Liberation through the Five Aggregates

This section is based on The Heart Of the Buddha's Teaching - Thich Nhat Hanh

Buddhist teachings identify five aggregates, which, in essence, are the five aspects that constitute the sentient being. These include the following: form, feelings, perception, mental formations or Samskara, and consciousness.

As we go through our lives in ‘walking meditation’, we begin to pay particular attention to the nodes of our awareness. As we practice the Eight-Fold Path, we are able to notice the grasping, suffering nature of the 'self' generated aggregates vs. the liberating nature of the authentic aggregates, of which nothing is really "mine" or "I".

Identifying the Five Aggregates

To understand the five authentic aggregates more fully, consider the following definitions:

1) Form - Seeing from our point of view vs. seeing 'in relationship' of non-self
2) Feelings - Emotional response to 'Seeing' - Point of view vs. 'in relationship'
3) Perception - How we put together what we 'see' and our emotional response to it. - Point of view vs. relationship
4) Mental Formations (Samskara) - The incorporation of our perceptions into 'a concept'. As you can see, at each point of discernment, we tend to see, respond, perceive and put together concepts that either promote an isolated sense of self or an incorporated awareness of relationships.
5) Consciousness - The storehouse of our mental formations. These include wholesome and unwholesome formations that can be called upon under a number of conditions, thus making them stronger.

The Unconscious Mind and You
The Eight-Fold Path: An End to Suffering
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