contemplating the aggregates

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contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:01 am

can this be done in sitting meditation? how does one contemplate each aggregate? in particular consciousness?
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:01 am

Greetings Alan...,

Yes ~ instructions are in the Satipatthana Sutta.

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: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:13 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alan...,

Yes ~ instructions are in the Satipatthana Sutta.

Metta,
Retro. :)


okay, this is actually the sutta i'm studying so i'll give my questions line by line then:

"How, O bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu live contemplating mental objects in the mental objects of the five aggregates of clinging?

"Here, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu thinks: 'Thus is material form; thus is the arising of material form; and thus is the disappearance of material form. so here am i doing this in sitting meditation also or just while up and about? also, am i just watching this happen or thinking about it in relation to the things mentioned in the commentary to the refrain about insight:

""Contemplating origination-things." Also dissolution-things are included here. Origination and dissolution should be dwelt upon by way of the fivefold method beginning with the words: "He, thinking 'the origination of materiality comes to be through the origination of ignorance,' in the sense of the origin of conditions, sees the arising of the aggregate of materiality."?

most teachers teach non verbalized viewing of arising and passing away but the commentary seems to be implying a thought process, or perhaps it's just giving that as background information???


Thus is feeling; thus is the arising of feeling; and thus is the disappearance of feeling. Thus is perception; thus is the arising of perception; and thus is the disappearance of perception. Thus are the formations; thus is the arising of the formations; and thus is the disappearance of the formations. Thus is consciousness; thus is the arising of consciousness; and thus is the disappearance of consciousness.' how do i contemplate consciousness and it's changes, passing away and so forth?

"Thus he lives contemplating mental object in mental objects, internally, or he lives contemplating mental object in mental objects, externally, or he lives contemplating mental object in mental objects, internally and externally. He lives contemplating origination-things in mental objects, or he lives contemplating dissolution-things in mental objects, or he lives contemplating origination-and-dissolution-things in mental objects. Or his mind is established with the thought: 'Mental objects exist,' to the extent necessary for just knowledge and remembrance and he lives independent and clings to naught in the world.

"Thus, indeed, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu lives contemplating mental object in the mental objects of the five aggregates of clinging."
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby SamKR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:24 am

Maha-Satipatthana Sutta wrote: Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates? There is the case where a monk [discerns]: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'

"In this way he remains focused internally on mental qualities in & of themselves, or externally on mental qualities in & of themselves, or both internally & externally on mental qualities in & of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to mental qualities, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to mental qualities, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to mental qualities. Or his mindfulness that 'There are mental qualities' 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 mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates.


As I understand it, here, the practice is of being mindful of seeing, hearing, etc. (without craving and aversion) and observation of their arising and passing away.
When the observation of arising and passing away matures there will be a shift in mode of perception: his mindfulness that 'this is consciousness' (and this is not I, not mine) is maintained to the extent that there is mere understanding and mere awareness; and he dwells dis-embedded or detached, without clinging to anything in the world (loka).
Understanding about no-self should help a lot in this shift in mode of perception, in my opinion.
Last edited by SamKR on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby SamKR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:35 am

alan... wrote:most teachers teach non verbalized viewing of arising and passing away but the commentary seems to be implying a thought process, or perhaps it's just giving that as background information???

In my opinion verbalization is helpful, and as I understand the Buddha taught to contemplate "this is consciousness..." or "such is consciousness..."
how do i contemplate consciousness and it's changes, passing away and so forth?

I usually do contemplation of body-consciousness and its vedana. While doing so I watch how different consciousness appears, remains and fades away.
Last edited by SamKR on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:38 am

SamKR wrote:[quote="alan...']most teachers teach non verbalized viewing of arising and passing away but the commentary seems to be implying a thought process, or perhaps it's just giving that as background information???
[/quote]
In my opinion verbalization is helpful.
[quote] how do i contemplate consciousness and it's changes, passing away and so forth?[/quote]
I usually do contemplation of body-consciousness and its vedana. While doing so I watch how different consciousness appears, remains and fades away.[/quote]


i agree, i keep it non verbal until something strikes up a relevant thought. for example once i was meditating and kept dosing off and little dreams kept starting. i kept going back to my breath non verbally until out of nowhere the clear knowledge that these thoughts and all thoughts cannot be self since i cannot directly control them came into my mind and i then considered this verbally instead of just continuing with non verbal breath awareness. is that the kind of thing you're talking about?

how do you use verbalization?
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:40 am

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: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:40 am

further, are the aggregates mind only or do they include the physical body and other physical things. for example the form aggregate: is that how the mind perceives form or is it literally talking about form as the body?
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby SamKR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:42 am

alan... wrote:
SamKR wrote:[quote="alan...']most teachers teach non verbalized viewing of arising and passing away but the commentary seems to be implying a thought process, or perhaps it's just giving that as background information???
[/quote]
In my opinion verbalization is helpful.
[quote] how do i contemplate consciousness and it's changes, passing away and so forth?[/quote]
I usually do contemplation of body-consciousness and its vedana. While doing so I watch how different consciousness appears, remains and fades away.[/quote][/quote]

i agree, i keep it non verbal until something strikes up a relevant thought. for example once i was meditating and kept dosing off and little dreams kept starting. i kept going back to my breath non verbally until out of nowhere the clear knowledge that these thoughts and all thoughts cannot be self since i cannot directly control them came into my mind and i then considered this verbally instead of just continuing with non verbal breath awareness. is that the kind of thing you're talking about?

how do you use verbalization?[/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote]

"this is consciousness..."
"such is its origination...due to some causes and conditions..."
"such is its passing away...due to change in causes and conditons..."
"this is anicca..."
"this is dukkha..."
"this is not mine, not I..."
As taught by the Buddha.
Last edited by SamKR on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:42 am

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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby SamKR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:58 am

alan... wrote:further, are the aggregates mind only or do they include the physical body and other physical things. for example the form aggregate: is that how the mind perceives form or is it literally talking about form as the body?

I could be wrong, as I am not an advanced practitioner myself. But in my understanding: form (rupa) is an aggregate which is not necessarily the matter of the physical world; it is the physical representation of matter (which includes body) that enters through sense doors and then makes contact.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:59 am

alan... wrote:further, are the aggregates mind only or do they include the physical body and other physical things. for example the form aggregate: is that how the mind perceives form or is it literally talking about form as the body?


This could be a topic all by itself. But right now I think of it as both with an emphasis on the experiential side because if there were no experience of form then there would be no reason or way to contemplate form.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:01 am

SamKR wrote:
alan... wrote:further, are the aggregates mind only or do they include the physical body and other physical things. for example the form aggregate: is that how the mind perceives form or is it literally talking about form as the body?

I could be wrong, as I am not an advanced practitioner myself. But in my understanding: form (rupa) is an aggregate which is not necessarily the matter of the physical world; it is the physical representation of matter (which includes body) that enters through sense doors and then makes contact.


and this is necessarily correct because we cannot know form in any way but through perception which takes place through consciousness. good point.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:02 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:
alan... wrote:further, are the aggregates mind only or do they include the physical body and other physical things. for example the form aggregate: is that how the mind perceives form or is it literally talking about form as the body?


This could be a topic all by itself. But right now I think of it as both with an emphasis on the experiential side because if there were no experience of form then there would be no reason or way to contemplate form.

:anjali:


exactly. and then we end up in yogacara territory lol! those guys break up consciousness into tiny little fragments and consider heavily that without it, there is no "it" to begin with.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:04 am

SamKR wrote:
alan... wrote:
SamKR wrote:[quote="alan...']most teachers teach non verbalized viewing of arising and passing away but the commentary seems to be implying a thought process, or perhaps it's just giving that as background information???
[/quote]
In my opinion verbalization is helpful.
[quote] how do i contemplate consciousness and it's changes, passing away and so forth?[/quote]
I usually do contemplation of body-consciousness and its vedana. While doing so I watch how different consciousness appears, remains and fades away.[/quote][/quote]

i agree, i keep it non verbal until something strikes up a relevant thought. for example once i was meditating and kept dosing off and little dreams kept starting. i kept going back to my breath non verbally until out of nowhere the clear knowledge that these thoughts and all thoughts cannot be self since i cannot directly control them came into my mind and i then considered this verbally instead of just continuing with non verbal breath awareness. is that the kind of thing you're talking about?

how do you use verbalization?[/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote]
"this is consciousness..."
"such is its origination...due to some causes and conditions..."
"such is its passing away...due to change in causes and conditons..."
"this is anicca..."
"this is dukkha..."
"this is not mine, not I..."
As taught by the Buddha.[/quote]


this is helpful. i find it useful to get the mind very concentrated and then think on these things, that way it's actually seeing them clearly instead of just running through them like any other thought.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:08 am

Greetings Alan...,

As an alternative to "think on these things", perhaps you could see it as "perceive as [instructed by the sutta]..."

The sutta advises that it is such ~ perceive experience in accordance with the Dhamma the sutta teaches.

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: contemplating the aggregates

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:12 am

Good stuff here. This is not just theoretical; rather, the khandhas are talked about in terms of actual practice by a highly experienced and learned medutation teacher.
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: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:14 am

perhaps a clear definition is in order?

form: the physical objects that are seen and known by the mind? the actual act of cognizing physical objects? the body?

feelings: painful, pleasant and neutral feelings?

perception: not sure about this one, many different definitions out there. i believe it's the defining of what an object is by the mind. can someone elaborate?

mental formations: volitional thought, the "doer" of the mind.

consciousness: the knower of the mind?

from another viewpoint, isn't it all in consciousness? like consciousness is a jar and all the other things are it's contents?
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby SamKR » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:14 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alan...,

As an alternative to "think on these things", perhaps you could see it as "perceive as [instructed by the sutta]..."

The sutta advises that it is such ~ perceive experience in accordance with the Dhamma the sutta teaches.

Metta,
Retro. :)

I like this too (sometimes thinking is not necessary, and sometimes it's a burden). But in the beginning perhaps thinking helps a lot.
I think the goal is to have an useful mode of perception.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:15 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Good stuff here. This is not just theoretical; rather, the khandhas are talked about in terms of actual practice by a highly experienced and learned medutation teacher.


@ Alan, I'd recommend just listening to the whole series to get the full picture that Goldstein presents.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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