Abhidhamma Series no 14. The Eight Inseparable Ruupas.
- Dear friends,
The Eight Inseparable Ruupas.
Ruupas always arise in groups, and the four Great Elements of
solidity, cohesion, temperature and motion are always present
wherever there is materiality. Apart from these four elements there
are other ruupas, namely twentyfour �derived ruupas� (in Paali:
upaadaa ruupas). The derived ruupas cannot arise without the four
Great Elements, they are dependent on them.
Four among the derived ruupas always arise together with the four
Great Elements in every group of ruupas and are thus present wherever
materiality occurs, no matter whether ruupas of the body or
materiality outside the body. These four ruupas are the following:
visible object (or colour)
The four Great elements and these four derived ruupas, which always
arise together, are called the �inseparable ruupas� (in P�li:
avinibbhoga ruupas). Wherever solidity arises, there also have to be
cohesion, temperature, motion, colour, odour, flavour and nutritive
Visible object has as its proximate cause the four Great Elements
because it cannot arise without them. However, when a characteristic
of one of these four Great Elements, such as hardness or heat, is
experienced, the accompanying visible object cannot be experienced at
the same time. Only one ruupa at a time can be experienced by citta.
When there are conditions for seeing, visible object is experienced.
When we close our eyes, there may be remembrance of the shape and
form of a thing, but that is not the experience of visible object.
The thinking of a �thing�, no matter whether our eyes are closed or
open, is different from the actual experience of what is visible.
Odour cannot arise alone, it needs the four Great Elements which
arise together with it and it is also accompanied by the other ruupas
included in the eight inseparable ruupas. When odour appears we tend
to be carried away by like or dislike. We are attached to fragrant
odours and we loathe nasty smells. However, odour is only a reality
which is experienced through the nose and it does not last.
Flavour is another ruupa included in the eight inseparable ruupas. We
are attached to food and we find its flavour very important. As soon
as we have tasted delicious flavour, attachment tends to arise. We
are forgetful of the reality of flavour which is only a kind of
ruupa. When we recognize what kind of flavour we taste, we think
about a concept, but this thinking is conditioned by the experience
of flavour through the tongue.
Nutrition is another kind of ruupa which has to arise with every kind
of materiality. It can be exerienced only through the mind-door.
Nutritive essence is not only present in rice and other foods, it is
also present in what we call a rock or sand. It is present in any
kind of materiality. Insects are able to digest what human beings
cannot digest, such as, for example, wood.
If one does not develop understanding of realities one will be
enslaved by all objects experienced through the senses. On account of
these objects akusala cittas tend to arise. If someone thinks that
there is a self who can own what is seen, touched or smelt, he may be
inclined to commit unwholesome deeds such as stealing. In reality all
these objects are insignificant, they arise and then fall away
In the ultimate sense life exists only in one moment, the present
moment. At the moment of seeing the world of visible object is
experienced, at the moment of hearing the world of sound, and at the
moment of touching the world of tangible object. Life is actually one
moment of experiencing an object.
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