The Five Khandhas - Clinging to khandhas I

Viññānakkhandha (citta) is real; we can experience it when there is seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, experiencing tangible object through the bodysense or thinking.  Viiññānakkhandha arises and falls away;  it is impermanent. All sankhāra dhammas (conditioned phenomenal), that is, the five khandhas, are impermanent.


Sometimes the khandhas are called the 'groups of grasping' (in Pāli:

upādānakkhandha). The upādānakkhandhas are the khandhas which are the

objects of clinging. Those who are not arahats still cling to the khandhas. We

take the body for self; thus we cling to rūpakkhandha. We take mentality for

self; thus we cling to vedanākkhandha, to saññākkhandha, to

sankhārakkhandha and to viññānakkhandha. If we cling to the khandhas and 

do not see them as they are, we will have sorrow. So long as the khandhas

are still objects of clinging for us, we are like people afflicted by sickness.


We read in the 'Kindred Sayings' (III, Khandha-vagga, the First Fifty, par. I,

Nakulapitar) that the housefather Nakulapitar, who was an old, sick man,

came to see the Buddha at Crocodile Haunt in the Deerpark. The Buddha said

to him that he should train himself thus:  'Though my body is sick, my mind

shall not be sick. '


Later on Sāriputta gave him a further explanation of the Buddha's words:


Herein, housefather, the untaught many-folk...  

who are unskilled in the worthy doctrine, 

untrained in the worthy doctrine - - these regard body as the self,

they regard the self as having body,

body as being in the self,

the self as being in the body.

'I am the body', 

 they say, 'body is mine', and are possessed by this idea;

and so, possessed by this idea,

when body alters and changes,

owing to the unstable and changeful nature of the body,

then sorrow and grief, woe, lamentation and despair arise in them.

They regard feeling  (vedanā) as the self…   

They regard perception (saññā) as the self...

They regard the activities (sankhārakkhandha) as the self…

They regard consciousness (viññāna) as the self…

That, housefather, is how body is sick and mind is sick too.


And how is body sick, but mind not sick? 

Herein, housefather, the well-taught ariyan disciple... 

 regards not body as the self,

  regards not the self as having body,

nor body as being in the self,

nor self as being in the body.

He says not "I am body'',

he says not "body is mine'',

nor is possessed by this idea.  

As he is not so possessed,

when body alters and changes,

owing to the unstable and changeful nature of body,

then sorrow and grief, woe, lamentation and despair do not arise in him.

He regards not feeling (vedanā) as the self...

He regards not perception (saññā) as the self...

He regards not the activities (sankhārakkhandha) as the self...    

He regards not consciousness (viññāna) as the self...

As he is not so possessed,

when consciousness alters and changes,

owing to the unstable and changeful nature of consciousness,

sorrow and grief, woe, lamentation and despair do not arise in him.

Thus, housefather, body is sick, but mind is not sick.

Topic 175