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What's the difference between the five aggregates and the five clinging-aggregates?

For e.g. is the aggregate of form referring to the physical body, but the clinging-aggregate of form is a tainted mental model of the physical body?

From SN 22.48 (trans. Bodhi):

“And what, bhikkhus, are the five aggregates? Whatever kind of form there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: this is called the form aggregate. Whatever kind of feeling there is … this is called the feeling aggregate. Whatever kind of perception there is … this is called the perception aggregate. Whatever kind of volitional formations there are … these are called the volitional formations aggregate. Whatever kind of consciousness there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: this is called the consciousness aggregate. These, bhikkhus, are called the five aggregates.

“And what, bhikkhus, are the five aggregates subject to clinging? Whatever kind of form there is, whether past, future, or present … far or near, that is tainted, that can be clung to: this is called the form aggregate subject to clinging. Whatever kind of feeling there is … that is tainted, that can be clung to: this is called the feeling aggregate subject to clinging. Whatever kind of perception there is … that is tainted, that can be clung to: this is called the perception aggregate subject to clinging. Whatever kind of volitional formations there are … that are tainted, that can be clung to: these are called the volitional formations aggregate subject to clinging. Whatever kind of consciousness there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, that is tainted, that can be clung to: this is called the consciousness aggregate subject to clinging. These, bhikkhus, are called the five aggregates subject to clinging.”

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IN short, taking five aggregate as I, me and myself is the clinging-aggregate. As Arahant does not have self-identification they do not have a clinging-aggregate.

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=23424&start=15

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The sutta sources on this topic are analyzed in "The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism" by Choong Mun-keat, pages 30-33.

Basically, the suttas say that upadana-skandhas are skandhas that are characterized as "sasava" ("with asava" - which is variously explained as influx, outflow, intoxicant, contaminant, and is compared with a spice or drug we take to keep maintaining the interest in watching the otherwise boring movie). In corresponding Agama Sutra, it is explained that asava is meant as anything that "gives rise to sensual desire, anger, ignorance, and various other distressing mental phenomena".

In another sutta Buddha explains that upadana-skandhas have their root in "chanda" and "chandaraga". In Mahayana, Chanda is explained as an impulse or inspiration to obtain some kind of object, to achieve some kind of goal, based on some vague idea of "taste" or "reward" - of doing something with the object or goal once obtained or achieved. Chandaraga seems to be a more explicitly negative term for the same.

We should also not forget that "clinging" is only one of the many translations of Pali word "upadana". Another theory explains this word as "fuel" or "brushwood used as fuel".

Based on all of the above, it seems that the meaning of upadana-skandha is a bundle of aggregates contaminated and "sustained in motion" by impulses or ideas about what to do next. Such a bundle of aggregates gets constantly inspired by yet another imaginary object or goal: "oh, this would be nice to have", "oh, this should bring some satisfaction", "oh, how about this, I should check it out" - etc. Each moment after moment of such flow of existence is determined by a sequence of such impulses.

It is like a fire that constantly throws more fuel into itself, or a drunken person who keeps gulping down more vodka. It is a self-sustaining perpetual motion, which can only be stopped by not adding more fuel / not taking more shots.

Once it gets no more fuel, the file still burns a little by inertia, and then is distinguished. This distinguishment is called "Nirvana". While the fire gets no more fuel, it is called "anupadāna-skandhas" - this is a technical description of an arahant.

  • This definition that you have provided of "with fuel" and "without fuel" is a bit different in context from the one in Iti 44. In Iti 44, the Unbinding property with fuel (saupādisesā nibbānadhātu) means five aggregates still remaining albeit without passion, aversion, delusion; and Unbinding property without fuel (anupādisesā nibbānadhātu) means five aggregates have already ceased completely. – ruben2020 Feb 23 at 4:09
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    Right. The fire still burns on old fuel, but no new fuel is added, that is the meaning. So the fire does have fuel, just no new fuel, and then once the old fuel has burned, there is Nibbana. There is no controversion. In one case fuel refers to new fuel, in another case, to existing (old) fuel. – Andrei Volkov Feb 23 at 4:11
  • "and then once the old fuel has burned, there is Nibbana" - you mean Parinibbana? – ruben2020 Feb 23 at 4:12
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    ah, correct. Parinibbana. – Andrei Volkov Feb 23 at 4:13
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Thought is the most destructive aggregate. It is wild tiger called as Mind living in individual. Mind generates thoughts, good or bad. It's core principle of clinging aggregate. Further six senses, body, sensation, are also clinging aggregates. So when wisdom arises, first subtle sensation arises in body. Now you discarded clinging to body. Next arises whirlpool of chitta or mind . Now you discarded clinging to subtle sensation. Again you know chitra or mind is river of inparmenence, thought of good and bad. Doing good deeds gives it stable nature while making bad deeds it disturbs. When you feel it , that it is imparmenent and suffering. Then chitta starts to crumble and fall in front of eye of wisdom. There is complex start to unbound in front of eye. Now you won't cling to chitta. Again the complex devide itself into subject and object. Subject is brahma world with earth, heaven and hell. Then arise knowledge of previous dwelling places of chitta, in cluster. Now you don't consider subject eternal, it's impermanent. Nor the cluster of chitra as they are storehouse of past deeds and one clearly know that this object was caught in subjective chitta. It's it who goes here and there with various deeds. It's a seed of becoming. It's a seed of suffering. Then one listen heavenly sounds like flute playing, some drum making noises. Then he proceed further, and clearly see the object is also imparmenent and finally merge with that. That is eightfold path, dukkhanirodhgamini patipada, where object or dukkha goes or merge. Then he clearly know the cause of becoming, the prison where it has been caught and where it is bound. Finally the release. After release he back to body and know he is released. But who have faith in eightfold path doesn't stop at vision of object merging with it because it's only a shadow of truth. Instead he close his eyes in that very place of vision or shadow, he sees his beloved master. He sees that all human are his forms, although outwardly different but inwardly same. Then the realised one doesn't make difference between him and others. For him enemy and friend equally respected, others pain are his, giving others means to give oneself he clearly knows. He help others as his own being. He place equal eye on those who are suffering.

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