The fist number of L. refer to the standard CtP edition published in 1987. The following number shows correspondence between letters in the new 2010 edition. Note that on this website CtP is available only 1987 edition with minor additions.

[L. 147 | 157] (undated)


I do not say that rūpa is appearance. I say, rather, that rūpa is what appears. Rūpa, on its own, cannot appear (and therefore does not exist): in order to appear (or to exist) rūpa requires nāma; that is to say, it requires feeling and perception. Similarly, rūpa, on its own, is not significant; for a thing is significant, has an intention, only when it appears from a certain point of view; and without nāma (and viññāna) rūpa is without a point of view (or orientation). Thus cetanā (intention) is nāma (see M. 9: i,53, where nāma is defined as vedanā saññā cetanā phassa manasikāra [attention = point of view; my present point of view is what I am at present attending to]). Without nāma we cannot speak of rūpa: there is no adhivacana. But without rūpa there is nothing to speak of: there is no patigha.

Though purpose is a form of intention, it is rather a crude and obvious form (though useful as a starting-point)—there is intention of a much more subtle nature (which, however, we need not discuss here). The varieties of intention are infinite. I agree, of course, that there is no purpose in existence, as such. There is no reason why I or anything else should exist. But when something exists it is always (negatively) related to other things, i.e. it is significant.

Editorial note:

[147.1] (undated): But apparently in response to a letter dated 20 November 1961. [Back to text]