Elements

The Buddha spoke about realities as elements in order to remind us that they are impermanent and not self. When we speak about elements we usually think of the elements in chemistry or physics which have each their own characteristics. In chemistry and physics matter is analysed into elements, but it may seem strange to us to regard the eye or seeing as elements. We are not used to consider them as elements because we are inclined to take them for 'self'.

 

What we take for self are only nāma-elements and rūpa-elements which arise

because of their appropriate conditions and then fall away again. Eyesense is

only an element which has its own characteristic and is devoid of self ; it is

rūpa which arises because of conditions and then falls away again. Seeing is

only an element which has its own characteristic and is devoid of self ; it is

nāma which arises because of conditions and falls away again.

 

Topic 191