Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Name-and-form
11
52%
Mind-and-body
1
5%
Mentality-and-materiality
8
38%
Other (explain below)
1
5%
 
Total votes: 21

SarathW
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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by SarathW » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:10 am

is not created by oneself
Agree.
I am talking here conventionally.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:11 am

Greetings,
form wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:09 am
Regarding the above, doesn't rupa means particles? Something like atoms and subsequently smaller particles?
In the Abhidhamma model perhaps, but not in the Suttas.

Although, you may also be thinking of kalapas.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by SarathW » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:13 am

doesn't rupa means particles?
I think it is patavi, apo, thejo, vayo
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by form » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:18 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:11 am
Greetings,
form wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:09 am
Regarding the above, doesn't rupa means particles? Something like atoms and subsequently smaller particles?
In the Abhidhamma model perhaps, but not in the Suttas.

Although, you may also be thinking of kalapas.

Metta,
Paul. :)
I tend of think of the form in "name and form" as the same as form in the five aggregates. What is your opinion on this?

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:38 am

Greetings form,

As others have pointed out above, words can have spectrum of meanings, and just as the word English "form" can span a range of meanings from physicality through to image, so too is it with the Pali term rūpa.

I don't think that's particularly controversial, however I expect what I say next to raise a few eyebrows...

As I understand it, aggregates (aka khandas, lit: bundles) are not ongoing extant things. They arise only upon their delineation (see: MN18). The five aggregates signify various means by which experience can be aggregated and bundled, but those fabricated bundles are totally void, empty and without substance, as per the Phena Sutta

That is a concise summary, but these matters have been discussed more comprehensively in the twelve page topic: Aggregate?.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by form » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:46 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:38 am
Greetings form,

As others have pointed out above, words can have spectrum of meanings, and just as the word English "form" can span a range of meanings from physicality through to image, so too is it with the Pali term rūpa.

I don't think that's particularly controversial, however I expect what I say next to raise a few eyebrows...

As I understand it, aggregates (aka khandas, lit: bundles) are not ongoing extant things. They arise only upon their delineation (see: MN18). The five aggregates signify various means by which experience can be aggregated and bundled, but those fabricated bundles are totally void, empty and without substance, as per the Phena Sutta

That is a concise summary, but these matters have been discussed more comprehensively in the twelve page topic: Aggregate?.

Metta,
Paul. :)
In pali context, the form in terms of aggregates and the form in dependant origination is totally different or somewhat related or the same?

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:55 am

Greetings Form,
form wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:46 am
In pali context, the form in terms of aggregates and the form in dependant origination is totally different or somewhat related or the same?
As I understand it, the rūpa (form) in paticcasamuppada is conjoined with nāma (name), and has a vortex/whirlpool dynamic with "vinnana".

The rūpa (form) of the five aggregates is not necessary different from that, but the bundling/designation of rūpa in that particular schema has an implication of physicality. Yet, as with all the khandas, it is a deception implication, as explained by the Phena Sutta...
Monks, suppose that a large glob of foam were floating down this Ganges River, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a glob of foam? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any form that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in form?

...

Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he grows dispassionate. Through dispassion, he's released. With release there's the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'
Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by form » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:08 am

Regarding the above, I would think a modern person trying to understand what the pali means to an ancient person will surely face difficulty. There is a gap between the two type of minds and worlds.

As a modern person, I take form as biological and physical origininated atoms and molecules, forming up the biological body, including nerve impulses, and physical components of the external sense bases.

I take name as labelling of the inputs of the six senses based on previous experiences.

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:18 am

Greetings,
form wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:08 am
As a modern person, I take form as biological and physical origininated atoms and molecules, forming up the biological body, including nerve impulses, and physical components of the external sense bases.
As a modern person, you're welcome to take up rupa however you like... but I do wonder how you're going to righty see it, and become disenchanted with it, in keeping with the Phena Sutta, when you regard it thus.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

form
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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by form » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:38 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:18 am
Greetings,
form wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:08 am
As a modern person, I take form as biological and physical origininated atoms and molecules, forming up the biological body, including nerve impulses, and physical components of the external sense bases.
As a modern person, you're welcome to take up rupa however you like... but I do wonder how you're going to righty see it, and become disenchanted with it, in keeping with the Phena Sutta, when you regard it thus.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Modern science can already prove that form are atoms and smaller particles are constantly in motion, they are impermanent. The biological system constantly renewed their cells and the physical body aged and died. The world created by psychology or in terms of the mental aggregates change much faster, thus even more impermanent than the biological body. Hence modern science prove that, the five aggregates are impermanent, whatever that is impermanent cause suffering, since a self is ever-changing... there is no permanent self.

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:46 am

Greetings form,

If that mode of discerning form leads to dispassion, then all is well.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by DooDoot » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:47 am

SarathW wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:10 am
is not created by oneself
Agree.
I am talking here conventionally.
Sorry. But this topic, imo, has no scope for conventional language. You seem to have been talking in the language of "self" in that, like Brahma, you are the creator of your reality because it is you that names your reality.

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by DooDoot » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:59 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:38 am
They arise only upon their delineation (see: MN18).
Where? Please quote? Thanks
retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:38 am
The five aggregates signify various means by which experience can be aggregated and bundled, but those fabricated bundles are totally void, empty and without substance, as per the Phena Sutta
This post includes a mistranslation. The Pali is rittakaññeva khāyati, tucchakaññeva khāyati, asārakaññeva khāyatikhāyati. The sutta appears to be making a value judgment on those aggregates; that they are of no tangible worth. The sutta does not deny there is a lump of foam.
Bhikkhus, suppose that this river Ganges was carrying along a great lump of foam. A man with good sight would inspect it, ponder it and carefully investigate it, and it would appear to him to be worthless, hollow, trifling. For what substance could there be in a lump of foam?

tuccha
empty; vain; fruitless; trifling; lacking substance; deserted.

asāra
worthless; sapless; vain.

ritta
pp. of riñcati
devoid; empty; rid of.
-hattha (adj.) empty-handed
-assāda finding one’s taste in empty things

riñcati
to leave, abandon, leave behind, give up, neglect


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Last edited by DooDoot on Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:05 am

Greetings DooDoot,

Re: MN18, it is from "Now, when there is the eye..." onwards.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by DooDoot » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:13 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:05 am
Re: MN18, it is from "Now, when there is the eye..." onwards.
­paññat­tiṃ paññāpessatīti — ṭhānametaṃ vijjati = nama-rupa? :shrug:
...it is possible to point out the manifestation of... Bodhi
Now, when there is the eye, when there are forms, when there is eye-consciousness, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of contact. When there is a delineation of contact, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of feeling. When there is a delineation of feeling, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of perception. When there is a delineation of perception, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of thinking. When there is a delineation of thinking, it is possible that one will delineate a delineation of being assailed by the perceptions & categories of objectification. Thanissaro
paññatti
feminine
making known, manifestation, description, designation, name, idea notion, concept.
fr. paññāpeti, cp. paññatta
paññapeti
pa + ñā + āpe
regulates or make a rule; makes known; declares; prepares (a set, etc.).

paññatta
pp. of paññāpeti
regulated or made a rule; made known; declared; prepared (a set, etc.)

vijjati
vid + ya
exists; to be found.

ṭhāna
neuter
place; locality; condition; reason; office; cause; standing up; stay.

Having never read the entirety of this sutta before, my impression is "pannatti" is being used to describe "papanca":
When there is no delineation of thinking, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of being assailed by the perceptions & categories of objectification.

"So, concerning the brief statement the Blessed One made, after which he entered his dwelling without analyzing the detailed meaning — i.e., 'If, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of objectification assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the end of the obsessions of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty, the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, & the obsessions of ignorance. That is the end of taking up rods & bladed weapons, of arguments, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive tale-bearing, & false speech. That is where these evil, unskillful things cease without remainder' — this is how I understand the detailed meaning. Now, friends, if you wish, having gone to the Blessed One, question him about this matter. However he answers is how you should remember it."

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by Spiny Norman » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:28 am

Here is how it is described as a nidana:

“And what, bhikkhus, is name-and-form? Feeling, perception, volition, contact, attention: this is called name. The four great elements and the form derived from the four great elements: this is called form. Thus this name and this form are together called name-and-form."
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn12.2

Are there any alternative definitions in the suttas?
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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by Spiny Norman » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:36 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:38 am
As I understand it, aggregates (aka khandas, lit: bundles) are not ongoing extant things. They arise only upon their delineation (see: MN18).
I think MN18 just describes the conditionality of our experience - so for example you can't have eye-consciousness without forms, or feeling without contact, or perception without feeling, and so on:

"Now, when there is no eye, when there are no forms, when there is no eye-consciousness, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of contact. When there is no delineation of contact, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of feeling. When there is no delineation of feeling, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of perception. When there is no delineation of perception, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of thinking. When there is no delineation of thinking, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of being assailed by the perceptions & categories of objectification."
retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:38 am
The five aggregates signify various means by which experience can be aggregated and bundled, but those fabricated bundles are totally void, empty and without substance, as per the Phena Sutta
I regard the aggregates as a model of experience, characterised by conditionality and therefore by emptiness. But it is clinging that ceases, not aggregates/experience, this is why there is a distinction between aggregates and clinging aggregates in the suttas:
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.48

There are alternative models of experience, eg the six sense bases, and the six properties of a person ( MN140 ).
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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by cjmacie » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:41 pm

Best left untranslated, IMO, but with a gloss as to how one interprets it (which can get complicated) in any particular context.
DNS wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:01 pm
Bhante Madawela Punnaji has translated Nama as "label" and Rupa as "Image" ...
That’s not bad, but also needs explanation.

My sense, along phenomenological lines, is that rūpa signifies having to do with raw sensory input, stimulus, from which in the mind generates a representation, an “image”, (ala B. Punnaji), according to the mind’s innate faculties (nervous system structure, from DNA etc.) and learned conditioning. So it’s the initial response to contact with “material” phenomena (call them earth, air, fire, water, if you will), i.e. stimuli impinging on the nervous system from external sources. Note that it’s a transformation of the stimuli according to the nature of the sensory apparatus – the mind’s reaction to the input (perhaps a quale, as perkele mentioned), rather than direct contact with or partaking in the “substance” of anything out there that may be generating what triggers the senses.

Nāma is then all further stages of mental reaction:
reactive +/- feeling-tone (vedana);
perception (sanna) as dredging up associations such as a label (name, category, concept,...); intentional fabrication elaborating the feeling-tone and perception (sankhara);
the “bare cognition” (viññāna) unifying all the above into an “object”, including “ethical and karmic character”.

(Also as in the 5 khandha-s.)

Sorry, this doesn’t really answer how to render the terms, but rather an interpretative framework for understanding their meanings. Also I think this analysis can fit s/w with other opinions that have been voiced in this thread.

Apropos:
retrofuturist wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:11 am
form wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:09 am
Regarding the above, doesn't rupa means particles? Something like atoms and subsequently smaller particles?
In the Abhidhamma model perhaps, but not in the Suttas.

Although, you may also be thinking of kalapas.
This (post-cananical) term – kalāpa – would seem to relate here (at least in the analysis above). My understanding of this idea (from how it’s used in Mahasi-style training) is that it signifies the lowest level of sensory and interpretative function (rūpa-Nāma, if you will) which can be witnessed (in advanced vipassana). Namely in deconstructing human perception to a level where it can be seen how multiple primitive sensory qualities (those that define the 4 elements / dhātu) as they appear in groups (the core definition of kalāpa), actually trigger mental recognition of the input as something the mind knows how to interpret (re-cognizes); the groups are created by the mind from some degree of simultaneity and focus of locality. Rather than as any kind of ontological physical “particles” that modern commentators tend to speak about (the ontological bias at work, again), they are “particles” as minimum quantum units (triggered by sensory stimulation – rūpa) that the nervous system (brain) uses to decipher the sensory barrage into some mental representation that the mind can recognize (nāma). Vipassana to the level of “seeing” (“noting” to the depth of gnosis) kalāpa-s at work, so to speak, has to do with the most detailed possible insight into the nature of Nāma-rūpa. Though not explicit in the sutta accounts of the Buddha’s training methods, this amounts to using abhidhamma methods to try and devise more detailed practice methods to realize what (it may be thought) the Buddha had in mind. The issue is treated by many with skepticism, but, from what I’ve gleaned from teachers of the method and my own, admittedly as yet limited, experience, one should allow that this approach can be effective for some people.

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by chownah » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:01 pm

Namarupa is the domain of sattipattana.
chownah

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Re: Nāma-rūpa is best rendered as...?

Post by DooDoot » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:23 pm

chownah wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:01 pm
Namarupa is the domain of sattipattana.
Is nama-rupa the observer or meditator in sattipattana or is nama-rupa what is observed? Please explain, more.

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