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Dhamma lesson (18)

smelling

In the experience of smelling

If there is no nose- you cannot smell.

If there is no smelling object - you cannot smell.

If there is no air- you cannot smell.

If there is no attention- you cannot smell.

note-(there are so many smells near or around you, but if you don't pay attention, you will not notice them).


 

Only when 4 conditions are present- smelling conciousness arises.

 

nose               smell              air                     attention

The nose itself has no conciousness. When 2 matters ( nose and smell object) are conditioned with presence of air and attention, we are aware of smelling things.That means the smelling conciousness arises.

All five aggregates (nama and rupa in Pali) are involved in smelling.

Feeling aggregate is involved. Feeling may be  pleasurable or not pleasurable or neutral feeling

Perception aggregate is also involved as mind makes a mental mark of that smelling object to be recognized when you experienced it later.

The volitional formations aggregate will be noticed when you really watch your mind although it is very subtle as a kind of mental activity or exertion in the mind to make some effort to smell and to bring this smelling complete.

What to do

No judgement to like or dislike the object. Just to be mindful what comes up at the present moment.

You try to see it as it is. Just the act of smelling and smelling conciousness arises and disappears with no control over it.


tasting

In the experience of tasting

If there is no tongue- you cannot taste.

If there is no tasting object - you cannot taste.

If there is no tongue juice (saliva=water element)- you cannot taste.

If there is no attention- you cannot taste.


 

Only when 4 conditions are present- tasting conciousness arises.

tongue     taste          tongue juice ( water element)      attention

The tongue itself has no conciousness. When 2 matters (tongue and tasting object) are conditioned with presence of tongue juice and attention, we are aware of the taste. Conciousness aggregate,Feeling aggregate,Perception aggregate and the volitional formations aggregate are involved. Feeling may be  pleasurable or not pleasurable or neutral feeling. All five aggregates (nama and rupa in Pali) are involved in tasting.

What to do

When you chew the food, you should note as "chewing, chewing" When you know the taste of the food, you should be mindful of it. Try to find it as it is-sweet taste, bitter taste, salty taste or note as the taste - etc: .

When your concentration is so intense and develope wisdom, you can be aware of all the different tastes as feeling of the taste.

Do not put your judgement to like or dislike the taste. By being mindful like that, you will not cling to the five aggregates in every present moment.

When you feel the food going down your throat, you should keep note of all these happenings.

 

Wisdom- to cultivate wisdom and see the nature

Each moment of consciousness is discrete with nothing flowing from one moment to the next.

Contemplating consciousness is seeing it as a series of discrete, isolated events with nothing going from one moment to the next,

If you see mind- conciousness as your self, you undermines the illusion or you  beleive wrongly as I am the one who knows,  I am the "knower" or " doer", I am always there to receive the experience of the world.

In reality, one conciousness  has vanished and  another conciousness is occuring constantly. This is Citta. It is just a natural phenomenon, subject to ceasing. It cannot be me, mine or self. That citta is finally understood as impermanence, suffering and nonself. (Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta).

 

 

 

 

Dhamma lesson (17)

Hearing

All 5 aggregates ( Nama and Rupa in Pali )are involved in hearing.

In the experience of hearing

If there is no ear- you cannot hear.

If there is no hearing object (sound)- you cannot hear.

If there is no space- you cannot hear.

If there is no attention- you cannot hear.

note-(there are so many sound near or around you, but if you don't pay attention, you cannot hear them).


 

Only when 4 conditions are present- hearing conciousness arises.

ear           sound                     space             attention

The ear itself has no conciousness. When 2 matters ( ear and hearing object) are conditioned with presence of space and attention, we are aware of hearing the sound.That means the hearing conciousness arises.

Once hearing conciousness arises, feeling aggregate is involved. Feeling may be  pleasurable or not pleasurable or neutral feeling.

 

-

For example, when you hear the noisy construction work next door which annoys you and you want the noise to stop or you desire a peaceful circumstance,  aversion in your mind will flare up into overt anger, hatred or even violence.

anger form noises

Because of your desire, you blame on someone or something else. The issue is not the noise.It is your reaction to the noise. Anger developes due to the lack of awareness  of annoyance in your mind. Before you hear the noise, there is no anger. When there are 4 conditions (ear,sound,space,attention), hearing conciousness develops. Due to the wrong view or lack of mindfulness on the sound , you become angry. When you are mindful and clearly comprehend as these objects are impermanent, just material and mental phenomena, you are not to be attached to them or hate them.

There are many situations in our life that we will not be able to eliminate  or control most of the external factors. But we can do something about ourself. Be mindful, be aware of what is happening in your mind. That will prevent mental defilements getting into your mind. And you can overcome them.

As soon as you look into your mind, your anger or dislike of the noise and your irritation ceases. You should accept as just hearing the noise as it is or regard the sound as it is. At every moment, you should realize as different hearing conciousness rise and fall.

Mindfulness of one's own mind at any moment is the practice of vipassana meditation.

happy to hear music

Likewise,when you hear the music that you like, pleasurable feeling developes. You desire to hear it again and again due to the lack of awareness  of greed in your mind.Once you become mindful what is happening in your mind, the greed disappears. Another like or dislike or neutral feeling will arise again and disappear again and so on.

When there are four conditions, hearing conciousness arises and disappears. You should understand that they are impermanent, they are suffering and they have no self or no soul.

 

- perception to recognize the sound later

Perception aggregate is also involved as mind makes a mental mark of that hearing object to be recognized when you experienced it later.

 

The volitional formations aggregate will be noticed when you really watch your mind although it is very subtle as a kind of mental activity or exertion in the mind to make some effort to hear and to bring this hearing complete.

 

The key point is when hearing conciousness arises, you must watch, make note of it and be mindful always.

Once you are mindful of the hearing conciousness, it is no longer there. It has disappeared. Once you notice of hearing conciousness, it has already become the past. Because mind can take only one object at a time.

 

In reality, every moment, both the mind and matter are different, arising and disappearing (impermanence) , constantly oppressed by arising and disappearing ( suffering) and no core, no control ( no soul).


what to do -----Cultivate your wisdom

As a practitioner of Vipassana, you have to take what is there at the present moment.

don't

Do not try to find out whether it is the conciousness aggregate or feeling aggregate or perception aggregate or the volitional formations aggregate.

Do not try to find out which one you are doing.

do

When you apply mindfulness to whatever experince you are having at the present moment, you will not cling to them. So you will not cling to the 5 aggregates of clinging.That is our goal of vipassana meditation.

What you should do is keep mindfulness always- mindfulness here and there.

Sometimes you may miss being mindful and then that missing also becomes the object of meditation. You have to make note of yourself as " missing, missing" and try to be mindful any object whatever comes at the present moment.

When you hear the sound, you should keep note as "hearing hearing".

When your concentration becomes mature or very strong, you will notice as ----words of the sound are seperate.


For example, someone say " How are you?"

Because of your mindfulness is so intense that you will notice them as  word by word .

You hear " How" and aware as it has disappeared.

Then you hear " are" and notice as it has disappeared.

And then " you" and observe as it has disappeared.

Sometime you will notice a lot of sound near you but you will be aware of disappearance of those sound. You can notice  sounds even though it is very soft volume.

 

When the sound touches the sensitive part of the ear

 

All conditioned phenomena.

If you can keep your mindfulness intense, then you will make rapid progress and you will begin to see the true nature of things. That is , you will begin to notice the arising and disappearing of all 5 aggregates. you will see they are impermanent, you will also see their suffering nature and also see the non-soul nature with having no control over these.  The arising and disappearing has its own free will.

When your mindfulness practice becomes mature enough, you can see the three general characteristics of all conditioned phenomena. This is the essence of Vipassana.

The reason of seeing all conditioned phenomena is your mind becomes clear after vipassana mindfulness for certain period of time. When your mind becomes clear or mental defilments are suppressed by meditation, you can see the true nature .

 



little by little

It takes time to be able to see clearly or comprehend clearly of impermenance, suffering, and non-self.

Right at the beginning, you may not even see all 3 general characteristics . They are mixed together and very vague.

Little by little, with the growth of your concentration and practice, you will see the objects more and more clearly and then also their arising and disappearing and so on.

The mental defilements are settled downed or suppressed little by little by making true effort, being ardent, being mindful, being thoroughly aware of the object and having concentration and clear comprehension.

As a person practices Vipassana meditation, progress may be from one stage to another , to higher and higher stages . A time will come when a type of conciousness , along with its mental concomitants, is so powerful that will eradicate mental defilements and takes Nibbana as object. That consciousness is called " Path Conciousness" and immediately followed by " Fruition Conciousness".

Overall, Mindfulness should not be superficial. It must be deep into the object. It is usually saying as " full awareness of the object".

 

 

Dhamma lesson (16)

seeing

 

---------------------               

Normal eye                    ---------------------->>>>    vipassana eye

In the experience of seeing

If there is no eye- you cannot see.

If there is no visible object- you cannot see.

If there is no light- you cannot see.

If there is no attention- you cannot see.

note-(there are so many things near or around you, but if you don't pay attention, you cannot see them).


 

Only when 4 conditions are present- seeing conciousness arises.

eye                  visible object        light          attention

seeing conciousness arises.

 

Eyes and visible objects are matter.

Matter is called " Rupa" in Pali.

 

The eye itself has no conciousness. When 2 matters ( eye and visible object) are conditioned with presence of light and attention, we are aware of seeing the object.That means the seeing conciousness arises.

 

happy         unhappy    nautral feeling

Once seeing conciousness arises, feeling is involved. If you like the object,feeling is pleasurable and if you don’t like the object, feeling is not pleasurable. If you have neither like nor dislike, there will be neutral feeling.

 

-------

1)seeing conciousness (Vin-nya-na in Pali) is the main leader accompanied with 2) perception (San-nya in Pali)and 3) volitional formations (San-kha-ra in Pali)and 4) feeling (Ve-da-na in Pali). All these four mind aggregates are called " Nama" in Pali.

Perception is also involved as mind makes a mental mark of that visible object to be recognized when you experience it later.

 

The volitional formations aggregate will be noticed when you really watch your mind although it is very subtle as a kind of mental activity or exertion in the mind to make some effort to see and to bring this seeing complete.

All 5 aggregates ( Nama and Rupa in Pali )are involved in seeing.

 

When seeing the objects, seeing conciousness arise and disappear. You should understand that they are impermanent, they are suffering and they have no self or no soul.

 

When you apply mindfulness to whatever experince you are having at the present moment, you will not cling to them. So you will not cling to the 5 aggregates of clinging.

 

The key point is when seeing conciousness arises, you must watch, make notes of it and be mindful.

Once you are mindful of the visible object,when you are making notes of it, the seeing conciousness is no longer there. It has disappeared , because the mind can take one object at one time. Once you notice of seeing ,less than the blink of an eye, it has already become the past.

 

----------> ------>

Static images seem moving by your own imagination.

 

When you see a movie, there are many still pictures projected one after another in sequence. Actually they are not moving. All of these separate static images are flowing continuously forming a whole film.So We think that pictures are moving. Actually,the illusion is created in our mind and we see as what is moving is our own imagination.

 

 

Likewise, when you look at the water flowing, many static visual images are continously arising and disappearing in your mind. So you see them as water is continuously flowing and think as the same water is flowing. Actually, first water has flowed away already and another water replaced the first and so on.

If you do not have vipassana knowledge, you do not really see the arising and disappearing, you will still think in terms of one continuous thing.

Without vipassana knowledge,you may think as the mind is the same as a few moments ago, a week ago or a month ago or the mind is just one solid thing or as compact.

In reality, every moment, both the mind and matter are different, arising and disappearing (impermanence) , constantly oppressed by arising and disappearing ( suffering) and no core, no control ( no soul).


Cultivate your wisdom

Practice vipassana meditation, you should always watch mind, matter, thoughts, emotions , the breath, the movements of the abdomen and so on. When your concentration becomes mature, you will see three characteristics of impermanence, suffering and non self or non soul. 

seeing candle

Impermanence " ANICCA" in Pali.

You should realise as when you look things into outside world, like flowing water, lighted candle,they are changing in every moment, not permanent.

When you look inside your body, only seeing conciousness (5 aggregates) arising and passing away constantly. Not just one mind. At different moment, there is a different mind and mental states or different conciousness. One conciousness goes to an object and another conscousness makes note of it. Then these two disappear and another consciousness arises and  disappear and so on and so forth.

You will notice there are only 2 things . Seeing and mindfulness of seeing. ( likewise hearing and awarness of hearing, smelling and awarness of smelling, touching in the breath and mindfulness of the breath etc:).

There is nothing in the form of person. There is NO PERSON, no individual. Just the doing action and just the experiencing action. Only mind and matter just arise and disappear.That is impermanence. " ANICCA" in Pali.

 

Suffering" DUKKHA"  in Pali.


You will see there are only mind and matter ( five aggregates) continuously rise and fall. (Mind is composed of conciousness and of many  differernt mental states.)You cannot be able to name the components in detail but you see them and understand them.

The 5 aggregates are suffering because they are constantly oppressed by rise and fall and never stops. There is no single moment in our lives when we are not oppressed by rise and fall.

We see something that we don't want to see and we suffer.

We hear something that we don't want to hear and we suffer.

There will be aging, disease and death, and so we suffer.

There will be fearsome, fearful, dreadful and we suffer.

We want things permanently, we want ourselves to be permanent, we want to live permanently but we will not get what we want and we suffer.

We don't want to feel sad or depressed, but we do get sad and depressed and we suffer. (unless you know how to meditate to have lesser degree of sadness or sorrow).

Because of the 5 aggregates,

-we have to endure all of these sufferings.

-we undergo constant suffering.

Simply, the Buddha said that whatever is impermanent is suffering. " DUKKHA"  in Pali.

 

non self " ANATTA" in Pali.

The 5 aggregates must be regarded as alien. not belonging to us. When you cultivate your mindfulness, soon you will realise there are only mind and matter arise and disappear constantly.Every moment is different. Only nama and rupa are being noticed moment to moment. You know that you can not interfere with that process. You can not stop them, you can not control them.We have no authority over them and have no core in the mind.That is non-self or no soul." ANATTA" in Pali.

We all should practice to have Vipassana eye in every seeing experience as much as we can and as long as you can. That means practicing Vipassana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dhamma lesson (15)

Five aggregates and the five aggregates of clinging

 

There are five aggregates.

Knowledge of all 5 aggregates is very helpful for you to practice vipassana meditation even if you do not read or know all of the Abhidhamma or Visuddhimagga. You can get knowledge of 5 aggregates which are impermanent, suffering and non self and Four Noble truths by studying from right books or getting enough information from right teachers.

Five aggregates (khanda)

1-matter or form  or materiality aggregate (matter)

2- feeling aggregate (mind)

3- perception aggregate (mind)

4- volitional formations aggregates (mind)

5- conciousness aggregate (mind)

 

In brief, five aggregates mean mind ( Nama in Pali) and matter ( rupa in Pali).

 

 

When there are objects of clinging, they are called aggregates of clinging, aggregates subject to clinging, or aggregate objects of clinging.

 

the five aggregates of clinging (upada nak khanda)

1- the materiality aggregate of clinging (rupupada nak khanda)
2- the feeling aggregate of clinging     (vedanupada nak khanda)
3- the perception aggregate of clinging( sannupada nak khanda)

4- the volitional formations aggregates of clinging (sankharupada nak khada)
5-the conciousness aggregate of clinging (vinnya nupada nak khanda)

what are the difference

 

What are the difference between “ aggregates” and aggregates of clinging”?

The Buddha states " whatever kind of materiality there is , whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior , far or near- this is called material aggregate and they are connected with taints and subject to clinging- this is called  the materiality aggregate of clinging" .

Again same method of definition applies to the other four aggregates.

Here, all components of the five aggregates that enter into range of the four types of clinging (see below) are called aggregate of clinging.

This includes the entire aggregate of materiality and the four mental aggregates of the mundane plane.

The four mental aggregates of the supramundane plane are not aggregates of clinging because they entirely transcend the range of clinging; that is, they cannot become objects of greed or wrong views.


When we say aggregates of clinging, we mean only mundane aggregates. But when we say aggregates, the supermundane aggregates are also included.

-------

clingings

There are four clingings:

1) clinging to sense pleasures, (kamu padanam)

2) clinging to wrong views (ditthu padanam)

3) clinging to rites and ceremonies(silabbatu padanam)

4) clinging to a doctrine of self (attavadu padanam)

 

Both mundane and supermundane aggregates are impermanent.

 

With every experience – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking- there are always the 5 aggregates. If you do not watch them, if we do not apply mindfulness to them we will always cling to them either by strong craving or by wrong view. And because they are objects that can be clung to , we usually cling to them if we are not mindful.

 

When there is clinging, it does not stop there. Suppose you are attached to something and then you want to possess it. Motivated by that desire, you will try to possess it and will do something to acquire it. You may steal it, take it by force from somebody or even commit murder, just to get what you want. So motivated by clinging, you take up actions.

 

Sometimes what we cling to is unwholesome and sometimes it may be wholesome. When there is clinging, there is action. When there is action,there will be reaction, there is the result of that action in the form of rebirth in the future life. Whether clinging to wholesome or unwholesome, since they are kammas, they have the potential to give results in the future and we will get the results of those actions in the future. With rebirth there is aging , disease, death and all sufferings. So duration of our samsara is prolonged if we are not vigilant, if we do not apply mindfulness to what we experience at the present moment.


We don’t need to look in books to find the five aggregates. You can find all five aggregates in our own experience- seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking.

 

The Buddha gave us ways to use mindfulness for our own benefit as well as the benefit of others. By using mindfulness or vipassana meditation, the true nature of things, the secret of mind and matter can be discovered. Having more concentration, you can penetrate the nature of things, can progress from one stage to another until you reach enlightenment.

no cost, It's yours

 

No cost. It's yours

 

To practice mindfulness, it does not cost anything. It is yours, it comes with you and you can practice vipassana insight meditation any time, any where, all the time throughout your life.

Please do not say as “ I am busy”. “ I don’t have time” . If you want to practice, you always have time for that.

 

Be mindful of the object rising at the present momet.

 

 

Present moment

 

In order not to cling to these five aggregates, we must watch them while they are present. Otherwise we will always cling to them.We can not observe them when they are past. Though we may be able to recall some past experiences, it will never appear as vividly as it appeared during what was at its present moment.

 

Practicing Meditation means “Be mindful of the object arising at the Present Moment”

 

However while you are being mindful of your breaths or the movements of the abdomen, there are times when you can actually see the exact present moment if your are noting the touch of air in and out in your breath or the movement of the abdomen coincide exactly.

But when you are being mindful to your thought, by the time you are noting them, they are already in the past.

 

We speak frequently about the present moment. Actually, the present should be understood as a present duration, not an exact present moment. This is because when we are mindful of the objects, it is no longer present. In less time , perhaps , than with the blink of an eye, it has already become the past.

 

But in the context of vipassana meditation, we regard them as being present. We usually say as “ be mindful of the present” or “ be in the present moment”.

 

When you practice vipassana meditation, it is essential that you try to be mindful of the object that is prominent and evident at the present moment. Let your mindfulness be precise in going concurrently with the objects. Take the object which is the most prominent at the very present time.

As long as you are mindful of the object at the present moment, you are doing the right thing- you are practicing meditation.

Always

 

 

Keep mindfulness always.

 

Pay attention to all the senses coming through the six sense doors as much as you can and as long as you can. The best is to keep mindfulness always.

 

 

Get start

 

 

 

Start practice mindfulness in your daily activities if you can not practice sitting meditation or  can not go to retreat classes. When you practice in this way, keeping it up everyday, it will become a habit. If you always keep mindulness, the mindfulness will gain momentum and will gain concentration and will begin to see objects clearly. You will begin to see the nature of objects and also their arising and disappearing. If you have chance to practice meditation in retreat classes or somewhere else seriously with no talking, noble silence, you can get into it more easily.

 

 

Whatever you experienced through six sense doors, just watch and make mental note of them , keep being mindful of the object at the present moment and let it go away by themselves.

 

Keep your mind free from any worries, anxieties and any expectation.Don’t let your mind wander by using your own effort.

 

When you can practice sitting meditation you close your eyes. So you can avoid distraction and can concentrate more on conciousness arising and disappearing. But your mind will be distracted more at the beginning. You can not sit and practice all day, so you should train your mind to be able to practice while walking, standing and doing all daily activities. Just to keep note of them at the very present moment.

 

In the beginning of mindfulness, you will miss being mindful. But do not feel guilty.Try to be mindful of as many of the activities as you can and slowly you can be mindful more and more and distracted by other objects less and less.

 

What to be mindful( see detail in lesson 36)

 

Try to be mindful of whatever you are doing at the moment- walking, sitting, bathing, cleaning, looking at a flower so on. You can do this at any time and in any place.

The object  may be the home object or other objects.

Mindfulness of other objects is important as much as mindfulness of the home object. Objects may be different at different moments. But the important fact is to be mindful always to this object or to that object.

 

Home object

 

You can note the home object of meditation – either the breath ( breathing in and out ) or you can note the movement of abdomen (rising and falling.)

 

Other objects are

 

Seeing - seeing mind or seeing conciousness

Hearing- hearing mind or hearing conciousness

Smelling- smelling mind or smellig conciousness

Tasting- tasting mind or tasting conciousness

Touching- touching mind or touchig conciousness

Thinking- thinking mind or thinking conciousness


 

 

When you are in sitting meditation or meditating in lying down position – you can be mindful to home objects. If other objects become prominent at the present moment, make a mental note of them and go back to the home object again.

 

 

For example- While you are noting breathing in and out, you hear a noice, make a mental note as “hearing, hearing” until that noice disappears and then go back to concentrate on the breathing again.

 

When you are doing activities-you can pay attention to any other object that becomes prominent at the present moment. ( when you are driving, aware as you are driving, when you are walking , make notes as walking, when you are eating, pay attention as eating, when you are drinking, make note as drinking etc:)

What will happen

At the begining

When you practice Vipassana, in the beginning your mind will be wandering a lot and by using effort to be mindful for certain period of time, mindfulness will become your habit  or your mind will wander  less and concentration will build up. So in the begining , you try to develop concentration in order to make the mind steady, still, and free from mental hindrances.

 

Later on

When mind is free from mental hinderances, concentration comes. Through concentration, you begin to see things clearly, you begin to see them seperately. You begin to see two things occurring at the same time as a pair,the action and its conciousness .

Example -the in- breath and mindfulness of in- breath and the out - breath and mindfulness of out-breath.

nature of things are  impermanence, suffering , non self

After that

You will see conditionality. Because of the breath, there is mindfulness of breath.  Because of the intention to move, there is moving and so on. Then you will see objects arise and disappear without any doubt. That means you really see the impermanent nature of things. Then you come to understanding suffering nature of things as continuous oppression by arising and disappearing . Then you see things arising and disappearing separately and continuously leaving no unifying core in them. Moreover, you can not tell them to stop, you can not tell them not to arise and not to disappear. There is no way you can have control over it. So here you see non self nature of things.

The Three characteristics.( impermanence, suffering, non-soul)

Once you see these three characteristics for yourself and come to this firm understanding, it becomes your very own property and your very own knowledge.

If you are angry at something or someone, try to be mindful as " angry feeling, angry feeling". The degree of suffering , angry feeling , will become immediately less and less and you feel better soon. Instead, if you think more and more about the cause of anger, you will be angry more and more and turn up as violent ( mind induced physical action), verbal dispute or abuse ( mind induced verbal action) and so on.

to gain vipassana knowledge  by using vipassana eyes and mind

By vipassana meditation, you keep mental notes of whatever comes up in your mind at the present moment and be aware of their imperminence, suffering and non-self. When you gain real vipassana knowledge, you will see the moment to moment impermanence of mind and matter.Nothing else.

When you really understand vipassana knowledge or gain wisdom, you can experience three characteristics of phenomenal existence ( impermancence, suffering , non-self ) and it can lead to dispassion toward the five aggregates and fading away of mental defilements and even attain the enlightenment as stream enterer, once returner, never return and ahrahat.

 

 

 

 

Dhamma Lesson (14)

 

To practice Vipassana, you should be familiar with the 5 aggregates

1-matter aggregate  (Rpa in Pali  = rpakkhandha)

2-feeling aggregate             ((Vedanā in Pali = vedanakkhandhā))

3-perception aggregate        (Saññā in Pali =Saññākkhandhā )

4-volitional formations aggregate  (Sankhāra in Pali = Sankhārakkhandhā)

5-conciousness aggregate    (Vi ññāna in Pali = Vi ññānakkhandhā)


 

 

(1)Matter or form aggregate (rupa in pali)


Matter and energy

Matter is something that change state, form and color with adverse physical conditions like heat, cold, and so on. However, although form, shape and mass become apparent when a significant quality of matter has accumulated, in the ultimate sense matter is formless, shapeless and without mass, just as energy is.

It can be found outside in mountains, in trees, in living beings and all material phenomena.

Scientists now know that matter and energy are equivalent or we might say inter-convertible. In the ultimate sense matter and energy are identical.


The Abhidhamma enumerates 28 types of material phanomena.

There are basically divided into 2 categories:


1)The four great elements or essentials ( Manhabhuta)

(earth, fire, air and water)are forming the basis of all matter.

Earth ( pathavi-dhatu) which is the quality of heaviness and lightness in material form.

Water ( ah po- dhatu) which is the quality of cohesion or fluidity.

Fire ( tejo-dhatu) which is the quality of heat and cold.

Air ( Va-yo dhatu) which is the quality of motion and movement.

There are fundamental constituents of matter. They are inseperable and in their various combinations, enter into the composition of all material substances, from the minutest particle to the massive mountains.

Buddha gave 4 snakes as examples for 4 great elements. If one element, one snake, bites us, we will die.

 

2) 24 derivative material phenomena ( upada rupa)

They rooted in or dependent upon the four great essentials.

The great essentials may be compared to the earth, the derivative phenomena to trees and shrubs that grow dependent on the earth.


 

28- types of matter are classified into 11 material qualities.( 4 + 5 +4 +2 +1+1+ 1+ 1+ 2+ 3 + 4 )

1- four great essential material qualities- earth element, fire element, water element, air element. (4)

2-sensitive material qualities: located in the eye, ear, nose, tongue and body. (5)

3-Material qualities of sense objects: visible form(sight), sound, odour(smell) and taste.(4)

4-Material quality of sex: femininity and masculinity.(2)

5-Material quality of base: heart base.(1)

6-Material quality of life: life faculty.(1)

7-Material quality of nutrition:edible food.(1)


8-Material quality of limitation:the element of space.(1)

 

showing sign of" no talking" (body intimation)

 

screaming  "Go away"( vocal intimation)


9-Material quality of communication: bodily intimation and vocal intimation.(2)


10-Material quality of mutability:

-material lightness,pliancy(softness) and adaptability together with two forms of intimation.(3)

11-Material qualities of characteristics:

-material productivity, continuity, decay and impermanence.(4)

 

Note- No 1 to 7 (except for tangibility which consists of earth, fire, air elements) make up 18 material qualities that are collectively named as the concretely produced matter. (nipphanna rupa)

 

They are caused and conditioned by kamma, citta, utu (temparature) and nutrition.

 


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There are the five material senses organs plus their corresponding objects in the external world, namely : visible form (sight), sound, odour( smell), taste and tangible things. All matter, both internal and external , is included in this aggregate.

These matter should be contemplated by insight as having the characteristics of impermanence, UN-satisfactoriness and not self.

 

(2)Feeling aggregate (ve-da-na in pali)

pleasure             displeasure           Neutral feeling

Feeling or Sensation

Feeling aggregate is the feeling of pleasure, feeling of displeasure and neutral feeling. Feeling is a mental factor.

It can be of the past,of the present and of the future.

It can also be internal and external.

It can be gross and it can be subtle and so on.

Because of the many varying aspects that it possesses, feeling is called an aggregate.

All feelings are experienced through the contact of the physical and mental organs with the external world. There are 6  kinds of feeling:

those experienced through the contact of the eye with visible form: the ear with sound: the nose with odour: the tongue with taste: the body with tangible objects and the contact of the mind with mental objects, thought or ideas. Thus, all kinds of physical and mental feelings are included in this group.


(3)perception aggregate (san-nya in pali)

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Seeing           hearing     recognizing    perception

Perception

Perception is a mental state that makes mark of an object. It refers to that faculty that recognizes sensations. Whenever we encounter or experience a new object, that mental state makes a mark of that object in our mind for the future recognition.So we experience the object again,we will recognize what it is.


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For example, when you see fire, you mark it. When you see fire again, you will recognize as fire. Since we were born until now, our perception aggregate marks uncountable objects whatever come through six doors of senses consciously or unconsciously.

This perception is just one mental state. It was divided into past, present, future and so on.It is called a perception aggregate.

Like sensations, there are also 6 kinds of perceptions and relate to the 6 internal faculties plus their 6 corresponding external objects. Whenever our sense organs come into contact with external objects, sensations arise and from this contact follows perception.

 

(4)volitional formations aggregate (san-kha-ra in pali)

Mental formations

The next aggregate is somewhat difficult to understand, the volitional formations aggregate.

Volitional formation

Volition

Volition is defined as a mental construction or activity. Its function is to direct the mind in the sphere of good, bad or neutral activities.

According to Abhidhamma, there are 52 mental states. Feeling is one mental factor, perception is another mental factor. The remaining 50 mental states are collectively called volitional formations aggregate, because this group is headed by a mental factor called volition or cetana in Pali.

 

Formation

The word "formation" is the translation of the Pali word "sankhara".

Sankhara can mean both producer and product.

So Sankhara has 2 meanings--- the maker and that which is made or which is conditioned.

In the context of the volitional formation aggregate, the formation means maker. It makes something.

So Mindfulness is Sankhara, understanding is Sankhara, attachment is Sankhara, Hatred is Sankhara, delusion is Sankhara because they do something. There are many Sankhara.

For instance, when we see something, a kind of mental activity that makes seeing complete takes place. So that kind of mental activity is called Sankara.

(Another meanig of Sankhara is used as the saying " all sankharas are impermanent ". It means " All things that are conditioned , all things that are made.)

May be there are no other word to adquately convey the meaning carried by the original Pali word.

The mental formations comprise all our good and bad actions and reactions in daily life. What is generally known as Kamma comes under this group. The Buddha defined it this way:

" It is volition (cetana) that I call kamma. Having willed, one acts through body, speech and mind".

It can therefore be called the stimulus for karmic formations.

When our 6 sense faculties and their corresponding 6 objects in the external world, come into contact, sense awareness arises, and then their respective sensation and perceptions arise and they are followed by mental actions and reactions which can produce karmic results.

(5) conciousness aggregate (vin-nya-na in pali)

The last aggregate is the conciousness aggregate.

Conciousness is awareness that arises at one of the 6 sense bases. It is of 6 kinds in relation to the internal bases and their corresponding objects.

For example

When the visible object contacts the eye-base, visible consciousness arises.

Likewise, when sound contacts the ear-base, hearing consciousness arises.

When odour contacts the nose-base, smelling consciousness arises.

When taste contacts the tongue-base, tasting consciousness arises.

When tangible things contact the body-base, touching consciousness arises.

When mental objects contact the mind-base, mental consciousness arises.Conciousness does not have the capacity to recognise an object as a particular thing.  It has quality of only being aware of the sense object.

In Abhidhamma, conciousness means just a mere awareness of the object. It is always accompanied by feeling, perception, and other factors from the volitional formations aggregate.

For instance, when the eye comes into contact with the blue color, consciousness does not recognize the blue color, just give only awareness of color. Perception recognises and identifies the blue color.

 

The aggregate of consciousness is merely the awareness of sense experience arising from moment to moment at the sense bases. These sense experiences do not remain the same for even two consecutive moments but are in a state of flux, continuously arising and perishing.

One takes the five aggregates as " I " or one conceives the idea of labelling or naming the five aggregates as " I " or a being.

 

Remaining 50 mental factors are

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