Name and Form (or Body and Mind)

[Boat and Men]

This picture is the image of three men in a boat. These represent the mental factors (the men) together with the physical factors (the boat.) This is body-and-mind or name-and-form. Buddhist psychology recognizes five aggregates, or bundles, which constitute a being; physical form, consciousness, perception, mental formations and feeling. These together constitute nama-rupa, lit. name-and-form.

The arising of consciousness to an object is always followed by the whole complex of psycho-physical factors which constitute a so-called personality. In an important sense, consiousness is the only active factor - it is that which goes towards its object.

In the arising of a new being in the womb, the rebirth-linking consiousness, conditioned by karma, in turn conditions the arising of the other mental factors together with the form of the physical base.

We separately name and describe these factors, but in reality they are inextricably mixed. Perception in particular is intimately bound up with consciousness; it is the process by which we create a universe each moment from incoming sense data.


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