contemplating the aggregates

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
alan...
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:17 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alan...,

As an alternative to "think on these things", perhaps you could see it as "perceive as [instructed by the sutta]..."

The sutta advises that it is such ~ perceive experience in accordance with the Dhamma the sutta teaches.

Metta,
Retro. :)
i think this is a good point. i mentioned this somewhere before, the idea that one can watch the aggregates forever without knowing the dhamma with no progress, but once one knows the dhamma the mind puts it together without verbalization. whereas learning the dhamma and then pondering on it intellectually is not the same thing. like if you don't know about impermanence and just practice mindfulness you won't progress but if you know about it then you are subconsciously looking for it but not intellectualizing about it. or at least i think that's what you're saying.

alan...
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:19 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:
@ Alan, I'd recommend just listening to the whole series to get the full picture that Goldstein presents.
to bad each is an hour long. i really like this guy but i barely have time to do anything. although perhaps i should start playing dharma talks while i do housework or something... then i could hear them all!

alan...
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:20 am

tiltbillings wrote:
alan... wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Meditation talks drawn from the Satipatthana Sutta on the 5 aggergates;

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/299/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/300/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/301/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/302/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
thanks tilt!
Good stuff here. This is not just theoretical; rather, the khandhas are talked about in terms of actual practice by a highly experienced and learned medutation teacher.
i need to make time for this.

SamKR
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by SamKR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:31 am

While observing vedana and vinnana I find it useful to contemplate the following subtle thing: this feeling (noun) is feeling (verb), not I; this hearing (vinnana) is hearing, not I. When this perception (that 'this is feeling') happens smoothly, this is the presence of mere understanding and mere awareness with detachment and non-clinging as stated in Satipatthana Sutta. Please correct if I'm wrong. Thanks.

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tiltbillings
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:37 am

alan... wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Good stuff here. This is not just theoretical; rather, the khandhas are talked about in terms of actual practice by a highly experienced and learned medutation teacher.
i need to make time for this.
Time is always a problem, but quite frankly, the Dhamma takes time and takes work. Find the time to listen to te first talk. If it speaks to you, then you'll will find the time for therest, if not move on to something else.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

SamKR
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by SamKR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:47 am

tiltbillings wrote:
alan... wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Good stuff here. This is not just theoretical; rather, the khandhas are talked about in terms of actual practice by a highly experienced and learned medutation teacher.
i need to make time for this.
Time is always a problem, but quite frankly, the Dhamma takes time and takes work. Find the time to listen to te first talk. If it speaks to you, then you'll will find the time for therest, if not move on to something else.
Listening right now. :)

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tiltbillings
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:49 am

SamKR wrote:While observing vedana and vinnana I find it useful to contemplate the following subtle thing: this feeling (noun) is feeling (verb), not I; this hearing (vinnana) is hearing, not I. When this perception (that 'this is feeling') happens smoothly, this is the presence of mere understanding and mere awareness with detachment and non-clinging as stated in Satipatthana Sutta. Please correct if I'm wrong. Thanks.
Eventually as your mindfulness and concentration become deeper and sharper, you can drop the conceptual contemplation.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

SamKR
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by SamKR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:07 am

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:While observing vedana and vinnana I find it useful to contemplate the following subtle thing: this feeling (noun) is feeling (verb), not I; this hearing (vinnana) is hearing, not I. When this perception (that 'this is feeling') happens smoothly, this is the presence of mere understanding and mere awareness with detachment and non-clinging as stated in Satipatthana Sutta. Please correct if I'm wrong. Thanks.
Eventually as your mindfulness and concentration become deeper and sharper, you can drop the conceptual contemplation.
Yes, true. Such contemplation may then become redundant after the shift in mode of perception (to "such"), I guess.

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tiltbillings
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:48 am

SamKR wrote: Yes, true. Such contemplation may then become redundant after the shift in mode of perception (to "such"), I guess.
It is something with which you can experiement.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

SamKR
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by SamKR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:16 am

alan... wrote:perhaps a clear definition is in order?

form: the physical objects that are seen and known by the mind? the actual act of cognizing physical objects? the body?
During the process of seeing: There are no objects being seen (they are not within the range of All) but there are forms (rupa), eye and eye-consciousness.
So, in the process of seeing there's just seeing; no objects being seen, and no seer. Seeing is seeing during the process of seeing!

The process of illusion of seen and seer are closely related: There is an illusion that there are real objects having essence (self) of their own while in fact these objects (which are actually aggregates of physical units) are mere concepts. Similarly there is an illusion that there is an essence (self) in the five-aggregates while in fact self is just a concept.
feelings: painful, pleasant and neutral feelings?
Yes.
perception: not sure about this one, many different definitions out there. i believe it's the defining of what an object is by the mind. can someone elaborate?
Perception does the evaluation of pure sensory input so that feeling becomes pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
mental formations: volitional thought, the "doer" of the mind.
Yes, including the store of all conditioning and tendencies from the past.
consciousness: the knower of the mind?
Not the knower but the knowing. There are six consciousness: Eye-consciousness, Ear-consciousness, Nose-consciousness, Tongue-consciousness, Body-consciousness, Mind-consciousness
from another viewpoint, isn't it all in consciousness? like consciousness is a jar and all the other things are it's contents?
Not contents but they can arise together.

These aggregates all have these properties:
1. They arise due to some causes and conditions. When this is, that is.
2. So they change (cease) when causes and conditions change (cease). When this is not, that is not.
3. They (five as a whole, or individual aggregate) are discrete or discontinuous temporally (ie., impermanent) as well as "spatially"
4. Therefore, they do not have any core or essence of their own. They are core-less temporally as well as "spatially".
5. Ignorance and sankhara lead to the perception that they are continuous in time (giving rise to sense of permanence) and continuous in "space" (giving rise to sense of single essence or core). So there is the origination of sense of self, and therefore clinging.

(This is my understanding. Please feel free to correct me.)
Last edited by SamKR on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:59 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Dmytro
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by Dmytro » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:28 am

Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:can this be done in sitting meditation? how does one contemplate each aggregate? in particular consciousness?
The most detailed instructions are given in Chachakka sutta.
For some aggregates not covered there, see the references to the Conditioned Arising diagram.

Though this can be done without samadhi, full development of insight requires the development of samadhi.

Best wishes, Dmytro

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retrofuturist
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:08 pm

Greetings Alan...,
alan... wrote:i mentioned this somewhere before, the idea that one can watch the aggregates forever without knowing the dhamma with no progress, but once one knows the dhamma the mind puts it together without verbalization. whereas learning the dhamma and then pondering on it intellectually is not the same thing. like if you don't know about impermanence and just practice mindfulness you won't progress but if you know about it then you are subconsciously looking for it but not intellectualizing about it. or at least i think that's what you're saying.
Yes, pretty much.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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tiltbillings
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:13 pm

alan... wrote:
i think this is a good point. i mentioned this somewhere before, the idea that one can watch the aggregates forever without knowing the dhamma with no progress,
It depends upon what you mean by "watching the aggregates."
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Kamran
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by Kamran » Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:41 am

One practice that Joseph Goldstein mentions in his Sattipathana talks that I find fun and skillful is to pause for a split second when you are about to do something and you can sense that "about to" moment - that's intention, or the mental formation aggregate.

I like to try and see the 5 aggregates (mental processes) at the 6 sense doors. For example, if noting "thinking, thinking" at the mind door I could contemplate the aggregates as follows:

1. Physical/form - brain.
2. Feelings - was the thought pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
3. Perception - recognized it as a thought about something I had experienced (family, work, etc.).
4. Mental Formation - the intention or action to make the thought arise (its very helpful to me note intention)
5. Conciousness/Citta - was aware of and observed the thought.

I have found the 5 aggregates very helpful for understanding my meditation experience. For instance, by focusing on the breath you make the conciousness process the foreground process, and the thinking process becomes a background process. When a thought arises while you are watching the breath it really does seem like a separate process generated the thought. The conciousness process is reliable; the other mental processes not so much :)
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

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tiltbillings
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:48 am

Toothache:
1. There is form, i.e. the tooth as matter/hardness.
2. There is a painful feeling.
3. There is a sight-, touch-, pain- perception of the tooth.
4. There is by the way of volitional reactions: resentment at pain, fear of possible consequences, greed for physical well-being, etc.
5. There is consciousness, -- an awareness of all this.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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