Episode 2, 2 December 2014, How We Experience The World. [07:10]
Intro Welcome to Buddhism Guide’s Audio blog.
- A contemporary look at Gautama Buddha’s Teachings, from Karma Yeshe Rabgye.
- Find out more, at http://buddhismguide.org
- A transcript of this episode can be found at http://buddhismguide.org/audio-blog-archive/audio-blog-transcripts/episode-2-transcript-how-we-experience-the-world
This Episode: How we experience the world. [00:17]
- The Five Aggregates:
- Mental Formation, and
1. Form – or matter: physical factors. [00:40]
- Form includes our own body and the material objects surrounding us.
- Form also includes the 5 physical sense organs, and their corresponding physical objects.
- The eye corresponding to visible form;
- the ear, sound;
- the nose, smell;
- the tongue, taste and,
- our body, to touch.
2. Feeling – The Second Aggregate. [01:20]
- Feeling is divided into 3 types of experience,
- unpleasant, or
- These types are felt in 6 *kinds* of ways:
- Those of the 5 physical senses, and
- That of the mental: when the mind is in contact with mental objects such as ideas and thoughts.
- Our feelings are extremely important as in the end, they determine what we experience.
- We all want good feelings and try to avoid bad feelings.
3. Conception – this is where we attach a name to an experience. [02:32]
- Here we formulate a conception of an idea about the object we perceive.
- The purpose of this aggregate is to analyse and investigate.
- When we come into contact with an object, our conception aggregate categorises it by shape, colour, motion, location, sex, and other such categories.
- These categories arise as concepts, which we are either born with, or have added.
- Concepts can come from parents, school, society, friends and other social groups.
- Everything we have learned, or are learning (including this blog) form our concepts.
4. Mental Formation – the impression created by previous actions. [03:28]
- This aggregate starts in the mind and is then reflected in our body and speech.
- That means, that whatever action we do in this life, is part of this aggregate.
- Maybe a better way to call this aggregate is:
- Mental Formation and Volition.
- Volition is the capacity of conscious choice, decision and intention.
- So, the Mental Formation stems from our past; and Volition, from the present moment.
- Both function together, to determine our response to an object of experience.
- These responses have moral consequences, in the sense of:
- Unskillful, and
- Neutral acts.
5. Consciousness – the final aggregate; which is very powerful. [04:28]
- From the Consciousness Aggregate stem the 3rd and 4th Aggregates.
- It is mere awareness of an object, when the eyes and a visible object come into contact:
- the Eye Consciousness will become associated with that object and Visual Consciousness will arise.
- It is the same with all the 6 Consciousness’s.
- It should be noted that consciousness is not personal experience, but merely awareness of an object.
- Personal experiences are produced through the function of the Feeling Aggregate, the Conception Aggregate and the Mental Formation Aggregate.
- These three, turn mere awareness into a personal experience.
Putting it all together. [05:26]
- Your eyes see the form;
- Your consciousness becomes aware of it;
- Your conception identifies it;
- A pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral feeling arises;
- Your mental formation makes you respond to it with a conditioned reaction, stemming from your past.
- In the Khandha Sutra, Gautama Buddha called them The 5 Clinging Aggregates.
- This is where the problem comes for us:
- We cling to these aggregates as though they are a self: A solid and permanent “You”.
- However, Gautama Buddha taught non-self.
- When these 5 Aggregates come together, we experience the world but when they disperse we stop experiencing the world.
- He also taught us that there is no experience other than these 5 Aggregates.
- These aggregates are ever changing, and so there really isn’t anything solid for us to cling to.
- When we try to cling to them, as a permanent self, we suffer.
- And this is what Gautama Buddha was pointing out in the First Noble Truth.
- You can find more information about this subject in Karma Yeshe Rabgye’s books at http://buddhismguide.org/books/
- The best way to catch a snake – A Practical Guide to the Buddha’s Teachings;
- Life’s meandering path – A Secular Approach to Gautama Buddha’s Guide to Living;
- Ripples in the stream – A Pragmatic Journey Through Gautama Buddha’s Teachings.
- They’re available now, from Amazon and Kindle.
- Thank you for listening, and I hope you enjoyed this blog post.