Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Concept of Mind and Body


The teachings of certain religions like christanism, Islam and Hinduism are Theo-centric (centered around the god). But in Buddhism the teachings are anthropocentric (human centered). Therefore what the Buddha taught about the nature and destiny of the human being has come significant and practical in psychological and ethical sense. Buddhism is totally free from creation theory. It explained nature of life depending on causality. The Buddha uses the method of analysis in order to clarify to the truth related to human life. Before the Buddha human nature was understood mainly in relation to the soul which was believed to be between the human personalities. The first way the Buddha used to analyze the personality of human being was the analysis of name and form (nAma rUpa). When the being was understood with this analysis, the followers of the Buddha came to know that there is no a permanent soul. 

      The being means a relationship of mental and physical phenomena. In Buddhism the physical aspect is called rUpa and mental aspect is called nAma. Whenever the Buddha analyses the personality of human being more much emphasis was given for analysis mental aspect of human personality. Although there are these two aspects they are necessarily inter-connected and inter-related. 

      In the ñalakalApasutta of SN the Buddha says when two bundles of bamboos stand helping each other one can exist without another. In the same way physical aspect and mental aspect of human personality can not exist without each other. The nAmarUpa analysis occupied a very significant place in the Buddhist philosophy. That wise they came to further elaboration in the later åbhidhamma teachings. In which they are further analyzed with natural detail.

      This analysis is seen in early Buddhism only in very simple way. The PaTiccasamuppAdavibhangasutta of SN defined nAmarUpa as follows:
KatamaJca bhikkhave nAmarUpaM? vedanA, saJJA, cetanA, phasso, manasikAro idaM vuccati nAma cattAro mahAbhUtA catunnaJca mahAbhUtAnaM upAdAyarUpaM idaM vuccati rUpaM
=O monks! What is the name and form? Here feeling, perception, volition, contact, ideation is called name. The four great elements of whatever the four great elements arises is here called form.
These factors cause the function of life.

      When it came to åbhidhamma these numbers are further enumerated and elaborated, for example according to åbhidhamma there are four great forms (mahAbhUtarUpa and twenty four derived forms (upadAyarUpa).

      ñAmarUpa are analyzed at different places in various ways. The analysis of five aggregates (paJcakkhandhavihbAga), the analysis of twelve faculties (dvAdasayatanavibhAga) and the analysis of eighteen (aTTharasadhAtuvibhAga) are three forms of analysis that are they development nAmarUpa.

      All these five forms of analysis (nAmarUpa, paJcakkhandha, chadhAtu, dvAdasAyatana, aTTharasadhAtu) are different forms of analysis personality of the being. This shows the deepness and significance of human mind and also the fact that there is no soul personality. When person develops insight he naturally sees these natures. 
      “åyaM kho me kAyo rUpi cAtummahAbhUtiko, mAtApettikasambhavo, odanakummAsUpacayo, aniccucchAdana idaJca pana me viJJANaM etthasitaM ettha patibaddhaM
                                             (ßAmaJJaphalasutta, ∂ñ)
=This my body is material, made up from four great elements, born of mother and father, fed on rice and gruel, impermanent, liable to be injured and abraded, broken and destroyed, and  this is my consciousness which is bound to it and dependent on it.

This shows how name and form are conducive to the existence of life.
      Human being realizes the nature of causality dependent existence when he observes hi life by this method of analysis. Life is the interaction among these elements for them. Therefore human being is responsible for himself no any other external force, god or creator is responsible for origin of function or the destiny of human life.

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