Pancaupadanakkhandha – It is All Mental

January 1, 2016

1. In the previous post, “Pancakkhandha or Five Aggregates – A Misinterpreted Concept“, we discussed a deeper meaning of the panca khandha or the five heaps or the five aggregates that define a given living being. Each person’s panca khandha or the “world” is different from another’s.

  • Of course, in the 31 realms of existence there are  rupa, or material (and energy). But our experiences are all mental (which also has energy). Please read the previous post again if you think rupakkhandha is material. Rupakkhandha consists of our thoughts, memories, perceptions, desires, etc. on rupa that we have experienced, are experiencing now, and hope to experience in the future. We have those “imprints of rupa” in our minds even if we cannot recall all of them.
  • We experience the “material world” only at the “present time”, then it is gone. Especially for seeing (ditta) and hearing (suta), the experience comes and goes. For the other three physical senses (muta), it can be there as long as we are actually experiencing them.
  • For example, when we are eating a meal, the sense contact is there until we finish eating. When we have a headache (an actual dukha vedana) or while getting a massage (an actual sukha vedana), the sense experience is there for a while.
  • But thinking about them (vinnäta) — via the sixth sense, the mind — can be experienced at any time; we can recall a past experience or conjure up an enticing future experience.
  • Ditta, suta, muta, vinnata include everything that we experience. They are re-categorized as rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara, and vinnana or the five heaps.
  • It is not necessary to memorize terms like ditta, suta, muta, vinnata. I am merely naming them to avoid any confusion, since those terms are in the suttas. With time, one will remember.

2. Upadana (“upa” + “ädäna” where “upa” means “close” and “ädäna” means “pull”) means “pull and keep close”. One tries to pull and keep close only things that one really desires: panca upadana khandha or  pancaupadanakkhandha. We can translate the term, pancaupadanakkhandha, as “five clinging aggregates”.

  • Thus out of an infinite variety of “things” one has experienced (not only in this life, but in all of existence countless rebirths) — pancakkhandha –, the “things” that one really have bonding with, and have the desire to “keep close” are panca upadana khandha or pancaupadanakkhandha. Same for the other four khandhas.
  • Thus  pancaupadanakkhandha is what we desire, and is ALL MENTAL too. It is a small fraction of pancakkhandha.

Print Friendly