Monday, September 19, 2011

the 5 aggregates

Something I've noticed about myself...
I don't like unfamiliar, ten-letter words. Words like 'aggregates', for example.
Generally, that wouldn't be a problem in terms of practice, except for when it comes to studying. So, I'm going to spend the next few days looking a bit deeper than the usual glances I've given to the Buddha's teachings on the five aggregates. If your more inclined to studying the sutras than I, you won't learn anything, but I hope you like the photos! For those who don't know what the five aggregates are, I'm going to keep it slow and simple... 

I first saw the word "aggregates" while reading Walpola Rahula's 'What the Buddha Taught';
What we call a 'being', or an 'individual', or 'I', according to Buddhist philosophy, is only a combination of ever-changing physical and mental forces of energies, which may be divided into five groups or aggregates (pancakkhandha). 
The Buddha says : 'In short these five aggregates of attachment are dukkha'. Elsewhere he distinctly defines dukkha as the five aggregates: 'O bhikkhus, what is dukkha? It should be said that it is the five aggregates of attachment'. Here it should be clearly understood that dukkha and the five aggregates are not two different things; the five aggregates themselves are dukkha.
So, that leaves us wondering, what are the five aggregates?

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