Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby 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
“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)

Postby 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.
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby 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
“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)

Postby 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.
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby 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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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby vinasp » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:51 pm

Hi Sarva,

Do you mean the four great elements?

SN 35.245 - Kimsuka Sutta - The Riddle Tree.

" A certain monk went to another monk and, on arrival, said to him, "To what extent, my friend, is a monk's vision said to be well-purified?"
---------------------
"When a monk discerns, as it actually is, the origination & passing away of the four great elements [earth, water, wind, & fire], my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified."
------------------------
"When a monk discerns, as it actually is, that whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation, my friend, it is to that extent that his vision is said to be well-purified." [ continued ]

Link: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby Sarva » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:16 pm

hi Vincent
Yes, I am taking this definition of rupa:

Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called name. The four great elements, and the form dependent on the four great elements: This is called form. This name & this form are called name-&-form.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I consider Dependent Origination as key teaching.
Metta
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:19 pm

retrofuturist wrote:(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.

Could you elaborate on this. I don't see the distinction myself, since as far as I can see, paying attention and seeing rising and falling in terms of aggregates, sense bases, etc, seeems to result in disenchantment with essentially everything.

:anjali:
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:29 pm

retrofuturist wrote: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.

I suppose so. I just find that after literally years reading detailed analyses from the like Vens Nanavira, Nanananda, and their fans, it seems to me that far too much may be being made of intricate details (such as whether upādāna appears or not, or various one-off passages) whose explanation may be much more mundane (that the speaker just happened to include or exclude something in particular cases).

As I've said many times, in all that reading, discussing, and so on, I've found nothing that has changed the way I practice. I just continue to pay attention to the rise and fall of phenomena...
retrofuturist wrote: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.

That's good, I guess, whatever non-diffusion is...

:anjali:
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby vinasp » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:32 pm

Hi Sarva,

Could you clarify one point for me?

Does name-form cease completely and permanently, and if yes, then when
does this happen? Thanks.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:14 pm

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Could you elaborate on this. I don't see the distinction myself, since as far as I can see, paying attention and seeing rising and falling in terms of aggregates, sense bases, etc, seeems to result in disenchantment with essentially everything.

By all means it's correct practice as depicted in the sutta and it supports disenchantment, but it is only a subset of the total end-to-end practice that is taught in each of the four satipatthanas found in the Satipatthana Sutta. It is only the one sentence coloured in red below. (It's interesting to note that the ti-lakkhana are not mentioned in the satipatthana practice... I'll leave you to determine whether that omission is of any significance or not. A new topic perhaps? - viewtopic.php?f=33&t=12219)

To use vedana as an example...

"And how does a monk remain focused on feelings in & of themselves? There is the case where a monk, when feeling a painful feeling, discerns, 'I am feeling a painful feeling.' When feeling a pleasant feeling, he discerns, 'I am feeling a pleasant feeling.' When feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he discerns, 'I am feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling.'

"When feeling a painful feeling of the flesh, he discerns, 'I am feeling a painful feeling of the flesh.' When feeling a painful feeling not of the flesh, he discerns, 'I am feeling a painful feeling not of the flesh.' When feeling a pleasant feeling of the flesh, he discerns, 'I am feeling a pleasant feeling of the flesh.' When feeling a pleasant feeling not of the flesh, he discerns, 'I am feeling a pleasant feeling not of the flesh.' When feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling of the flesh, he discerns, 'I am feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling of the flesh.' When feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling not of the flesh, he discerns, 'I am feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling not of the flesh.'

"In this way he remains focused internally on feelings in & of themselves, or externally on feelings in & of themselves, or both internally & externally on feelings in & of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to feelings, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to feelings, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to feelings. Or his mindfulness that 'There are feelings' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on feelings in & of themselves.

... I would regard these four differently coloured sections as progressively more advanced means of "remain[ing] focused on feelings in & of themselves". In that regards, they are a progressive advancement of four steps, parallel to the Buddha's sixteen steps on anapanasati. Here they constitute:

1. The initial awareness of x
2. The deconstruction of x into constituent components (i.e. analysis of the parts)
3. The removal of the support underpinning the constituent components
4. The conscious non-appropriation of x

It's interesting to observe the parallels between this sequence and the Four Noble Truths themselves.

The following from Soma Thera, indicates why the practice should be followed through to the end of the section, and not left at Step 2, the "analysis of the parts".

Soma wrote:Analysis of the parts lays bare the constituent components. Analysis of the relations gives a sense of the totality. All the differences that make for uniqueness are seen as due to subtle distinctions of relations. And the uniqueness of the personality, individuality, and entirety of a living being depends on the countless number of ever changing relations, their infinite variety, subtle nuances, and endless possibilities in each separate life-flux. The analytic nature of the Way leads one finally to the vision of the sentient being as a uniquely related totality that transcends the parts and has a character all its own. The sense of totality to which the logic of analysis leads is realized as true in the intensity of the absorptive or unifying activity of concentrative thought.


Observations of arising-ceasing dhamma (again, I'll refer you back to your earlier topic on the subject if you wish to investigate further) contribute to analysis of the relations. Again, Soma Thera...
Soma wrote:Only that which is relative is analysable; only that which is conditioned and dependent on something else. The absolute, the unconditioned, and the independent are not analysable. Is there anything absolute in the sentient being, or is everything in the sentient being relative? The answer has to be found out, by the aspirant, after being convinced by valid thought and experience, in order to reach the first glimpse of the goal. By training to think along the lines indicated in the Way he will be able to conclude with certainty what the nature of sentient individuality really is. On the immovable basis of such correct knowledge rests the final realization of supra mundane perfection.

Satipatthana Commentary wrote:As the contemplation on origination-and-dissolution-things, too, is split up as regards the scope of the object, it is not possible to objectify both origination and dissolution at the same time.

Thus, attempts to do so demonstrate that "the scope of the object" is an arbitrary designation because dependending on the frame of reference, something could similarly be discerned as arising or ceasing. Consider by way of simile, "Is the day ceasing or the night arising?"... how is such a question answered correctly?

By focusing solely on arising and dissolution of a given object never challenges "the scope of the object", and the designation underlying it. The "object" is erroneously taken as "given". In the case of the night and day simile, whether the object experience anicca was earlier formed (sankhata) and discerned (nama-rupa) as "night" or "day". All formed objects are entirely relative - that is the vision the full practice leads to, and how the final step of non-appropriation is facilitated.

mikenz66 wrote:That's good, I guess, whatever non-diffusion is...

Soma wrote:This is the only satisfying way for the seeker of truth when the diffuseness [papañca] of the external world with its thin layer of culture, comfort and allurement, ceases to be interesting and is found to lack true value. The seeker knows to a certainty that what he wants is to be found in the realm of the spirit. There alone he feels he would reach the vision of oneness [ekatta] of the enduring [dhuva] by transcending the diversity [nanatta] of change [aniccata]. And what he wants is inward integrity, intactness, inviolability, based on the unshakable deliverance of the mind from the sway of all conditioned phenomena. To this the Way of Mindfulness leads by showing him how to penetrate into the singleness of nature [ekasabhava] of the Supreme Void [Agga Suñña], Nibbana, which is permeated with the one taste [ekarasa] of liberation [vimutti].


Source of quoted commentary: The Way of Mindfulness: The Satipatthana Sutta and Its Commentary by Soma Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html

In conclusion, if all this seems alien with respect to the advice one receives from one's meditation teacher, please do not jump to the non-sequitur conclusion that it is mere thinking or philosophy. That particular red herring adds nothing of value...

:redherring:

... but by all means explain why you think that is in error, if you do.

mikenz66 wrote:As I've said many times, in all that reading, discussing, and so on, I've found nothing that has changed the way I practice. I just continue to pay attention to the rise and fall of phenomena...

Again, it all depends on what you do with it.

If you happily admit to doing nothing with it though, I wonder why you persist with "all that reading, discussing, and so on".

:shrug:

(It's a serious question... I'm not having a poke, merely thinking of Einstein's comment regarding insanity - i.e. doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)

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: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:In conclusion, if all this seems alien with respect to the advice one receives from one's meditation teacher, please do not jump to the non-sequitur conclusion that it is mere thinking or philosophy. That particular red herring adds nothing of value...

I don't see anything to particularly disagree with. I don't quite understand some of the more complex arguments there (probably need to read them a couple of times), but most of it sounds like standard stuff to me. Nothing particularly contradictory to how I understand it. I'm not sure what you think I would disagree with... :tongue:
retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:As I've said many times, in all that reading, discussing, and so on, I've found nothing that has changed the way I practice. I just continue to pay attention to the rise and fall of phenomena...

Again, it all depends on what you do with it.

If you happily admit to doing nothing with it though, I wonder why you persist with "all that reading, discussing, and so on".

I didn't mean to imply that some understanding of technicalities might not be useful to practice. However, I'm more and more convinced that, given the oral nature of the teachings, imperfect transmission, translation, and so on, that worrying about certain apparent contradictions or or omissions or what exactly some particular special passages mean can be rather fruitless, and, in particular, trying to prove that one particular interpretation of these teachings is the only right one is unlikely to be of much use.

:anjali:
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:35 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:I'm not sure what you think I would disagree with... :tongue:

Nothing in particular. It's just that if you or anyone else thought some part of it to be wrong or irrelevant, then demonstrating the logic or reasoning behind such an assessment would profitably further discussion. One might call such demonstration "useful" 8-)

mikenz66 wrote:However, I'm more and more convinced that, given the oral nature of the teachings, imperfect transmission, translation, and so on, that worrying about certain apparent contradictions or or omissions or what exactly some particular special passages mean can be rather fruitless, and, in particular, trying to prove that one particular interpretation of these teachings is the only right one is unlikely to be of much use.

It's quite plausible. I forgot where I read it (Buddhanet? A2I?) but in my early days of investigation I encountered a comment that apparent contradictions in the Sutta Pitaka serve as an opportunity to further one's understanding, and that modus operandi has been beneficial in my experience .

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: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:40 am

retrofuturist wrote:It's quite plausible.

Plausible there are random contradictions, or plausible that it's possible to prove a particular interpretation the only viable one? :tongue:

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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:45 am

Greetings Mike,

Plausible that contradictions are attributable to deviations attributable to oral transmission and variances in the different national canons etc.

That said, any contradictions (aside from obvious transcribing errors, as found in some Canons) I've encountered are only ever "apparent" contradictions, and deeper investigation reveals that they weren't actually contradictions in the first place - it was only the way they were regarded at the time.

I do not believe the Buddha himself taught anything contradictory and I believe the early arahants did an awesome job of maintaining and transmitting the Sutta Pitaka.

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: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby Sarva » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:44 am

vinasp wrote:Hi Sarva,

Could you clarify one point for me?

Does name-form cease completely and permanently, and if yes, then when
does this happen? Thanks.

Regards, Vincent.

Hi Vincent
If you don’t mind I will PM you a longer explanation as I feel I may risk further digression from Retro’s original post with a focus on appropriation. It should be easier for us to join back in then. :anjali:

With 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)

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:46 am

Greetings Sarva,

Sarva wrote:If you don’t mind I will PM you a longer explanation as I feel I may risk further digression from Retro’s original post with a focus on appropriation. It should be easier for us to join back in then. :anjali: .

Feel free to create a new topic and link to it from here (as I did in my multicoloured post above).

I'd be interested in seeing what you've got to say in response to Vincent's 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: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby Sarva » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:46 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sarva,

Sarva wrote:If you don’t mind I will PM you a longer explanation as I feel I may risk further digression from Retro’s original post with a focus on appropriation. It should be easier for us to join back in then. :anjali: .

Feel free to create a new topic and link to it from here (as I did in my multicoloured post above).

I'd be interested in seeing what you've got to say in response to Vincent's question.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Thanks for your interest :)
I have started a new thread. Please note that it is just my current view and subject to change (anicaa) :anjali:
Here is the link:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=12223
“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)

Postby vinasp » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:04 am

Hi Retro,

Here are my thoughts on some of your earlier statements in this thread:

Retro said:
"We see here that the different aggregates are personally delineated, based on different experiential conditions. If aggregates need to be delineated to arise, then they cannot be said the exist, separate from and independently of, their delineation." [end quote]

This is interesting. I would explain it in a similar way:

We see that the aggregates are personally constructed. This is done mainly
by an accumulation of old habits. Present volitional activity is continually
creating more habits on top of the old ones. If the aggregates are constructed
in this way, then they "exist" only as an ongoing mental constructive activity.

The key questions are; What is the nature of the construction, and how can
this process be terminated?

Retro said:
"Aggregates are subjectively appropriated bundles, empty." [end quote]

This is good. I would put it this way;

Aggregates are an ongoing habitual process of subjective appropriation.

The appropriation takes place on two levels:

1. First level: Appropriation based on the conceit "I am" and "conceiving",
which constructs the five aggregates.

2. Second level: A stronger appropriation (clinging) based on the idea of
self, which constructs the five clinging aggregates.

These two constructions can be removed together, or the second can be
removed, to be followed later by the first.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Five aggregates of appropriation (upādānakkhandha)

Postby vinasp » Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:11 am

Hi everyone,

This interesting passage is found in SN 22.79

"And why do you call them 'fabrications'? Because they fabricate fabricated things, thus they are called 'fabrications.' What do they fabricate as a fabricated thing? For the sake of form-ness, they fabricate form as a fabricated thing. For the sake of feeling-ness, they fabricate feeling as a fabricated thing. For the sake of perception-hood... For the sake of fabrication-hood... For the sake of consciousness-hood, they fabricate consciousness as a fabricated thing. Because they fabricate fabricated things, they are called fabrications." [Thanissaro]

Link: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:

"And why, bhikkhus, do you call them volitional formations? 'They construct
the conditioned,' bhikkhus, therefore they are called volitional
formations. And what is the conditioned that they construct? They
construct conditioned form as form; they construct conditioned feeling
as feeling; they construct conditioned perception as perception; they
construct conditioned volitional formations as volitional formations;
they construct conditioned consciousness as consciousness. 'They
construct the conditioned,' bhikkhus, therefore they are called
volitional formations." [ BB CD page 915, part of SN 22.79]

They construct the aggregates?

Regards, Vincent.
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