The six senses are arises from NamaRupa in PaticcaSamuppada. NamaRupa paccaya Salayathana. So basically all 6 senses are a combination of Mentality(Nama) and Form (Rupa - which is a combination of the four great elements).

How is the mind (6th sense) created from the Form? As in from the 4 elements? Is it created from unseen molecular level 4 elements?

Is it somewhat similar to Light? Where light was considered as an energy but later it was considered as both energy and particles as well?

4 Answers 4


In case of the mind-sense(the stream of Bhavaangha cittas), the object received by the sense is a thought itself. There's no physical element involved. That's why Arupa beings only have the mind sense.

'Energy' is a concept. There's no such thing according to Buddhism. Even sunlight is said to be containing the pure octad. Anything physical is Rupa and the rest is Nama.


PaticcaSamuppada is about how ignorance pollutes/taints the elements & senses leading to the creation of suffering rather than about how the elements & senses are physically or neurologically created, as shown in the following quote:

To an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, touched by that which is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. That fabrication [of 'self'] is born of that. And that fabrication is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen.

SN 22.18

Therefore, when 'nama-rupa' is polluted & controlled by ignorance (remaining unchecked), this will lead to the sense organs being polluted & controlled by ignorance.

PaticcaSamuppada is about psychology rather than about biology.

  • True. But PaticcaSamuppada also tells that Ignorance is the reason why we are still in the sansara right? If so, If ignorance is the main reason and the chain starts and goes on, cause of nama rupa the 6 six senses arises. If the 6 six sense arises and are caused by nama rupa then formation is also cause by it right? Which means the cause of all 6 including the mind is an effect of the cause nama rupa. My question is the mind an effect of the rupa? Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 11:27
  • You seem to be saying life itself on this planet Earth is 'samsara' rather than 'samsara' being something happening within the mind internally, i.e., the mind spinning around in thoughts & egoism due to the spinning around of ignorance & craving. As for PaticcaSamuppada, as i gave my opinion, it is not about how the mind & body come to be biologically. Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 19:56
  • For a biological explanation, AN 3.61 states the six elements are the cause of nama-rupa (mind-body). SN 22.82 states nama-rupa (mind-body) is the cause of consciousness. Buddhism does not answer the question 'is the mind an effect of rupa'? All Buddhism states is nama & rupa are interdependent; that they cannot exist without each other. That said, if one is to follow logic, it is most likely nama is an effect of the rupa since when people have brain injuries the nama can malfunction. In SN 12.61, it is said the rupa is more permanent than nama, which supports an argument nama comes from rupa Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 20:07
  • Another argument that supports the view that nama as an effect of rupa is the description of the 'cessation of perception & feeling' in MN 43, which is compared to being close to a dead body (corpse) but not quite. In this meditative state, the mind completely becomes unconscious & inactive & the breathing completely stops yet what remains active is the life force & heat of the body. This shows the mind can totally stop functioning but the body remains alive. Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 20:12
  • No no. I understand that Earth life is not samsara. I'm just having a difficulty understanding the transition here. You said that the "Buddhism does not answer the question 'is the mind an effect of rupa'? ". I guess if we think about the paticca Samupaddas, cause of namarupa the six senses arises. Each of the senses has it's own version of nama rupa. Ex: When we take the eye,(Mentality aspect/ Nama) we have feeling of the eye, perception of the eye, thought(cetana) of the eye, contact of the eye, Manasikara of the eye. Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 4:06

There are six elements. 4 physicals(relate to Mass), space(relate to Dark matter) and consciousness(relate to time).

“‘Bhikkhu, this person consists of six elements.’ So it was said. And with reference to what was this said? There are the earth element, the water element, the fire element, the air element, the space element, and the consciousness element. So it was with reference to this that it was said: ‘Bhikkhu, this person consists of six elements.’(Dhātuvibhaṅga)

The Buddhist explanation about these phenomena (patichchasamuthpada) is.

The teaching of interdependent co-creation is based on an understanding of the twelve causal links (davadasa nidana) producing what is called the cycle or the wheel of existence (bhavacakra). What this means is that there are twelve causal steps in the arising and passing away of phenomena in general, and understanding these steps helps the seeker to free themselves from the bonds of worldly karma.


Name and Form (namarupa, characterization) – this term is used in Buddhism to mean that feature of a thing which defines one object from another. There is, in other words, a discriminative movement here. Objective 'characterization' – the distinction of a thing ­­– derives from the particular focus of perception that has arisen from whatever specific force of creation we are referring to. You see, from the Buddha's point of view, everything existing arises from a mental state of knowing; that is, from awareness. Awareness is key to everything. Nothing exists in a state where they is absolutely no awareness of it.


Six Sense Fields (sadayatana) – the six sense fields or "objects of sense-perception" are rudimentary at this stage. They subliminally consist of visible form or what amounts to light vibrations, as the sense-field of seeing; sound vibrations, as the sense field of hearing; scent or odour vibrations, as the sense field of smelling; taste vibrations, as the sense-field of tasting; tangible vibrations, as the sense field of touch; and internal mental phenomena in general, as the sense field of mental-consciousness. In other words, each 'perception' must have an object in the form of the perceptional field of vibrations that will impinge upon the six sense organs, and which those organs then relay to the brain. It is actually from 'name and form,' the distinguishing characteristic of things, whence these fields arise. Without having their specific character differentials, it would not be possible to distinguish one field from another.

For more refer this.

Right view. from Kaccanagotta

At Savatthī. Then the Venerable Kaccanagotta approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, it is said, ‘right view, right view.’ In what way, venerable sir, is there right view?”

“This world, Kaccana, for the most part depends upon a duality—upon the notion of existence and the notion of nonexistence. But for one who sees the origin of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of nonexistence in regard to the world. And for one who sees the cessation of the world as it really is with correct wisdom, there is no notion of existence in regard to the world.....

For Theravada explanation Dhathuvibanga sutta of The Exposition of the Elements


The subtle most level of mind is understood to have no defining characteristics(2) no origination (3) no cessation (4) absence of defilement (5) not undefiled (6) no decrease (7) no increase (8) Those are 7 of the 8 profound emptiness (Tsongkhapa). The 1st is that all things are empty.

the three doors to emptiness: 1 and 2 are emptiness, the thing itself 3, 4, 5, 6 are signlessness the cause of emptiness 7, 8 are wishlessness the result of emptiness

So the answer to your question is that the mind is not created it is understood to always have existed. Also see mindstream.

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