Yesterday I saw in a funeral banner the following statement.

Rupam Jirati Machanam, Nama Gottam Najirathi

It means, "the body decays but the Name and the Tribe does not". But I have concerns on this.

The first part of the statement is valid but however the second part doesn't for me. If everything decays/dies then how is the name and tribe doesn't? For me this is clearly a misinterpretation and destroys the whole base of the Buddha's teachings.

I also found this article on this topic as well:

Is there any Tripitaka source to this statement? or anything similar? Where can I find it?

3 Answers 3


This appears in the Najīratisutta ( Najīrati - What does not decay / what does not age; version in Sinhala and English). From what I have heard and learned in this context what is referenced as Nama is reputation and not the mind.

E.g. the some historic people are long gone but they are still remembered for what they were.


Yes, this is a very Buddhist thing to say in a funeral. It sounds like a namarupa sort of thing. The form has changed but the name and memory(concepts of the deceased) stay the same.

Concepts don't really die like with real ultimate moment by moment things, they never existed to begin with in the experiential world.


To understand this one need to understand the definition of Nama and Rupa. Rupa has the property of 'Ruppathi' or breakability or destructibility. However Nama according to Abhidhamma represent flexibility or flexing phenomena (Bhikku Bodhi). Nama flexes and rupa breaks. That is why, when we die Nama separates from Rupa but continue to exist, and as long as there is attachment for existence as a being, it gets attached or associates Rupa to continue to form another life (nama-rupa). However, when there is no attachment , nama still exist but without attachment. This is Nibbhana (Unpolluted chiththa- or 'Phabassara chiththa'. 'Nama Goththan Najeerathi' means the the continuance of 'Flex phenomenon' nama, as a part of Nama-rupa or just Nama.

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