Five Aggregates With Clinging

This talk provides a review of pancasammupada, the Five Aggregates With Clinging, an important Buddhist concept describing how personality is organized.  When Peter was in Graduate School, part of the required curriculum was a course on personality theory, citing such authorities as Freud and Jung, among others.  One of the chapters, written by Daniel Goleman, focused on Buddhism as a theory of personality, with the five aggregates as the topic of interest.  The aggregates represent the dynamic interaction between external reality and various functions operating within the mind to impose meaning and a sense of self.

These aggregates were reviewed to clarify how mindfulness practices provide opportunities to “deconstruct” the aggregates, fostering the process of awakening from distress and confusion.

Here are the notes prepared for the talk, including a graphic presentation to clarify the interactions of the aggregates:  THE FIVE AGGREGATES OF CLINGING

Five Aggregates Affected By Clinging

Continuing the ongoing exploration of the Four Noble Truths, Peter described the concept of the Five Aggregates affected by clinging, which is referred to in the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness teaching.  Using a graphic illustration, he showed how the factors of perception and feeling create a “bridge” between incoming sense data and the further processing that occurs before conscious awareness (the graphic and accompanying notes are posted on the site as well).  Without the benefit of mindfulness, concentration and tranquility, perception is biased and distorted by the conditioning factors, with the result that what is transitory and non-self is misperceived as enduring and a self.  The practice of vipassana can reveal the misperception and reorient the energy of the mind toward clear awareness and benevolent intention.  This is the process of awakening.

during the next dialogue, Peter will describe how a conceptual and experiential understanding of perception and feeling is contained within the doctrine of paticca samuppada, dependent origination.  Peter will develop a different translation of this term, as “contingent provisional emergence”