Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries
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Abhidhamma View : The Five Aggregates
[Presented by Dr.Tep Sastri @ SariputtaDhamma/JTN/Mult]CMA, VII, p. 285:
The five aggregates are: 1. the materiality aggregate, 2. the feeling aggregate, 3. the perception aggregate, 4. the mental formations aggregate, 5. the consciousness aggregate.
The word khandha is understood in the sense of group, mass, or aggregate. The Buddha analyzes a living being into these five groups. In the Suttas he states: "Whatever kind of materiality there is , whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near --this is called the materiality aggregate." The same method is applied to the other four aggregates (S.22:48/iii,47). The relationship between the five aggregates and the four ultimate realities has been explained (CMA I, p.26): In the Abhidhamma teaching the ultimates are grouped into the four categories enumerated in the text. The first three --consciousness, mental factors, and matter-- comprise all conditional realities. The five aggregates of the Suttanta teaching fit within these three categories. The aggregate of consciousness is here comprised by consciousness(citta), the word citta generally being employed to refer to different classes of consciousness distinguished by their concomitants. The middle three aggregates are, in the Abhidhamma, all included within the category of mental factors(cetasikas), the mental states that arise along with consciousness performing diverse functions.The Abhidhamma philosophy enumerates fifty-two mental factors: the aggregates of feeling and perception are each counted as one factor; The aggregate of mental formations(sankhaarakkhandha) of the Suttas is finely subdivided into fifty mental factors. The aggregate of matter is, of course, identical with the Abhidhamma category of matter, which is divided into twenty-eight types of material phenomena.To these three types of reality, which are conditional, is added a fourth reality, which is unconditioned. That reality, which is not included in the five aggregates, is Nibbaana.CMA, VII, p. 286: The five aggregates of clinging(upaadaanakkhandha) constitute the objects of clinging. The Buddha states: "Whatever kind of materiality there is , whether past, future, or present, etc. connected with taints and subject to clinging -- this is called the materiality aggregate of clinging." The same method of definition applies to the other four aggregates (S.22:48/iii,48). Here all components of the five aggregates that enter into range of the four types of clinging are called aggregates of clinging. This include the entire aggregate of materiality and the four mental aggregates of the mundane plane. The four mental aggregates of the supramundane plane are not aggregates of clinging because they merely transcend the range of clinging; that is, they cannot become objects of greed or wrong views.
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