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Rupa encompasses it all, including nama; Nama encompasses it all, including rupa


Light, Shape, Form, Thingness


[AN 1.1]
Puremind Press: Awakening Meditation, M. Punnaji, pp.7-16
[DN 33]
Sangiti Suttanta 1s and 2s
PTS: Dialogs of the Buddha III, #33: The Recital, T.W. and C.A.F. Rhys Davids, trans., pp201
WP: The Long Discourses of the Buddha, #33: The Chanting Together, M. Walshe, trans., pp479
[DN 22]
PTS: Dialogs of the BuddhaThe Setting Up of Mindfulness
Soma Thera, ATI: The Discourse on the Arousing of Mindfulness
ATI: Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Frames of Reference
[MN 10]
PTS: The Middle Length Sayings, I, #10: Applications of Mindfulness, Horner, trans., pp78
WP: The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, #10: The Foundations of Mindfulness, Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans., pp152
[AN 10.27]
PTS: The Book of the Gradual Sayings, V: The Book of the Tens, The Great Chapter, The Great Questions, Woodward, trans., pp36ff

Pali MO Hare Horner Punnaji Bodhi Nanamoli Rhys Davids (Mrs)Rhys Davids Thanissaro Walshe Woodward Soma Thera
rupa materiality, thingness form material shape appearance material form material form material qualities, form material qualities, form form form, materiality form material form


Pali Text Society
Pali English Dictionary
Edited by T. W. Rhys Davids and William Stede


Rupa (nt.) [cp. Vedic rupa, connected etymologically with varpa...form, figure, appearance, principle of form, etc. (lit.) appearance, form, figure (=form either contrasted with what is unseen, or taken for both seen and unseen)...(*-) of such and such a form, like, kind, of a certain condition or appearance. In this appln very frequent and similar to E. -hood, or Ger. -heit, i. e. an abstract formation. Often untranslatable because of the latter character. It is similar to kaya, but not so much with ref. to life and feeling as to appearance and looks. adissamana- invisible (lit. with invisible form); ummatta- as if mad, under the appearance of madness, like a madman; eva- in such a condition; tapassi- appearing to be an ascetic; taraka- the (shapes of the) stars; deva- as a deva. Pleonastically e. g. in: anupatta- attaining; taramana- quickly; yutta- fit; sucitta- variegated. -- Cases ad verbially: citta-rupam according to intention; cetabba-rupam fit to be thought upon. -atta-rupena on my own account S IV.97; godha-rupena as an iguana -- D. (as philos. t. t.) principle of (material) form, materiality, visibility. -- There are var. groups of psychological and metaphysical systematizations, in which rupa functions as the material, gross factor, by the side of other, more subtle factors. In all these representations of rupa we find that an element of moral psychology overshadows the purely philosophical and speculative aspect. 1. rupa as ayatana or sense object. It is the object of the activity or sphere of the organ of sight (cakkhu). As such it heads the list of the 6 bahirani ayatanani with "cakkhuna rupam disva" (the others: sota>sadda, ghana>gandha, jivha>rasa, kaya>photthabba, mano>dhamma). 2. (metaphysically) as the representative of sensory or material existence: (a) universally as forming the corporeal stratum in the world of appearance or form (rupa- bhava) as compared with the incorporeal (arupa-bhava), being itself above, and yet including the kama-bhava. (The kamabhava is a subdivision of rupabhava, which has got raised into a third main division.) This triad is also found in combns with loka or dhatu. A similar sequence rupa arupa and nirodha (i. e. nibbana) in old verses. On indriya-rupa "faculty as form" see indriya. -- (b) individually in the sphere of sansara as one (i. e. the material quality) of the substrata of sensory individual existence or the khandhas. They are the 5: rupa-kkhandha, vedana-, sanna-, sankhara-, vinnana-; otherwise called rup'upadana-kkhandha etc. (e. g. D III.223, 278; Vism 443). See khandha II. B. -- In this property rupa consists of 28 subdivisions, viz. the 4 (great) dhatus (mahabhutani or else bhuta-rupa primary matter) and 24 upadarupani; the 24 consist of: cakkhu, sota, ghana, jivha, kaya, rupa, sadda, gandha, rasa, itthindriya, purisindriya, jivitindriya, hadaya vatthu, kaya-vinnatti, vaci-vinnatti, akasa-dhatu, (rupassa) lahuta muduta kammannata, upacaya santati jarata aniccata, kaba'inkar' --ahara;...: catu-mahabhutikam rupam catunnam ca mahabhutanam upadaya rupassa pannatti. The rupakkhandha shares with the others the qualities of soullessness, evanescence and ill (anatta, anicca, dukkha). -- (c) in the making up of the individuality as such (nama-rupa), where in contrast with nama (as abstract, logical, invisible or mind-factor) rupa represents the visible (material) factor, resembling kaya (cp. phrase nama-kaya in same sense). The foll. are current defns of nama-rupa: nama-(kaya)=vedana, sanna, cetana, phassa, manasikara (otherwise citta-sankhara), rupa(-kaya)=cattaro maha-bhuta catunnam m-bhutanam upadaya rupam (otherwise kaya-sankhara) S II.4. See also under paticca-samuppada



Rupa is the "having become a thingness of anything." This includes ideas and such invisible things as sounds. Rupa includes the mental (nama) that has become an aspect of individual existance, cannot be separated from the mental, and is, itself, encompassed by the mental. Look at the Chinese Ying/Yang symbol.


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