September 21, 2010

Working with the Aggregates or Processes of Being

Dear Friends,

On Sunday evening, we discussed Buddha's teaching on how to cut through the ignorance about our true nature which is at the root of clinging -- the cause of suffering.  This teaching works not through intellectual reasoning but through direct experience, through certain practices.  I presented the diagram that's attached to this message and elaborated on how the 5 categories, or Aggregates, operate together.  The diagram lists 13 practices related to this teaching on the Five Aggregates.

The practices are meant to be done in order.  In other words, work with simply identifying which category you're experiencing and observe it changing, first -- don't skip way down the list. 

Note that consciousness is aware of all the other categories, and in this way they influence each other.  Practice # 9 says to watch how Sanna influences Sankhara.  # 10 asks what other factors influence Sankhara, or Volition.  Here it's asking you to explore what mental factors might come to your awareness such as past experiences, attitudes, assumptions and mental habits.

Don't worry about doing this 'right.'  Any exploration you do of these "processes of being" can provide valuable insight into your true nature and how to reduce -- even end -- your suffering.

Wishing you the best,

Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
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