MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

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MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:11 pm

Hi everyone,

MN 28 and the Clinging-Aggregates.

What can we learn from MN 28.28? - [Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.]

[The previous section speaks of eye-consciousness arising in dependence on the
eye and visible form.]

28. "The material form in what has thus come to be is included in the material
form aggregate affected by clinging (340). The feeling in what has thus come
to be is included in the feeling aggregate affected by clinging. The perception
in what has thus come to be is included in the perception aggregate affected
by clinging. The formations in what has thus come to be are included in the
formations aggregate affected by clinging. The consciousness in what has thus
come to be is included in the consciousness aggregate affected by clinging.
He understands thus:'This, indeed, is how there comes to be the inclusion,
gathering, and amassing of things into these five aggregates affected by
clinging. Now this has been said by the Blessed One:"One who sees dependent
origination sees the Dhamma; one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent
origination." (341) And these five aggregates affected by clinging are
dependently arisen. The desire, indulgence, inclination, and holding based
on these five aggregates affected by clinging is the origin of suffering (342).
The removal of desire and lust, the abandonment of desire and lust for these
five aggregates affected by clinging is the cessation of suffering.'
At that point too, friends, much has been done by that bhikkhu.(343)

--------------------------- o O o -----------------------------

Let's go through it line by line, here is the first sentence:

1.The material form in what has thus come to be is included in the material
form aggregate affected by clinging.

My interpretation:

I take 'what has come to be' to mean the state-of-mind which has arisen. To simplify things let's drop 'material' and just use 'form.' We arrive at:

1a. The form in this arisen state of mind is included in the form aggregate subject to clinging.

But what does 'aggregate' mean? Two possible readings are:

(i) Aggregate means a mere categorisation of experiences.

Questions: Q1. What would this achieve?

Q2. What distinguishes an experience of 'form being clung to' from a simple experience of form?

(ii) Aggregate means a collection of things of some kind.

But primary experiences cannot be collected, nor can they be clung to. The actual seeing of a form must be converted into something else, a mental-object. It is this object which is clung to. The state-of-mind which has arisen is based on this object. Consciousness has arisen based on the form object, consciousness is a synonym for 'mind' and 'thought.' The feeling is about the object, the perception is of the object, the volition is in regard to the object. If the form-object is clung to then the entire state-of-mind is clung to, it is a fivefold clinging.

So 'aggregate subject to clinging' means collection of things being clung to.
Form aggregate subject to clinging, means collection of forms being clung to.
So we arrive at:

1b. The form in this arisen state of mind is included in the collection of forms being clung to.

Or, if the word 'object' is re-inserted:

1c. The form-object in this arisen state of mind is included in the collection of form-objects being clung to.

Learning not to make these form-objects (and other types) is called 'liberation by not clinging.'

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby LXNDR » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:49 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu's version

The form of what has thus come into being is gathered under the form clinging-aggregate.



next

Khandha Sutta: Aggregates (SN 22.48) wrote:"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: That is called the form 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 the feeling 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 the perception clinging-aggregate.

"Whatever (mental) 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 the fabrications 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 the consciousness clinging-aggregate.

"These are called the five clinging-aggregates."



"accompanied with mental fermentation" is the translation of the Pali's "sāsavaṃ", which is "with asavas" in other words

thus it appears that 'clinging aggregate' or 'aggregate subject to clinging' in Bhukkhu Bodhi's version is the perception of a sense object contaminated by asavas

some further definitions

Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night (MN 109) wrote:Responding to the Blessed One, "Yes, lord," the monk sat back down in his seat and said to the Blessed One, "Aren't these the five clinging-aggregates, i.e., form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness as a clinging-aggregate."

"Monk, these are the five clinging-aggregates, i.e., form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness as a clinging-aggregate."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk delighted & approved of the Blessed One's words and then asked him a further question: "But in what, lord, are these five clinging-aggregates rooted?"

"Monk, these five clinging-aggregates are rooted in desire."

[...]

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk... asked him a further question: "To what extent does the designation 'aggregate' apply to the aggregates?"

"Monk, whatever form is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: that is called the aggregate of form. Whatever feeling is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: that is called the aggregate of feeling. Whatever perception is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: that is called the aggregate of perception. Whatever fabrications are past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: those are called the aggregate of fabrication. Whatever consciousness is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: that is called the aggregate of consciousness.[1] This is the extent to which the term 'aggregate' applies to the aggregates."

Saying, "Very good, lord," the monk... asked him a further question: "Lord, what is the cause, what the condition, for the delineation[2] of the aggregate of form? What is the cause, what the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness?"

"Monk, the four great existents (earth, water, fire, & wind) are the cause, the four great existents the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of form. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of perception. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of fabrications. Name-&-form is the cause, name-&-form the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of consciousness."


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


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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:45 pm

vinasp wrote: But what does 'aggregate' mean? Two possible readings are:

(i) Aggregate means a mere categorisation of experiences.

Which seems to me to be the standard interpretation. Since the aggregates encompass all of experience, how coul it be otherwise?
vinasp wrote: Questions: Q1. What would this achieve?

Viewing experience that way is an aid to the task of seeing through concepts such as self. As in Sn 22.59 http://suttacentral.net/search?query=sn+22.59
vinasp wrote: Q2. What distinguishes an experience of 'form being clung to' from a simple experience of form?

The clinging, obviously. Is this a trick question, or something? :thinking:
vinasp wrote: (ii) Aggregate means a collection of things of some kind.

A collection of experiences?
vinasp wrote: But primary experiences cannot be collected, nor can they be clung to.

Of course they can. We take our experiences to be evidence of a self, etc, and we cling to it.

:anjali:
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:28 pm

Hi LXNDR,

Thank you, those passages will be useful for some readers of this thread.

Ven. Thanissaro's translation:

"The form of what has thus come into being is gathered under the form clinging-aggregate."

Suggests, to me, that he regards the aggregates as a fivefold classification of something, note his use of the word 'under.'

I agree with your comments about SN 22.48 and 'sasavam.'

The five aggregates are described first, and are not said to be 'subject to clinging' or 'with asavas.' I think that this is intended to show that the 'arahant', who has eliminated clinging and the asavas, still has aggregates.

LXNDR said:-"thus it appears that 'clinging aggregate' or 'aggregate subject to clinging' in Bhukkhu Bodhi's version is the perception of a sense object contaminated by asavas."

This interpretation may be similar to mine, can you explain it in more detail?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:44 pm

Hi Mike,

Vincent said:-"But primary experiences cannot be collected, nor can they be clung to."

Mike replied:-"Of course they can. We take our experiences to be evidence of a self, etc, and we cling to it."

Let me explain what I meant by 'primary experiences.'

The Arahant is said 'know and see things as they really are.' When he sees a visible form with the eye he does not add anything to it.

When the 'ordinary man' sees a visible form with the eye he does add something to it." .. He construes a visible form apart from seeing..."
[ Kalakarama Sutta, AN 4.24, Nanananda's translation.]

What the ordinary man experiences is no longer just primary experience, he is experiencing a constructed experience.

Among the experiences that you are classifying in a fivefold way, do you accept that some are constructed or construed?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby LXNDR » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:32 pm

vinasp wrote:This interpretation may be similar to mine, can you explain it in more detail?


possibly, where i think i disagree with your explanation (or maybe because i misunderstand what you meant) is when you say

vinasp wrote: So 'aggregate subject to clinging' means collection of things being clung to.
Form aggregate subject to clinging, means collection of forms being clung to.
So we arrive at:

1b. The form in this arisen state of mind is included in the collection of forms being clung to.

Or, if the word 'object' is re-inserted:

1c. The form-object in this arisen state of mind is included in the collection of form-objects being clung to.


as far as i understand the passage with respect to form, 'aggregate subject to clinging' is not a collection of forms clung to, but each and every form individually cognition of which is defiled, when it's cognized by an Arahant, it's simply a 'form aggregate' (aggregate because it has multiple characteristics), but when it's by an ordinary person it's a 'form clinging aggregate', as you mentioned in reply to mikenz66 above

vinasp wrote:The Arahant is said 'know and see things as they really are.' When he sees a visible form with the eye he does not add anything to it.

When the 'ordinary man' sees a visible form with the eye he does add something to it." .. He construes a visible form apart from seeing..."
[ Kalakarama Sutta, AN 4.24, Nanananda's translation.]

What the ordinary man experiences is no longer just primary experience, he is experiencing a constructed experience.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:45 pm

Hi LXNDR,

Thank you, that clarifies things. Your interpretation is certainly one possibility.

We agree that there is something added to, for example, whatever is seen.

Do you think that this lasts only as long as the object is being seen?

I suspect that it can persist in the mind long after the seeing has ended.

There must be a connection between the four kinds of clinging, described in
MN 11.9, and the five aggregates subject to clinging.

I think that they are almost the same thing, the form aggregate subject to clinging is the objects of clinging, and these objects are mind-made.

These are 'rupa' objects, there is another kind - 'arupa' objects, views, for example, would be of this sort.

The other four aggregates are what arises based on these objects, a state of mind.

So the five aggregates subject to clinging are everything that a person is clinging to, 'my self and my world.'

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:56 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi Mike,

Vincent said:-"But primary experiences cannot be collected, nor can they be clung to."

Mike replied:-"Of course they can. We take our experiences to be evidence of a self, etc, and we cling to it."

Let me explain what I meant by 'primary experiences.'

The Arahant is said 'know and see things as they really are.' When he sees a visible form with the eye he does not add anything to it.

When the 'ordinary man' sees a visible form with the eye he does add something to it." .. He construes a visible form apart from seeing..."
[ Kalakarama Sutta, AN 4.24, Nanananda's translation.]

What the ordinary man experiences is no longer just primary experience, he is experiencing a constructed experience.

Among the experiences that you are classifying in a fivefold way, do you accept that some are constructed or construed?

Regards, Vincent.

Well, this is probably where I diverge from the hardcore fans of Ven N on this board. Certainly we "add something", but as I see it, what we add is concepts. I don't see the aggregates to be the thing we add, but to be a description of what is experienced before the addition.

Of course, in the end, it's about seeing though what we add. And that has to be experienced, not argued logically.

:anjali:
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:47 pm

Hi everyone,

Sentences 2,3,4 and 5 are treated in a similar way, but they are not the object, they are things which have arisen based on the object.

2. The feeling in what has thus come to be is included in the feeling aggregate affected by clinging.

2a. The feeling in this arisen state of mind is included in the feeling aggregate subject to clinging.

2b. The feeling in this arisen state of mind is included in the collection of feelings being clung to.

2c. This does not apply.

Substitute [perception], [volition], or [consciousness] for 'feeling' in 2b above.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:55 pm

Hi everyone,

Sentence 6.- He understands thus: 'This, indeed, is how there comes to be the inclusion, gathering, and amassing of things into these five aggregates affected by clinging.'

Meanings of the word 'Aggregate' (khandha). There seems to be two major meanings:

1. A mass of something, examples: a mass of water (udakakkhandha), a mass of
fire (aggikkhandha), and the well-known 'mass of suffering' (dukkhakkhandha).

2. Khandha can also mean 'division' in the sense of a category.

There are also minor meanings such as a persons 'shoulder.'

Sentence 6 can be taken in two different ways depending on one's understanding of the word 'aggregate.'

The first noble truth sums up suffering as 'these five aggregates subject to clinging.'

And in Dependent Origination the words 'and so arises this entire mass of suffering' is sometimes replaced with 'and so arises the world.'

From which, we can see that DO could also end with:'and so arises these five aggregates subject to clinging.'

So the five aggregates subject to clinging = suffering = the world.

My world is everything that I am clinging to, but each of these things was
mind-made at some time, and there is now a mass of such things.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:03 pm

Hi everyone,

Sentence 7.

"Now this has been said by the Blessed One:"One who sees dependent
origination sees the Dhamma; one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent
origination." (341)

Bhikkhu Bodhi's note 341 explains that this statement is not found anywhere else in the Pali Canon.

The word 'dhamma' has about seven different meanings, at least two of these make sense here:

1. Dhamma meaning 'the teaching', so one who sees dependent origination sees the teaching, and so forth.

2. Dhamma meaning 'mental-object', so one who sees dependent origination sees the mental-object, and so forth.

In the passage which we are looking at, the mental-object has already been constructed. This is described in the previous section MN 28.27, which we will examine later.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:36 am

mikenz66 wrote:Well, this is probably where I diverge from the hardcore fans of Ven N on this board. Certainly we "add something", but as I see it, what we add is concepts. I don't see the aggregates to be the thing we add, but to be a description of what is experienced before the addition.


I sort of agree Mike, partly because in the suttas consciousness, perception and feeling are described as quite basic activities or functions. On the other hand it seems that these functions can operate in clinging and non-clinging mode - so perhaps what we are actually adding is the taints. :thinking:
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:41 am

vinasp wrote: What the ordinary man experiences is no longer just primary experience, he is experiencing a constructed experience.


So what in your view is being added by the constructing?
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:46 am

vinasp wrote:But primary experiences cannot be collected, nor can they be clung to.


I would like some elaboration of how you're defining "primary objects" here. If for example I look at the sea, what is the primary object and what is constructed?
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:39 pm

Hi Spiny,

Vincent said;-"What the ordinary man experiences is no longer just primary experience, he is experiencing a constructed experience."

Spiny said:-"So what in your view is being added by the constructing?"

The full answer would be: All twelve items of Dependent Origination.

But in the context of MN 28 we are talking only about the five aggregates subject to clinging. My interpretation of DO is that the first two items are in the past, and the last two are in the future. so only eight items represent the presently arisen state. But the first two of these eight are the five aggregates. That means everything from 'six-bases' to 'existence' represent the five aggregates subject to clinging, as five presently arisen things and present mental action based on these five.

The structure would be:

1. What is actually seen.
2.Adding the five aggregates (skip the details).
3. Constructing the mental-object ('eye' plus 'visible form')
4. Arising of eye consciousness (state of mind based on the mental object)
5. Contact.
6. Feeling, perception and volition arising.
7. Generation of craving.
8. Clinging.
9. Existence.

As you can see its a complex process. All these, except 1, have vanished for the fully enlightened one. Everything from, and including 3 has vanished for the state called nibbana with residue.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:06 pm

Hi everyone,

Sentence 8.

"And these five aggregates affected by clinging are dependently arisen."

Now, this could be talking about these five things which have just arisen.
The form-mental-object is dependently arisen, and so is the consciousness which arises based on the object (the state of mind). The state-of-mind arising based on an object is called 'contact.' The feeling, perception and volition arise within this state-of-mind. So all five are dependently arisen.

Dependent Origination.

If, as I do, you take the last two items to be in the future, then these are the five aggregates subject to clinging, in the future. The previous six items are the five aggregates subject to clinging in the present, and mental-volition based on them.

When the six bases cease, then the five aggregates subject to clinging cease.
This is called 'nibbana with residue' or the state of a non-returner.

If ignorance ceases then both the five aggregates and the five aggregates subject to clinging cease. This is nibbana without residue - full enlightenment.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:06 pm

Hi everyone,

Sentence 9. - "The desire, indulgence, inclination, and holding based
on these five aggregates affected by clinging is the origin of suffering" (342).

Bhikkhu Bodhi's note 342 explains that the four terms 'desire' etc are synonyms for craving.

Let's simplify it:

9a. The desire based on these five aggregates subject to clinging is the origin of suffering.

(i) The desire based on these five presently arisen things is the origin of suffering.

But suffering is the five aggregates subject to clinging, so:

(ii) The desire based on these five presently arisen things is the origin of
the next set of five arisen things.

My interpretation: The presently arisen (apparent) self is the 'base' of the
desire for a future (apparent) self. These five presently arisen things are
seen as self. The desire for a future self is a desire for these five things
in the future.

We observe that this sentence says 'based on' while the next sentence says 'desire for.'

NOTE:

I ran into a problem here with the interpretation of 'aggregate' as 'mass,' look at what it leads to:

(x) The desire based on these five masses of things clung to, is the origin of suffering.

This does not make any sense, so I switched to 'presently arisen things.'

My thoughts: Each arisen state of mind is suffering, but not the mass of suffering. That refers to the series of future states of mind of the same sort.
It's the same with the aggregates. The presently arisen set is present suffering, the series of future sets is future suffering.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:47 pm

Hi everyone,

Sentence 10. - "The removal of desire and lust, the abandonment of desire and lust for these
five aggregates affected by clinging is the cessation of suffering.'

Simplifying again:

10a. The removal of desire for these five aggregates subject to clinging is the cessation of suffering.

(i) The removal of desire for these (future) five arisen things is the cessation of suffering.

Is there a grammatical problem here, 'these' suggests the presently arisen five things, we would say 'those' for the future set?

This is the removal of all craving for future self-existence (bhava-tanha), which is the vanishing of the apparent self, the completion of the noble eightfold path.

It seems that removing (in the present) the craving for a future self breaks the whole cycle of renewed existence.

Sentence 11. - "At that point too, friends, much has been done by that bhikkhu.(343)"

Bhikkhu Bodhi's note 343 explains that three of the four noble truths are explicitly shown in this passage, the fourth is implicit.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby culaavuso » Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:37 pm

vinasp wrote: When the six bases cease, then the five aggregates subject to clinging cease.
This is called 'nibbana with residue' or the state of a non-returner.

If ignorance ceases then both the five aggregates and the five aggregates subject to clinging cease. This is nibbana without residue - full enlightenment.


It might be helpful to contrast this view with Itivuttaka 112 which describes nibbana without residue as happening after the Tathāgata's teaching career, while his unsurpassed awakening happens before.

Iti 112: Loka Sutta wrote:Yañca, bhikkhave, rattiṃ tathāgato anuttaraṃ sammāsambodhiṃ abhisam­buj­jhati, yañca rattiṃ anupādisesāya nibbānadhātuyā parinibbāyati, yaṃ etasmiṃ antare bhāsati lapati niddisati, sabbaṃ taṃ tatheva hoti no aññathā, tasmā tathāgatoti vuccati.

From the night the Tathagata fully awakens to the unsurpassed Right Self-awakening to the night he is totally unbound in the Unbinding property with no fuel remaining, whatever the Tathagata has said, spoken, explained is just so (tatha) and not otherwise. Thus he is called the Tathagata.
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Re: MN 28 and the Clinging Aggregates.

Postby vinasp » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:40 pm

Hi everyone,

Lets look at Ven. Thanissaro's translation. [my comments are in square brackets]

"The form of what has thus come into being is gathered under the form clinging-aggregate.

[One might as well just say: is classed as 'clinging form.']

The feeling of what has thus come into being is gathered under the feeling clinging-aggregate.

[... is classed as 'clinging feeling.']

The perception of what has thus come into being is gathered under the perception clinging-aggregate. The fabrications of what has thus come into being are gathered under the fabrication clinging-aggregate. The consciousness of what has thus come into being is gathered under the consciousness clinging-aggregate.

One discerns, 'This, it seems, is how there is the gathering, meeting, & convergence of these five clinging-aggregates.

[This ...is how there is the arising together and classification as 'clinging' of these five things.]

Now, the Blessed One has said, "Whoever sees dependent co-arising sees the Dhamma; whoever sees the Dhamma sees dependent co-arising."[4]

And these things — the five clinging-aggregates — are dependently co-arisen.[5]

[ and these five things, classified as clinging, are dependently arisen.]

Any desire, embracing, grasping, & holding-on to these five clinging-aggregates is the origination of stress.

[BB's 'based on' is here replaced by 'to'. Whose translation is correct?]
[ if they are synonyms for craving - 'any craving to these ..' makes no sense.]

Any subduing of desire & passion, any abandoning of desire & passion for these five clinging-aggregates is the cessation of stress.' [6]

[ abandoning desire for these presently arisen five things?]

And even to this extent, friends, the monk has accomplished a great deal.

---------------------------- End of Citation ----------------------

Pali students please share your thoughts.

Regards, Vincent.
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