Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

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vinasp
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by vinasp » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:37 am

Hi everyone,

Different Ways of Understanding the Aggregates.

Starting with the simplest one:

1. Form (rupa) means ones actual body, and this is the form aggregate.
Feeling means ones actual feelings, and this is the feelings aggregate.
Perception means ones actual perception, and this is the perception
aggregate. Volitional formations means ones actual conditioning and
volition, and these are the volitional formations aggregate.
Consciousness means ones actual consciousness, and this is the
consciousness aggregate.

So, form, feeling, perception, volitional formations and consciousness
taken together, are the five aggregates [ panca-kkhandha.]

A "worldling" is said to cling to these five aggregates, and this clinging
is what is meant by the "five aggregates subject to clinging."
[ panc'upadana-kkhandha.]

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What do you think, is this a correct description of the simplest view of
the aggregates?

Regards, Vincent.

Sarva
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by Sarva » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:45 am

:) Interesting thread! Thanks.
Last edited by Sarva on Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86

vinasp
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by vinasp » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:10 am

Hi everyone,

Some Notes on Pali Terms For the Aggregates.

The Pali term "panca-kkhandha" is usually translated as "five aggregates,"
but also sometimes as "five groups."

The other key term - panc'upadana-kkhandha - is difficult to
translate, some examples are:

a) Five aggregates of grasping - Walshe 1987
b) Five groups of clinging - Nyanatiloka 1988
c) Five aggregates affected by clinging - Bodhi 1995
d) Five aggregates subject to clinging - Bodhi 2000

Expressions such as "the five aggregates of clinging" can lead to an
interpretation that there are two separate sets of aggregates.

While the expression "five aggregates subject to clinging" tends to the
interpretation that there is only one set of aggregates, which are either
with, or without, clinging.

Regards, Vincent.

vinasp
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by vinasp » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:59 am

Hi everyone,

The five aggregates and the five aggregates of clinging are described in
SN 22.48 - link to ATI version:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... 2.048.than" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

If they wanted people to understand the form aggregate as "ones own body"
then why did they describe it in this way:

The Blessed One said, "Now what, monks, are the five aggregates?

"Whatever form is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: That is called the form aggregate."

[ similar descriptions follow for the other items, feeling, and so on.]

This is a description which includes all the form in the entire cosmos.

It seems, to me, to be intended to cover every form that one can think of,
rather than simply ones own body.

Regards, Vincent.

Sarva
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by Sarva » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:07 am

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

The five aggregates and the five aggregates of clinging are described in
SN 22.48 - link to ATI version:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... 2.048.than" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

If they wanted people to understand the form aggregate as "ones own body"
then why did they describe it in this way:

The Blessed One said, "Now what, monks, are the five aggregates?

"Whatever form is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: That is called the form aggregate."

[ similar descriptions follow for the other items, feeling, and so on.]

This is a description which includes all the form in the entire cosmos.

It seems, to me, to be intended to cover every form that one can think of,
rather than simply ones own body.

Regards, Vincent.
Hi Vincent
I agree, form isn't limited to body, the concept of internal and external needs to be challenged.
Acinteyyo makes an interesting enquiry here also, which you might find of intererst :)
: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... t=namarupa" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

metta
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86

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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:22 am

As a basis for some investigation/discussion, could I wonder aloud whether it is, perhaps, a futile effort to analyse the Suttas as if they were constructed as a logical exposition with exact, constant, definitions?

That could be argued to be extremely unlikely, since they were oral Dhamma talks, designed to liberate, not scholarly essays.

Regarding the current topic, a "common-sense" way of regarding the fact that sometimes the suttas speak of "upādānakkhandha" and sometimes just "khandha" would be that that's just how it came out in various circumstances. Similarly, sometimes (e.g. in the Satipatthana Sutta) listeners are urged to regard both internal and external khandas (or elements, etc), so perhaps the interpretation that these classifications (and the "loka") are only supposed to ever apply to our own personal experience is oversimplified. [Considering both internal and external phenomena makes one aware of the interconnectedness of our world, and is a powerful way of breaking down the concept of self.]
And I could also argue that whether or not one considers various things the Buddha speaks about as being "real" (or not) is not actually particularly important or interesting. [Perhaps sometimes they are, sometimes not?]

I would tend to argue that the really important thing about all these analyses (aggregates, elements, sense bases) is that they are ways of drilling down into our experience in order to see through our conceptual trappings of self. If we take them as primarily a means to that liberation, delivered in various suttas to various audiences, at various times, worrying too much about consistency may well be a futile and pointless exercise. And certainly trying to construct a philosophical position out of the suttas seems to be a recipe for overcomplication and distraction.

I can't necessarily properly defend (or want to completely defend) the questions raised above, but I think they are questions worth asking.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:34 am

Greetings Mike,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts... as for what you say, I suppose the value of subjects like this and the precision in terminology depends on what you elect to do with it all.

Setting aside the technical specs of khandha for a moment, I find the term upādāna, defined as "appropriation" (as opposed to "clinging") to be immensely valuable in practical terms.

For a while to me, the term upādāna seemed pretty much undifferentiated from tanha (craving) - maybe an attenuated or stronger version perhaps? Perhaps it's clinging to what you craved? etc. That perspective was not very useful.

Regarding it as "appropriation" however, I came to see the true meaning behind it - i.e. the etymological "taking up". To build samsaric experience in one of the planes of existence (bhava), we need to take up things as "self" or "mine". Seeing what we take up (including the paticcasamuppada dependencies behind it), and understanding more about the nature of what is taken up, and what it actually is, helps guide on just what should be put down and let go of, and also importantly why (i.e. if you don't see how "letting go" leads to benefit, there will be increased resistance - it's a hard enough habit to break as it is).

It's often said that the instruction of "let go" is an over-simplification, and in many ways it is... "let go of what?", "how?", "do I have to give up all my possessions?", "do I have to let go of my desire to follow the path?" and other circuitous nonsense. On the other hand, I think upādānakkhandha explains precisely what it is we're meant to let go of and how. Without that, it would be all too easy to fall into the trap many modern Zen-noobs fall into... such that the pinnacle of Buddhism is understood as "blanking out", that thinking is bad, and other such things that find no support in the Buddha's doctrine etc.

Consider this standard satipatthana refrain, in light of the above...
His mindfulness that 'There is [x]' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by not appropriating anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on [x] in & of itself.
The much lauded observation of "rising" and "falling" that precedes this refrain helps me become disenchanted with that which could be appropriated and gives rise to the observation of "rising-falling-dhammas" (as per that cool topic you started recently) and that in turn serves as an entry point for me into this specified mode of awareness, rather than the observation of the characteristics of arising and falling serving as a full and complete approach in itself. I think this "refrain", despite its regular appearance in the Satipatthana Sutta, tends to get blotted over and ignored in contemporary discourse on vipassana as if it were not relevant, or just bonus waffle.

(It's probably worth at this point highlighting that this approach differs from the "cut it into more pieces" approach, as it is actually disenchantment with the very act of cutting and with what was formerly cut. As such, it simplifies things back up to the mere "there is [x]". This probably deserves a topic in itself but I don't feel like creating one just at the moment. Maybe soon.).

That is how I understand and apply the sutta in this regard.

Alternatively, it could be used as a "recipe for overcomplication and distraction"... it all depends on what you do with it. For me it's a means of simplification and non-diffusion.

Breathe deep and let go of things. :D

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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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by Dan74 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:20 am

excuse the interruption...
Last edited by Dan74 on Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_

vinasp
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by vinasp » Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:40 pm

Hi everyone,

SN 22.122 wrote: "An arahant should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease ..."

This passage is examined by Mathieu Boisvert in his "The Five Aggregates
- Understanding Theravada Psychology and Soteriology." He says:

" ... an arahant can still be characterized by the pancupadanakkhandha."

He quotes Buddhaghosa:

"Although the aggregates of the arahant who has destroyed the cankers
become conditions for clinging in others, when they say, for example,
"Our senior uncle the Thera! Our junior uncle the Thera!," the noble
paths, fruits, and nibbana are not grasped, misapprehended, or clung
to." [ I have simplified this, so it's not an exact quote.]

Boisvert continues;

"This implies that, although those who do not generate any more clinging
(the arahant) have totally eradicated the biases, they still possess
the five clinging-aggregates in the sense that their five aggregates
still constitute a ground for clinging in others." [ page 27.]

Regards, Vincent.

vinasp
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by vinasp » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:02 pm

Hi everyone,

Ven. Nanavira's Understanding Of the Aggregates.

Quote: "An arahat while alive, continues to be individual in the sense
that 'he' is a sequence of states distinguishable from other individuals.
Every set of pancakkhandha - not panc'upadanakkhandha in the arahats case
- is unique, and individuality in this sense ceases only with the final
cessation of the pancakkhandha at the breaking up of the arahat's body."

[ I have simplified this, so it's not an exact quote.]

[ Clearing The Path - Shorter Notes - Sakkaya, page 106 ]

From this passage I infer the following points:

1. He thought that the panc'upadanakkhandha have ceased for an arahant.

2. He understood that the arahant still has the pancakkhandha.

3. He thought that the arahants pancakkhandha only cease when literal
death occurs. Note 1.

4. It seems that he may have understood the form-aggregate as being
identical with the physical body.

Note 1. I can't be certain about this, it depends on how he understood
the expression: "breaking up of the arahants body."

Regards, Vincent.

Sarva
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by Sarva » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:24 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

Ven. Nanavira's Understanding Of the Aggregates.

Quote: "An arahat while alive, continues to be individual in the sense
that 'he' is a sequence of states distinguishable from other individuals.
Every set of pancakkhandha - not panc'upadanakkhandha in the arahats case
- is unique, and individuality in this sense ceases only with the final
cessation of the pancakkhandha at the breaking up of the arahat's body."

[ I have simplified this, so it's not an exact quote.]

[ Clearing The Path - Shorter Notes - Sakkaya, page 106 ]

From this passage I infer the following points:

1. He thought that the panc'upadanakkhandha have ceased for an arahant.

2. He understood that the arahant still has the pancakkhandha.

3. He thought that the arahants pancakkhandha only cease when literal
death occurs. Note 1.

4. It seems that he may have understood the form-aggregate as being
identical with the physical body.

Note 1. I can't be certain about this, it depends on how he understood
the expression: "breaking up of the arahants body."

Regards, Vincent.
Hi Vincent
Useful quote. :)
The physical body arises through nutrients. This explains 2, 3 and 4 in my opinion. I don't see any limitation in the statement that form is limited to body. Form (rUpa) includes the body but is not limited to the body. That is my view (unless I have misunderstood the term pancakkhandha).
"'By the cessation of nutriment, that what has come to be is bound to cease' — that one sees with true wisdom, as it really is.
- Bhutamidam Sutta link http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86

vinasp
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by vinasp » Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:04 pm

Hi sarva,

My own opinion is that form is not the same as the form aggregate.

See: SN 22.57

"This noble eightfold path is the way leading to the cessation of form;
that is, right view ... right concentration."

Regards, Vincent.

Sarva
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by Sarva » Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:33 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi sarva,

My own opinion is that form is not the same as the form aggregate.

See: SN 22.57

"This noble eightfold path is the way leading to the cessation of form;
that is, right view ... right concentration."

Regards, Vincent.
Hi Vincent
Are the pali words different in each case, I don't know?

How do you understand 'the cessation of form'? For the Buddha cessation of form appears to be a question of knowledge rather than physical cessation:
SN 22.56 wrote: "The fourfold round in what way? I had direct knowledge of form... of the origination of form... of the cessation of form... of the path of practice leading to the cessation of form.
Parivatta Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86

vinasp
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by vinasp » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:33 pm

Hi Sarva,

Quote: "Are the pali words different in each case, I don't know?"

The same word is used: form (rupa). It is the normal, everyday word for
what we would call, matter, physical stuff. The same word is also used
for any object seen with the eye.

The form aggregate is rupa-kkhandha, but mostly they do not use it, they
just talk about form, feeling and so on, so it is not always clear.

Sarva: "How do you understand 'the cessation of form'?"

That is what I am attempting to understand. Many passages speak of the
cessation of form, feeling and the rest. These make no sense if one reads
them in a literal way. If it is not actual form that ceases then "form"
must mean something else - but what?

Sarva: "For the Buddha cessation of form appears to be a question of knowledge rather than physical cessation:"

I am not sure what you mean here. For me, "direct knowledge of the cessation
of form", means direct knowledge of the complete and permanent cessation of
"something" - which is being pointed to by the word "form". That "something"
does not seem to be actual form (actual physical stuff).

I think they mean that the form aggregate ceases, and that this is not actual
form (not physical stuff). What then, is the form aggregate?

Regards, Vincent.

Sarva
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Post by Sarva » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:27 pm

Hi Vincent
I take form to be literal, the "elements". My body is form, a tree is form and water is form. What 'ceases' is the perception of form as having an inherent quality or self. The boundary of this form versus that form becomes minimalised. With the cessation of namarupa there is the cessation of craving this form or that form and ultimately this starves or ceases dukkha. Keeping in mind that the cessation of dukkha is all that Buddha taught, then I feel I would hold a wrong view to assume he is explaining a different realm with Unbinding. :smile:
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86

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