Alex123 wrote: Do you have any specific things you would like to discuss?
It is obvious that nāma means `name', and in the suttas also, nāma, when used by itself, means `name'. However when we come to the commentaries we find some kind of hesitation to recognize this obvious meaning. Even in the present context, the commentary, Paramatthajotikā, explains the word `name' so as to mean `bending'. It says that all immaterial states are called nāma, in the sense that they bend towards their respective objects and also because the mind has the nature of inclination: ârammaṇābhimukhaṃ namanato, cittassa ca natihetuto sabbampi arūpaṃ `nāman'ti vuccati.
And this is the standard definition of nāma in Abhidhamma compendiums and commentaries. The idea of bending towards an object is brought in to explain the word nāma. It may be that they thought it too simple an interpretation to explain nāma with reference to `name', particularly because it is a term that has to do with deep insight. However as far as the teachings in the suttas are concerned, nāma still has a great depth even when it is understood in the sense of `name'.
"Name has conquered everything,
There is nothing greater than name,
All have gone under the sway
Of this one thing called name."
Also there is another verse of the same type, but unfortunately its original meaning is often ignored by the present day commentators:
"Beings are conscious of what can be named,
They are established on the nameable,
By not comprehending the nameable things,
They come under the yoke of death."
All this shows that the word nāma has a deep significance even when it is taken in the sense of `name'.
But now let us see whether there is something wrong in rendering nāma by `name' in the case of the term nāma-rūpa. To begin with, let us turn to the definition of nāma-rūpa as given by the Venerable Sāriputta in the Sammādiṭṭhisutta of the Majjhima Nikāya.
"Feeling, perception, intention, contact, attention - this, friend, is called `name'. The four great primaries and form dependent on the four great primaries - this, friend, is called `form'. So this is `name' and this is `form' - this, friend, is called `name-and-form'."
Well, this seems lucid enough as a definition but let us see, whether there is any justification for regarding feeling, perception, intention, contact and attention as `name'. Suppose there is a little child, a toddler, who is still unable to speak or understand language. Someone gives him a rubber ball and the child has seen it for the first time. If the child is told that it is a rubber ball, he might not understand it. How does he get to know that object? He smells it, feels it, and tries to eat it, and finally rolls it on the floor. At last he understands that it is a plaything. Now the child has recognised the rubber ball not by the name that the world has given it, but by those factors included under `name' in nāma-rūpa, namely feeling, perception, intention, contact and attention.
This shows that the definition of nāma in nāma-rūpa takes us back to the most fundamental notion of `name', to something like its prototype. The world gives a name to an object for purposes of easy communication. When it gets the sanction of others, it becomes a convention.
...in the case of the saṃsāric individual, even if he does not entertain an intention or thought construct, if he has at least the latency, anusaya, that is enough for him to be reborn in some form of existence or other.
That is why the Buddha has preached such an important discourse as the Cetanāsutta of the Nidāna Saṃyutta in the Saṃyutta Nikāya. It runs:
"Monks, whatever one intends, whatever one mentally constructs, whatever lies latent, that becomes an object for the stationing of consciousness. There being an object, there comes to be an establishment of consciousness. When that consciousness is established and grown, there is the descent of name-and-form. Dependent on name-and-form the six sense-bases come to be; ...the six sense-bases, contact; ...contact, feeling; ...feeling, craving; ... craving, grasping; ...grasping, becoming; ...becoming, birth; ...birth, decay-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair come to be. Such is the arising of this entire mass of suffering." Then comes the second instance:
"Monks, even if one does not intend or construct mentally, but has a latency, that becomes an object for the stationing of consciousness. There being an object, there comes to be the establishment of consciousness. When that consciousness is established and grown, there is the descent of name-and-form. Dependent on name-and-form the six sense-bases come to be; ...the six sense-bases, contact; ...contact, feeling; ...feeling, craving; ... craving, grasping; ...grasping, becoming; ...becoming, birth; ...birth, decay-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair come to be. Such is the arising of this entire mass of suffering."
The significance of this second paragraph is that it speaks of a person who, at the time of death, has no intentions or thought constructs as such. But he has the latency. This itself is sufficient as an object for the stationing of consciousness. It is as if he has turned his back to the camera, but got photographed all the same, due to his very presence there. Now comes the third instance:
"But, monks, when one neither intends, nor constructs mentally, and has no latency either, then there is not that object for the stationing of consciousness. There being no object, there is no establishment of consciousness. When consciousness is not established and not grown up, there is no descent of name-and-form, and with the cessation of name-and-form, there comes to be the cessation of the six sense-bases; ...the six sense-bases, contact; ...contact, feeling; ...feeling, craving; ... craving, grasping; ...grasping, becoming; ...becoming, birth; ...birth, decay-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. Thus is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering."
This third instance is the most significant. In the first instance, there were the intentions, thought constructs and latency. In the second instance, that person had no intentions or thought constructs, but only latency was there. In this third instances, there is neither an intention, nor a thought construct, and not even a latency.
It is then that there comes to be no object for the stationing of consciousness. There being no object, there is no establishment of consciousness, and when consciousness is unestablished and not grown, there is no descent of name-and-form. Where there is no descent of name-and-form, there at last comes to be that cessation of name-and-form with which the six sense-bases, and all the rest of it, down to the entire mass of saṃsāric suffering, cease altogether then and there.
On the one hand, for the sustenance and growth of name-and-form in a mother's womb, consciousness is necessary. On the other hand, consciousness necessarily requires an object for its stability. It could be some times an intention, or else a thought construct. In the least, it needs a trace of latency, or anusaya."
"Anusaya, or latency, is a word of special significance. What is responsible for rebirth, or punabbhava, is craving, which very often has the epithet ponobhavikā attached to it. The latency to craving is particularly instrumental in giving one yet another birth to fare on in saṃsāra. There is also a tendency to ignorance, which forms the basis of the latency to craving. It is the tendency to get attached to worldly concepts, without understanding them for what they are. That tendency is a result of ignorance in the worldlings and it is in itself a latency. In the sutta terminology the word nissaya is often used to denote it. The cognate word nissita is also used alongside. It means `one who associates something', while nissaya means `association'."
"The person who is attached is quite unlike the released person. Because he is not released, he always has a forward bent or inclination. In fact, this is the nature of craving. It bends one forward. In some suttas dealing with the question of rebirth, such as the Kutūhalasālāsutta, craving itself is sometimes called the grasping, upādāna.
Alex123 wrote:I agree very much with that statement. Words at best are only pointers, they are never 100% the exact same thing that they point to. But, I believe that they are not 100% meaningless either. If they were meaningless, then we could not learn or communicate anything.
I've read a lot of different views about the nature of wholes & parts, universals & particulars, words and reality, and I believe in pragmatic usage rather than dogmatic adherence to one or the other extreme. This is why practice is so important, we need to make actual use of the instructions and see rather than accumulate more words, no matter how "ultimate" those words are. IMHO.
Travis wrote:Pondera, I see this as a general comment in regards to name-and-form, but would you like to directly relate it to the overall topic ("The Dhamma according to Ven. Katukurunde Nanananda")?
Have you read any of his stuff? Maybe his extensive footnotes in his small Samyutta Nikaya anthology? While he disagrees with the commentarians on some points, he is respectful of them, which a lot anti-commentarial type certainly are not.robertk wrote:Just another person who thinks he knows better than the ancients.
Pondera wrote:In regards to name and form, from what I can see, the Ven. Katukurunde Nanananda is well informed.
The Ven. Katukurunde Nanananda is, for all I know, completely qualified to teach the Dhamma.
mikenz66 wrote:How Ven N argues for a relatively momentary interpretation of DO, but doesn't use that as an argument for rejecting rebirth teachings in the suttas; and so on.
robertk wrote:Just another person who thinks he knows better than the ancients.
He is also deeply respectful of the suttas in that he takes the utmost care in listening to what they say. While he may not always be correct about everything he says, he, above others who might disagree with the commentaries, is worth listening to for his depth of knowledge of the suttas and Pali.
robertk wrote:Just another person who thinks he knows better than the ancients.
mikenz66 wrote:Now I'm completely confused. I thought we were discussing how the buddhist concept of "rebirth" differers from "reincarnation". So seems relevant to me to look at what Ven Nananda has to say about such things. He's an excellent scholar, and, as you say, has some very interesting analysis of possible interpretations of bhava, and a nice interpretation of dependent origination that differ from orthodox Theravada doctrine. So it seems highly relevant to the discussion that, judging from the passages that I quoted here: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9494&start=40#p146297, he also discusses the "standard rebirth" where beings physically die and beings are physically born. It's relevant because his "sophisticated exposition of "bhava"" is not used to construct an argument that such an interpretation of rebirth is mistaken, whereas he does argue that the standard interpretation of dependent origination is mistaken. Or, at least, that's how I understand his writings.
"But with the complete fading away and cessation of ignorance, comes the cessation of preparations; with the cessation of preparations, the cessation of consciousness; with the cessation of consciousness, the cessation of name-and-form; with the cessation of name-and-form, the cessation of the six sense-bases; with the cessation of the six sense-bases, the cessation of contact; with the cessation of contact, the cessation of feeling; with the cessation of feeling, the cessation of craving; with the cessation of craving, the cessation of grasping; with the cessation of grasping, the cessation of becoming; with the cessation of becoming, the cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, the cessation of decay-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair cease to be. Thus is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering."
This is the thematic statement of the law of pañicca samuppàda. It is set out here in the form of a fundamental principle. Imasmiü sati idaü hoti, "this being, this comes to be." Imassuppàdà idaü uppajjati, "with the arising of this, this arises." Imasmiü asati idaü na hoti, "this not being, this does not come to be". Imassa nirodhà idaü nirujjhati, "with the cessation of this, this ceases." It resembles an algebraical formula.
And then we have the conjunctive yadidaü, which means "namely this" or "that is to say". This shows that the foregoing statement is axiomatic and implies that what follows is an illustration. So the twelve linked formula beginning with the words avijjàpaccayà saïkhàrà is that illustration. No doubt the twelve-linked formula is impressive enough. But the important thing here is the basic principle involved, and that is the fourfold statement beginning with imasmiü sati.
Certainly the first quote you give here does tie paticcasamuppada to literal rebirth:Travis wrote:What do you make of this shift of emphasis? Any implications, other than "breaking the link " between DO and rebirth?