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The Five Aggregates, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 692

Essay

The five aggregates discussed by Rahula are the aggregate of matter, the aggregate of sensations (Vedanakkhandhd), the aggregate of Perceptions (Sannakkhandha), the aggregate of mental formations (Samkharakkhandha), and the Aggregate of Consciousness (Vinnattakkhandha) (Rahula 20).

The aggregate of matter (Mpakkhandha), consists of the four principal elements, which are, heat, solidity, motion, and fluidity. Inclusive in the Aggregate of Matter is the derivatives of the four elements. The derivatives are the sense organs that correspond to these elements. These are the tongues, ear, eye, body and nose. These senses go in hand with their perceived objects in the external world. The objects are sound, odour, vision, taste, tangible matter and conceptions. Conceptions are included since they belong to the sphere of objects perceived by the mind. The aggregate of sensations comprises of the neutral, good and bad sensations that humankind experiences. These are the nose-odour sensation, the eye-vision sensation, the ear-sound sensation, the tongue taste sensation, the body-objects sensation and the mind-thoughts sensation. The mind is the visible organ within one’s mind. The aggregate of perceptions comprises of the six kinds of sensations experienced via the six objects of matter. These perceptions exist upon the contact of the six objects with the external world. The six objects are the mind, ear, nose, tongue, eye, and body. The aggregate of mental perceptions contains the good and bad volitional activities that an individual performs. These acts include those performed in actions, speech and mind. Volitional acts under the aggregate of mental perceptions include confidence, will, wisdom and desire. The last aggregate of consciousness comprises of the counter-actions that the six external objects perform with their corresponding external phenomena. An example is the consciousness of odour where the nose is its basis (Rahula 20-24).

The relation of the aggregates to doctrines of impermanence and dukkha arises from the fact that both arise out of conditions. Naming of consciousness and the doctrines follows the order of the conditions that form the consciousness. An example is the eye and the visible objects that give rise to the visual consciousness. The ear and sound forms the consciousness of auditory as the tongue and taste gives rise to the consciousness of gustatory.  All the five aggregates are conditional because they can only occur on the presence of the eye, ear, tongues, mind, body and nose. An example is the absence of the eye that makes the visual consciousness to be non-existence (Rahula 45).

The noble eight-fold path and meditation

The noble eight-fold path is the middle path that chooses the way of clam, enlightenment and insight. This is in opposition to the ways of pleasure and self-mortification. Within the middle path are the eight parts of Ariya-Atthangika-Magga. These are the right ways to understand, think, talk, act, and live. Others are putting in the right efforts, being mindfulness and having a right concentration. These eight principles enhance the discipline of Buddhist in relation to their ethical conduct, mental discipline and wisdom (Rahula 67).

It is with performing of all the eight parts of Ariya-Atthangika-Magga that one may achieve a powerful meditation. The four parts of meditation appear in four sections of the body, feelings, mind and moral. These four categories are directly related to the eight parts of Ariya-Atthangika-Magga. In the eight parts discussed earlier, talking ad acting the right way relates to the body section of meditation. This comprises of the activities one does during meditation such as posture and breathing. Putting in the right efforts and being mindfulness fall under the mind and moral categories of meditation. The feeling category of meditation goes along with the right concentration in the eight parts. It is only through concentration that one achieves the feelings of emptiness in meditation.

Perseverance during meditation is a deliberate action of not paying attention to the hindrances of lust, anger, bad language, worry, and doubts. When a practitioner avoids these hindrances, the culture of meditation grows in him, and he understands what is right and wrong. This understanding liberates one from the bad paths of life (Rahula 67-70).

 

Work cited

Rahula, Walpola Sri. What the Buddha Taught: Revised and Expanded Edition with Texts from       Suttas and Dhammapada. Grove Press: New York, 1974.

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