Although the 5 aggregates seem to fully explain my experience, is it wrong view if I think that there might be more?


There are only two realities: saṅkhāra (dependent origination such as aggregate) and asaṅkhāra (no dependent origination such as nibbāna). All others are paññatti (concept;imagine;not reality) because saṅgkhāra must have tree sub-characteristics and asaṅkhāra must have not tree sub-characteristics. But paññatti has nothing, it can't arise like saṅkhāra and can't cease saṅkhāra like nibbāna.

By VN Parivāra of upāli-etadagga:

Aniccā sabbe saṅkhārā, dukkhānattā ca saṅkhatā; Nibbānañceva paññatti, anattā iti nicchayā.

Saṅkhāra, which means saṅkhata(effect-saṅkhāra)*, is anicca&dukkha&anattā; But only nibbāna&paññatti which are explained as only anattā.

(*Saṅkhāra, which means cause-saṅkhāra, use in more fixed meaning word, such as saṅkhāra-khandha, saṅkhāra-paṭiccasamuppāda. You can notice it in each context, because it is already appear clearly.)

And by KN Paṭisambhidāmagga of sāriputta-mahāsāvaka:

sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā sabbe dhammā anattāti

All saṅkhāra are anicca, all saṅkhāra are dukkha, and all dhammā are anattā.

There is no saṅkhāra which is not aggregates (Khandhavinimuttako hi saṅkhāro nāma natthi.)

Below, the second group is the conclusion of the first group, Sutta. Ma. Mū. Cūḷasaccakasuttaṃ:

"Aggivessana, 2 the Blessed One disciplines his disciples in this way; this part of the Blessed One's instruction is generally presented to his disciples: ('Form is inconstant. Feeling is inconstant. Perception is inconstant. Fabrications are inconstant. Consciousness is inconstant.) Form is not-self. Feeling is not-self. Perception is not-self. Fabrications are not-self. Consciousness is not-self. (All fabrications are inconstant.) All phenomena are not-self.' This, Aggivessana, is the way in which the Blessed One disciplines his disciples; this part of the Blessed One's instruction is generally presented to his disciples."

However, "All phenomena are not-self" in above context include more than "Form is inconstant", because it include more two, nibbāna and paññatti, as I have described above.

Abhidhamma and atthakathā have this same explanation as well.

  • I am thinking "maybe there is more saṅkhāra than the five aggregates but I cannot see these extra/more saṅkhāra"
    – Angus
    Nov 1 '18 at 10:45
  • There is no saṅkhāra which is not aggregates (Khandhavinimuttako hi saṅkhāro nāma natthi.)
    – Bonn
    Nov 1 '18 at 14:44
  • "There is no saṅkhāra which is not aggregates" (It means only the 5 aggregates, yes?) Does it say this same thing in the Sutta Pitaka anywhere?
    – Angus
    Nov 1 '18 at 18:47
  • @Angus I already edited the answer. Let's see in the end of answer area.
    – Bonn
    Nov 2 '18 at 0:22
  • 1
    Your link and my explaination is same. The misunderstanding is yours. You never think "every sankhara conditions by the other sankharas". Actually, each dependent origination depends on many causes. You need to think more think more complicated as the real life is.
    – Bonn
    Nov 19 '18 at 14:36

It is not wrong view to think there might be more aggregates. The aggregates are merely a summary of the things clung to. What is right view is the understanding that clinging to the aggregates is suffering.


You can come up with any number of aggregates, from 5 to 27 (obviously joking). What matters is not the number but realization that:

1) Our experience of ourselves, the world, and all phenomena "external" and "internal" is in fact always subjective, it is always mediated by the mind. There is nothing that can be perceived, thought of, or be said "to exist" outside of the context created by mind.

2) When we look at this experience, things are no longer solid. It's not that there is "a cup" anymore. No. There is a bunch of visual stimuli, the tactile stimuli, etc. the memories, the associations, the attitudes, the tendencies -- which all come together to form this ephemeral flickering image of "cup" made from the raw "mind material" (I'm simplifying here).

So, when you look at things this way, you are no longer fascinated by things, you are not controlled by things. You see how things are fabricated, so you receive a certain measure of freedom. It does not matter how many aggregates you identify, in fact you are expected to look at your own experience closely and see first-hand how the cup is made. You can designate any number of building blocks based on what you see.

What matters is the freedom that this process gives you.

This is my current understanding based on my study and practice.


❓Although the 5 aggregates seem to fully explain my experience, is it wrong view if I think that there might be more?

➥❓To answer correct, a counter-question seems to be required: of how sould "there more" look like?

If their nature might be susbected similar, no wrong view out of this can be traced. So just look for the five to know their nature totally, in all aspects. Act-ual-ly there are countless holding-on-aggregates. To do so Sila is the foundation, no change without it. Having planted the seed, fruit, seeing without knowing, comes by it's cause given.

Note that your current experiance is limited, and as long as not having been "traveled till the end of the world", there will still remaind doubt (e.g. one needs to see as it is also in refined spheres of existence, deva-realms, Jhana). If thinking there is just what can be experianced in a very gross existence, the subtil doubt of special sense experiences remains, sometimes the dangereous wish "oh may I not experience anything" (e.g. destruction)

[Note: this gift of Dhamma is not thought for any kind of trade or wordily exchange.]

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