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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Aung thinks that it means the same as karma


6: I have followed the translation of Aung in rendering namarupa as mind and body, _Compendium_, p. 271. This seems to me to be fairly correct. The four skandhas are called nama in each birth. These together with rupa (matter) give us namarupa (mind and body) which being developed render the activities through the six sense-gates possible so that there may be knowledge. Cf. _M. V._ 564. Govindananda, the commentator on S'a@nkara's bhasya on the _Brahma sutras_ (II. ii. 19), gives a different interpretation of Namarupa which may probably refer to the Vijnanavada view though we have no means at hand to verify it. He says--To think the momentary as the permanent is Avidya; from there come the samskaras of attachment, antipathy or anger, and infatuation; from there the first vijnana or thought of the foetus is produced, from that alayavijnana, and the four elements (which are objects of name and are hence called nama) are produced, and from those are produced the white and black, semen and blood called rupa. Both Vacaspati and Amalananda agree with Govindananda in holding that nama signifies the semen and the ovum while rupa means the visible physical body built out of them. Vijnana entered the womb and on account of it namarupa were produced through the association of previous karma. See _Vedantakalpataru_, pp 274, 275. On the doctrine of the entrance of vijnana into the womb compare _D N_ II. 63.]


be vinnana.

Here it occurred to him that in order that there might be vinnana there must be the conformations (_sa@nkhara_) [Footnote ref 1]. But what being there are there the sa@nkharas? Here it occurred to him that the sa@nkharas can only be if there is ignorance (_avijja_). If avijja could be stopped then the sa@nkharas will be stopped, and if the sa@nkharas could be stopped vinnana could be stopped and so on [Footnote ref 2].

It is indeed difficult to be definite as to what the Buddha actually wished to mean by this cycle of dependence of existence sometimes called Bhavacakra (wheel of existence). Decay and death (_jaramarana_) could not have happened if there was no birth [Footnote ref 3]. This seems to be clear. But at this point the difficulty begins. We must remember that the theory of rebirth was


[Footnote 1: It is difficult to say what is the exact sense of the word here. The Buddha was one of the first few earliest thinkers to introduce proper philosophical terms and phraseology with a distinct philosophical method and he had often to use the same word in more or less different senses. Some of the philosophical terms at least are therefore rather elastic when compared with the terms of precise and definite meaning which we find in later Sanskrit thought. Thus in _S N_ III. p. 87, "_Sankhata@m abdisa@nkharonta_," sa@nkhara means that which synthesises the complexes. In the _Compendium_ it is translated as will, action. Mr. Aung thinks that it means the same as karma; it is here used in a different sense from what we find in the word sa@nkhata khandha (viz mental states). We get a list of 51 mental states forming sa@nkhata khandha in _Dhamma Sangam_, p 18, and another different set of 40 mental states in _Dharmasamgraha_, p. 6. In addition to these forty _cittasamprayuktasa@mskara_, it also counts thirteen _cittaviprayuktasa@mskara_. Candrakirtti interprets it as meaning attachment, antipathy and infatuation, p 563. Govindananda, the commentator on S'a@nkara's _Brahma sutra_ (II. ii. 19), also interprets the word in connection with the doctrine of _Pratityasamutpada_ as attachment, antipathy and infatuation.]

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