Rupa (Material Form) – Table

Revised April 22, 2020; August 16, 2020

We discuss the 28 types of rupa (material form) in Buddha Dhamma. For discussions on rupa, see, “What are Rupa? (Relation to Nibbāna)” and “Rupa (Material Form).

Concretely Produced (Nipphanna

Abstract (Anipphanna) Rupa

I. Great Elements (Mahā Bhuta) VII. Limiting Phenomenon
1. Pathavi (Extension/Hardness) 19. Ākāsa dhātu (space element)
2. Apo (Cohesion/Fluidity) IX. Communicating (Viññatti) Rupa
3. Tejo (Heat/Hotness) 20. Kāya Viññatti
4. Vāyo (Motion/Pushing & Supporting) 21. Vaci Viññatti
II. Internal (Pasāda) Rupa X. Mutable (Vikāra) Rupa
5. Cakkhu (eye element) 22. Lahutā (lightness)
6. Sota (ear element) 23. Mudutā (Elasticity)
7. Ghāna (nose element) 24. Kammaññatā (weildiness)
8. Jivhā (tongue element) XI. Material Qualities (Lakkhana Rupa)
9. Kāya (body element) 25. Upacaya (production)
III. Gocara (Objective) Rupa 26. Santati (continuity)
10. Vaṇṇa (visible)  27. Jaratā (Decay)
11. Sadda (Sound) 28. Aniccatā (Dissolving)
12. Gandha (Smell)
13. Rasa (Taste)
* Phoṭṭhabba (Tangibility, warmth, and movement) comes

from 3 mahā bhuta of pathavi, tejo, vāyo

IV. Bhava Rupa 
14. Itthi (Feminine)
15. Purisa (Masculine)
V. Hadaya (Mind Base)
16. Hadaya Vatthu (seat of the mind)
VI. Life
17. jīvitindriya (Life faculty)
VII. Nutritional
18. Oja (Nutriment)
Types of Rupā 
  • The four great elements (#1 through #4) and the four gocara rupa (#10 through #13) ALWAYS appear together. They can NEVER be detected by themselves. They come in together as suddhāṭṭhaka (meaning the smallest collection of those eight types of rupa.) See, “The Origin of Matter – Suddhāṭṭhaka.”
  • There are nine rupa created ONLY by kammic energy at the paṭisandhi moment. Those are the five pasāda rupa (#5 through #9), and four other rupa (#14 through #17) including the seat of the mind (hadaya vatthu).
  • The 16 rupa that are highlighted in blue are fine (sukuma) rupa. The other 12 are coarse (oḷārika) rupa.
  • Nipphanna rupa are caused by kamma, citta, utu (tejo), and āhāra (oja). The other 10 (anipphanna rupa) are not caused or conditioned by kamma, citta, utu (tejo), and āhāra (oja).
  • The 10 types of anipphanna rupa (on the right side of the Table) are abstract rupa.
Types of Rupā Present in Different Realms
  • All the 28 rupā arise in the kāma-realms. Eight rupā comprising sadda, five vikāra-rupā, jarātarupa, and aniccatā-rupa, do not arise at the moment of birth (patisandhi) whereas, during lifetime there is no rupa which is not formed.
  • In the 15 rupa realms, with the exception of Asañña-realm, 23 rupā arise (ghana-pasāda, jivha-pasāda, kaya-pasāda, itthi-bhava and purisa-bhava being excluded).
  • Only 17 rupā arise in the Asañña realm. They are the eight avinibbhoga (four mahā bhuta and vaṇṇa, gandha, rasa, oja), jivita rupa, ākāsa dhatu, three lahutadi, and four lakkhana-rupā. 
  • No rupa above the suddhāṭṭhaka level arise (except for hadaya vatthu) in the arupa-realms. Thus, a trace of matter is present anywhere in the 31 realms. Ancient yogis, who attained all eight anariya jhānā, could not see any rupa in the arupa loka and deduced that was Nibbāna. But rupa still has a “foothold” in the arupa loka since any being in the arupa loka will be reborn in other realms in the future (unless at least the Sotāpanna stage is attained.) Thus, linkage to mater has not been severed in arupa loka.
Definitions from Dhammasaṅgaṇī

The following are quoted from the “2.2.3. Rūpavibhatti” section of Dhammasaṅgaṇī of the Tipiṭaka. 

  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ itthindriyaṃ? Yaṃ itthiyā itthiliṅgaṃ itthinimittaṃ itthikuttaṃ itthākappo itthattaṃ itthibhāvo—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ itthindriyaṃ.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ purisindriyaṃ? Yaṃ purisassa purisaliṅgaṃ purisanimittaṃ purisakuttaṃ purisākappo purisattaṃ purisabhāvo—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ purisindriyaṃ.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ jīvitindriyaṃ? Yo tesaṃ rūpīnaṃ dhammānaṃ āyu ṭhiti yapanā yāpanā iriyanā vattanā pālanā jīvitaṃ jīvitindriyaṃ—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ jīvitindriyaṃ.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ kāyaviññatti? Yā kusalacittassa vā akusalacittassa vā abyākatacittassa vā abhikkamantassa vā paṭikkamantassa vā ālokentassa vā vilokentassa vā samiñjentassa vā pasārentassa vā kāyassa thambhanā santhambhanā santhambhitattaṃ viññatti viññāpanā viññāpitattaṃ—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ kāyaviññatti.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ vacīviññatti? Yā kusalacittassa vā akusalacittassa vā abyākatacittassa vā vācā girā byappatho udīraṇaṃ ghoso ghosakammaṃ vācā vacībhedo—ayaṃ vuccati vācā. Yā tāya vācāya viññatti viññāpanā viññāpitattaṃ—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ vacīviññatti.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ ākāsadhātu? Yo ākāso ākāsagataṃ aghaṃ aghagataṃ vivaro vivaragataṃ asamphuṭṭhaṃ catūhi mahābhūtehi—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ ākāsadhātu.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa lahutā? Yā rūpassa lahutā lahupariṇāmatā adandhanatā avitthanatā—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa lahutā.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa mudutā? Yā rūpassa mudutā maddavatā akakkhaḷatā akathinatā—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa mudutā.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa kammaññatā? Yā rūpassa kammaññatā kammaññattaṃ kammaññabhāvo—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa kammaññatā.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa upacayo? Yo āyatanānaṃ ācayo, so rūpassa upacayo— idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa upacayo.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa santati? Yo rūpassa upacayo, sā rūpassa santati— idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa santati.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa jaratā? Yā rūpassa jarā jīraṇatā khaṇḍiccaṃ pāliccaṃ valittacatā āyuno saṃhāni indriyānaṃ paripāko—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa jaratā.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa aniccatā? Yo rūpassa khayo vayo bhedo paribhedo aniccatā antaradhānaṃ—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ rūpassa aniccatā.
  • Katamaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ kabaḷīkāro āhāro? Odano kummāso sattu maccho maṃsaṃ khīraṃ dadhi sappi navanītaṃ telaṃ madhu phāṇitaṃ, yaṃ vā panaññampi atthi rūpaṃ yamhi yamhi janapade tesaṃ tesaṃ sattānaṃ mukhāsiyaṃ dantavikhādanaṃ galajjhoharaṇīyaṃ kucchivitthambhanaṃ, yāya ojāya sattā yāpenti—idaṃ taṃ rūpaṃ kabaḷīkāro āhāro.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email