Aggregate?

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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Sylvester » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:42 pm

Yes, Pope Retro.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:46 pm

Image
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:13 pm

daverupa wrote:But the overriding thing I notice is that craving ceases, not the aggregates. That's their final breakup, with the designation parinibbana, yes?


That's how I understand it.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:22 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

"If one does not aggregate (verb), there are is no aggregate (noun), let alone five of them"

Alternatively...

"If one does not bundle (verb), there are is no bundle (noun), let alone five of them"

Agree? Disagree?

Discuss.

:popcorn:



http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/aggregate
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bundle

Metta,
Retro. :)


Seems logical on the surface, but what has been your experience? Mine has been that bundling, though it promises reduced costs, always winds up costing me more money in the long run. :coffee:
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:59 pm

I'm wondering, retro, what your thoughts are on SN 22.122. What is to be made of it, in light of what you've written here?

Upadana follows tanha, so saying tanha ceases vs. saying upadana ceases is to split a hair which isn't growing anywhere near the phrase "the aggregates cease", which is a final breakup; arahants wait for this like a worker their wages.
    "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: Aggregate?

Postby robertk » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:56 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote: rather one is just seeing what is always arising, but without wrong perception
By having "view?" So, how does that work?

Right view is the crucial part of the eightfold path, without it all other factors will go wrong.

"Bhikkhus, just as the dawn is the forerunner and first indication of the rising of the sun, so is right view the forerunner and first indication of wholesome states. For one of right view, bhikkhus, right intention springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up. For one of right concentration, right knowledge springs up. For one of right knowledge, right deliverance springs up."

Anguttara Nikaya 10:121
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:02 am

Greetings Dave,

daverupa wrote:I'm wondering, retro, what your thoughts are on SN 22.122. What is to be made of it, in light of what you've written here?

Upadana follows tanha, so saying tanha ceases vs. saying upadana ceases is to split a hair which isn't growing anywhere near the phrase "the aggregates cease", which is a final breakup; arahants wait for this like a worker their wages.

I've mentioned previously that I don't intend to speculate on the phenomenological experience of the arahant, so any "thoughts" will be curtailed by that, but here goes...

The common presentation of "the breaking up of the aggregates" reads like an realist/materialist/ontological one - a bit like "from dust to dust" and all that. The body returning to its elements, sparks of consciousness drifting back out into the cosmos etc... and sure, maybe that's what it means. Quite possible. But if that is what it means then it appears to have little practical phenomenological relevance, certainly to me in my practice. And sure, there is also the notion of a "with remainder" to be considered, but again, not particularly relevant for me to know what that is, or what to do with it. The practical application or implication of this for the savaka? I just don't see it, though I'm open to being enlightened by others in that space.

However, what paticcasamuppada does make abundantly clear is that upadana (appropriation) gives rise to bhava (existence / becoming) and jati (birth)... and these are things that can be experienced (presumably not the last one though if one adheres to the 3-lifetime model, but that's tangential). I believe each of these nidanas should be known - stop upadana and you stop bhava. The Buddha gave teachings of this ilk...

SN 22.63 wrote:"Lord, if one appropriates the body, one is in bondage to Maara. If one does not appropriate the body, one is free of the Evil One. (Similarly with 'feelings,' 'perceptions,' 'mental formations,' 'consciousness.') That, Lord, is how I understand in full the sense of what the Blessed One has stated in brief."

"Good, good, monk! You have well understood in full the sense of what I stated in brief. If you appropriate the body,... feelings,... perceptions,... mental formations,... consciousness, you are in bondage to Maara. If you do not appropriate, you are free of the Evil One. That is how the sense of what I have stated in brief is to be understood in full."

So what does it mean to "appropriate" the body etc.? If we "believe the aggregates" and take them for granted, we've probably appropriated them before we've even started! And indeed, most likely, this is what we've all done. Now I know you're saying upadana vs tanha might be "splitting hairs", but I think it's very important because both are differentiated phenomenological experiences and both provide opportunities to investigate and deconstruct paticcasamuppada (i.e samsaric experience). If we don't appropriate the aggregates, we won't become anything. And becoming/existence is what leads to the realm of birth-and-death, as symbolized by Mara, the personification of death, in the sutta quote above.

Given that we so automatically "appropriated" the body to date etc., how do we unappropriate it? How is that done? How does it work in practice? First step seems to be to recognise that the five aggregates need not be consumed "as given", otherwise the outcome (i.e. bhava/existence) is a fait accompli. Is there a mode of living where we do not "step into" or "take up" the aggregates? How to cultivate it? Somewhere in the upadana > bhava nidana, I suspect there's something quite deep and significant that is largely absent in ancient and contemporary Dhamma discourse, where upadana was taken as clinging (or, simply, a more attenuated version of craving). These are the questions this topic was looking to explore by looking at the relationship between verb (action, kamma, cetana, sankhara) and noun (object, dhamma, sankhata-dhamma). So now that I've provided the necessary context....

Returning to SN 22.122, what I think this might mean (and again, I don't wish to say it is so because I don't know, because it's not my place to say - but you did ask, and it's the only way to answer your question properly) is that the arahants have the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant abiding, through being aware of "appropriatable" aggregates, and not "stepping into", not "engaging with" and "not taking up" what is observed. By way of analogy, it's like enjoying the view from a mountain peak of the trees below, without diving off the edge of a cliff down to the green canopy below (and the painful consequences that follow).

I hope that answered your question.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Aggregate?

Postby robertk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:20 am

robertk wrote:

"Believing in aggregates" means to think that the true nature of aggregates is to be understood through looking at and analysing them through the lens of perception with increasing levels of magnification, without actually questioning the distortion that the frame/lens of that perception itself introduces, and the volitional role it plays in forming samsara.

[
Metta,
Retro. :)

Well that is one of the reasons i am skeptical of the meditation technques. The khadhas are arising and passing away instantly and incessantly. If someone startss trying to focus on them it is sure to introduce some perverted perception. Thus view is everything with regard to developing the path.
One is not trying to see some subtle feeling for example, rather one is just seeing what is always arising, but without wrong perception

Please see this topic for more on this viewtopic.php?f=19&t=13509
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby pegembara » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:22 am

tiltbillings wrote:
pegembara wrote:I have heard that. . .

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish perception, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for perception. . . ."
Easy to quote something such as this, but what does it really mean? Does an arahant see, hear, taste, smell, touch, cognize?



There is seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling etc. That is all. You can't pin down the arahant. "He" is trackless.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:40 am

pegembara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
pegembara wrote:I have heard that. . .

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish perception, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for perception. . . ."
Easy to quote something such as this, but what does it really mean? Does an arahant see, hear, taste, smell, touch, cognize?



There is seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling etc. That is all.
There certainly is, as it is spelled out in the suttas.
You can't pin down the arahant. "He" is trackless.
True, though trackless or not Dependent on the eye and forms arise visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby pegembara » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:53 am

pegembara wrote:

Satta Sutta

In other words "Don't play with sandcastles".


In other words, don't play with craving.


Right. Put an end to craving and the sandcastles are demolished. The whole thing crumbles!
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby pegembara » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:16 am

tiltbillings wrote: have heard that. . .

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish perception, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for perception. . . ."
Easy to quote something such as this, but what does it really mean? Does an arahant see, hear, taste, smell, touch, cognize?[/quote]


There is seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling etc. That is all.[/quote]There certainly is, as it is spelled out in the suttas.
You can't pin down the arahant. "He" is trackless.
True, though trackless or not Dependent on the eye and forms arise visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling.[/quote]

So "Does an arahant see, hear, taste, smell, touch, cognize?" is not a proper question.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby cittaanurakkho » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:27 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

"If one does not aggregate (verb), there are is no aggregate (noun), let alone five of them"

Alternatively...

"If one does not bundle (verb), there are is no bundle (noun), let alone five of them"

...

Metta,
Retro. :)


A few comments:
1. On the meaning:
On a living arahant, Sue Hamilton (“Identity…”, Chapter 3) presented the argument that sankharakhanda is no longer active (in the OP terminology “no bundle”?). The other four khandas is active all the time. Furthermore, vedana/sanna/khanda are impossible to separate out thus impossible to unbundle. But, all 5 are possible to uncling.

2. The sutta does not seems to offer explanation of why the word khanda (aggregate/bundle) is used. In my opinion, by definition an aggregate/bundle must has components. Rupakhanda refers to a bundle with 4 components (earth, fire, wind, water). Vedanakhanda refers to a bundle of 6 feelings arising from the contact between the 6 sense media and their object. Unbundling the khanda (if possible) into its components does not guarantee unclinging unto them.

To my understanding, the main point of khandas teaching is to not cling to them to establish our identity. And this point is not found explicitly or implicitly on the proposed statements of the OP.

The Buddhist concept of khandas might not be rendered so easily with catchy sound bite or memorable punt or rhyme, particularly in English. Rendering so may creates more misunderstanding instead of inspiring the listener/reader to seek out a deeper understanding of khandas.

So, I am kind of disagree with the statements.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:38 am

Hi cittaanurakkho,
cittaanurakkho wrote:To my understanding, the main point of khandas teaching is to not cling to them to establish our identity. And this point is not found explicitly or implicitly on the proposed statements of the OP.

Yes, certainly based on suttas such as Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
the usefulness of classifications such as khandas, sense bases, and so on (e.g. the more elaborate Abhidhamma classifications) is to learn to not cling. The particular classification is secondary to that.

:anjali:
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby cittaanurakkho » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:42 am

pegembara wrote:There is seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling etc. That is all. You can't pin down the arahant. "He" is trackless.


Could you please point out where in the Sutta does it say you cannot pin down the [an] arahant?

Surely, if you find a living arahant and manage to wrestle him to the ground (which I do not recommend), you are infact pinning him down: there is his body rupakhanda and so on ...

I do remember reading you cannot pin down the Thatagata (an arahant) after death.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:43 am

pegembara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: have heard that. . .

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish perception, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for perception. . . ."
Easy to quote something such as this, but what does it really mean? Does an arahant see, hear, taste, smell, touch, cognize?



There is seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling etc. That is all.
There certainly is, as it is spelled out in the suttas.
You can't pin down the arahant. "He" is trackless.
True, though trackless or not Dependent on the eye and forms arise visual consciousness. The concurrence of the three is contact. Conditioned by contact is feeling.[/quote]

So "Does an arahant see, hear, taste, smell, touch, cognize?" is not a proper question.[/quote]These are simply processes, and we can talk about this on a conventional level. After all, the Buddha stated that his back hurt and the he was going to rest it. What is improper is to assume that we can measure the arahant in terms of a self reality.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Sylvester » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:13 am

Hi retro

retrofuturist wrote:
However, what paticcasamuppada does make abundantly clear is that upadana (appropriation) gives rise to bhava (existence / becoming) and jati (birth)... and these are things that can be experienced (presumably not the last one though if one adheres to the 3-lifetime model, but that's tangential). I believe each of these nidanas should be known - stop upadana and you stop bhava. The Buddha gave teachings of this ilk...

SN 22.63 wrote:"Lord, if one appropriates the body, one is in bondage to Maara. If one does not appropriate the body, one is free of the Evil One. (Similarly with 'feelings,' 'perceptions,' 'mental formations,' 'consciousness.') That, Lord, is how I understand in full the sense of what the Blessed One has stated in brief."

"Good, good, monk! You have well understood in full the sense of what I stated in brief. If you appropriate the body,... feelings,... perceptions,... mental formations,... consciousness, you are in bondage to Maara. If you do not appropriate, you are free of the Evil One. That is how the sense of what I have stated in brief is to be understood in full."


So what does it mean to "appropriate" the body etc.?


The text should read "form" in place of "body".

The verb you're looking for is upādiyati. If SN 12.15's explanation of this verb does not suffice, take a look at the explanation in DN 15 -

Yato kho, ānanda, bhikkhu neva vedanaṃ attānaṃ samanupassati, nopi appaṭisaṃvedanaṃ attānaṃ samanupassati, nopi ‘attā me vediyati, vedanādhammo hi me attā’ti samanupassati. So evaṃ na samanupassanto na ca kiñci loke upādiyati ...

Ananda, when a monk does not consider feeling as self, and does not consider self as without experience of feeling, and does not consider : "my self feels; for my self is subject to feeling" - then, being without such considerations, he does not cling to anything in the world.


repeated ad nauseam in all the satipaṭṭhāna refrains.

If we "believe the aggregates" and take them for granted, we've probably appropriated them before we've even started!


This assumes that subject-object modes of perception are inherently misleading. I would agree if one labours under the delusion that the "subject" is self, but this does not seem to be a problem (except in the Mahayana imagination) for most Buddhists I've met. Nor does the subject-object dichotomy itself get criticised on the grounds that one's contemplation of "arising", "cessation" and "change" in the object are untrustworthy. I do not see any suttas criticising paṭighasamphassa (bare contact) as being delusive, since the potential for clinging seems to be a sequel to the sequel of paṭighasamphassa, namely from the papañca that follows adhivacanasamphassa, but not from paṭighasamphassa itself.


Given that we so automatically "appropriated" the body to date etc., how do we unappropriate it? How is that done? How does it work in practice? First step seems to be to recognise that the five aggregates need not be consumed "as given", otherwise the outcome (i.e. bhava/existence) is a fait accompli.


Might I suggest you consider how the Buddha explains "establishment" in the 3 bhavas, eg AN 3.76, read together with SN 12.38-39. The problem of establishment is that clinging and the volitional formations always cooperate to bring about the appropriate bhava. 4 types of clinging are outlined in SN 12.2. I do not see in any of the Early Buddhist listings on views that seeing the Aggregates as "existent" qualifies as diṭṭhupādāna.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Sylvester » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:24 am

cittaanurakkho wrote:A few comments:
1. On the meaning:
On a living arahant, Sue Hamilton (“Identity…”, Chapter 3) presented the argument that sankharakhanda is no longer active (in the OP terminology “no bundle”?). The other four khandas is active all the time. Furthermore, vedana/sanna/khanda are impossible to separate out thus impossible to unbundle. But, all 5 are possible to uncling.



This is in fact the most mysterious aspect of Dependant Cessation for me. Hamilton is on strong doctrinal grounds here, since her position is explicitly stated in SN 12.51. However, Keown does raise an interesting objection to this position in his review of her book.

Perhaps, as Tilt has hinted before, what this means is that all formations tarred by lust, anger or delusion are no longer present in the Arahant. After all, I don't think Arahants are exempt from MN 78's position that they can experience kusalasankappa.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby Sylvester » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:38 am

pegembara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
pegembara wrote:I have heard that. . .

"You should smash, scatter, & demolish perception, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for perception. . . ."
Easy to quote something such as this, but what does it really mean? Does an arahant see, hear, taste, smell, touch, cognize?



There is seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling etc. That is all. You can't pin down the arahant. "He" is trackless.


I hope you don't mean this in some transcendental sense.

If you are using "trackless" in the common sutta sense, that would simply be apada, in the sense that the Arahant leaves no track for Mara to catch up with him/her : MN 26.

As for not pinning down an Arahant, I suppose this must be because with non-clinging to the Aggregates, there is no identity/personality (sakkāya) for that Arahant : MN 44.
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Re: Aggregate?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:47 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:This assumes that subject-object modes of perception are inherently misleading.

They are, because they inherently entail an artificial dissection of the two. What there is, is what is present. No need to extrapolate beyond that.

Sylvester wrote:Nor does the subject-object dichotomy itself get criticised on the grounds that one's contemplation of "arising", "cessation" and "change" in the object are untrustworthy.

It is present experience that changes etc., not the change of "object" observed separately by (an unchanging atta) "subject".

You thinking the suttas teach or promote subject-object modes of perception is your assumption. I do not share it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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