In SN 35.72, the buddha had an exchange which goes like this:

“What do you think, bhikkhu, do you regard the eye thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self’?”

“Yes, venerable sir.”

“Good, bhikkhu! And here, bhikkhu, you should clearly see the eye as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’ Thus this first base for contact will be abandoned by you for no future renewed existence.

(Repeats for the remaining 5 sense bases, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind...)

When the buddha said, this base for contact will be abandoned by you for no future renewed existence, does he mean that your future existence will be devoid of that sense base i.e. being born without sight?

3 Answers 3


No, it means to give up the clinging towards eyes and sights since they are neither you nor yours. As a result, eyes and eye contact cannot cause you to be reborn again in Samsara.


These kinds of teachings always mean to abandon craving & attachment towards the five aggregates & sense spheres, such as SN 22.53, which states:

If a monk abandons passion for the property of consciousness, then owing to the abandonment of passion, the support is cut off, and there is no landing of consciousness. Consciousness, thus not having landed, not increasing, not concocting, is released. Owing to its release, it is steady. Owing to its steadiness, it is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, he (the monk) is totally unbound (Nibbana) right within.

Iti 44 & others suttas unambiguously explain the fully enlightened arahant still has five aggregates & sense bases, as follows:

Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure & pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate & delusion in him that is called... Nibbana...


There is this hierarchy in the teaching. One such is in the Nama, of the rupa (material phenomena) & nama (mental phenomena). Nama is broken down into Vedana (feeling) , Sanna (perception), Sankhara (mental activities), Passa (contact) , and manasikāra (mental advertence). Buddha placed Passa & Manasikaara to the end for a reason. For the three things: feeling, perception and volition (vedana, sañña, and cetana) to be born contact has to be there. Dependent on contact only manasikāra (mental advertence) happens.

There is sankhara (kaya sankhara, vaci sankhara and citta sankhara), and when we open our eyes, consciousness arises with ignorance. With the six faculties, six kinds of consciousness arise. consiousness of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and consciousness of mind. Because of consciousness, mentality and materiality arise. For example, in order to cognize a form, there should be attention to the form. When attention is there, consciousness arises. When there is consciousness, there is contact (the meeting of eye, form and consciousness of eye).

Passa (Pāli) is a Buddhist term meaning "contact" or "touching. By fully understanding (abandoning) this link in the chain of the 12 Part Cycle of Dependent Origination, you can solve the puzzle and be free from it. The thrust of the formula is such that when certain conditions are present, they give rise to subsequent conditions, which in turn give rise to other conditions and the cyclical nature of life in Samsara can be seen.

We cannot escape from contact and consciousness. It is inevitable. Therefore what we have to eradicate is not contact and consciousness, but desire for what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. Buddha explained this by a simile. Suppose a flayed cow was released. To escape suffering, it jumps into water, then the creatures living in the water would attack it. If it were to stand leaning against a tree, the insects on the tree would attack it. If it were to stand exposed to the air, the creatures living in the air would attack it. In the same way, we cannot escape from the nutriment of contact. One cannot run away from reality. We should be mindful and realize the truth that it is only by eradicating desire that we could eradicate unwholesome mental factors.

Nibbana is conceived of as stopping this cycle. By removing the causes for craving, craving ceases. So with the ceasing of birth, death ceases. With the ceasing of becoming, birth ceases... and so on until with the ceasing of ignorance no kamma is produced, and the whole process of death and rebirth ceases. In fact the opportunity for change comes between the stages of sensation and desire, since it is craving that drives the whole process. If one can simply experience sensations without desiring, then craving will not arise, and one can begin to be free from the cycle of birth and death. It is Passa paccaya vedana, With Vedanā as condition, Tanhā arises. So do you get the picture?

  1. Avijja - ignorance or delusion; With Avidyā as condition, Sanskāra arises
  2. Sankhara - kamma-formations; With Sanskāra as condition, Vijñāna arises
  3. Vinnana – consciousness; With Vijñāna as condition, Nāmarūpa arises
  4. Nama-rupa - mind and matter; With Nāmarūpa as condition, Salāyatana arises
  5. Salayatana - six sense bases; With Salāyatana as condition, Sparśa arises
  6. Passa - contact or impression; With Passa as condition, Vedanā arises
  7. Vedana – Feeling; With Vedanā as condition, Tanhā arises
  8. Tanha - craving ; With Tanhā as condition, Upādāna arises
  9. Upadana – clinging; With Upādāna as condition, Bhava arises
  10. Bhava – becoming; With Bhava as condition, Jāti arises
  11. Jati – rebirth; With Jāti as condition, Jarāmarana arises
  12. Jara-marana - old age and death;

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