The Five Aggregates

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The Five Aggregates

Postby ccook70 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:35 am

Hello,

Subject is the Five Aggregates.

Could you explain the concept of "Perception?" Why does the Buddha teach against it?

A good hardcopy book on the Five Aggregates?

Thanks!

Corey
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Re: The Five Skandhas - Perception

Postby culaavuso » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:55 am

ccook70 wrote:Subject is the Five Skandhas.

Could you explain the concept of "Perception?" Why does the Buddha teach against it?


"Perception" is only one of the five khandhas. The Buddha doesn't teach against it so much as he teaches not to cling to it, not to have passion for it, not to be obsessed by it. The concept of "perception" is the concept of concepts or labels, in short. By getting hung up on labels and concepts, it's easy to be led astray. Perceptions are a useful tool, but they are never an exact representation of reality. Perceptions can lead you astray in many ways, for example they tend to simplify complex realities, they contribute to reification of abstractions, and there is no guarantee that the perception will change when the reality it signifies changes. However, without perception it's impossible to function in the world. Without the perception of "food" and "non-food" the basis for deciding what to eat becomes quite challenging. These are some reasons why the Buddha may have taught that while perceptions are useful as tools, clinging to them is a cause of suffering.

There are many useful things to read further on this subject. De-perception by Thanissaro Bhikkhu is an essay describing the influence of perception and how to learn to relate to it more skillfully. For the five aggregates in general, it might be helpful to read Five Piles of Bricks: The Khandhas as Burden & Path and The Five Aggregates: A Study Guide, both also by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:19 am

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Re: The Five Skandhas - Perception

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:54 am

culaavuso wrote:These are some reasons why the Buddha may have taught that while perceptions are useful as tools, clinging to them is a cause of suffering.


I'm not sure it's clinging to perceptions that causes suffering or whether it's what follows the labelling process of perception - our reaction to the perception, the whole process of like, dislike, craving and aversion.

So for example if I percieve "blue", that in itself isn't a problem - the problem comes with liking blue or not liking blue, and so on.
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Re: The Five Skandhas - Perception

Postby chownah » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:41 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
culaavuso wrote:These are some reasons why the Buddha may have taught that while perceptions are useful as tools, clinging to them is a cause of suffering.


I'm not sure it's clinging to perceptions that causes suffering or whether it's what follows the labelling process of perception - our reaction to the perception, the whole process of like, dislike, craving and aversion.

So for example if I percieve "blue", that in itself isn't a problem - the problem comes with liking blue or not liking blue, and so on.

I think the Buddha taught that perceptions are something that people cling to......are you then saying that we can cling to perceptions without suffering?
chownah
P.S. Of course we must be careful here to realize that perception can only have meaning in association with the other aggregates so clinging to perception is a bit misleading as it seems to be saying that one can isolate perception and have it standing alone and then cling to it alone......which I think is not the way it works at all......perception is alway associated with other factors and does not stand alone.....just like "Impossible is it for anyone to explain................ the growth, increase and development of consciousness independent of corporeality, feeling, perception and mental formations" (S. XII, 53).
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby ccook70 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:40 pm

"Having thus been answered, there may be wise nobles & brahmans, householders & contemplatives… who will question you further, 'And seeing what benefit does your teacher teach the subduing of passion & desire for form… for feeling… for perception… for fabrications. Seeing what benefit does your teacher teach the subduing of passion & desire for consciousness?'

"Thus asked, you should answer, 'When one is free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for form, then with any change & alteration in that form, there does not arise any sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, or despair. When one is free from passion… for feeling… for perception… for fabrications… When one is free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for consciousness, then with any change & alteration in that consciousness, there does not arise any sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, or despair. Seeing this benefit, our teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire for form… for feeling… for perception… for fabrications. Seeing this benefit our teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire for consciousness.'"

-SN 22.2

"And what are the five clinging-aggregates?

"Whatever form — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — is clingable, offers sustenance, and is accompanied with (mental) fermentation [āsava]: that is called form as a clinging-aggregate.

"Whatever feeling — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — is clingable, offers sustenance, and is accompanied with (mental) fermentation: that is called feeling as a clinging-aggregate.

"Whatever perception — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — is clingable, offers sustenance, and is accompanied with (mental) fermentation: that is called perception as a clinging-aggregate.

"Whatever fabrications — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — are clingable, offer sustenance, and are accompanied with (mental) fermentation: those are called fabrication as a clinging-aggregate.

"Whatever consciousness — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — is clingable, offers sustenance, and is accompanied with (mental) fermentation: that is called consciousness as a clinging-aggregate.

"These are called the five clinging-aggregates."

— SN 22.48


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

:coffee:

Understood, it's the clinging, passion, and desire for the five aggregates that's to be avoided.

Questions:

-What is "Form?"
-What is "Fabrications?"
-What is "Consciousness?"

-In regards to "Perception," Culaavuso stated, "The concept of "perception" is the concept of concepts or labels, in short."
-What sorts of mental concepts or labels are to be avoided?
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby culaavuso » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:04 pm

ccook70 wrote:Understood, it's the clinging, passion, and desire for the five aggregates that's to be avoided.

Questions:

-What is "Form?"
-What is "Fabrications?"
-What is "Consciousness?"


Form is what is experienced of the world other than the labels of perception and the feelings of pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant.
Fabrications are the tendency of will, doing, or making. The tendency of fabricating compound things.
Consciousness is what provides the basis of experiencing the world: seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, tasting, knowing. In short, subjectivity.

SN 22.57
SN 22.57: Sattatthana Sutta wrote:And what is form? The four great existents [the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, & the wind property] and the form derived from them: this is called form.


SN 22.57: Sattatthana Sutta wrote:And what are fabrications? These six classes of intention — intention with regard to form, intention with regard to sound, intention with regard to smell, intention with regard to taste, intention with regard to tactile sensation, intention with regard to ideas: these are called fabrications.


SN 22.57: Sattatthana Sutta wrote:And what is consciousness? These six classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness. This is called consciousness.


ccook70 wrote:-What sorts of mental concepts or labels are to be avoided?


Perception is not to be avoided, it is to be understood. It is clinging, passion, and desire for perception that is to be abandoned.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby ccook70 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:20 pm

Culaavuso said,

"Perception is not to be avoided, it is to be understood. It is clinging, passion, and desire for perception that is to be abandoned."

-Is this true for all Five Skandhas?

Thanks for sharing the Buddha's teachings with me.

:thanks:

Corey
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby culaavuso » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:19 pm

ccook70 wrote:"Perception is not to be avoided, it is to be understood. It is clinging, passion, and desire for perception that is to be abandoned."

-Is this true for all Five Skandhas?


Yes.

SN 12.61
SN 12.61: Assutava Sutta wrote:Seeing thus, the instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby cooran » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:22 pm

The Five Aggregates - A Study Guide by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/khandha.html

With metta,
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby Pondera » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:17 am

Not avoided, subdued.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby pegembara » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:41 am

Image


"'A being,' lord. 'A being,' it's said. To what extent is one said to be 'a being'?"

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up[1] there, tied up[2] there, one is said to be 'a being.'[3]

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling... perception... fabrications...

"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

"Just as when boys or girls are playing with little sand castles:[4] as long as they are not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, that's how long they have fun with those sand castles, enjoy them, treasure them, feel possessive of them. But when they become free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, then they smash them, scatter them, demolish them with their hands or feet and make them unfit for play.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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: The Five Aggregates

Postby Mkoll » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:19 am

:goodpost:

We are all beings here.

:group:
Peace,
James
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Re: The Five Skandhas - Perception

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:10 am

chownah wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:I'm not sure it's clinging to perceptions that causes suffering or whether it's what follows the labelling process of perception - our reaction to the perception, the whole process of like, dislike, craving and aversion.
So for example if I percieve "blue", that in itself isn't a problem - the problem comes with liking blue or not liking blue, and so on.


I think the Buddha taught that perceptions are something that people cling to......are you then saying that we can cling to perceptions without suffering?
Of course we must be careful here to realize that perception can only have meaning in association with the other aggregates so clinging to perception is a bit misleading as it seems to be saying that one can isolate perception and have it standing alone and then cling to it alone......which I think is not the way it works at all......perception is alway associated with other factors and does not stand alone.....


Yes, I agree that perception is part of a process and difficult to isolate. What I'm questioning is how a perception like "blue" is something that can be clung to - what does that actually mean? As I said, clinging to what follows the perception makes sense, but clinging to the perception itself? :?
I used to work as an electrician, and in that role clinging to the perception of colour is actually quite useful. ;)
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby chownah » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:13 am

Spiny Norman,
I don't know for sure but could it be that the process of perception is what is clung to and not a particular perception? Again, we are isolating perception in this discussion and to me the clinging makes much better sense when perception is considered in conjunction with all the rest.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby barcsimalsi » Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:44 am

Spiny Norman wrote: What I'm questioning is how a perception like "blue" is something that can be clung to - what does that actually mean? As I said, clinging to what follows the perception makes sense, but clinging to the perception itself? :?
I used to work as an electrician, and in that role clinging to the perception of colour is actually quite useful. ;)

Perhaps it is to tell us that the memory which holds information is unreliable because it is inconstant. Imagine one got dementia and forgot this and that, because this person clings dearly to his memory then it is likely anger and frustration will arise and beat him up each time he can’t recognize something dear… IMO.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:01 pm

chownah wrote:Spiny Norman,
....could it be that the process of perception is what is clung to and not a particular perception?
chownah


I can see this at the level of not wanting to "lose" one or more of the sense media and the perceptions that arise - so for example I would be afraid of losing my hearing because I'm "attached" to the process ( experience? ) of hearing sounds.
But if not that, then I'm still not sure I see it, since there seems to be an inevitability to the process of perception. So as long as my hearing's OK I am going to hear sounds of various sorts, and in that sense perception itself seems like a neutral activity and not an object of clinging.
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:04 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:Imagine one got dementia and forgot this and that, because this person clings dearly to his memory then it is likely anger and frustration will arise and beat him up each time he can’t recognize something dear… IMO.


Yes, good point. So perhaps it's not just the fear of losing perception "abilities", but also the fear of degradation of those abilities?
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby chownah » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:10 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
chownah wrote:Spiny Norman,
....could it be that the process of perception is what is clung to and not a particular perception?
chownah


I can see this at the level of not wanting to "lose" one or more of the sense media and the perceptions that arise - so for example I would be afraid of losing my hearing because I'm "attached" to the process ( experience? ) of hearing sounds.
But if not that, then I'm still not sure I see it, since there seems to be an inevitability to the process of perception. So as long as my hearing's OK I am going to hear sounds of various sorts, and in that sense perception itself seems like a neutral activity and not an object of clinging.

So, where precisely do you see the clinging happening?....at consciousness?...or at fabrications?.....or where? I tend to think more in terms of the five agg's working together and then clinging arising....but that clinging is not rightly associated with one "thing" or another......it just arises.....sort of like clinging is just a feeling which arises and not like it is actually grasping onto any particular thing. So, one does not cling to "blue", rather "blue" arises within a context of form, consciousness, fabrication, etc. and as a result of all this arises clinging.
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Re: The Five Aggregates

Postby Babadhari » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:33 pm

chownah wrote:
So, where precisely do you see the clinging happening?....at consciousness?...or at fabrications?.....or where? I tend to think more in terms of the five agg's working together and then clinging arising....but that clinging is not rightly associated with one "thing" or another......it just arises.....sort of like clinging is just a feeling which arises and not like it is actually grasping onto any particular thing. So, one does not cling to "blue", rather "blue" arises within a context of form, consciousness, fabrication, etc. and as a result of all this arises clinging.
chownah


well put chownah,

thanissaro bhikku wrote:
The Buddhist approach to ending this clinging, however, is not simply to drop it. As with any addiction, the mind has to be gradually weaned away. Before we can reach the point of no intention, where we're totally freed from the fabrication of khandhas, we have to change our intentions toward the khandhas so as to change their functions. Instead of using them for the purpose of constructing a self, we use them for the purpose of creating a path to the end of suffering. Instead of carrying piles of bricks on our shoulders, we take them off and lay them along the ground as pavement.
The first step in this process is to use the khandhas to construct the factors of the noble eightfold path..........................
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/khandha.html

Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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