EDIT: I've changed this question from SN 22.56 to SN 22.57, but the sutta content related to my question is very similar. And I've added a new question.
The term "form" in SN 22.57 below, seems to refer to the physical body. Cessation of form is "rūpanirodha". And the "seven bases" from the Thanissaro translation is a bit different from the Sujato and Bodhi translations which call it the "seven cases".
What does cessation of form through the noble eightfold path mean? Does it mean that physical rebirth is ended through the practice of the noble eightfold path? What else could it mean?
I guess it can be argued that the "cessation of form" (through noble eightfold path) and "escape from form" (through abandonment of passion and desire for form) are the same thing. But are these two the same or different? If they are the same, then why are they two different bases of the seven bases?
From SN 22.57 (trans. Thanissaro):
"And how is a monk skilled in seven bases? There is the case where a monk discerns form, the origination of form, the cessation of form, the path of practice leading to the cessation of form. He discerns the allure of form, the drawback of form, and the escape from form.
"And what is form? The four great existents [the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, & the wind property] and the form derived from them: this is called form. From the origination of nutriment comes the origination of form.
From the cessation of nutriment comes the cessation of form. And just this noble eightfold path is the path of practice leading to the cessation of form, i.e., right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
The fact that pleasure & happiness arises in dependence on form: that is the allure of form. The fact that form is inconstant, stressful, subject to change: that is the drawback of form. The subduing of desire & passion for form, the abandoning of desire & passion for form: that is the escape from form.
"For any brahmans or contemplatives who by directly knowing form in this way, directly knowing the origination of form in this way, directly knowing the cessation of form in this way, directly knowing the path of practice leading to the cessation of form in this way, directly knowing the allure of form in this way, directly knowing the drawback of form in this way, directly knowing the escape from form in this way, are practicing for disenchantment — dispassion — cessation with regard to form, they are practicing rightly. Those who are practicing rightly are firmly based in this doctrine & discipline.
Translated by Bhikkhu Sujato here:
And how is a mendicant skilled in seven cases? It’s when a mendicant understands form, its origin, its cessation, and the practice that leads to its cessation. They understand form’s gratification, drawback, and escape. They understand feeling … perception … choices … consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the practice that leads to its cessation. They understand consciousness’s gratification, drawback, and escape.
And what is form? The four primary elements, and form derived from the four primary elements. This is called form. Form originates from food. When food ceases, form ceases. The practice that leads to the cessation of form is simply this noble eightfold path, that is: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion.
The pleasure and happiness that arise from form: this is its gratification. That form is impermanent, suffering, and perishable: this is its drawback. Removing and giving up desire and greed for form: this is its escape.
Those ascetics and brahmins who have directly known form in this way—and its origin, its cessation, and the practice that leads to its cessation; its gratification, drawback, and escape—and are practicing for disillusionment, dispassion, and cessation regarding form: they are practicing well. Those who practice well have a firm footing in this teaching and training.