In dependent origination name and form is described as follows :

“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.

The name and form arises due to vinnana or consciousness. After name and form six senses arise. After six senses , contact arises. After contact , feelings arise.

However in the definition of name and form , name involves contact and feelings as shown in the above quote.

How can feeling and contact describe name and form when feeling and contact occur after name and form?

1 Answer 1


Dependent origination is ignorance > sankhara > consciousness > nama-rupa > sense bases > contact > feeling > craving > attachment > becoming > birth > death > sorrow/grief.

Nama-rupa feels & has contact with the internal sankhara, which is only two sense objects & two contacts:

  1. breathing (kayasankharo), which is body-contact
  2. feeling, perception (cittasankharo) & thought (vacisankharo), which is mind contact

Then if nama-rupa gives inappropriate attention to the internal sankhara, it will pursue the subject of the sankhara outwardly/externally, which again gives rise to contact & feeling.

For example:

  1. You are meditating quietly and the thought arises: "I feel like chocolate". This thought is a sankhara comprised of feeling/perception (cittasankharo) and thought (vacisankharo), which also simultaneously causes the breathing (kayasankharo) to becoming animated/agitated. This is the 1st arising of feeling at the sankhara condition.

  2. Then, via consciousness, nama-rupa feels, perceives, has contact with & gives attention to this internal thought/sankhara about 'chocolate' and, under the power of ignorance, decides/intends to pursue chocolate outwardly/externally. This is the 2nd arising of feeling at the nama-rupa condition.

  3. Then nama-rupa emerges from meditation, walks to the pantry, opens the pantry door and makes sense contact with chocolate. This is the 3rd arising of feeling at the feeling condition.

  4. Then nama-rupa (via craving & attachment) engages in the becoming/bhava/kamma of tasting/eating the chocolate. This will involve another round of sense contact & feeling. This is the 4th arising of feeling, at the becoming condition, when becoming starts the cycle of dependent origination again.

Therefore, per the theory, feeling is mentioned three times in Dependent Origination:

  1. At the sankhara condition, as cittasankharo.

  2. At the nama-rupa condition, as vedana.

  3. At the feeling condition, as vedana.

Feeling will also persist in all of the conditions. For example, craving cannot arise without being underlaid with feeling. Similarly, sensual attachment cannot arise without being underlaid with feeling. Similarly, aging & death cannot occur without being underlaid with feeling, such as having feeling & love towards 'the beings' subject to aging & death. If there is no pleasant feelings towards certain 'beings', there will be no aging & death leading to sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief & despair. The suttas (AN 10.58) says all dhammas converge on feelings. That is why the principle practice of Buddha-Dhamma is having mindfulness & wisdom at feelings (MN 37, MN 38; MN 140, MN 148, etc) so feelings (cittasankharo) does not cause/condition the citta/mind to generate greed, hatred & delusion.

Bhikkhu Thanissaro gives a number of examples of the above processes starting at page 3 of his PDF called The Shape Of Suffering. I am aware of only Bhikkhu Thanissaro who has explained Dependent Origination the same as Dhamma Dhatu.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .