving Ananda a telling off?

I ask because I think sometimes nibbana is used to mean liberation, and sometimes cessation.  And sometimes non-duality is used to mean absoprtion in the ground, and sometimes to mean cessation, and sometimes to mean non-clinging to concepts and separateness.  I think most of these arguments are therefore really just about definitions, not really about the phenomenal experience of liberation.

Just trying to trim the thicket here.  Want to help?

Malcolm

The following definitions are from Pali suttas:

* Nibbana is the absence of craving or greed-hatred-delusion. The Buddha lived for 45 years in Nibbana. 

* "Cessation" means the "cessation of suffering" or "the cessation of ignorance". It does not mean the cessation of life. For example, when teachings related to dependent origination refer to "cessation of consciousness" or "cessation of sense contact", this refers to the cessation of ignorance polluting consciousness or sense-contact. It does not mean being "unconscious". 

* "Void" ("sunnata") means "void of self" (SN 35.85). The Buddha was always void for 45 years because his use of any personal pronoun was merely a "convention" (SN 1.25). 

* Yes. Buddha was void or in cessation or in Nibbana when censuring Ananda. 

* Nibbana is both liberation from and cessation of suffering. 

Sutta MN 1 distinguishes between 'ekatta' ('oneness') and 'Nibbana'. Therefore, per MN 1, 'oneness' ('non-duality') is not 'Nibbana'. 

Also: 

Non-duality is the bright delusion there is no internal & no external; that the mind & world or the self & world are the same or "one". "Advaita" means "One God" or "Brahman". Non-duality is a temporary state of mind; where as Nibbana for the Arahant is a permanent experience. 

There is nothing wrong with abiding in a Non-Dual Consciousness. It is beneficial for spiritual experience. However, ultimately, it is merely a subjective state of mind. It occurs due to the subjective suspension of discrimination; which is no different to the subjective activation of discrimination. Ultimately, there is no "Oneness" because all sense experiences (apart from Nibbana) are ultimately impermanent or vanishing. 

The above distinctions relate to experience because non-duality is actually not true. It is merely an illusion or hallucination. Given there is "separation" from every sense experience, non-duality cannot be true. 

The Buddha taught non-craving or non-attachment is how to abide in Nibbana. The Buddha didn't teach about non-duality. 


emoticon

Love it Nicky!  Thanks. I agree with almost all of that, but you have put it far better than I ever could.  You are a commenter of great discernment.  If I had been asked those questions I would have answered in almost same way you did, if I were able to.  I agree that is the meaning of those things, and that is how we should remember them. emoticon  (The only difference is that I would make the point that some aspects of suffering continue to naturally arise from the aggregates, but otherwise don't stick.  Perhaps Uncle Sid went even beyond that, but I suspect not). 

I do think the other version of cessation - seeing the three characteristics and falling into a discontinuity, before the mind reboots and wisdom arises - is part of the Pali canon.  MN 44 describes this as the cessation of perception and feeling, but I think it is clear from the description that it is not '9th Jhana' but rather the cessation described by Daniel in MCTB.  The phenomenology is exaclty the same, particularly around the three doors.  Interestlngly, though, it is just one of many steps in the development of widom.  Anyway, MN 44 is one of my favourites.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and precise answer.

Malcolm

RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/25/20 6:55 AM as a reply to Not two, not one.
* Nibbana is the absence of craving or greed-hatred-delusion. The Buddha lived for 45 years in Nibbana. 

* "Cessation" means the "cessation of suffering" or "the cessation of ignorance". It does not mean the cessation of life. For example, when teachings related to dependent origination refer to "cessation of consciousness" or "cessation of sense contact", this refers to the cessation of ignorance polluting consciousness or sense-contact. It does not mean being "unconscious". 

NIkki, how would you define the cessation/fruition experience?



RE: Nama-rupa: ‘Context and Reality’
Answer
3/25/20 8:15 PM as a reply to Not two, not one.
 some aspects of suffering continue to naturally arise from the aggregates

Mmm... the above is a sematics thing. The word "dukkha" in the Pali is used in 3 ways: 

1. "Suffering", per the Noble Truths, meaning the stress or mental torment of attachment, selfishness, self-cherishing & other emotional proliferations

2. "Unsatisfactoriness" or "lacking pleasurability", per the Three Characteristics, meaning the impermanent fluctuating five aggregagates cannot bring lasting true happiness. 

3. "Unpleasant/painful" feelings or "vedana". 

Arahants experience dukkhas #2 and #3 but do not experience dukka #1. The Buddha advises us the only dukkha that can be eradicated is the dukkha #1 of craving, attachment, self-view, sorrow, lamentation, grief, despair, etc. 

Regards