Twilight wrote:It is just worded in a very poetic way so it could be interpreted as eternal consciousness not to scare newcomers away.
Was the Buddha really interested in changing his Dhamma to recruit newcomers? Or was it the clergy of King Ashoka?
Namarupa is a core Brahmanistic term:
Nāmarūpa-vyākaraṇa (Sanskrit: नामरुपव्याकरण ), in Hindu philosophy, refers to the process of evolution of differentiation into names and forms i.e. to the unfolding of the primal state into the manifest world prior to which unfolding there was nothing that existed; it refers to the conditioned reality https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namarupa-vyakarana
If the Buddha really did speak these often strange DN suttas, it would seem logical if the Buddha was answering questions made by Brahmans, he would be using the term 'nama-rupa' as understood by them (eg. DN 11, MN 49, SN 7.6).
DN 15 contains a nama-rupa similar to Brahmanism:
qualities, traits, signs, and indicators through which there is a description of the mental body were all absent, would designation-contact be discerned in the material body? DN 15
The Buddhist nama-rupa is:
And what is mentality-materiality... Feeling, perception, volition, contact and attention — these are called mentality. The four great elements and the material form derived from the four great elements — these are called materiality. MN 9; SN 12.2
This supports the theory the DN is propaganda for converting Brahmans.
The obscure passage in DN 11 is also in MN 49, another sutta with adventures with Brahma-gods. For me, the consciousness without feature (immaterial jhana) is unlikely to be Nibbana because Buddha did not generally teach Nibbana to non-Buddhists. It seems an instruction to Brahmans according to their own terminology to abandon/give-up the 'naming of forms'. Therefore, it is said in featureless consciousness (samadhi/jhana), 'naming-forms' comes to an end. This is contrary to Buddhism, which states consciousness depends on nama-rupa (materiality-mentality) & for nama-rupa to nirodha
, consciousness must also nirodha