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June 15, 2016


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"Our physical body, the first aggregate, is very important to us."

This is precisely where people get confused on the aggregates. ALL the agggregates are our physical body. Our physical body is the sum total of thr aggrrgates. Or, the aggregates are the body and everything arising from the body.

"In this vessel, beneath the first aggregate’s skin we have the aggregates of feelings, perceptions, volition and perhaps most important of all. our consciousness."

I don't think this is accurate.
"Volition" is not an aggregate; the aggregate is properly "mental-formatons," i.e. the opinions on which the will acts, not the will/volition itself. And the "consciousness" that is an aggregates is not the "consciousness" that is reborn; the "consciousness" that is an aggregate is only the 5 senses and their interpretation by the brain (i.e. losing/regaining consciousness type, the medical type), not consciousness in the sense of personality or volition or self, i.e. the scifi type that's a sit in for the soul, or the soul. This is why people get confused into thinking there is no self. They don't get that the aggregate being called "consciousness" is only sense-perception, i.e. the body's ability to sense and interpret its physical surroundings. There also, I think, is a distinction between nama and citta; I would say the nama is the physical mind, part of the aggregatsou a the one responsible for "mental-formations" (opinions relating to carnal phenomena) and the aggregate "consciousness" (5 senses and their aggregation into a coherent picture), whereas the citta is the spiritual mind which is not an aggregate and transcends them, but receives information from the nama about what is perceived by the aggrrgates.

Thanks for the comment. Great stuff.

Your post reminds me of my visit this week to the Kencho-ji Temple in Kamakura (1 hour from Tokyo). Kencho-ji is the first ranked of the 5 great Zen temples of Kamakura and is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan. It was constructed around 1253.

The founder of Kencho-ji was Rankei Doryu (Lan Hsi Tao-lung, 1213-78), a Chinese Zen master of the Sung Dynasty. He left China in 1246 to teach Zen in Japan.

Here’s the core teaching from his “Recorded Sayings” (as printed in the visitor's brochure):

If you have lost your true self, all phenomena bring you nothing but annoyance. If you discover your essence of mind, you can follow nothing but true path.

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