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the old metaphor, or, it may be, the old physical concept, into terms of subjective experience. Again, when alluding to the simile of the cymbals and the rams, we are told by Buddhaghosa to interpret "eye eye" by "visual cognition and to take the concussion" in the sense of function.1 Once more he tells us that when feeling arises through contact the real causal antecedent is mental, though apparently external.2


Without pursuing this problem further, we cannot leave the subject of sense and sensation without a word of comment and comparison on the prominence given in the Buddhist theory to the notion of "contact contact" and the sense of touch. As with us, both terms are from the same stem. But phasso (contact), on the one hand, is generalized to include all receptive experience, sensory as well as ideational,3 and to represent the essential antecedent and condition of all feeling (or sensation = v e da na). On the other hand, phusati, phoṭṭhabbam (to touch, the tangible) are specialized to express the activity of one of the senses. Now, the functioning of the tactile sense (termed bodysensibility or simply body, kā y o, pp. 181, 182) is described in precisely the same terms as each of the other four senses. Nevertheless, it is plain, from the significant application of the term tangible, or object of touch, alluded to already— let alone the use of contact in a wider sense that the Buddhists regarded Touch as giving us knowledge of things without" in a more fundamental way than the other senses could. By the table of the contents of r up a m given above, we have seen that it is only through Touch that a knowledge of the underived elements of the world of sense could be obtained, the fluid or moist element alone excepted. This interesting point in the psychology of early Buddhism may possibly be formulated somewhere in the Abhidhamma.



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Pitaka. I should feel more hopeful in this respect had the compilers been, in the first instance, not ethical thinkers, but impelled by the scientific curiosity of a Demokritus. The latter, as is well known, regarded all sensation as either bare touch or developments of touch-a view borne out to a great extent by modern biological research. This was, perhaps, a corollary of his atomistic philosophy. Yet that Demokritus was no mere deductive system-spinner, but an inductive observer, is shown in the surviving quotation of his dictum, that we should proceed, in our inferences, " from phenomena to that which is not manifest." Now, as the Buddhist view of rūpam calls three of the four elements "underived " and "the tangible ", while it calls the senses and all other sense-objects "derived from that tangible" and from fluid, one might almost claim that their position with respect to Touch was in effect parallel to that of Demokritus. The Commentary does not assist us to any clear conclusion on this matter. But, in addition to the remark quoted above, in which visual magnitudes are pronounced to be really tactile sensations, it has one interesting illustration of our proverb, "Seeing is believing, but Touch is the real thing." It likens the four senses, excluding touch, to the striking of four balls of cotton-wool on anvils by other lumps of cotton. But in Touch, as it were, a hammer smites through the wool, getting at the bare anvil.1

Further considerations on the Buddhist theory of sense, taking us beyond bare sensation to the working up of such material into concrete acts of perception, I propose to consider briefly in the following section. The remaining heads of the rūpa-skandha are very concisely treated in the Niddesaanswers (pp. 190-7), and, save in the significance of their selection, call for no special treatment.

1 Asl. 263; below, n. 1 to § 443. I have corrected this passage in accordance with S. Z. Aung's criticism. Compendium, 232.

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It is not quite clear why senses and sense-objects should be followed by three indriyas by three only and just these three. The senses themselves are often termed indriyas, and not only in Buddhism. In the indriyas of sex, however, and the phenomena of nutrition, the rupa-skandha, in both the self and other selves, is certainly catalogued under two aspects as general and as impressive as that of sense. In fact, the whole organism as modifiable by the "sabbam rūpam" without, may be said to be summed up under these three aspects. They fit fairly well into our division of the receptive side of the organism, considered, psychophysically, as general and special sensibility. From his ethical standpoint the learner did well to take the life in which he shared into account under its impressive aspects of sense, sex and nutrition. And this not only in so far as he was receptive. The very term in driyam, which is best paralleled by the Greek dúvapis, or faculty-i.e. powers in us, and in all other things, by which we do as we do "1— and which is interpreted to this effect by Buddhaghosa,2 points to the active, self-expressive side of existence. And there is in later exegesis a felt awareness of the importance of faculties as controllers and preservers of the organism.3 Both as recipient, then, and as agent, the learner of the Dharma had to acquire and maintain a certain attitude with respect to these aspects of the rupa-skandha.

D, E. Intimation and Space.


The same considerations apply to the next two kinds of rūpam, with which we may bracket the next after them. The two modes of "intimation" or self-expression exhaust the active side of life as such, constituting, as one might say, a world of sub-derivative or tertiary form, and calling

1 Republic, v. 477.

2 Asl., p. 119 and passim.
3 Compendium, 228.



quite especially for modification by theory and practice (dassanena ca bhavana ya ca). And the element of space, strange as it looks, at first sight, to find it listed just here, was of account for the Buddhist only as a necessary datum or postulate for his sentient and active life. The vacua of the body, as well as its plena, had to be reckoned in with the rupa-skandha; likewise the space without by which bodies were delimitated, and which, yielding room for movement, afforded us the three dimensions.1

The grounds for excluding space from the four elements. and for calling it "derived" remain in obscurity. In the Mahā Rāhulovada-Sutta (cited below) it is ranked immediately after, and apparently as co-ordinate with, the other four.. And it was so ranked, oftener than not, by Indian thought generally. Yet in another Sutta of the same Nikāya—the Maha Hatthipadopama Sutta - Sariputta describes four elements, leaving out ā kā s o. Eliminated for some reason from the Underived, when the Dhamma-sangani was compiled, it was logically necessary to include it under Derived Rūpam. That it was so included because it was held to be a mental construction or a "pure form of intuition ", is scarcely tenable.

F, G, H. Qualities of Form.

And yet the next seven items of derived form are apparently to be accepted rather as concepts or aspects of form than as objective properties or "primary qualities" of it. Be that as it may, all the seven are so many common

1 See below, n. 1 to § 638; also M. i, 423. In the former passage space is described as if external to the organism; in the latter Gotama admonishes his son respecting the internal ā kā so. On the interesting point put forward by von Schroeder of a connexion between a ka ça and the Pythagorean ύλκας, see Professor Garbe in the Vienna Oriental Journal, xiii, Nro. 4, 1899. The former scholar refers to the ranking of space as a fifth element, as a schwankend uberlieferte Bezeichnung. It was so for Buddhism (D. iii, 247; M. iii, 239, 240).


facts about rupam, both as "sabb a m' sabbam" and as skandha. The Three Qualities 1 indicated the ideal efficiency for moral ends to which the rupa-skandha, or any form serving such an end, should be brought. The Three Phases in the organic evolution of form and the great fact of Impermanence applied everywhere and always to all form. And as such all had to be borne in mind, all had to co-operate in shaping theory and practice.

I. Nutriment.

Concerning, lastly, the ā hā ro, or support, of the rūpaskandha, the hygiene and ethics of diet are held worthy of rational discussion in the Sutta Pitaka.2



We have now gone with more or less details into the divisions of rūpam in the sensuous universe", with a view of seeing how far it coincided with any general philosophical concept in use among ourselves. For me it does not fit well with any, and the vague term "form ", implicated as it is, like rūpa m, with "things we see ", is perhaps the most serviceable. Its inclusion of faculties and abstract notions as integral factors prevent its coinciding with "matter", or the Extended ", or "the External World". If we turn to the list of attributes given in Chapter I of Book II, rūpam appears as pre-eminently the unmoral (as to both cause and effect) and the non-mental. It was favourable to immoral states, as the chief constituent of a world that had to be mastered and transcended by moral culture, but the immoral states exploiting it were of the other four skandhas. It included the phenomena of sense, but rather on their physical pre-mental side than as full-fledged facts of consciousness. And it was sharply distinguished, as a constituent collocation" or aggregate" (skandha, rasi), in the total


1 Lightness, plasticity, wieldiness, §§ 639-41.


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2 Cf. e.g. M. i, Suttas 54, 55, 65, 66, 70. There was also the philosophical aspect of āhāro as cause, or basis. See my Buddhist Psychology, 1914, p. 61 f.

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