I’m practicing MN 62, I’m quite aware of what the aggregates are, and the Khandha Vagga, but don’t seem to find the exact way to understand 11 modes(?) of each aggregate. Are there suttas explaining exactly what “past, future, and present, internal or external, coarse or fine, inferior or superior, near or far” are and or to perceive the aggregates or how to practice accordingly?
To understand the stress on the point of universality referring to its danger, it is necessary to compare it with its direct opposite, the unconditioned. Conditioned reality is also called the All (Samyutta Nikaya 35.24). There is a mechanism in the suttas to develop a knowledge of form in order to discern a release from it:
There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that escape from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, escape from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.—Udana 8.3
The context of Majhima Nikaya 62 is it is a list of exercises to clear the mind in preparation for breath meditation as required in the third tetrad. Because it is addressed to a beginner it is at a level appropriate for lay practitioners to study and implement according to the Anapanasati sutta (Majhima Nikaya 118). There the cycle of mental preoccupation with worldly events is broken and an escape is found by training in an alternative focus, the breath or the body and (training) in its consequent arising of joy as described in the four tetrads of the sutta.
But how should one understand the 11 modes of the All?
For example, is past, future, or present of a form refers to its memory (past), its imagination (future), or is it denotes the notion of all past, future, and present exist at the same time? Or how should I properly grasp these 11 aspects of the aggregates?
I think the 11 are there to stress that without any possible exception, these 5 A should not be seen as me, mine, etc.
Or, to put it another way, however one might think the 5 A are ‘self’, they are not.
SN 22.48 is about this topic.
SN 22 .79 (here SuttaCentral) is about past aggregates.
Thanks, there is this sutta which is also very analytical SN 22.82
It seems that
past means memory about such form that one has had in the past, such feeling, such perception, such fabrication, and such consciousness
future means the wish to possess that form, that feeling, that perception, that fabrication, and that consciousness in the future
internal means one own body
external means others
coarse or fine, inferior or superior is subjective attributes that one regards the aggregates
near or far pertains to locality of external aggregates
But still, I’m confused now at what exactly are denoted by the aggregates, like in SN 22.79, the Buddha use the perception of color to explain perception, and the tastes to explain consciousness. And it seems that because of choices/fabrication (saṅkhāra), the aggregates exists
Another confusion arises in me is that what the later 3s means in the phrase “They regard form as self, self as having form, form in self, or self in form”
I understand the first “They regard form as self”, but not quite grasp the later 3s, please explain to me like I’m 7 years old
EDIT: and also the phrase “as in form”, and “as distinct from form” in SN 22.85
“What do you think, Reverend Yamaka? Do you regard the Realized One as in form?”
“Or do you regard the Realized One as distinct from form?”
This is how I understand those phrases, but I’d be happy to be corrected by someone wiser.
Regarding form as self:
Thinking that this body is my Self.
Regarding self as having form:
Thinking that my Self has a body, i.e. that this body is mine.
Regarding form in self:
Thinking that this body is inside of my Self, for example by identifying with consciousness as my Self and thinking that this body is inside of me because I am consciousness.
Regarding self in form:
Thinking that I (my Self) reside(s) somewhere inside this body.
Regarding the Realized One as in form:
Thinking that the Realized One is a Self, an entity, that resides inside his body (or even that he is that body).
Regarding the Realized One as distinct from form:
Thinking that the Realized One is a Self, an entity, that exists separate from that body.