Enlightenment and the aggregates

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Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:17 am

What happens to the aggregates when one is enlightened? Is it that they "continue" but that clinging is removed, or is that some of them cease to operate?

P
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Re: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:18 am

i think youre stuck with them until final nibbana
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:21 am

porpoise wrote:What happens to the aggregates when one is enlightened? Is it that they "continue" but that clinging is removed, or is that some of them cease to operate?

P
What ceases to operate is the conditioning fueled by greed, hatred, and delusion.
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: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby Nibbida » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:54 pm

The aggregates remain but they are no longer mistaken to be a self superimposed on them. It's just the processes of mind and body, rather than a "thing" called self.
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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Re: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby dhamma_spoon » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:39 am

Hi, all -

Porpoise : What happens to the aggregates when one is enlightened? Is it that they "continue" but that clinging is removed, or is that some of them cease to operate?

Jcsuperstar : i think youre stuck with them until final nibbana.

Tiltbillings : What ceases to operate is the conditioning fueled by greed, hatred, and delusion.

Nibbida : The aggregates remain but they are no longer mistaken to be a self superimposed on them. It's just the processes of mind and body, rather than a "thing" called self.

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

All the above answers are good! :sage:

The continuity of transient aggregates continues as long as there are "nutriments", but there is no craving to originate new birth.

"There are, O monks, four nutriments for the sustenance of beings born, and for the support of beings seeking birth. What are the four?
Edible food, coarse and fine; secondly, sense-impression; thirdly, volitional thought; fourthly, consciousness.
Of these four nutriments, O monks, what is their source, what is their origin, from what are they born, what gives them existence?
These four nutriments, O monks, have craving as their cause, have craving as their origin, are born of craving, and craving gives them existence."
[Ahara Sutta]

Tep
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A soup spoon does not know the taste of the soup.
A dhamma spoon does not know the taste of the Dhamma!
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Re: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby Nyana » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:27 am

porpoise wrote:What happens to the aggregates when one is enlightened? Is it that they "continue" but that clinging is removed, or is that some of them cease to operate?

Hi P & all,

Upon awakening one cannot be measured or classified in terms of the aggregates. For example, SN 22.36: Bhikkhu Sutta:

    [I]f one doesn’t stay obsessed with form, lord, that’s not what one is measured (anumīyati) by. Whatever one isn’t measured by, that’s not how one is classified (saṅkha).

    If one doesn’t stay obsessed with feeling... apperception... fabrications...

    If one doesn’t stay obsessed with consciousness, that’s not what one is measured by. Whatever one isn’t measured by, that’s not how one is classified.

MN 72: Aggivaccha Sutta:

    Vaccha, any physical form by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of form (rūpasaṅkhayavimutto), Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom (gambhīro, appameyyo, duppariyogāḷho), like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply.

    Any feeling... Any perception... Any mental fabrication...

    Any consciousness by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of consciousness (viññāṇasaṅkhayavimutto), Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom (gambhīro, appameyyo, duppariyogāḷho), like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply.

MN 22: Alagaddūpama Sutta:

    Monks, when the gods with Indra, with Brahmā and with Pajāpati seek a monk who is thus liberated in mind, they do not find anything of which they could say: “The tathāgata’s consciousness is dependent (nissita) on this.” Why? A tathāgata, I declare, is untraceable (ananuvejja) here and now (diṭṭheva).

Dhammapada, v. 93:

    Effluents ended, independent of nutriment, their pasture – emptiness and freedom without sign: their trail, like that of birds through space, can’t be traced.

SN 35.188 (CDB 35.229): Dutiyasamudda Sutta:

    For whomever passion, aggression, and ignorance have faded away–
    He has crossed over this ocean which is hard to cross
    With its dangerous sharks, demons, and waves.

    He has overcome attachment, conquered death, and is without acquisitions;
    Has abandoned suffering, for the sake of no further existence.
    “Gone out,” he cannot be measured (na pamāṇameti),
    I say that he has bewildered the king of death.

In a number of sutta-s (e.g. S iv 119, S iv 186, S iv 189, S iv 199, & M i 270) an arahant’s mind is designated as a “measureless mind” (appamāṇacetasa → being free from any sort of measuring → pamāṇa). Elsewhere it is designated as “unestablished consciousness” (appatiṭṭha viññāṇa). Yet another designation is “featureless consciousness” (anidassana viññāṇa). All of these designations refer to the liberated mind “abiding independent, not clinging to anything in the world” (yāvadeva ñāṇamattāya paṭissatimattāya anissito ca viharati na ca kiñci loke upādiyati).

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby IanAnd » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:43 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
porpoise wrote:What happens to the aggregates when one is enlightened? Is it that they "continue" but that clinging is removed, or is that some of them cease to operate?

Hi P & all,

Upon awakening one cannot be measured or classified in terms of the aggregates.

MN 22: Alagaddūpama Sutta:

    Monks, when the gods with Indra, with Brahmā and with Pajāpati seek a monk who is thus liberated in mind, they do not find anything of which they could say: “The tathāgata’s consciousness is dependent (nissita) on this.” Why? A tathāgata, I declare, is untraceable (ananuvejja) here and now (diṭṭheva).

Dhammapada, v. 93:

    Effluents ended, independent of nutriment, their pasture – emptiness and freedom without sign: their trail, like that of birds through space, can’t be traced.

Leave it to Ñāṇa to get the last word in on this subject, displaying his prodigious learning in the suttanta. :bow:

Yet, expanding on and corroborating the ideas presented in the two excerpts above, I found the following posted several years ago on a listserve I no longer frequent. It seemed quite useful at the time, and perhaps others can gather some usage out of it here. I never found out who to attribute it to. But I suppose it really doesn't matter:

    (1) For the person of little dharma wisdom, the word of criticism cuts and leaves an impression like a dagger carving into stone. Long standing pain and resentment ensue, and the pattern is hard to erase.

    (2) For the person of moderate wisdom, the word of criticism cuts and leaves and impression like a dagger carving into wet sand. It is painful but easier to erase.

    (3) For the person of higher wisdom, the word of criticism cuts and leaves an impression like a dagger cutting through water. It meets little resistance, hurts less and erases itself.

    (4) For the person of highest wisdom, the word of criticism cuts and leaves an impression like a dagger moving through empty space. It makes no impact and leaves no trace.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:31 am

Thanks for your thoughts. My assumption is that an enlightened person still percieves and feels, the difference is that these experiences are not clung to because of insight into the 3 characteristics. My assumption is based on the third Noble Truth, ie that with the cessation of grasping and clinging there is the cessation of suffering.

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Re: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby Nyana » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:09 pm

porpoise wrote:Thanks for your thoughts. My assumption is that an enlightened person still percieves and feels, the difference is that these experiences are not clung to because of insight into the 3 characteristics.

Hi P,

Yes. A living arahant still has sense faculties. Thus they still experience pleasure and pain (only bodily pain though). This is saupādisesa nibbānadhātu (nibbāna element with fuel remaining). But this doesn't mean that they can be measured or classified in terms of the five aggregates. For the arahant there is no passion for the nutriments of food, contact, intention, or consciousness (cf. SN 12.64).

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby SDC » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:44 pm

Nibbida wrote:The aggregates remain but they are no longer mistaken to be a self superimposed on them. It's just the processes of mind and body, rather than a "thing" called self.


Solid post.
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Re: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:03 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Thus they still experience pleasure and pain (only bodily pain though).


Interesting observation. So dukkha, which ceases, is "mental" pain?

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Re: Enlightenment and the aggregates

Postby IanAnd » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:42 pm

porpoise wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Thus they still experience pleasure and pain (only bodily pain though).

Interesting observation. So dukkha, which ceases, is "mental" pain?

Well, the part (or elemental constituent) of dukkha which ceases is, indeed, the mental dissatisfaction, due primarily to the ending of ignorance about the true nature of aggregates. When the aggregates are seen correctly for what they are, the practitioner no longer "beats himself up" over the unsatisfactoriness that he may experience at their expense because he sees them for that they are: impermanent, basically unsatisfactory, and without self-nature.

Yet, the bodily or physical dissatisfaction (dukkha) continues to arise when it is experienced, because physical existence is inherently unsatisfactory. Yet this knowledge, too, becomes integrated into the mind, which somewhat lessens the effect that physical dukkha can have on a person. In other words, one is able to endure it more peacefully and with equanimity without allowing it to radically affect one's mental outlook in the present moment.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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