Sylvester wrote:The locative absolute, formed with the present participle of the √as verb atthi (not l.a. formed from participles of kiriya verbs). Definitely not the causative, if you were thinking of janeti (he causes to be born).
Maybe you could provide a quote in translation so that I'm sure I understand what you're saying?
I find it rather difficult to see how the Buddha could not have intended DA to be applicable to rebirth. The clearest expression of that comes up in DN 15 and its Chinese parallel DA 13 ... in reference to the womb/foetus... Granted that the Buddha gave an expanded exposition of what else nāmarūpa means in relation to contact (paṭighasamphassa and adhivacanasamphassa) (ie aside from the Upanisadic concept of the differentiator at becoming), there's still no running away from the literal aspect of nāmarūpa in the becoming process.
I can understand the difficulty. If I want to be clever with words (in something like the way the gurus of the days were) I might say that I understand DA to be all about rebirth -- it definitely is about rebirth -- so I agree with you, it is applicable to rebirth. Certainly the language used to describe consciousness and name-and-form is explicitly describing conception and birth. It's not possible to miss that or take it any other way:
DN 15: ‘Or if consciousness, having entered the mother’s womb, were to be deflected, would mind-and-body come to birth in this life?’ ‘No, Lord.’ ‘And if the consciousness of such a tender young being, boy or girl, were thus cut off, would mind-and-body grow, develop and mature?’ ‘No, Lord.׳ ׳Therefore, Ananda, just this, namely consciousness, is the root, the cause, the origin, the condition of mind-and-body. (Walshe, Maurice's translation)
He is describing the field, the ground, "the root, the cause, the origin". Yes, in the above, name-and-form (namarupa, mind-and-body) is clearly talking about the first birth in a lifetime.
We find the description of nutriment accompanying DA in several places in the suttas. It makes the way the concept of the field is being used, in combination with a deeper meaning, quite clear once we look at it closely. One reason it is listed with DA is because it acts as a key to understand what's going on. Because a key is needed. Because in DA the Buddha doesn't stop with each definition and do what he did with nutriment in the same explicit way. Although he does -- even in DN 15 -- do a little interrupting of the flow of describing rebirth in order to cover the same ground at the deeper level:
‘ “Mind-and-body conditions contact.” By whatever properties, features, signs or indications the mind-factor is conceived of, would there, in the absence of such properties... pertaining to the mind-factor, be manifest any grasping at the idea of the body-factor? ‘No, Lord.’ (DN 15, Walshe again)
Seems pretty clear there he's no longer talking about rebirth; instead he's talking about what we do with nama (our definitions) based on rupa (form).
The reason he needs to put the succinct definition of nutriment in with DA is because the way he's using DA is not succinct. Instead of a few brief sentences to describe "this is what everyone thinks x is" followed by "this is what I mean by x" which leads to the insight that "what everyone thinks x is" still counts as background, as necessary ground for what follows, in DA we have the bulk of the structure of DA describing "this is what everyone thinks life is about": rebirth -- whether cyclical or once and your done (go to bliss, or go to your ancestors). In the bulk of DA he is describing what everyone believes *because it is what everyone believes that is the ground for the problem he's pointing out and the solution he offers is tied up to it*.
In that way, it is the overall structure of DA that follows the pattern set by the discussion about nutriment -- it is not in the detailed descriptions of each link, which tend to be primarily about what people believe. That's why the individual descriptions in DN 15 of consciousness and name-and-form are so clearly and literally about conception and birth.
Or do you see these 2 sutras as being allegorical as well? Granted, I've only looked at the Dharmagupta parallel, and have not had the time to consult the experts on the other parallels to DN 15.
By two suttas you mean DN 15 and its Chinese parallel? I haven't looked at the Chinese, so I can't address it at all.
But, well, I'm not sure that allegory is the right word for what's going on in them and in so many other places. As far as I can tell, we don't have a word for what the Buddha is doing with rebirth in these talks, and that's part of the problem. We don't use anything like this method, or if we do, we don't do it with anything like the consistency he did, and so, because it is not native to our way of speaking, it is really difficult for us, first, to even see it (e.g. lyndon taylor's post), and second, to be comfortable with it once seen, and third, to be able to recognize how useful it will have been for the Buddha's campaign of arguing-with-none, and finally, to get past all of that well enough to see what an intricate and well-balanced structure he built -- how and why it works. It's like the most beautiful watch movement I saw while I studied horology: all the cogs and wheels and jewels and pins and the balance wheel (that would be DA!) fitting together perfectly, doing their job. Unfortunately in this digital age, the watch-works have become a bit incomprehensible, and seem an unnecessary intricacy to us.
What I see is him describing rebirth in DA in DN 15, yes, because he is overtly describing what people believe about rebirth. He is describing *the ground* from which dukkha grows. It is beliefs about rebirth -- described generically here, and so meaning "in whatever form we find them" -- that are the problem we need to see in order to gain the solution to dukkha.