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What is the duality of body and external name-and-form?

What is the difference between the two? What is the relationship between the two?

From the Balapandita Sutta (SN 12.19) (translated by Bhikkhu Sujato):

“Mendicants, for a fool hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving, this body has been produced.

“Avijjānīvaraṇassa, bhikkhave, bālassa taṇhāya sampayuttassa evamayaṃ kāyo samudāgato.

So there is the duality of this body and external name and form. Contact depends on this duality. When contacted through one or other of the six sense fields, the fool experiences pleasure and pain.

Iti ayañceva kāyo bahiddhā ca nāmarūpaṃ, itthetaṃ dvayaṃ, dvayaṃ paṭicca phasso saḷevāyatanāni, yehi phuṭṭho bālo sukhadukkhaṃ paṭisaṃvedayati etesaṃ vā aññatarena.

The same excerpt translated here by Bhikkhu Bodhi:

“Bhikkhus, for the fool, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving, this body has thereby originated. So there is this body and external name-and-form: thus this dyad. Dependent on the dyad there is contact. There are just six sense bases, contacted through which—or through a certain one among them—the fool experiences pleasure and pain.

Also, as reference, from SN 12.2 (trans. Bodhi):

“And what, bhikkhus, is name-and-form? Feeling, perception, volition, contact, attention: this is called name. The four great elements and the form derived from the four great elements: this is called form. Thus this name and this form are together called name-and-form.

Also, please note that the term "kāya" has been used in the sense of physical body for example in SN 22.56 (although I know that it can be used to mean group or collection, when combined with other things):

eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind consciousness.
cakkhuviññāṇaṃ, sotaviññāṇaṃ,ghānaviññāṇaṃ, jivhāviññāṇaṃ, kāyaviññāṇaṃ, manoviññāṇaṃ.

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  • The word duality is probably not a great translation in this context, as it has specific connotations of opposition or contrast which I don't think are meant by the simple "dvayam" – yuttadhammo Apr 19 at 14:17
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  1. "Sukhadukkhaṃ paṭisaṃvedayati" means "experience happiness & suffering" rather than "pleasant & painful feelings" (similar to how these words are used in MN 149), as follows:

And they experience physical and mental suffering. So kāyadukkhampi cetodukkhampi paṭisaṃvedeti

And they experience physical and mental pleasure. So kāyasukhampi cetosukhampi paṭisaṃvedeti.

  1. "Kaya" means "collection" or "group" of five aggregates rather than "(physical) body".

  2. There is no such thing as "external name-and-form" that together with a "kaya" creates contact. For example, "naming" is an internal process therefore external names (within the minds of others) cannot produce sense contact.

  3. "Nama-rupa" here means "external minds & bodies". Thus with this internal collection ("kaya") of five aggregates plus external minds & bodies ("bahiddhā namarupa") there arises sense contacts that lead to producing (samudāgato) happiness & suffering.

  4. For example, this internal collection ("kaya") of five aggregates has sense contact with an angry mind & body (nama-rupa) externally. Hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving, this internal collection of five aggregates ("kaya") creates the idea from the external mind & body of "my enemy"; thus generating suffering.

  5. In summary, the beginning of SN 12.19 should be regarded the same as the following verse from SN 12.81:

At Sāvatthī. Then Venerable Rāhula went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Sir, how does one know and see so that there’s no ego, possessiveness, or underlying tendency to conceit for this conscious body and all external stimuli?” “Rāhula, one truly sees any kind of form at all—past, future, or present; internal or external; coarse or fine; inferior or superior; far or near: all form—with right understanding: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’ One truly sees any kind of feeling … perception … choices … consciousness at all—past, future, or present; internal or external; coarse or fine; inferior or superior; far or near: all consciousness—with right understanding: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’ That’s how to know and see so that there’s no ego, possessiveness, or underlying tendency to conceit for this conscious body and all external stimuli.”

External nama-rupa is external stimuli. However, there is no such thing as an "external name" that can be a stimuli. This is why the Pali term "nama" means "mind". External minds can be perceived and produced into suffering but external "names" cannot be perceived (unless they are spoken as words).

"Nama-rupa" comes from Brahmanism. The Buddha took this term and redefined it so it accords with suffering & the cessation of suffering (rather than according with the creationist philosophy of Brahmanism of 'naming-forms').

When ignorance & sankhara arise, they subject the mind-body to tension; just like an addiction causes the mind & body to seek out external sense contacts of sense gratification. Every translator that translates "nama-rupa" as "name-form" is wrong. Believe it or not!

  • Do you have any references to prove this? ""Kaya" means "collection" or "group" of five aggregates rather than "(physical) body"" – ruben2020 Feb 16 at 6:41
  • Nikaya. Sakkaya. – Dhammadhatu Feb 16 at 7:00
  • The term "kaya" is also used for the physical body in the suttas. See SN 22.56: "eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind consciousness. / cakkhuviññāṇaṃ, sotaviññāṇaṃ, ghānaviññāṇaṃ, jivhāviññāṇaṃ, kāyaviññāṇaṃ, manoviññāṇaṃ." – ruben2020 Feb 17 at 5:51
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    @Dhammadhatu Hi! This might not be completely related to the topic in question, but you cannot make assumptions just by looking the roots of the words.' 'Atoms', for instance, are definitely not undividable particles (A=without; temnein=to cut), despite his etimological root; and 'sarcophagi' is not the same as 'carnivorous' (sark=carn=flesh; phagos=vorus=eating). Some words keep their historical root, even when in the future that word could change its original meaning and mean something not directly related. Not all magnets are made from magnetite. Kind regards! – Brian Díaz Flores Feb 17 at 13:11
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This is just an elaboration of D.O. Everything is clear and makes sense.

Delineation of feeling depends on the notion of contact.

Delineation of contact depends on separating totality into "internal" and "external".

Six sense doors are the subjective boundary across which the contact is made.

On this side of the boundary are upadana-skandhas - stuff we appropriate as I/mine.

On the other side of the boundary are the namarupas, the mind-made delineated entities that we designate as "external".

In each pair of DO, it's always a notion and its counterpart serving as foundation.

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The introduction of Balapandita Sutta (SN 12.19) is about person, the foolish and the astute, but the dependent origination is about five aggregates cycle, so the Buddha has to transform the person to be five aggregates for driving the cycle of aggregates in the depedent origination because there is no person in the dependent origination.

So there is the duality of this foolish body (person which referring to internal sense-field aggregates) and external name and form (aggregates which referring to external sense-field aggregates). Contact depends on this duality (those both internal and external sense-fields). When contacted through one or other of the six sense fields, the fool experiences pleasure and pain.

Iti ayañceva (bālo) kāyo (puggalo, paññatti) bahiddhā ca nāmarūpaṃ (khandho, paramattha), itthetaṃ dvayaṃ (ajjhatta&bahidhā-āyatanāni), dvayaṃ paṭicca phasso saḷevāyatanāni, yehi phuṭṭho bālo sukhadukkhaṃ paṭisaṃvedayati etesaṃ vā aññatarena.

You can use above explanation in various sutta depend on its context such as in DN22 MahasatipaṭṭhānaSutta:

ajjhatta-bahiddhā vā kāye kāyānupassī viharati

he dwells observing kāya in kāya internally and externally

The first kāya refers to a collection of 28 forms (the second kāya). Internal kaya is the practitioner's kāya and external kāya is the other's kāya.

See their Atthakathā for more information.

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When there is a stand, a body (in sense of compound, not physical, see DD's answer in this regard), not-knowing, there is a surface, hence "duality".

By absence, having uprooted not-knowing, not dwelling on another stand, there is what goes beyond able to trace and discriminate. Others then the Nihilists idea, there "is" something beyond the six senses.

dvaya is just another word for avijja, not-knowing. Althought many try to trace something special, the Buddha used different words to serve different inclinatiins of different people.

[This answer is not given as means of trade, exchange, for Buddh-ism or other low wordily bonds but for liberations purpose]

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