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All That We Are? Five Aggregates Made Simple, Sort Of
Submitted by Meredith Arena on Wed, 6/8/2011, 3:00pm
I am going back to the basics and reading about the four noble truths, the first of which is suffering or dukkha.
"Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of dukkha: Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha."
The five aggregates are difficult for me to wrap my head around, so I wanted to take some time to teach them to myself in my own language.
The five aggregates are form, feeling, perception, karmic formation (or fabrication) and consciousness.
This apparently is
ALL WE ARE!!!
And…we are clinging desperately to them.
That’s me, my body, the lentils on the stove, rabbits, lamp, cats, stones, silicon, snakes, airplanes, rooftops, gumballs, person, broom, fire, keyboard, the book, the cup, the mug, this, the glass, milkshake, the beer, lilacs the pitcher, trees, red, sunglasses, chair, bird, that, water, eggs, flags, black, earth, a painting, buildings, air.
I like beer.
I don’t like gumballs.
I don’t notice the air.
That is a stone.
I hear a bird.
The stone feels smooth against my cheek
The beer tastes sweet.
The lilacs smell good.
4. KARMIC FORMATION
I need a beer.
My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.
Red is sexy.
My flag is better than your flag.
Black is the opposite of white.
Reggie Ray says that “consciousness is like a field surrounded by an electric fence”.
It is where my mind separates THIS from THAT, then there is a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t exist for me at all. (Not in my field of consciousness). So for instance I may not be consciouss of the space around the glass. I am seeing the glass, the water in the glass. I am conditioned to do that.
From Access to Insight:
"Consciousness without feature is thus the awareness of Awakening. And the freedom of this awareness carries over even when the awakened person returns to ordinary consciousness. As the Buddha said of himself:
"Freed, dissociated, & released from form, the Tathāgata dwells with unrestricted awareness. Freed, dissociated, & released from feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness… birth… aging… death… suffering & stress… defilement, the Tathāgata dwells with unrestricted awareness" (§56).
I wonder what that would be like.
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by Alison G