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S 14.7 The Discourse on the Diversity of Perception says this:

Dependent on the mind-object element, there arises the perception of mind-object; Dependent on the perception of mind-object, there arises the thought regarding mind-object; Dependent on the thought regarding mind-object, there arises the desire for mind-object; Dependent on the desire for mind-object, there arises the passion for mind-object;Dependent on the passion for mind-object, there arises the searching for mind-object.

i want to know if clinging to perception aggregate is causing thinking to occur. i am not interested in thinking (sometimes, more than not, interal verbalization). it's unhappy, tiresome, stressful, etc. if so, how am i clinging to perception aggregate? i am not aware of clinging to this...is it an unknown mind- object? can knowledge be a mind-object?

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    Why did you change the question completely?
    – ruben2020
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 8:48
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    @blue_ego You cannot change the question completely after it has been answered. If you have more questions, they should be created as new question(s). I have rolled it back. Please create new questions if you have more questions, instead of continuously changing this one.
    – ruben2020
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 12:02
  • And yes, knowledge and thoughts are mind objects.
    – ruben2020
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 12:08

1 Answer 1

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Feelings or sensations (vedana) are of six types - sight, sound, smell, taste, tactile and thoughts.

Emotional thoughts and mental chatter are part of sankhara or mental formations or mental fabrications.

The aggregate of perception (saññaa) is related to memory and perceiving sensed objects (of the six types).

From The Abhidhamma in Practice by N.K.G. Mendis:

Perception (saññaa)

Perception is awareness of an object's distinctive features. It becomes six-fold in relation to the five physical sense objects (color, sound, smell, taste, touch), and mental objects. It is sañña that enables us to recognize an object previously perceived. .....

Perception and memory. Memory occurs not through a single factor but through a complex process in which perception plays the most important role. When the mind first cognizes an object through the senses, perception "picks out" the object's distinctive mark. When the same object is met with on a subsequent occasion, perception again notices that its distinctive mark is identical with the previous one. It "grasps" the identity of the distinctive marks. This "grasping" is a complex series of thought processes, one of which connects the present object with the previous one and another attaches to the present object the previous one's name. Memory will be good if this "grasping" functions well, and "grasping" will function well if the initial "picking out" of the object's distinctive marks was clear, not obscured by irrelevant thoughts. Clear perception comes through attention. As the Buddha says: "In what is seen there must be just the seen, in what is heard there must be just the heard, in what is sensed there must be just the sensed, in what is thought there must be just the thought."

From the same source:

Feeling (vedanaa)

In the Abhidhamma context the word "feeling" signifies the affective experience of an object; it does not imply emotion, which comes under a different heading. Feeling is associated with every type of consciousness. Like the citta itself it is of momentary duration, arising and perishing in an instant. This arising and perishing occur in rapid succession, so much so that they create an illusion of compactness and stability obscuring the momentariness. But the momentariness can be experienced through the practice of mindfulness. It will then be realized that there is no self or agent that experiences the feeling. There is only the arising and disappearing of an impersonal process. As long as we do not see how this impersonal process occurs we will be led to believe that feeling is the self, or the self possesses feeling, or feeling is in the self, or the self is in feeling. These beliefs keep us bound to suffering — to sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair.

Feelings are commonly classified into three types: pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral.

Let's take an example. There are a bunch of roses in a vase in a restaurant. You see them - this is feeling or sensation. Then based on your past memories, you perceive it as roses. Oh... but then it reminds you of your ex-lover to whom you used to give or receive roses. Then the mind feels or senses the mental object of your ex-lover and his or her association with roses, and perceives it to be memories of events of the past. Then you start having emotions of sadness and start the mental chatter of negative thoughts about your ex-lover. That's part of mental fabrications.

Also:

"Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one objectifies. Based on what a person objectifies, the perceptions & categories of objectification assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.
MN 18

And similarly for the other senses including mind and thoughts.

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  • this is a good answer. is the example of roses an example of clinging to perception? it's characterized by association? a matter of related memories?
    – blue_ego
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 7:43
  • i'm wondering if I'm just bad at labeling...or not satisfied with that process, and this is partly the cause of circular thinking...
    – blue_ego
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 7:48
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    @blue_ego You can associate your self with any of the five aggregates. That's considered clinging to them. It's a good question - what is an example of associating the self with perception? Perhaps the example of the roses can be one example. Roses by themselves are simply flowers, but when they give you additional meaning by association with past memories, they become associated with your self. In this way, you cling to perception.
    – ruben2020
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 11:11
  • ok, i understand now :)...but isn't that what the intellect does? associating, comparing, analyzing, categorizing, etc.
    – blue_ego
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 14:06
  • "give additional meaning by association"...this is proliferation (papanca)?
    – blue_ego
    Commented Dec 20, 2022 at 15:36

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