People should read Fyodor Stcherbatsky, to understand how Buddhism veered into idealism in the Gupta period (roughly 4th - 5th century CE).
This late period of "buddhism" is known as the bahya-artha-sunyata era. And it has very little to do with the original Budddhism of the pluralist pudgala-sunyata era (note that pudgala does not mean that the original Buddhism was Pudgalavada - it is just the way this era is commonly labelled by the scholars to denote a pluralist and realistic Buddhism).
The idealists of the bahya-artha-sunyata, maintained that all existence is necessarily mental and that our ideas have no support in a corresponding external reality. And that is late Buddhism. Not the original one.
There are three major eras of the sort in Buddhism - Pudgala-sunyata >> Sarva-dharma-sunyata >> Bahya-artha-sunyata. The latter has profoundly changed Buddhism, and it is very influent, even in some Theravadan circles nowadays.
But once more, this is not the original Buddhism of Buddha. And not the way of the Ancients (Thera).
People should really read SN 22.95 https://justpaste.it/xij5
more closely - that is to say, read a bit further than just the "mirage" stuff.
"There is no continuum (santāno - संतति saṃtati - continuity , uninterruptedness (TS.), uninterrupted succession (MBh.) ) - there is no substance (sāro -सार sāra [agt. sṛ] - substance - essential part (RV. AitBr.) - √ सृ sṛ , with a meaning of flowing, moving, pursuing)), when a body falls into ashes - when a feeling is just so transient, etc.
Your body just pops-up like a bubble, leaving nothing essential or even substantial.
"When vitality, heat, and consciousness depart from this physical body, then it lies there cast away: Food for others, without volition.
The body is not necessarily mental, and it does not mean that our idea of it, has no support in a corresponding external reality. It just means that every phenomena (dhamma) is anicca - this body included, in this instance.
Sometimes, I hear the bahya-artha-sunyata crowd developing their own reading of the suttas/sutras. And it sounds a bit like this to me:
https://twitter.com/elizxbethkels/statu ... 5401672705
There is a lot of "sense" in that, but it's a bit weird though.
Name refers to naming/labelling
The definition of nama in "name & form" is not exactly that. It is usually given in SN 12.2 and SĀ 298.
I don't mean here that one should stick to just a definition in a particular sutta/sutra; but in this particular case, I have a hard time to see what the process of a vacisaṇkhara has to do with a sense-experience, the way you formulate it:
Here's an experiment.... walk along a path (or somewhere safe without traffic or other hazards) and be aware that what you are seeing is just sense stimuli in the form of light and colour. Observe the mind as it takes amalgams of light and colour, "frames them", and attributes a name to these fabrications - sky, tree, sign, bin, bird, field... whatever. Then observe how there is consciousness of the object that your mind has created. That, in a nutshell, shows you the vinnana/nama-rupa vortex at work.
One does not experience through naming. One experiences through sense-consciousness (and restraining the indriyani - and understanding how an āyatana (the field of experience) leads to the sensory process).
This is the essence of the Teaching.
A sense-experience usually goes this way: (https://justpaste.it/1695d
External stimulus from an external āyatana >> Descent of the indriya in the internal āyatana >> sense-consciousness >> contact >> feeling >> perception >> THEN come the thoughts & concretism (vitakka & vicāra,) and the resulting naming process (vāca).
It is interesting, and even crucial, to see how the Āgamas & the Nikayas treat the definition of nāma-rūpa. There is absolutely no discrepancy between the two definition. It all depends where nāmarūpa "stands".
See again the visual aid (above link).
This is where the "vortex" of SN takes its full meaning.
‘This consciousness turns back; it does not go further than name-and-form. It is to this extent that one may be born and age and die, pass away and be reborn, that is, when there is consciousness with name-and-form as its condition, and name-and-form with consciousness as its condition. SN 12.65
How does that "vortex" work?
When consciousness is established and has come to growth, there is a descent of name-and-form. https://justpaste.it/16943
We are talking here of the consciousness that is in the nāmarūpa nidāna (as per SA 298 definition - see the visual aid).
Name-and-form descends in Saḷāyatana and changes its nature as in the definition of the Nikayas (as per SN 12.2 - see the visual aid).
What imports is that "With name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases come to be" (Nāmarūpapaccayā saḷāyatanaṃ).
And that in Saḷāyatana, there is a new consciousness, so to speak, that is purely a sensorial consciousness.
So we have an establishing of consciousness (in the khandhas - for instance "form is the home of consciousness" - SN 22.3) >> a descent of nāmarūpa >> an occurence of a sense-consciousness >> again nāma-rūpa (contact [with form], feeling, perception, intention (cetāna
), and attention (manasikāra) >> Vitakka/vicāra (and naming) >> manosañcetāna
, that leads to the maintenance (ṭhitiyā) of conciousness (SN 12.11 & 39) >> With the maintenance of consciousness, there is a descent of consciousness in nāmarūpa >> and with the latter, there is an establishing of consciousness....
So on and so forth.
You call it vortex - I call it the vicious circle.
Consciousness turns back at nāme and form, and does not come (go) back - (with the knowledge of dukkha, this time) - to the higher spheres of the immaterial saṅkhāra nidāna.