Sacha G wrote:
this is a classical theravada thread. In this context, the external bases are the 4 great elements and form derived from them. Especially, the tangible object are the 3 following elements : earth, air, fire. Water is said to not be tangible.
Thanissaro seems to translate "tangible objects" with "tangible sensations" which according to classical theravada (and to buddhism in my view) is wrong. "Tangible sensations" are indeed mental objects, not tangible objects.
Sacha G wrote:
Actually it's whether the world has a beginning or not. This is different from the origin of the world, or the "origination" of the world if you prefer. The suttas explicitly define craving as the origin or the condition for the arising of the world.
I also remind you that suffering and the world are two synonyms within the canon.
I think the "origin vs condition" you highlighted is an important distinction. In particular, for insight and eventual awakening, it is the issue of understanding conditioned nature of dhammas that really counts. So, speaking in terms of conditionality - rupa (metarial phenomena) can be conditioned (sometimes also translated as "produced" and even as "originated") by four causes: concsiousness (citta), kamma, nutriment and temperature. See chapter VI, paragrpahs 9-15 of A comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma
for this topic in more detail.
Afaik, such things as "sun, moon, trees" etc (or rather rupas which we might conceptually designate as sun, moon, trees, etc) wold be conditioned by temperature alone - see paragraph 12 of chapter VI in A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma.