I find it to be such a gift to be stuck in the house. The Dhamma nerd in me keeps whispering “We can just talk Dhamma all day? How fortunate for me!” So tonight we are going to continue our exploration into the world of Dependent Origination. This month we’ll be looking at the 4th link – Name and Form.
There are two things to keep in mind when trying to practice with Dependent Origination. First, these links are happening in nanoseconds. They are, in some respect, happening simultaneously. Second, this is all about learning to see and understand cause and effect and with our exploration into consciousness last month, we have moved into the present effects.
Remember Ignorance and Mental Formations are about our past causes. We bring them into the present moment through our habits, beliefs, judgments and expectations. The next five links relate to the effects these habits, beliefs, judgments and expectations will have on the present moment. They are about how we are going to perceive the moment. This is very important because what we perceive as reality is not always the truth of reality. Rather it is simply the truth of what we perceive to be reality. Dependent Origination is about learning to chip away at this perception. The Dhamma is vast and can show us that there’s a lot more going on in a given moment than my personal commentary about the moment. Practicing with the links is what gives us the willingness to stray outside of the box we live in.
The 5 present effect links are what make up this box. Name and Form is pretty self explanatory. It is the conceptualization of existence. We were raised to see the world as names and forms. We understand what is going on because of these name and forms. In fact, our very sense of safety, inspiration and groundedness has a direct correlation with the surety of name and form. I’m saying all this because it is part of the faculty of mind so it’s not going anywhere any way.
We are trying to see it’s limitations and see if there is something else we can use in addition to name and form that would allow us to see the truth of the moment more fully. We can see the moment more fully when we see all the components that make up how we are experiencing the situation. What are our evaluation of what’s happening versus what’s actually happening. What assumptions/expectations am I bringing into the situation. What intentions are motivating my words, thoughts and/or actions. Are there hindrances present? What is my relationship with the situation? Am I reacting out of judgment, comparing or fixing? These and many other questions make up how name and form operates.
Over the month we’ll look at how name and form connect to the previous links and the future links, we’ll explore the different components, and consider how to practice with it such that it leads us away from more suffering and towards liberation.