So in SN12.19 we have contact resulting from the dyad of the internal sense bases ( body ) and external name+form. I’m still not clear what “external name+form” means here, practically speaking, and whether it is the same name+form described in DO ( I suspect not ).

Meanwhile in the Loka Sutta ( SN12.44 ) sense-consciousness arises in dependence upon internal and external sense bases, eg eye and form, and the meeting of the three is contact. So here the external aspect is just form, rather than name+form

With your example of the hand, shape and colour look like perceptions, and so presumably a function of sanna. Perhaps you could call this “named form”?


Namarupa includes saññā and a few more properties

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. -SN12.2

In my example, raw data of colour and shades of brightness is the rupa.


Consider that mental formations woul be sensed at the mind sense door. The internal aayatana and internal aayatana might be more about sense base and it’s sense object, rather than ‘inside and outside’.


Sure, the nama aspect includes a range of “mental” functions. But I don’t think this means that nama-rupa is an object of sense-consciousness. Possibly it’s another way of describing about the dyad upon which consciousness is based?

OK. So we have the raw visual input ( rupa ), which is then recognised and reacted to ( nama )?


I’ve suggested it’s both when we’re talking about the five “physical” sense bases, since in the suttas the internal bases are described as the physical sense organs, and these are inside the body. I also referenced the distinction between internal and external form in MN140.


There is another element here IMO

“Kaccāna, this world mostly relies on the dual notions of existence and non-existence. But when you truly see the origin of the world with right understanding, you won’t have the notion of non-existence regarding the world. And when you truly see the cessation of the world with right understanding, you won’t have the notion of existence regarding the world. SuttaCentral

Kaccayanagottha sutta above, goes on to offer a third way of ‘existence’ in terms of causes and effects. This isn’t causes and effects in the world (I was hungry, therefore I ate) but phenomenal arising and passing away, but linked as causal chains - visual object and image gave rise to eye-consciousness and so on AND THATS IT - no explanation as to where this is happening as both the internal and external are seen arising and passing away. It’s the third dimension of vipassana experiencing. :smile:


From what i can understand buddha is not denying that the world under our noses exist. As opposed to one consciousness hallucinating the whole world.

unfortunately we can only see a mental projection of that world. But the mental model depends on the data from outside. As you said earlier close my eyes i don’t see anything.


Yes, and I think vinnana is always conscious of something, ie a sense-object. Or to put it another way, we’re always aware of something.


Sense-consciousness arises in dependence upon sense-organ ( internal base ) and sense-object ( external base ). To me inside and outside the body is a sensible way of looking at this.


As in commonly held ideas. As in ‘the world exists’ (internally and externally)?


I can see the inside of my eyelids when I close my eyes, especially if they are backlit. Are the inside of my eyelids internal or external? Inside my body or outside?


They are part of the body, so I would say “inside” makes more sense than “outside”. Have a look at the distinction between internal and external form in MN140.

I don’t see a sensible alternative to inside and outside the body. This is also what the suttas appear to describe, for example eye-consciousness arising in dependence upon the eye ( internal base ) and visible form ( external base ).

What would the alternative be? Inside and outside the mind? I don’t know what that would mean, practically speaking.


Yes, if we take inside and outside the body in an ontological sense, the question arises where do we draw the line. Is it the cornea, is it the retina ? ……

But for me, inside outside is an experiential reality. It seems to arise out of the perceiver and the perceived duality. What i’m saying is what we cognise as a perceiver is a bunch of namarupas and so is the perceived.

But now for me what @Whippet says also makes sense. Because the sense of the perceiver is intimately tied to the body.



This yogic teacher describes a meditative state where his sense of inside and outside disappeared and everything became one reality.


So, eye-consciousness arises in dependence upon the eye ( internal base, inside the body) and eyelid ( external base, inside the body)?


Yes, technically the eyelid would be external because it’s a sense-object. Actually any part of your body that you can see.


Kaccayanagotta sutta (SN12.15) says ‘I don’t deny the world exists, but…’. This suggests that it is more nuanced than it existing or not existing.

It means we see our experiences through delusion-avijja, creating an internal and external 3D ‘world’.


In suttas like SN12.15 the middle way is dependent origination or arising. Eye-consciousness arising in dependence upon eye and form is an example of this principle.

I think most people would agree that we create an internal “model” of our world, but in the suttas this appears to be based on raw data from the senses ( derived form ).

I think delusion is more to do with the assumptions we make, for example as here: SuttaCentral


@Whippet @Mat @Media

I stumbled upon the following astounding sutta. It doesn’t matter how we analyse phenomena, the crucial thing is eradication of passion and craving for them

At Savatthi. “Monks, I will teach you the phenomena to be comprehended, as well as comprehension. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak.”

“As you say, lord,” the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "And which are the phenomena to be comprehended? Form is a phenomenon to be comprehended. Feeling … Perception … Fabrications … Consciousness is a phenomenon to be comprehended. These are called phenomena to be comprehended.

“And which is comprehension? Any ending of passion, ending of aversion, ending of delusion. This is called comprehension.”



This sutta alone teaches sixteen methods of analysis and entry in to Nibbana.

Dvayatanupassana Sutta: The Contemplation of Dualities