Contemplating the Five Aggregates of Clinging

This talk continues an extensive review of the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, focusing on a Buddhist theory of personality, the Five Aggregates of Clinging.  This concept provides a way to investigate the impersonal nature of one’s subjective experience, leading to insight regarding anatta, the absence of an enduring and autonomous self.  The concept does not suggest that one’s personality is blank, rather that the self-experience is a process that coordinates the interactions between external stimuli and internal interpretive processes.  This psychological discipline provides opportunities to investigate how the sense of self forms and can therefore be modified to provide a “better fit” for changing environmental circumstances, a useful skill in these trying times.

The complementary “Guided Five Aggregates Contemplation”, recorded the same night as this talk, is found in the Audio Archive of this site.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Five Aggregates of Clinging Review

The topic for next week’s review is the core Buddhist concept “Dependent Origination”.  During the talk, a more contemporary rendering of the concept will be provided, “Contingent Provisional Emergence”.


Understanding The Five Aggregates

This talk continues a review of the contemplations found in the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, namely the Five Aggregates.  An overview of the interactions between Form, Feeling, Perception, Mind Conditioning Factors and Consciousness is provided, relating the aggregates to the other Foundations of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse, using several quotes from Analayo’s “Satipatthana–The Direct Path To Realization”.  Also included is a brief review of the next contemplation, the Six Sense Bases, as these are represented by the Form aggregate.  Because this contemplation provides a key insight into the concept of Dependent Origination, several subsequent Dharma talks will provide a review of the Mind Conditioning Factors, numbering 52 in the commentaries, and called Cetasikas, because of the key function these factors provide in Dependent Origination.  After reviewing the cetaskikas the Dependent Origination concept will then be considered.  The Cetasikas and Dependent Origination are not described in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse, but understanding how they operate is a key component in the process of Awakening.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Understanding The Five Aggregates

An important book that analyses the Five Aggregates entitled “The Five Aggregates–Understanding Theravada Psychology and Soteriology”  by Matthieu Boisvert can be downloaded in .pdf format here:  The-Five-Aggregates-Understanding-Theravada-Psychology-Soteriology  (Soterilogy is the study of salvation).

Next week’s talk will focus on beginning a review of the Cetasikas with the “Universal Mind Conditioners”, which function in every moment of consciousness.


Deerhaven 2020 3rd Night The Five Aggregates

The Panca Khandha, the Five Aggregates of Clinging, represents an important concept regarding how to “deconstruct” the view that there is an enduring and autonomous self.  Investigating the presence and effect of the Five Aggregates is an important practice in the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, Mindfulness of Mental Phenomena.  Each of the Aggregates was reviewed as well as how each is integral to the view of the self.  After Awakening, the Five Aggregates no longer involve clinging and this represents liberation from Dukkha, distress and confusion.  Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  THE FIVE AGGREGATES OF CLINGING

This review was followed by a question and answer period to clarify practice points from the discussion and the day’s meditation practice.


Grounding The Five Aggregates

This dialogue is a continuation of the previous week’s discussion.  During the discussion, Peter led a guided meditation on how to use the four elements contemplations to provide a consistent focus for interrupting the elaboration the mind creates in the “selfing story.”  This exercise was followed by a sharing from the attending Sangha members regarding their experience during the  exercise and discussion of how this practice can benefit the process of awakening.  Next week’s exploration will include the contemplation of vedana (feeling) and sanna (perception), with the hope that this information will further the process of understanding the Five Aggregates of Clinging.