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Aggregates and Understanding

Below is a verse from Theragāthā. I have also included an alternate translation and the Pali for reference.
Is only 4 lines, but seems to capture much:

The five aggregates are fully understood,
They remain, but their root is severed.
I have realized the end of suffering,
And attained the end of defilements thag1.120

The five aggregates, having been comprehended,
stand with their root cut through.
For me the ending of stress is reached;
the ending of fermentations, attained. link

“Pañcakkhandhā pariññātā,
tiṭṭhanti chinnamūlakā;
Dukkhakkhayo anuppatto,
patto me āsavakkhayo”ti. thag1.120

I have a number of questions concerning each line:

The five aggregates are fully understood,
What does it mean to say they they are fully understood? In what way are the aggregates fully comprehended?

They remain, but their root is severed.
This line seems to saying that clinging to aggregates has stopped, but the aggregates remain. Right? So what is going on here?

I have realized the end of suffering,
This is clear enough, or is it? The end of suffering is the end of dukkha and sopadhishesa-
nibbana has been achieved. We can be sure it is not anupadhishesa-nibbana since the aggregates are still there. But is there any more meaning to this line?

And attained the end of defilements
Which defilements/fermentations are being referred to here? Do they end because of comprehending the aggregates as in line one. Does comprehending the aggregates as in line one, entail nibbana and the ending of fermentations? Is that why it is the first line in the verse?

Thanks.

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They are understood as unreliable (aniccā), suffering (dukkha), and void of essence (anattā). Full understanding implies the end of craving, for how can you crave for that which is suffering?

The root of the five aggregates is craving and attachment. Craving is what keeps the aggregates going from life to life. When craving has ended, the aggregates remain until you die, but then no more. Yippee!

What you are saying here is right. But an important point is that almost all suffering has disappeared when you reach awakening. By far the greatest contribution to suffering is our attitude to existence. Once that is removed, there is still the suffering of the body and experience, but that is small by comaparison.

These are the āsavas, the root defilements or corruptions of the mind: the corruption of sensuality, the corruption of craving for existence, and the corruption of craving for non-existence. They come to an end when you reach awakening, that is, when you fully comprehending the aggregates (as in line one). And yes, comprehension comes first and then the ending of the corruptions. Verse, however, is often not very exact. The sequence of events is sometimes jumbled, you know for poetic effect and all that.

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Very informative and helpful reply.
Thank you Ajahn Brahmali :anjal:

In the Buddha’s dhamma to fully comprehend (Pariñña) is to be fully unattached.

At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, I will teach you things that should be fully understood and also full understanding. Listen to that….

“And what, bhikkhus, are the things that should be fully understood? Form, bhikkhus, is something that should be fully understood; feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness is something that should be fully understood. These are called the things that should be fully understood.

“And what, bhikkhus, is full understanding? The destruction of lust, the destruction of hatred, the destruction of delusion. This is called full understanding.” SN22.23

Pariñña also applies to the Four foundations of mindfulness (also ultimately the five aggregates) and leads to Nibbana: SN47.38

It applies to the Four Noble Truths- in the Dhammacakkappavattana sutta where the Four Truths are understood to three levels of penetration:
SN56.11

With metta

Mat

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