Ontology and Name-and-Form

Ontology is very powerful. Everyone has a background of knowledge, experience and language in which we reflect our experience. That context is what gives life meaning. The science and art of becoming is to consciously create an ontology that provides a particular meaning, leading toward a specific state of being.

For example, doing integrity work on a daily basis builds an ontology of integrity that ultimately makes it possible to become a person of integrity, for whom integrity is a spontaneous natural self-expression. The practice becomes almost effortless based on methodical preparation. Weaving a matrix of terminology related to the desired state of being is the work. You can do it through analysis of a Master’s work, but ultimately you have to master that technique yourself.

Dependent Origination

The Buddha’s analysis and description of the process of becoming is very powerful. He emphasizes terminology (name and the form it represents) as the conditioning cause of consciousness, and consciousness as the conditioning cause of name-and-form. Once the pathways of expression are determined, the process of becoming takes over. Like falling dominos, a causal chain is set up that brings into being the thing or state we envision and define.

In the illustration at the top, we show how intention or fabrication causes consciousness, consciousness causes name-and-form, and then these two begin to condition one another like a whirlpool. Consciousness needs name-and-form as a object, and name-and-form needs consciousness to exist. They engage in a codependent relationship that creates a vortex of energy.

This vortex in turn creates the appearance of a ‘thing’, an apparently independently-existing object. Our world is populated with ‘things’ that we bring into existence by intention or desire, consciousness and name-and-form. This is how we create our world.


Published by

Dev Jacobsen

Musician, author and yogi, developer of Palingenics.

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