(Last Updated on : 21/05/2015)
Elements of individuality in Buddhist Philosophy are distinguished into two broad divisions - nama and rupa. Even in the Upanishads these constitute the phenomenal self. Through them the pure being of Brahman is spread out in the objective sphere. Nama answers to the mental factors and rupa to the physical factors of an individual. Body and mind are viewed as mutually dependent; whatever is gross is form or rupa and whatever is subtle is nama. The two are connected one with the other, and therefore they spring into being together. As a hen does not get a yoke or an egg shell separately but both arise in one, the two being intimately dependent one on the other; similarly if there were no nama, there would be no form or rupa. What is meant by nama in that expression being intimately dependent on what is meant by form, they spring up together. And this is, through time immemorial, their nature. The Buddhists, along with Indian psychologists in general, believe in the material or organic nature of mind or manas.
Denial of existence; self-belief and self interest are also considered as elements of individuality. Further, in Buddhist philosophy, it is also mentioned that the objects of thought are also of five classes. These are Citta, mind; Cetasika, mental properties; Pasada rupa, sensitive qualities of the body, and sukuma rupa, subtle qualities of the body; Pannatti, name, idea, notion, concept and Nirvana
. These are Dhammarammana where Dhamma means the mental presentation. No definite account is given of the way in which sense experience is transformed into knowledge of meaning and ideas. It is said that the mind, which is regarded as a material organ, forms out of the sensations the intellectual ideas and notions. However, it is not known how it happens. Citta, which is both thing and thought, is said to work up the sensations into the concrete stream of consciousness. The seventh book of Abhidhamma pitaka
is called Patthana, or relations. The Buddhist recognises how all consciousness is a relation of subject and object.
Buddhist philosophy mentions that individuality is an unstable state of being which is ever growing. The individuality of man, consisting of both rupa and nama, body and mind, is said to be a congeries of mental states. The phenomena of the world are divided into two classes namely rupino, having form, the four elements and their derivatives and arupino, not having form, modes or phases of consciousness, that is the skandhas of feeling, perception, synthesis and intellect. Rupa means at first sight the extended universe as distinct from the mental one, the world seen as distinct from the unseen mind, the arupino. Slowly it comes to signify the worlds in which it is possible to have rebirth, for these are also capable of being seen. Nama, the mental, includes citta, heart or emotion, vijnana, or consciousness, and manas, or mind. Ignorance and individuality are mutually dependent. Individuality means limitation, and limitation means ignorance. Ignorance can cease only with the cessation of the possibility of ignorance, namely, individuality. According to the Upanishads
the life history of the individual is continued so long as there is ignorance in the understanding and leanness in the soul.