Sunday, 13 June 2010

MANASIKARA (Mental attention)

(Mental attention)

Manasikara is a  Pali word in the language in which the Buddha made his  discourses.   It is defined variously as attention, mental advertence and reflexion. It  belongs to the  mental formations group( sankharakkhandha).  It is one of the seven mental factors( cetasika) inseparably associated with all states of consciousness(cetana).  It is the mind’s first confrontation with an object. It binds the other associated mental factors to the object. It is a prominent factor in advertence (avajjana) at the five sense doors and at the mind door.( Buddhist Dictionary-Nyanatiloka)

In the word Sankharakkhandha: sankhara is defined as formations, mental formations (cetasika) , volition (cetana) and so on  in the context of where it is used. Kahandha is defined as aggregates, clinging objects  or as a collected whole. Buddha says  on kahanadha: " where there exists  of corporeal things, whether past, present or future, one's own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, all that belong to the corporeal group.  Here there exists of feeling... of perception... of mental formation,s...of consciousness... all that belong to the consciouness group (vinnanakkhandha)."

The following is a translation of a Dhamma talk given in Sinhala by the late Venerable Amata Gavesi on 29 March, 1997 at the Meditation Centre at Kurunegala on  Manasikara.

( A word to the reader, Please read the article reflecting on what is read trying to understand the sense of what has been said-some times there is a repitition of the same thing .  That is to help concentration and  understanding.)

Today, I will speak to you on  Mind.  In a discourse of the Buddha in Samyutta Nikaya it is said  that the Mind (manasa), consciousness(vinnana) and thoughts (citta)  are the same.  But it is difficult for us to accept it.

Because  by activating the eye a thought arises
            …by activating the ear a thought arises
            …by activating the tongue a thought arises
            …by activating the nose a thought arises
            …by activating  the body a thought arises

But  if we were to  say that  by activating the sense faculty a thought arises;it is wrong , because the thought arises in the mind. Seeing for instance is a natural function of the eye. We see many thing without paying attention. Then there is no seeing. We can say by activating the mind a thought arises. Because the  mind (manasa) like the five sense faculties  eye, ear ,tongue and nose , is also a place where the  thoughts arise. It is only when we pay attention to what is seen that the consciouness arises to see the object.

To the eye  -form(rupa) is an object
To the ear –sound (sota)is an object
To the tongue – taste(rasa) is an object
To the nose –a smell (gandha) is an object
To the body –touch (pottabbha) is an object
To the mind  - thought (mano) is an object

Hence as I have explained to you before when the eye sees a form the third factor that arises is the consciousness(vinnana). The three elements: eye-object-consciousness and the act of seeing takes place.  When the ear hears a sound the third factor that arises  is the consciousness(vinnana). Similarly the tongue with a  taste, nose with a smell, body with a feeling, and mind with a thought,  the third factor that arises is the consciousness (vinnana).

This same consciousness(vinnana) arising with the activation of each of the six  sense faculties is named after the respective sense organ.

Eye     -     eye consciousness ( cakkhu vinnana)
Ear      -    ear consciousness (sota vinnana)
Nose    -    nose consciousness ( Ghana vinnana)
Tongue-    tongue consciousness (jivha vinnana)
Body    -   body consciousness (kaya vinnana
Mind -    mind consciousness (mano vinnana)

As the eye has a sensitive corporeality ( pasada rupa) like the iris (kalu ingiriyawa) it connects with the form(rupa). As the ear has a sensitive corporeality it connects with the sound and so on.  There are no sensitive corporeality in the hair or the nails, except those there are sensitive corporealities all over the body.

How do mind and mind objects get connected ?

It is through Manasikara.  Manasikara comes in contact with the object. When the mind comes in contact with the object it becomes an object of the mind (mano arammana). It is the connection of the mind object with the mind , which results in mental advertence (manasikara).

How does it happen ?

Normally each one  of our  thoughts arises along  with five mental factors(cetasika): Contact (passa),feeling (vedana), perception (sanna), volition (cetana), and mental attention or advertence (manasikara). These five mental factors (cetasika) arise along with a thought arising as a result of a sence faculty coming in contact with an object.

It is the mental factor of  contact (phassa) that brings together the  eye, the visual object (rupa rammana) , and the eye consciousness( cakkhu vinnana).

It is the mental factor of  contact (phassa) that  brings together the  ear, the object of sound (saddhaarammana), and the ear consciousness( sota vinnana).

It is the mental factor of  contact (phassa) which  brings together the  tongue, the object of taste( rasaaramana) , and the tongue consciousness(jivha vinnana).

It is the mental factor of  contact (phassa) which  brings together the  nose, the object of smell( ghanaarammana) , and the tongue consciousness( cakkhu vinnana).

It is the mental factor of  contact (phassa) which  brings together the  body, the object of feeling( potthabbhaarammana) , and the body consciousness( kaya vinnana).

It is the mental factor of  contact (phassa)  which  brings together the  mind, the object of the mind( mano arammana) , and the mind consciousness( mano vinnana).

It is with that activity, that the mental factor of attention (manasikara) performs its own part to complete the activity of bringing the sense faculty, in contact with the external  object, to perform the function of the respective sense faculty. If this activity of the  Manasikara  is absent then we cannot see, hear , taste, smell or feel. Manasikara is therefore a function of the respective sense faculty. The Mind is also a place that gives rise to thoughts.  If there is not such place there would be no place and  opportunity for a thought to arise.

Thoughts arise  because of the sense faculties- eye, ear, tongue , nose,  and  body coming in contact with an external object. But it is wrong to say that  thoughts arise because of thoughts .

What is a thought (sithak or citta ) ?

A thought is that which arises in the mind  in relation to an object which comes in contact with one of the  sense faculties.  When the mind and the mental object meet, a mind consciousness arises, bringing these three elements the Mind + mental object + mind consciousness together which is the function of the  mind factor of contact( passa cetasika)

Consciousness is the thought force. Mind is one of the sense faculties like the eye, ear, nose etc. that gives rise to a thought when it comes in contact with a "thought object".  In the  meeting of the three elements-the sense faculty +object+ consciousness of that sense faculty, a thought arises along with five common mental factors: contact (phassa), feeling (vedana),perception(sanna), volition (cetana) and  attention or mental advertence (manasikara).

Manasikara does not take an external object, but takes an object from within the mind to activate itself.  What is the feeling  one has when one has  a thought ? What takes place when  there is a thought in the mind ?

Then there is the  idea that there is some one who sees, and that it is the one who sees thaty does the act of seeing.  There are many factors necessary for the act of seeing. First the eye+object+eye  consciousness(vinnana),  have to come together . The consciousness (vinnana) is an energising force.

The consciousness by itself cannot see. To enable the consciousness to see, the five common mental factors
( sadharana sithivili) should be present.

Immediately the image of the  object falls on to the sensitive corporeality( pasada rupa) which is the iris in he case of the szense faculty of eye, the consciousness arises as the third factor and along with it arises a thought with  the five common mental factors.)

In the first instance, as it has alreadyu been said, what the contact (phassa) does is to bring together the  sense faculty or sense door (eye) , the object and the conscience. Then there is the one who experiences, the one who sees, then the  consciousness that sees arises. But still the object cannot be seen. Next the mental factor of feeling (vedana) recognises the object as pleasant or unpleasant,  good or bad. ( Every thing  exists in  two extremes in contrast to one and the other: good and bad , black and white, negative and positive.) Next  the  mental factor of  perception (sanna) arises and recognises the object as a stone or a tree, man or a woman etc.

If the object is not recognised, the question “what is it” ? is posed. Therefore recognition is essential. Without recognising  the object thoughts such as like and dislike, good or bad cannot arise.  If some one were to say it is a “Japanese plane”, then  perception (sanna) takes a note of it  and recognises it as a “Japanese plane”.  Thereafter if  in another place that same object is seen again,  it is recognised as a “Japanese plane” from the "notes" taken by the perception(sanna) when the object was seen first. 

That is how we develop our knowledge.  It is how one increases from birth the group of perceptions ( sannanakkhandha).  There are such recognition of  objects at all the six sense doors- the sense faculties. They fall into the group of perceptions.  Next  preceded by volition(cetana)  follows the activities  of the six sense doors.

Let us look again at perceptions (sanna)

If we see an object, and if we cannot recognise that object, what do we do ? We ask some one  what is it ? That is the nature. It is important that we recognise the object.  It is that way  from the birth that  we increase the number of  perceptions. All those items  recognised through the six sense faculties fall into the group of perceptions (sannanakkhandha).

If some thing is floating in the sky, and if we cannot recognise what it is, we ask “ What is it ?”  If then some one were to say , “it is a Japanese plane”, then  the form and the colour of it fall into our group of perceptions so that if that we were to go some where and if a crowd of people show an object floating in the sky and ask “what is it ?” we would at once say “it is a Japanese plane” knowing it from  what we had recognised the other day and stored in our  group of perceptions . We accepted what some one had said. 

The mind is also a place where the thoughts arise. It  is  activated  by the mind, mind consciousness and the mental objects. 

There is no moment  from the time we get up in the morning  until we got to sleep that the mind is without thoughts. That is the way with the life of human beings.  But those noble ones who have developed their minds have the ability to  silence the mind by suspending the activities of all the sense faculties and live serenely without rising and falling away of thoughts.

There are six places that give rise to thoughts: eye, ear, tongue, nose, body and mind. These six sense faculties take six different types of objects, but  the  consciousness  gives rise to the same five common mental factors and raise different thoughts. 

What the mind does is to connect itself with a mental object and reflect on it giving rise to thoughts of the past, present and future. In the meantime  if necessary takes another object from the six sense doors and lets thoughts flow continuously like the waters of a river.  What are the waters in the river ? They are the objects taken by the sense doors. The river of thoughts flow nonstop.  In between one  raises thoughts to feed ones desire falling into the two extremes of attachment and aversion to the objects.  They are the thoughts of attachment and thoughts of aversion- likes and dislikes.  

How and from where is it done ?

Now from Manasikara we think of something we have eaten. In the meantime  such an object from manasikara could be suddenly introduced to the mind. Then it holds on to the object and think of the taste it gives and give rise to thoughts.  These thoughts are of two categories, They are thoughts of attachment or aversion. Both of these categories of thoughts feed  desire or craving(tanha).  Therefore, this river of thoughts flowing  from the six sense faculties  raise thoughts of attachment or aversion.  

Now in this mind of ours there is a flowing river of thoughts.  If one were to see a beautiful object  one will not only get attached  but also go home and sit comfortably on a chair and mentally look at the object from all sides raising thoughts of  attachment to it. In hearing from the ear a song, one thinks of all the tunese one remembers and raises thoughts of attachment, it is the same with objects taken from other sense faculties. That is how one carries through out one's life.

Who is it then that does these things ?

Let us say that the ear came in contact with an object ( a sound) and with that arose the  consciousness of the ear. In bringing together the ear+ the object + the consciousness a  thought arose .  The   thought brings along with it the mind factor of feeling (vedana) which gives rise to attachment(tanha) or  aversion (dosa) .  As this object  has different characteristics, different qualitites of attraction or repulsion we cannot ascertain the number of thoughts that arose and passed away. 

 It happens according to ones state of mind. If you are one who has reduced craving (tanha) to a great extent you will not raise thoughts of attachment and aversion that would fortify craving (tanha).   But in living according to the way of the world , you have a river of thoughts flowing from all the six sense faculties. This is the same with every one of the six sencs faculties.

Now from that form of action (hearing)  a doer (one who hears) has to be created.  In the course of  raising a thought in the action of hearing , a doer (a  self that hears) has still not been created . Because  to create a self that hears  there should be five active mental factors.

Who gets together first to create  a doer ( a self)?

First the form(rupa) . Immediately  a consciousness arises in contact with an object and sees the object. Immideately it creates a self- I see . there arises feelings (vedana) around the object.... and so on..  

It happens in case of  any form(rupa)  taken from any one of the sense faculty/
                                                                the object –and the eye
                                                                the object- and the ear
                                                                the object- and the tongue
                                                                the object- and the nose
                                                                the object- and the body
                                                                the object- and the mind

immediately they come in contact, the first to arise is the consciousness(vinnana).  Then the five mental factors arise along with it: contact (passa): feeling(vedana), perception(sanna), volition(cetana) , advertance (manasikara) and mind factors (sanskara)

How is this self formed ? Who assists in it ?

The  characteristic of the “ doer” the self, one who sees, hears,smells, tastes, or think is the physical form.  We make use of our physical form-body(rupa). Based on this physical form (rupa)-as a human being  we act creating a  self as the doer of the action. It is the mind that does it. When the mental factor of contact ( phassa) brings together the  object(rupa)+ eye + eye consciousness (cakkhu vinnana) it creates a “doer” a self.." I see". This creation of a self  is done with the arising of the consciousness at  all the six sense faculties or sense doors.

Friends,  when your mind-mind object- mind consciousness, come together giving rise to the five mental factors they create the self that thinks.  This creation is further developed by the mental factor of feeling (vedana). Here is now the "one"-the self which feels, pleasant feelings, unsatisfactory feelings, or neither pleasant nor unsatisfactory feelings.  It is followed by  the mental factor of perception (sanna) which recognises the object as I see a flower.......  Then the mental factor of volition(cetana) recognises the self as the  one who activates the action.( heard, saw etc.) It is then the  mental formations (sankhara) which result in kamma formation.. 

Without the consciousness (vinnana) of contact(phassa), feeling (vedana) perception (sanna) and attention (manasikara) will not arise. It is the consciousness (vinnana) that gives rise to the 5 common mental factors. Every one of these thoughts( consciousness of contact (phassa), consciousness of feeling (vedana) consciousness of perception (sanna), consciousness of volition (cetana) and the consciousness of attention (manasikara). These five consciousness reate a self .

First of all  it is the  consciousness (vinnana)that arises,  without the consciousness there would be  no consciousness of contact, consciousness of feeling, consciousness of perception , consciousness of volition, consciousness of attention or mental advertence or mental formations (snskhara).  All these thoughts have  the same force of consciousness. It is this consciousness (vinnana) that creates the self or the being.   Who is this being- the self ?

It is the five panca upadanakkhanda- the five clinging groups of existence [form (rupa), feeling (vedana)perception (sanna), mental formations(sankhara) and the consciousness (vinnana)]

How did all this happen on the arising of a thought ?

Let us take the eye. The eye and the object (rupa) of the eye get connected( when the image of the form(rupa) of the object falls on the sensitive corporeality of the eye -the iris) the consciousness (vinnana) arises and gives rise to the five common mental factors. The arising of the  mental factor of contact(phassa) immediately gives rise to the form (rupa) , as a result  arises the feeling (pleasant, unsatisfactory or neither pleasant nor satisfactory),then  arises the mental factor of  perception (sanna) which recognises what the object is,  which creates volition (cetana) it is followed by mental  formations(  sankhara) with the object seen with  the eye.  Every one of the rising thoughts have these five groups of existence (pancakkhandha).

How did these five groups of existence( pancakkhandha) became  the five clinging groups of existence (panca  upadanak khanda) ?

It is when  the  being  with the  five groups of existence (pancakkhandha) develops an intense desire- a craving (tanha) for an external object which it comes in contact with its sense faculties.  Through that contact arises pleasant or unpleasant feeling. If the feelings are pleasant the being develops an intense desire -a clinging to possess the object and enjoy it, which is Upadana.  There are four kinds of clinging(upadana) (i) sensuous clinging (kama upadana), (ii) clinging to views(ditthi upadana),(iii)clinging rules and rituals (silabbatupadana) (iv) clinging to the personality belief( atta vapaupadana)

What is it which develops that  intense desire to possess ? It is the form( rupa), feeling (vedana), perception (sanna), mental formations (sankhara) and the consciousness (vinnana) ,all pût together to make the being-a self(pancaupadanakkhandha)

The nature of craving is  intense  attachment to pleasant feelings which   creates a being- a self  who feels and enjoys the pleasant feelings, and believing that there is this  being or a self that feels, the mind  holds onto that belief of a being or self  with intense desire creating the five clinging groups of existence
( pancaupadanakkhandha).

Then when the consciousness (mind) that activates your eye, the consciousness that activates your ear ( i.e the consciousness that activates all the six  sense doors), created a being- a self.   It is that self  you (your mind)  so created which got attached to an object  or developed an aversion to it.  Because of that desire for the enjoyment of the object you like you created a self who enjoys by binding together these five groups of existence(pancakkhandha) into a group of clingings (panca upadanakkhandha)..  Because of this activity of the ordinary human beings there exist five groups of clinging. (panca upadanakkhandha)

Why do we call this  five aggregates of clinging, a human being ?  

It is not necessarily a human being it could be any being , because all beings are of the five clinging groups of existence (panca upadanakkhandha).  A being is only a concept a conventional reality, which does not exist in ultimate reality. It is only a mental formation

Why does not the nature of the human being  change  in a different way ?

Friends, Do not  we accept that “listening” is a thought ? Is not “seeing”  also a thought ?  The activities of all the six sense doors are thoughts which is the nature of a human being.  Are not the whole of these activities done by the  mind ? Now the mind  having created a being or  a self, cling on to the activities as they have been done by  this being.

In reality all this had been done by the mind. The six sense doors by themselves cannot do  the acts of seeing or hearing .  However much real  a being seems to be, it cannot do any nothing without the consciousness (vinnana or the mind).

If “seeing” is done by the mind, then the “one who sees” should also be mind made. If “hearing “ is done by the mind, then the “one who hears” should also be mind made.  So it is with regard to all the six sense doors. Hence putting together all sense doors you get a being -a self.

Can you, friends, in order to do the activities of the six sense doors, raise a thought  without  creating a self ?  No, but why not ? Because they are the same tools that were used to seeing with the eyes, hearing with the ears etc.,  that created a self.  Without this creation seeing cannot be done by the eyes or activate any of the sense doors . Therefore the mind  created a self.

In short when we stay without thoughts( without contact of objects), we think that  our mind has gone silent. The mind is silent .  There is a force in the mind.  The mind is there, without thoughts.  Is the mind now silent ? No mind is watching the mind.  It is the time that the mind gets hold of objects and makes mental reflexions (manasikara)

If the mind were to be silenced it is  by giving up all physical activity.  As long as a person has a mind can he silence it ? No, By silencing the mind no one can stop the natural functions of  the six sense doors from receiving  external objects.  As long as the sense doors are kept open,  sounds are heard, form are seen, pleasant an unpleasant smells are smelt, these are normal activity of the sense faculties.  They do not activate the arising of  thougthts as there is absense of attention (manasikara).  The natural primary activities of the six sense faculties cannot be stopped by any one.  It happens automatically – suddenly.

A laud thump on the table.

What happened ? Momentarily a consciouness arose and noted a sound.

That was hearing a  sound which was not expected.  Can we stop   hearing it ?  It happens by itself  cannot stop it. If it is to be stopped we have to stop its activity  by piercing the ear drums !! As long as the ears are kept open  we cannot stop it from receiving  external objects.?  It does no harm to you. 

It is through the bad habit of running after thoughts that we cause danger to ourselves.  It is because of running after sounds that we developed attachment and  aversion.  It is the same with other sense doors. Because of your foolish  act of attachment and aversion you  created a “doer” (a self)and enjoyed a feeling.  We can stop the thoughts of attachment and aversion that created that pleasant or unpleasant feeling.  Then if we stopped at "hearing" we have only heard.  if we see , we have only seen.  By that there is no harm to you.  As an object is it not the same activity  of the sense faculties that the Buddha proposed to Bahia ?

Bahia was seeking Nibbana during the Piyumatura Buddha. He with five others climbed onto a mountain and meditated with the firm determination  that they will not descend until they have attained Nibbana. One of them became an Arahat, one became a stream entrant, and the others died. Daruviya or Bahia was one of those that died.  During the period of our Buddha he was living in a forest in Patna thinking that he had become a Buddha.  He had developed  his mind to such an extent that he was wearing long strips of wood. A forest deity came to him and told him, “ Bahia you are not a Buddha, the Buddha Gotama is in the village near by.  He is gone for his alms round, go to him and speak to him and at least listen to a sermon by the Buddha”.

Bahia on hearing it hastened to see the Buddha.  He pleaded the Buddha  to give a short sermon for him. After three such pleadings the Buddha  said:

 "Bhaiya, thus must you train yourself. In the seen there will be just seen, in the heard, just the heard, in the sensed, just the sensed, in the cognized, just cognized. Then Bahiya, you will not be reckoned by it, you will not be in it. And when Bahiya you will not be in it. Then Bahiya, you will not be here nor there nor midway between. This itself is the end of suffering."

What was said was not to reflect on the objects that come in contact with the six sense doors and get attached to them or create aversion.

Bahia understood what was said and soon attained the state of an Arahant and going out was killed by a bull that rammed on to him.  The Buddha seeing the body of Bhaia on his way back from alms round , told that he had attained the sainthood of an Arahant and asked that the body be removed and cremated.

From what the Buddha told Bahia, we understand that the most dangerous thing we do is running after objects seen, heard, smelt, tasted, felt,  and getting attached to them or having  aversion to them., is developing craving (lobha) through attachment and hatred (dosa) through aversion

Though the words Craving (lobha) and hatred(dosa) sound  dangerous , one does not realise at the time one is attached to an object that one  develops craving and when one dislikes an object  one creates aversion(dosa).  Attachment is the desire and aversion dislike.  The danger is that through attachment  you create a craving(lobha).

Once a Brhamana asked the Buddha, “Lord when did craving (lobha)develop in man ?” The Buddha said, “ The craving started from the  day the human beings developed attachment with desire and aversion  with hatred to the objects taken from the six sense doors.”

Then  can we stop the activities of the six sense doors such as the thoughts of hearing and the thoughts of seeing ?

No. It is giving attention  to the activity of sense faculties that give rise to thoughts. What we can stop from the six sense doors are the arising of thoughts of desire and the thoughts of  hatred, by not allowing the mind to go beyond the initial contact of an object  with the sense faculty.  By stopping that one stops arising of mental factors of feeling, perception, mental advertence, mental formations..  That stops attachment and craving.

Is there craving (tanha) in  any of the thoughts arising at the six sense doors when they come in contact  for the first time with an object ?


Then from where does the craving (tanha) arises ?

Craving arises from the second mental factor(vedana cetasika) arising after the  first contact ( passa cetasika) with the object. After a sense door has been activated by a thought, craving (tanha) commences with the arising of  thoughts  of attachment or aversion in respect of the object. If there is no attachment or aversion then there is no craving(tanha)

The habit of smoking persists because the smoker continues with his habit of smoking.  If he gives up smoking it would be the end of the desire (tanha) to smoke.

Similarly to stop craving, which is a deep attachment ,  after taking  objects through the six sense doors you should reflect (manasikara) on the objects and  stop the arising of the second mental factor (vedana cetasika) to stop the arising of  attachment or aversion to the object.

Now Is there a being  in the first action of seeing, in other words  is there some one that sees ?

Yes there is but not a being created at the moment, but the nature of a being created  by habit in the long journey of existence (samsaric habit) and living assuming the existence of a self. In the process of existence the birth  creats a self -a being with a form and a mind, that is the natural consequence of birth..

I will tell you some thing about it. At the moment of your death in this life, there arises the last  Kamma consciousness or the death consciousness.  It is this consciousness that departs from you.  Cuti is that departure. Cuti Citta is the departing consciousness.

With the arising of the death  consciousness  at the last moment of your life what kamma do you see ? It is a kusala or an akusala kamma and  with  that arises consciousness of a self - the doer of the kamma,I, Me,. the action I did, the offering I made on such and such occasion,, or the cow that I killed on a particular day. The person who did the action appear along with the Kamma.  It is the kamma conciousness you prepare imposing yourself as the doer of the particular Kamma   that departs from your body as the cuti citta. The being or the self that you had  consciously  created also departs along with the cuti citta.

This self or the being that had been created does not go dressed like a gentleman, in shirt, coat and trousers, but only as a thought (five aggregtes of existence-panca upadanaskhandha) . There was in that thought the five mental facors: form(rupa),feeling(vedana),perception(sanna) mental formations(sankhara) and consciousness(vinnana).  Thsese five depart as the death consciousness.  Then it is this five aggregates of existence –panca upadanakkhandha,  that joins with the  relinkin consciouness (patisandhi citta) in the new existence.

Who or what was there in the thought that joined with the re-linking consciousness (pataisandhi citta) ?

It is the being who did the kamma. If a dog had been killed one who is born in the womb of the bitch may be the one who killed the dog.  If due to a good kamma  one who became a deity is the self  we created with the five clinging aggregates of existence-(panca upadanakkhanda).  This being  is within us in our consciousness, it is whic accompanies us in the long  journey of our  existence.  It is this self that we created  that  does the sense door activities such as seeing with the eyes.  The being while he does the act in order to indulge in it,  created attachment and aversion, and then the  clinging  desire(upadana).

What is there in your present existence ?

It is the being  the mind created with the physical form the five  aggregates of clinging (panca upadanakkhandha).  This being with the activities of the five sense doors enjoyed or suffered creating the clinging desires( upadana).  It is how now you have become the  five clinging desires ( panca upadana khandha)

Let us  say, if you listen to Buddhist discourses, meditate and get rid of attachment and aversion  and with a great effort became  an Arahat and attain Nibbana, then as an Arahat you will have only five aggregates (without upadana). That is because the Arahats are noble ones (aryans) without attachments, hence without desires.

Where is clinging (upadana) ?

It is in the mind. It can be removed  with the development of seela (discipline), Samadhi(concentration) and the arising of panna (wisdom)  With the development of the force of  thoughts (citta) through meditation the habit of attachment  and aversion to objects taken by the six sense doors disappear.  Because of this cutting off of the attachment and aversion  clinging (upadana) disappear.  Clinging was the result of craving( tanha).  It is because of this clinging (upadana) that the process of  existence continue.

Now Friends you are all in a process of existence.  Why do I say that ?   Because you have the five clinging aggregates(pancaskhandha).   Once you stop the force of  clinging,   then you have stopped your process of existence (bhava pavetma).  As long as your life span determined by your kamma  lasts you continue with your  five aggregates of existence  as an Arahant..  

It is with that serene compassion of an Arahat you were able to  rid yourself of the force of clinging (upadana). Even if you develop the compassion of an Arahant and rid yourself of the force of clinging you will continue your existence as the  five aggregate as long as the span of life determined by your kamma lasts. The end of the life spn is the end of  an Arahant.  That is the end of the five aggregates of existence.  That was th end of the mind, form and the world that is the attainment of Nibbana.

At the moment of death what goes over  to be reborn is the five aggregates of clinging. It  is the  craving (tanha) that determines departure of the mind in  that manner-with the five aggregates of clinging..  Craving  created the clinging.  It is a force that helps you to go from one process of  existence to another.  We can stop clinging through  meditation. If we stop craving, then there will be no clinging. Then there is no becoming or a process of existence (bhava)  Then you have attained Nibbana.  As Nibbana is the end of the mind going from on process of existence (bhava) to another it is the  end of birth.

Then there is no suffering (Dukkha) There is suffering (dukka) only if there is birth. If birth is stopped there is nothing. That is the end . That is the way of Dhamma..

Can we stop the force of clinging easily with the mind ?

What is the primary reason for the arising of the force of Clinging ?

It is the activity of a being -a self. It is this self identity  built within you in two ways which gives rise to clinging.

One is  the self identity based on your  physical form (rupa) the personality belief. Sakkhayaditthi.  It is with this physical form  that the people call you giving you a name and a clan  identifying you as a son or a daughter of such an  such father or such and such mother.  When this personal identity goes deep into you every thought you raise at the six sense doors when they  come in contact with an external object this personal identity of I , me and   mine  also arises.  It is the  view of the five aggregates of clinging (panca ubadanaskhandha ditthi)

The personality belief (sakkhaya ditthi) created based on the physical form can be eliminated  through meditation. On attaining  the state of a stream entrant (sotapanna) the  personality belief is completely eliminated . It is the elimination of the “ self” view created by you  based on your physical form and lived with it during all your life.

It is the realisation that every action you  had been doing had been done with a thought  preceding  the action,  not by a self -a "I" or "Me". They were merely  acts resulting from a cause.

Take for instance  the four physical postures , if you stand  it is cause and effect. A  thought arose  and that activated the body to make it stand.

If you sit  down it is also cause and effect.  A thought that arose (cause)  activated to bend the legs to sit down (effect).

Lying down is also cause and effect .  A thought that arose(cause) activated the body to lay down (effect).

Walking is also cause and effect a thought that arose wanted to walk and moved the legs about and made the body walk.

All the four postures are the result of a cause, not done prompted  by a “ a self or  a being”, but the body acts on a thought that preceded the act.

When you see that every action is the result of a cause -a reason, it is a universal reality of cause and effect( hetu-phala). Then  you realise that there is no “self or  being”  that does the act, but merely a cause and an effect  by the mind (nama) and body(rupa).  With the realisation of that truth  personality belief (sakkhaya ditthi) is eliminated.

But as I said before with the arising of  every thought at the six sense doors there is the  personality consciousness, that the thought comes from a being –a self. This is the “me, mine” concept that had been acted upon for a long time in the process of  existence (bhava).  It is the view of a five clinging aggregates of existence.( panca upadanakhandha Ditthi) This personality view can be stopped when craving(tanha) has been completely eliminated after attaining the status of non-returner(anagami).  

In truth what should be the state  that one should reach
before the liberation of the mind from the self view?

It is  the  view that the five clinging existence is  created by the mind, the self, the personality view of “me and mine” is no more here. We hold on to this process of existence as long this personality view  of “me and mine” exists.

Friends there are two views that create the self or the personality view of “me and mine”

  1. the personality view (sakkhaya ditthi) based on  the body( the physical existence)
  2. the view of five clinging existence based on  the Mind.

Both these views do the same thing  creating within you a personality identity of  self or a being ,“me and mine”.

In brief, the personality belief based on physical form is eliminated in becoming a stream entrant (sotapanna); Secondly , the  view of the five clinging aggregates based on mind Is eliminated in attaining to be a non returner( anagami).  Now as craving (tanha) is eliminated  in being a non-returner (anagami), it stops the process of becoming (bhava).  He does  not accumulate any more Kamma therefore there  would not be a causal Kamma for a rebirth.  If he dies after being an anagami –a non-returner  he will be born in a pure abode. He will eventually attain Nibbana from there.

Therefore understand that it is in this way that the personality belief and the view of the five clinging existence came into being. A thought  arising from a thought  is created within the mind.  That is that thought had taken  as an object a mental object-which is also a thought. The mind object, the mind and the mind consiousness ( mano vinnan) when they get together they can create a thought.( then the  five common mental factors arise in the mind to create a thought.)

My friends it may  now be  clear to you what are the   five clinging aggregates of existence( pancha upadanaskhandha)

Who has five aggregates of existence  ?

An Arahant a Noble one.

 What is it ?

Pancaskhandha- five aggregates of existence  are:  Rupakhandha, Vedana skahnadha, sanna sskhandha, sankhara skhnadha and the vinnanaskhandha.

An Arahants exists activating these aggregates having fully eliminated Kilesa-the defilements: He exists in a state of Kilesa Parinibbana or Saupadisesa nibbana.  They have the process of existence (bhava)  The six sense doors are active.  They see with the eyes , hear with the ears etc.  But they have no attachment or aversion to six sense door activities. If seen he only sees, if heard he only hears.  It is the same with the rest of the sense doors.  At the end of the life span of  an Arahant  there is a full extinction of  the groups of existence-Khandha –parinibbana or Anupadisesa Parinibbana.  There is no rebirth.  He has eliminated craving  on becoming an Arahant. A Kamma Nimitta or Gati Nimitta does not appear for an Arahant.  The six sense doors function naturally  with out mental reaction to what is seen, heard , smelt, tasted or felt. 

The Arahants are fulfilling the demand made by the Buddha to his followers, that with compassion for the worldly beings  without  two of them taking the same path, each one taking  a different path,  give what they have  understood of the  truth of the Dhamma for the benefit of all beings and for their  freedom from the bonds of samsara .