Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

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reflection
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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by reflection » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:58 am

That's for you to decide. The dhamma isn't about counting occurences of words or weighting things. But I'm happy me along with others may have got you to doubt ;)

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:15 am

reflection wrote:That's for you to decide. The dhamma isn't about counting occurences of words or weighting things. But I'm happy me along with others may have got you to doubt ;)
Thanks. :tongue: Actually it's been an interesting discussion. I think the likelihood is that these terms are used interchangeably.
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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by vinasp » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:25 am

Hi everyone,

I am interested in the idea that the five clinging aggregates are:

1. A process. - 2. Some sort of experience.

Here I look again at MN 28, [Bhikkhu Bodhi], which seems to support this idea.
My comments are in brackets [...]

" ... But when internally the eye is intact and external forms come into its
range and there is the corresponding [conscious] engagement, then there is the
manifestation of the corresponding class of consciousness."

[This can be interpreted as a reference to sense experience, or to some fabricated
representation of sense experience. Note the absence of the word 'seeing'.]

"28.The material form in what has thus come to be is included in the material
form aggregate affected by clinging (340)."

[ I take 'what has thus come to be' as meaning the state of mind at this time.
So a state-of-mind arises in which there is either: (1) seeing some visible object,
or (2) consciousness of a fabricated representation of a visible object. Either
way, the 'form' is included in the form aggregate affected by clinging. The words
'included in' are a problem, it could mean 'classed as', or literally included in
something else. Bhikkhu Bodhi says in note 340:

"This section is set forth to show the four noble truths by way of the sense
doors. 'What has thus come to be' (tathaabhuuta) is the entire complex of
factors arisen by way of eye consciousness. By analysing this complex into the
five aggregates, Ven. Sariputta shows that any occasion of sense experience is
comprised within the truth of suffering."

This is very interesting and helpful. But I do not agree with the last sentence.
This would mean that suffering cannot cease until parinibbana. It should be
something like: ... any occasion of fabricated states-of-mind is comprised ...]

"The feeling in what has thus come
to be is included in the feeling aggregate affected by clinging. The perception
in what has thus come to be is included in the perception aggregate affected
by clinging. The formations in what has thus come to be are included in the
formations aggregate affected by clinging. The consciousness in what has thus
come to be is included in the consciousness aggregate affected by clinging."

[ The feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness are the actual things.]

"He understands thus: 'This, indeed, is how there comes to be the inclusion,
gathering, and amassing of things into these five aggregates affected by
clinging."

[ The words 'inclusion' and 'gathering' do not seem to be a problem. But what
are we to make of 'amassing'? Perhaps we should take a look at the Pali.]

"Now this has been said by the Blessed One: "One who sees dependent
origination sees the Dhamma; one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent
origination.(341)"

[It seems that this is not said anywhere else in the five Nikaya's, but that is
no reason to doubt it. It seems correct to me. See note 341.]

"And these five aggregates affected by clinging are dependently arisen."

[If 'included in' just means 'classed as', then it is the state-of-mind which is
dependently arisen. This makes sense to me. But it would mean that the five
aggregates affected by clinging are just a classification of the contents of
on-going, dependently arisen, fabricated, states of mind.]

"The desire, indulgence, inclination, and holding based
on these five aggregates affected by clinging is the origin of suffering (342)."

[The five aggregates affected by clinging have now been reduced to the fabricated
state-of-mind. So, the desire and holding based on this state-of-mind is the origin
of suffering. I take this to mean: the desire that this state-of-mind should
continue is the origin of suffering.]

"The removal of desire and lust, the abandonment of desire and lust for these
five aggregates affected by clinging is the cessation of suffering."

[ The removal of desire for this state-of-mind is the cessation of suffering.
Which I take to mean: the removal of the desire that this fabricated state-of-mind
should continue is the cessation of suffering.]

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by vinasp » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:53 am

Hi everyone,

IF my analysis of MN 28 is correct, then the five clinging aggregates can be almost ignored. All that the term means is the state-of-mind of a 'learner' at any given time. A state-of-mind which has arisen in dependence on a 'sense-object'. This 'sense-object' may be only a mental fabrication.

These 'sense-objects' are the six external spheres, which are not explicitly
included in Dependent Origination (DO). But they are implicitly included because
contact is the 'coming together' of 'eye', 'visible form', and 'eye-consciousness',
and so forth for the other spheres.

There are two ways to understand the teachings here:

1. If the six spheres of DO are the actual senses, then the 'eye sphere' is the
actual eye. This cannot cease at awakening but only on the Arahants passing away.

2. If the six spheres are not the actual senses, but only some sort of fabrication,
then they could cease at some stage of awakening (non-returner).

My Interpretation.

There are passages which speak of the cessation of the six spheres, the cessation
of the 'eye' and 'visible forms', and so forth. My interpretation is that the
actual eye is not included in DO, nor is any actual seeing. The 'eye sphere' is a
mental fabrication and so is the 'visible object', in the DO formula. When these
cease there is still the actual eye, seeing, and the actual visible object. The
'eye' and the 'visible object' in DO should be understood as misconceived
representations of the actual eye and the actual visible object. Probably the 'eye'
conceived as 'mine' and the 'visible object' conceived as 'mine'.

When the six spheres cease, then there is no longer any fabricated 'sense object',
so none of the states-of-mind which depend on such objects can arise. This means
the cessation of craving and clinging. It also means the cessation of those
particular feelings, perceptions, and volitions which arise in dependence on
contact. This is the cessation of the five clinging aggregates if one wishes to
use that term. What ceases here are things conceived as 'mine' or regarded as
'this is mine' or 'this is my self'.

But even after the cessation of the six spheres, there is still something left
which can also cease. In the DO formula this is represented by the items
'consciousness' and 'name-and-form'. This is the state-of-mind called the 'residue'
which later came to be called the five aggregates. At this stage there is still
the conceit 'I am' and regarding as 'I am this'.

It is easy to disprove this interpretation by citing passages which say that the
arahant still has the five clinging aggregates. But one is allowed to choose which
teachings to follow and ignore others.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:18 pm

vinasp wrote:It is easy to disprove this interpretation by citing passages which say that the
arahant still has the five clinging aggregates. But one is allowed to choose which
teachings to follow and ignore others.
But if it is the case that "aggregates" and "clinging aggregates" are used interchangeably, then this is not a problem.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by vinasp » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:02 am

Hi porpoise,

Quote:"But if it is the case that "aggregates" and "clinging aggregates" are used interchangeably, then this is not a problem."

It would be a problem in my interpretation because the clinging aggregates cease
first, at the stage of non-returner, then the aggregates at the stage of Arahant.
Different things are eliminated at each stage. But this interpretation is based on
the assumption that the six spheres are not the actual senses, and that they can
cease.

If one chooses the other option, that the six spheres are the actual senses, then
they cannot cease until the arahant passes away. This would mean that the states
of mind which arise based on this sense experience, and which are called 'clinging
aggregates', also cannot cease until the arahant passes away.

There is, therefore, no role to be played by any other set of aggregates. In this
case your solution is a good one, both terms can be understood to mean the same
thing.

If there is a problem for this interpretation, it may be in the difficulty of
explaining how craving ceases while contact and feeling remain. The relationship
between feeling and craving is either strict causality or not. What do you think?

Regards, Vincent.

vinasp
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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by vinasp » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:57 am

Hi everyone,

I attempted to explain MN 28 based on Bhikkhu Bodhi's note 340, which takes the
phrase 'is included in' to mean that what has arisen is analysed into these five things.

But is this interpretation correct? Consider the following points:

1. In MN 9 craving is said to be of six kinds, for visible object .... for mind
object. In the case of eye-contact the craving will be for the visible object, which
will result in clinging to the visible object [sensuous clinging]. These six kinds of
craving can be reduced to just two: sensuous craving and craving for mind-objects.

2. There will be, therefore, no clinging to the feeling, perception or volition which
has also arisen. But some passages about the five clinging aggregates speak
explicitly about a clinging to form, to feeling, to perception, to volition, and
to consciousness.

3. For example MN 75.24

"... you might see nibbana. Together with the arising of your [insight], your
desire and lust for the five aggregates affected by clinging might be abandoned.
Then perhaps you might think: 'Indeed, I have long been tricked, cheated, and
defrauded by this mind. For when clinging, I have been clinging just to material
form, I have been clinging just to feeling, I have been clinging just to
perception, I have been clinging just to formations, I have been clinging just
to consciousness. With my clinging as condition, being [comes to be]; with being
as condition, birth; with birth as condition, ageing and death, sorrow,
lamentation, pain, grief, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this
whole mass of suffering.'" [BB, MLD, p.616]

4. They always speak of: 'desire and lust for these five aggregates affected by
clinging.' They never say 'craving for these five ...'

5. "And what is the origin of suffering? It is craving, which brings renewal of
being, is accompanied by delight and lust, and delights in this and that; that
is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for being, and craving for non-being.
This is called the origin of suffering." [BB, MN 9.16]
[These three cravings can also be reduced to just two: sensuous craving, and
craving for being.]

6. "Bhikkhus, when a Tathagata ... describes the full understanding of all kinds
of clinging: he describes the full understanding of clinging to sensual pleasures,
clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine
of self." [BB, MN 11.14]
[These four can be reduced to just two: sensuous clinging, and clinging to views.]

7. "These four kinds of clinging have craving as their source, craving as their
origin, they are born and produced from craving. Craving has feeling as its
source ..." [BB, MN 11.16]

The problem is this: Where is this clinging to these five things, form, feeling etc.?

Outline of a Possible Solution.

The six cravings reduce to: sensuous craving, and craving for mind-objects.
The three cravings reduce to: sensuous craving, and craving for being.
The four clingings reduce to: sensuous clinging, and clinging to views.

These five things are what one regards as self, what one takes as one's self.
But self is an idea, which can only be known through the mind.
So when these five things arise, they are regarded as self, and thus become a
set of five mind-objects, which represent the presently existing self.

So the five clinging aggregates are a set of five mind objects which are clung to.
The desire and lust for these five is the craving for being.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:51 am

vinasp wrote: If there is a problem for this interpretation, it may be in the difficulty of
explaining how craving ceases while contact and feeling remain. The relationship
between feeling and craving is either strict causality or not.
In terms of the Noble Truths the proximate cause of suffering is craving, so the cessation of craving leads to the cessation of suffering - though presumably feeling persists. Or in terms of DO, while ignorance persists craving ( therefore suffering ) persists.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by vinasp » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:41 am

Hi everyone,

The MN 28 Problem.

Something has been seen with the eye, as a result some state of mind has arisen.
This state includes: the 'object', feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness.
Some say that these five things are the five clinging aggregates. Is this possible?

1. These five are all in the present, but the aggregates are past, future, and present.

2. Any craving will be for the object, any clinging will be clinging to the object.

3. Where, then, is there any clinging to feeling, perception, volition, or consciousness?

In MN 109 the Buddha says:
5."These five aggregates affected by clinging are rooted in desire, bhikkhu (1038).
6. Venerable sir, is that clinging the same as these five aggregates affected by
clinging, or is the clinging something apart from the five aggregates affected
by clinging? (1039)
Bhikkhu, that clinging is neither the same as these five aggregates affected by
clinging, nor is the clinging something apart from the five aggregates affected
by clinging. It is the desire and lust in regard to the five aggregates affected
by clinging that is the clinging there."

In MN 109.7 The Buddha gives examples of this desire:
"Here, bhikkhu, someone thinks thus:'May my material form be thus in the future;
may my feeling be thus in the future;...' [and so forth, for the other items.]
Thus there is diversity in the desire and lust regarding these five aggregates
affected by clinging." [BB, MLDB, MN 109.]

This desire for form, feeling etc, in the future, is part of the clinging to these
five aggregates affected by clinging. But future form, future feeling etc, do not yet
exist. They can only be thought of, or imagined.

So, in the context of MN 28, any present feeling etc, cannot be the object of any desire
for feeling etc, in the future.

One could take this present feeling and imagine it as being in the future, and in this
way create a future object to desire.

But this present feeling cannot be known through any of the five senses. It cannot be
known by the consciousness or state of mind in which it has arisen because this is a
knowing of the visible object. Only the mind sense can know what has arisen apart from
the visible object.

And only the mind sense can project some present thing into the imaginary future. So any
desire for future things requires that these objects are first created by the mind sense.

But the desire for these five things in the future, is just a desire, it cannot do
anything, other than motivate one to perform some action which will satisfy the desire.

So one now has to recreate these five things when the future arrives.

Question: Can mind objects be present at the same time as five-sense-objects, and can
each object give rise to a separate chain of feeling and craving?

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by vinasp » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:29 am

Hi everyone,

The five clinging aggregates are also mentioned in MN 149.3 and 149.9 -

"Bhikkhus, when one does not know and see the eye as it actually is, when one does
not know and see forms as they actually are ...[eye-consciousness, eye contact, feeling.]
... then one is inflamed by lust for the eye, for forms, [and the rest.]
When one abides inflamed by lust, fettered, infatuated, contemplating gratification,
then the five aggregates affected by clinging are built up for oneself in the future;
and one's craving - which brings renewal of being, is accompanied by delight and lust,
and delights in this and that - increases.
One's bodily and mental troubles increase, one's bodily and mental torments increase,
one's bodily and mental fevers increase, and one experiences bodily and mental suffering."

"Bhikkhus, when one knows and sees the eye as it actually is, when one
knows and sees forms as they actually are ...[eye-consciousness, eye contact, feeling.]
... then one is not inflamed by lust for the eye, for forms, [and the rest.]
When one abides uninflamed by lust, unfettered, uninfatuated, contemplating danger,
then the five aggregates affected by clinging are diminished for oneself in the future;
and one's craving - which brings renewal of being, is accompanied by delight and lust,
and delights in this and that - is abandoned.
One's bodily and mental troubles are abandoned, one's bodily and mental torments are
abandoned, one's bodily and mental fevers are abandoned, and one experiences bodily
and mental pleasure." [BB, MLDB, page 1137-8]

Another section (MN 149.11) has the following:

"And what things should be fully understood by direct knowledge? The answer to that is:
the five aggregates affected by clinging. ..."

My interpretation.

These five things are taken to be self, or as related to self. This creates the
apparent self. But the creation of this self must be endlessly repeated if it is to
continue to 'exist'. So one must conceive these five things as mine in the future, in
the next moment, or the present 'self' will disappear.

The craving for being is what creates the continuation of the existence of this 'self'.
( Think oil-lamp, flame, wick, oil.)

I have been driven to the conclusion that craving (tanha) is not desire. It is the
volition which creates the new 'self' continually.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by daverupa » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:21 am

vinasp wrote:But the creation of this self must be endlessly repeated if it is to
continue to 'exist'. So one must conceive these five things as mine in the future, in
the next moment, or the present 'self' will disappear.
Since we know that
"Whatever aggregate is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: That is called the aggregate.
we don't need to worry about continuity. The conceiving occurs with respect to taking any of the aggregates as a self, which is to say anything seen, heard, sensed, or cognized. Now, as well as cognizing the present one can be cognizing past or future, through memory or imagination, and when one does that one remembers and/or imagines the aggregates.

So whether one perceives these aggregates as past, present, or future, a puthujjana conceives about, in, from that, or else takes it as a self (asmi-mana & sakkaya-ditthi), and delights therein. (MN 1)

No self continues; one is simply rendered a being if there is clinging to the aggregates. If it did so continue, and nibbana stopped that self, that would be an annihilationist view.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by MidGe » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:46 am

According to the Abhidhammatha Sangaha:

... The five aggregates of clinging are called aggregates of clinging because they constitute the objects of clinging...

... all components of the five aggregates that enter into range of the four types of clinging* are called aggregates of clinging. This includes 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 entirely transcend the range of clinging; that is, they cannot become objects of greed or wrong views.

[Extracts from " Abhidhammatha Sangaha - Comprehenive Manual Abhidhamma - Pali Text, Translation and Explanatory Guide", Bikkhu Bodhi, general editor, First BPS Priyatti Ed 2000 (pg 285-6)]

Hoping this helps


* clinging to sense pleasures, wrong views, rites and ceremonies, and a doctrine of self

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by vinasp » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:25 am

Hi everyone,

Tanha is Not Desire and Upadana is Not Clinging.

"Monks, there are these four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born. Which four? Physical food, gross or refined; contact as the second; intellectual intention the third; and consciousness the fourth. These are the four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born.

"Now, these four nutriments have what as their cause, what as their origination, what as their source, what as that which brings them into play? These four nutriments have craving as their cause, craving as their origination, craving as their source, craving as that which brings them into play.

"And this craving has what as its cause, what as its origination, what as its source, what as that which brings it into play?... Feeling...[And so forth to ignorance. SN 22.11]

Link: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This clearly shows that the item 'clinging' in DO was originally the four nutriments.
The change to 'upadana' probably did not change the meaning, or the way that this item
was understood. The term 'upadana' can mean 'fuel', this is why Thanissaro translates
it as 'clinging/sustenance'. His introduction to this Sutta is worth reading. The term
translated here as 'intellectual intention' is translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi as 'mental
volition'.

The Four Foods in SN 12.63

"And how is the nutriment of intellectual intention to be regarded? Suppose there were a pit of glowing embers, deeper than a man's height, full of embers that were neither flaming nor smoking, and a man were to come along — loving life, hating death, loving pleasure, abhorring pain — and two strong men, having grabbed him by the arms, were to drag him to the pit of embers. To get far away would be that man's intention, far away would be his wish, far away would be his aspiration. Why is that? Because he would realize, 'If I fall into this pit of glowing embers, I will meet with death from that cause, or with death-like pain.' In the same way, I tell you, is the nutriment of intellectual intention to be regarded. When the nutriment of intellectual intention is comprehended, the three forms of craving [for sensuality, for becoming, and for non-becoming] are comprehended. When the three forms of craving are comprehended, I tell you, there is nothing further for a disciple of the noble ones to do." [SN 12.63]

Link: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

From this one might think that 'intellectual intention' or 'mental volition' is the
will to live. But I think that it means the will to continue to exist as a self. When
this is understood then all three cravings are understood. The term 'tanha' (thirst)
means the volition which becomes the will to continue to exist as a self.

To exist as a self is suffering, so the thirst which perpetuates this state is called
the origin of suffering. The teachings appear to be saying that this thirst originates
from all experiences. But I think the correct understanding is, that it is all experience
which is misconceived as a self, or as related to a self, which generates this thirst.

What Does This Mean For the Aggregates?

The five clinging aggregates are everything which is misconceived as a self, or as
related to a self. By which I mean the misconceptions themselves, not the actual things
which are being misconceived. When these misconceptions cease then thirst and suffering
cease.

The five aggregates are what remains after the five clinging aggregates have ceased.
These are related to the conceit 'I am' and cease when it ceases.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by vinasp » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:45 am

Hi everyone,

Gombrich on the aggregates, from What the Buddha Thought, 2009.

Karma is not the only element of continuity in our lives. Those lives
have five sets of components, and each of these five sets is denoted
by the term which above was translated by the English word 'aggregate'.
In fact, the word should not be detached from a word that precedes it
in a Pali compound, upadana-khandha, and that compound is complicated,
because it is a pun of which one meaning is a metaphor:'a mass of
burning fuel'. In this latter sense it is part of the same metaphorical
structure as nirvana (P: nibbana), which means the going out of a flame.
I shall explain this metaphor in Chapter 8. For the moment, we need only
note that these five masses of burning fuel are, metaphorically, the five
sets of processes which constitute our lives. In the traditional order,
these five are: interactions with the physical world through the five
senses, feelings (as of pleasure and pain), apperceptions (perceptions
which serve to identify objects), samkhara and consciousness.[page 12.]

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: Aggregates v. clinging aggregates

Post by vinasp » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:35 pm

Hi everyone,

This discourse (SN 22.44) uses the term 'sakkaya', translated here as 'identity'.
Elsewhere (eg. MN 44) sakkaya is said to be the five clinging aggregates.

"At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, I will teach you the way leading to the origination of identity and the way leading to the cessation of identity. Listen to that ...

"And what, bhikkhus , is the way leading to the origination of identity ? Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling ... regards form as self ...feeling as self ...perception as self ...volitional formations as self ... consciousness as self ... or self as in consciousness. This, bhikkhus, is called the way leading to the origination of identity. When it is said, "The way leading to the origination of identity", the meaning here is this : a way of regarding things that leads to the origination of suffering.

"And what, bhikkhus, is the way leading to the cessation of identity ? Here, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple ... does not regard form as self ...nor feeling as self ...nor perception as self ... nor volitional formations as self ... nor consciousness as self ... nor self as in consciousness. This, bhikkhus, is called the way leading to the cessation of identity. When it is said, "The way leading to the cessation of identity", the meaning here is this : a way of regarding things that leads to the cessation of suffering".

[The Connected Discourses of the Buddha. Bhikkhu Bodhi. page 883. - SN 22.44 - The Way.]

So, regarding form as self (and the rest) is the way leading to the origination of
the five clinging aggregates.

And not regarding form etc. as self is the way leading to the cessation of the five
clinging aggregates.

But, surely, the form, feeling (and so forth) which are so regarded, are already the
five clinging aggregates.[or are they the five aggregates?]

So, regarding the five clinging aggregates as self, is the way leading to the origination
of the five clinging aggregates.

Regards, Vincent.

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