Hi GeoffÑāṇa wrote:From a suttanta perspective I don't think that we can ever equate an arahant with the aggregates. SN 22.36: Bhikkhu Sutta:tiltbillings wrote:But the reality is that the arahant "lives in" a mind/body (the pañca-khandha/five aggregates) until it (the body) dies
An arahant is utterly free from classification/reckoning (saṅkhayavimutta) in terms of form, feeling, recognition, fabrications, and consciousness. The only classification schemes that I've ever seen in the suttas regarding an arahant are the six sense spheres and six faculties. And there isn't any specific correlation ever made in the suttas between the sense spheres and faculties on the one hand, and the aggregates on the other.
- Venerable sir, if one has no underlying tendency towards form... feeling... recognition... fabrications... consciousness, then one is not measured (anumīyati) in accord with it. Whatever one is not measured by, that is not how one is classified (saṅkha).
I would offer a slightly different take on the anumiyati in SN 22.36. I suspect the "measuring" needs to be understood in the context of absence of the anusayas with respect to the Aggregates. The anusayas only "anuseti" when the cetasika vedanas come into play, as a sequel to vedana. But the total absence of anusayas in an arahant does not logically entail the disappearance of the Aggregates.
Perhaps the freedom from saṅkhaya in relation to the Aggregates is another way of putting across the implausibility of applying "sakkaya" to the Arahant, since MN 44 posits "sakkaya" as being only applicable to the upadanakhandha. I don't think these propositions need to be taken to mean the impossibility of understanding an Arahant in terms of the Aggregates, but simply as the impossibility of an Arahant relating to the Aggregates as "self" or holding any form of mana whatsoever.
To this extent, DO is in the final leg of its unravelling in the Arahant. But even then, we cannot discount that while the Arahant is still alive, some paccayas will continue to exert their influence in being the condition for their sequels. An Arahant cannot escape "phassa" (unless he/she pops into Nirodha Sammapatti), nor can vedana be avoided as a sequel to phassa. What can be certain is that the nidana between vedana and craving is gone forever.
We may have to revisit the old and constant issue of the difference between the khandhas simpliciter and upadanakhandha.