# Contact and the 5 khandhas graphical representation

Hello,

I was trying to visualize for myself the 5 khandhas, and how they add up to contact (phassa).

My depiction of the khandhas and contact is shown here in English:

And in Pali (but I’m very limited with regards to pali, so this is very very draft and likely not correct;-)):

Now I was trying to get the correct pali words and I came across the following depiction of the 5 khandhas in Wikipedia [1]:

This is based on MN109, and per Thanissarao Bhikkhu translation [2] we have:

Saying, “Very good, lord,” the monk… asked him a further question: “Lord, what is the cause, what the condition, for the delineation[2] of the aggregate of form? What is the cause, what the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness?”

“Monk, the four great existents (earth, water, fire, & wind) are the cause, the four great existents the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of form. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of perception. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of fabrications. Name-&-form is the cause, name-&-form the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of consciousness.”

So, it looks like contact and consciousness is not the linear processing I was trying to depict above…

But then the excert from MN109 deviates quite a bit from the 5 khandahs as we end up in the delineation answer with the sequence:

• Sense objects are the cause, condition, delineation for…
• Aggregate of form (sense faculty, rupa???)
• Contact is the cause, condition, delineation for…
• Feeling
• Perception
• Fabrications
• Name and form is the cause, condition, delineation for…
• Consciousness

Now I am really confused! Help ;-).

With metta,
_/\_

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The order of the skandha or aggregates is not a chronological order in which they appear. One doesn’t lead to the next. Whereas MN148 details the chronological and causal order nicely:

"‘The six classes of contact should be known.’ Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact.

with metta

Right, so this graphic from Wikipedia [1] does apply (I looked at it earlier today):

I guess I was mislead into how the 5 khandhas are always sequenced, and that also conformed to my coarse experience of life in many cases (when volition / formations seem to be present before I am really conscient of them).

However in recent month I have caught some volitional activities (such as touching my skin because of contact with flies, insects or just air displacing body hairs in an unpleasant manner) as it was happening and even before (so I can keep the first precept in at all time).

Thanks for the answer, this really helps.

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The aggregates refer to those bits of experience that is most likely to be confused as a Self. Hence, noticing the noticer seems to come after the object is noticed!

The use of the term vinnana is likely to be broad, as in most pali terms. The arising of consciousness happens very early in the process AND doesn’t correspond to the Western idea of consciousness. Vinnana in the aggregates does not seem to be at that deeply felt (or vi-phassana?) level, but rather much more later down the line and developed or proliferated, perceptually that is- it is technically a sankhara in my opinion, which we label as Self or Consciousness.

with metta

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