What is the Solidity Quality in any Cluster of Form?
What is this cluster of Form (rūpa-khandha)=
[literally 'group that can break up']?
It is just these 4 primary elements,
and all the forms derived from them...
What are these 4 Primary Elements (mahā-bhūta)
= [literally 'great processes']?
These 4 Primary Elements
(=~ Qualities =~
= [literally 'earth-like' property]
= [literally 'water-like' property]
= [literally 'fire-like' property]
[literally 'wind-like' property]
What, now, is this
Solidity? The quality of solidity may be defined as one's
'own' or internal, or it may be external, and not a part of one's
And what is one's own quality of Solidity? Whatever there is inside one's own body of
kammically caused hardness, firmness, and becoming into a solid state, such as the hairs of
the head, body-hairs, nails, teeth, skin, muscle, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver,
diaphragm, spleen, lungs, stomach, bowels, mesentery, and excrement: This is called own
quality of Solidity. Now, whether it appears as one's own
quality of Solidity, or whether it be
the like an external quality of Solidity (e.g. of mountains of
stone, hammers of iron etc.), they are
both merely this
of Solidity. One should understand, according to this absolute reality:
This is not 'me'. This does not belong to me! This I am not!
This is neither a self, nor a substance!
One may add:
This mind-like conceptual
experience of solidity is not a 'matter-like compact thing
This quality is not lasting
but transient, this is not a real substance, this is thus not
stable or safe...
This ephemeral is
not pleasure, this solidity is not happiness, this
quality is also suffering...
Seeing this analytic
break-up of solidity induces releasing disillusion with even very attractive forms
of form... Whether own or other, internal or external, whether alive or dead,
whether present or not...
Comment: The crucial and
essential 'take-home-message' here is:
The 4 'Primary Elements' in early Buddhism are thus not 'real substances out there', but
realistically: Experienced qualities or properties appearing as
representations inside the mind...
They are manifestations of form, and not 'substantial entities,
or constituents of matter'...
The assertion of their 'material' appearance depends on the
subjective level of observation:
Macroscopic solidity is
merely a manifested appearance of
extension on the
On these 4 Primary
Source (edited extract:
The Middle Length Sayings of the Buddha.
Majjhima Nikāya. MN 28.
Mahā-hatthipadopama Sutta: The Great Elephant Footprint Simile: