Tulip Time in Seattle!

Every year, my wife and I go to the Tulip Festival at Mount Vernon, WA, which is a famous festival near Seattle. This year was the first for Little Guy. We always visit Tulip Town farm when we go. The weather was really great this time (it’s often rainy and muddy), and we got lots of photos:

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I took that photo with my camera phone. This one too:

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When we go to the Tulip Festival, my family and I often sing a famous children’s song in Japanese:

さいた さいた
チューリップの花が
ならんだ ならんだ
あか しろ きいろ
どの花見ても きれいだな

Saita, saita
Chuurippu no hana ga
Naranda naranda
Aka shiro kiiro
Dono hana mitemo kirei da na

Which I might loosely translate as:1

They’ve bloomed, they’ve bloomed
The tulip flowers have bloomed.
They’re lined up, they’re lined up:
red, white, yellow
No matter which flower you look at, they’re all beautiful.

This song was first published in 1932 (Showa 7), in a children’s book called 「エホンショウカ ナツノマキ(絵本唱歌 夏の巻)」 which might translate into something like “A Summer’s Collection of Pictures and Songs”. You can hear it here:

But also, being a Buddhist nerd, I am often reminded of a passage from the Amitabha Sutra (阿弥陀経), translation by Reverend Inagaki:

In the ponds [of the Pure Land, 浄土] are lotuses as large as chariot-wheels — the blue ones radiating a blue light, the yellow a yellow light, the red a red light and the white ones a white light. They are marvelous and beautiful, fragrant and pure.

Enjoying the Tulip Festival here is like enjoying a small sample of the Pure Land, I think. :)

Happy Spring everyone!

1 You might wonder why the English translation is so much longer. A complete sentence in English is SVO (Subject Verb Object), but in Japanese it is just V or A (adjective). So, “saita” is the past-tense to bloom, and is a complete sentence, but in English you have to say “the flower bloomed”, or even “it/they bloomed”. Tae Kim has a much better explanation of this.

Posted in Buddhism, Family, Jodo Shu, Music, Seattle, Travel | Leave a comment

Lego Refugees

Something fun for Sunday, my daughter made this with Legos:

She said it was a 避難場所 or hinanbasho which means a refugee-center.1 She said all the trees were falling down, so they had to stay in there to be safe.

My daughter and I both like Legos a lot. We watched the Lego Movie together, but she didn’t understand all of it. Still, she thought it was funny, and sometimes sings the main song: Everything is Awesome.2

I played with Legos as a kid, and would often mix my Space Legos and Castle Legos into big armies. Also, I made Legos that looked like Transformers (which was my favorite cartoon at the time).

My daughter prefers the Friends collection of Legos, but she also has lego blocks from when she was a baby. Plus, I have a few Legos as well (Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings) which you can see in the upper-left of the photo. She put them all together in a big refugee-center. We don’t play video games much. Instead, I try to encourage her to do things like this, or make things out of paper.

Playing Legos with my daughter is really fun because she has a good imagination. For example, the turtle Lego in the middle is the Queen. Why? She just is. And there’s a President too, but she’s pregnant. Also, she wants her girl Legos to marry my boy Legos, so we have to do a big wedding ceremony sometimes.

Legos are good daddy-daughter time I think. I always enjoy it. :)

1 Because we watch NHK News (Japanese News) on TV daily, I think that’s where she learned about 避難場所. She learned a lot about politics too, not all of it good. :p It’s amazing what 7 year old kids can understand.

2 But she sings songs from the Disney movie, Frozen, a lot more.

Posted in Family | 4 Comments

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches Recollection of the Buddha

Hello,

Since today is the Buddha’s Birthday in the solar-calendar (April 8th), I wanted to post this. It’s a really long post, but I hope people find it useful.

In the past, I’ve read a certain Buddhist book by Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh1 called Finding Our True Home. It’s a book that talks about Pure Land Buddhism, but from a Vietnamese-Buddhist/Zen perspective.

The first time I read this book years ago, I didn’t really like it much. I disagreed with his interpretation, and felt it was somehow contradicting with my understanding of Pure Land Buddhism. But recently I read it again (twice) and now appreciate Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings more than before. He emphasizes a Pure Land practice called “recollection of the Buddha”, which he explains like so:

The practice of recollecting the Buddha is called anusmrti in Sanskrit. Even in the Buddha’s lifetime, there were many of the Buddha’s disciples who practiced Recollecting the Buddha. For thousands of years, people recollected the Buddha in this way in order to feel more solid, free, peaceful, and happy. Thus, Recollecting the Buddha has been an accepted practice in the Buddhist tradition, from the time of the Buddha. (pg. 96)

I went and checked on this, and Thich Nhat Hanh is right. If you look in the early Buddhist sutras, they often teach the practice of recollecting the Buddha, or the Dharma, or the Sangha. For example, in this passage from the Dhammapada:

296. Those disciples of Gotama [the Buddha] ever awaken happily who day and night constantly practice the Recollection of the Qualities of the Buddha.

In Theravada Buddhism (上座仏教, jōza bukkyō in Japanese), this is called Anussati. In Chinese Buddhism, this became nian-fo (念仏), which is none other than the nembutsu that is practiced in Pure Land Buddhism. However, the meaning has changed over time. By the Middle Ages, 念仏 meant to recite the Buddha’s name as a way of recollecting the Buddha, but the original meaning was a little different. The practice of Anusmrti/Anussati/念仏 was to recollect the qualities of the Buddha as a source of inspiration and to help cultivate similar qualities in oneself.

As Thich Nhat Hanh explains further:

The Buddha embodies solidity, freedom, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Whenever we recollect the name of the Buddha, we very naturally feel the ease, solidity, and freedom of the Buddha. That is one reason why in our own time many people follow this practice. (pg 97)

But, how does one do this? He explains next:

When Recollecting the Buddha, the practitioner begins by supposing that the Buddha is a reality outside of himself or herself. He or she might visualize the Buddha in the Jeta Grove (祇園精舎, Gion Shōja in Japanese) or on the Vulture Peak (霊鷲山, ryōjusen) in India. However, gradually the Buddha becomes a reality both within and without. In our own consciousness, there are the seeds of solidity, freedom, love, compassion, joy and equanimity….If we are successful in the practice, we will realize that the Buddha is always present within us. Because of this, we need not grieve that the Buddha is no longer alive. We know that the Buddha is always in us and that he can never die. The principle of Recollecting the Buddha is as simple as that.(pg. 98)

But there’s also more to it. Thich Nhat Hanh points out that the Amitabha Sutra (阿弥陀経, amidakyō in Japanese) and an older sutra called the Satipatthana Sutta (The Four Frames of Reference, MN10 in the Pali Canon) both talk about the importance and benefits of concentration and focus. In the Satipatthana Sutta:

“Now, if anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for seven years, one of two fruits can be expected for him….Let alone seven years. If anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for six years… five… four… three… two years… one year… seven months… six months… five… four… three… two months… one month… half a month, one of two fruits can be expected for him.

and in the Amitabha Sutra:

Shariputra, if a good man or woman who hears of Amida Buddha holds fast to his Name even for one day, two days, three, four, five, six or seven days with a concentrated and undistracted mind, then, at the hour of death, Amida Buddha will appear before them with a host of holy ones.

In the Amitabha Sutra, the specific term is 一心不乱, which means something like a “single mind, without being scattered”.2 So, both sutras have a strong emphasis on concentration, mindfulness, etc.

Thich Nhat Hanh clarifies this further:

To practice mindfulness with a one-pointed mind which is not dispersed means that while we are recollecting the Buddha our mind does not think about anything else. We only think of Buddha. This is what was practiced in the lifetime of the Buddha and the practice was called Buddhanusmrti, remembrance of the Buddha. (pg. 105)

and then:

To be successful in undispersed recollection of the Buddha we need a process of training. In the beginning our mind is still disturbed but we do not lose our patience. For a long time we may only recite the Buddha’s name ten times and for nine out of those ten times our mind is dispersed in forgetfulness. We are only mindful of what we are reciting once, but once is better than nothing. Later on we shall recite twice in mindfulness and only eight times in forgetfulness. That is progress.(pg. 106).

Also, this teaching is not limited to Thich Nhat Hanh alone. In Venerable Yin-Shun’s book, The Way to Buddhahood, he teaches something very similar:

For example, if one can follow—single-mindedly and without scatteredness—the easy path method of chanting a buddha’s name, one can attain the samādhi of mindfulness of a buddha. But the key point in this method is mindfulness of a buddha’s physical appearance and virtues….Following this method can lead toward superior world-transcending dhyāna contemplation and thereby further leads to enlightenment. On a more superficial level, being mindful of a buddha acts as a repentance for one’s karmic obstructions and as a means to gather good roots….

One should know that practice that takes mindfulness of a buddha as the object of focus is mental practice. Even the ordinary mindfulness of a buddha—inattentively chanting his name—emphasizes the mind, although not as much as focusing on the form of a buddha to practice cessation.(pg 259-260)

Anyway, the point of this long, long post is that I realized that my understanding of Pure Land Buddhism was pretty narrow in the past Pure Land Buddhism is a large subject in Buddhism, and I still have a lot more to learn. I hope people learned something new too. :)

Happy Birthday Buddha!
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhasa

1 Pronounced like “Tick Nyat Hain”, or “Tick Nyat Han” in southern Vietnamese Dialect, if I recall right. My memory is getting pretty rusty.

2 In modern, colloquial Japanese, this has become a phrase meaning someone is super-focused on something like a project, homework, etc. It is pronounced isshin furan.

Posted in Buddhism, Jodo Shinshu, Jodo Shu, Religion, Theravada, Zen | 1 Comment

Gone But Not Forgotten

Recently I was reading about the disappearance of a well-known computer programmer named Mark Pilgrim, who authored a lot of books, and then dropped off the Internet in 2011. Mark was alive and well, but he removed all his accounts, removed his books from the Internet (the Dive into Python book is now available here). Apparently, years earlier, another famous person online did the same thing, and hasn’t been seen since.

One article described this as Info-Suicide: killing your own “online” identity.1

There’s something kind of interesting about the idea of removing your online identity completely. In the past, I sometimes wanted to delete the blog and other online accounts. I felt that it would give me more peace and quiet, and also allow me to focus on other projects. On the other hand though, it’s really nice to stay connected with people. I’m so busy with work and parenting that I don’t get to meet people very often around me (most of them don’t have the same interests anyway), so it’s nice to meet people online who do share the same interests.

But still, the Internet really isn’t that useful. It’s great for finding information, but it’s no substitute for real conversations or real projects. Most of what people see or read on the Internet is just noise.

So, it’s a nice idea to take oneself off of the Internet, but I have no plans to do that. I invested a lot of time and energy in things and I like providing useful information; it makes me happy to see when someone finds Korean Buddhist history useful, or Rinzai Zen, etc. So, I don’t want to remove those posts.2

On the other hand though, it would be nice to take a break from the Internet for a while: a few days, weeks, months. But even if you want to pull yourself away from the Internet, it’s actually kind of hard to do it. ;)

But totally removing oneself from the Internet may be more trouble than its worth in my opinion. It’s bad for the people who depend on your work, and causes a lot of headaches for people.

1 Real suicide, though, is no joke.

2 I might remove the YouTube videos someday though. It was a fun project, but it was a pretty amateur effort, and I question how useful it is. Plus, making videos feels like a full-time job
. ;)

Posted in Technology | 6 Comments

What Is Zen Buddhism? Buddhism Q&A, Episode Eight

Hello,

It’s been a long, long time since I did a Buddhism video for YouTube, but here’s a video on Zen:

I made this about a month ago, but I was so busy, I had no time to edit and upload until now. Zen is not my best subject, and this is probably not my best video, but I wanted to present something that was broad and not limited to one type of Zen (Japanese Zen, Chinese Zen, etc) and not too mystical or obscure. I just wanted to give a nice, gentle overview on what Zen is, similar to my “What is Pure Land Buddhism” video. So, I hope it worked.

Posted in Buddhism, Religion, Zen | Leave a comment

A Brief History of Rinzai Zen in Japan

Ryuanji Zen Garden Snow

(Ryuanji Temple’s “garden” in the snow, taken in 2005)

After my experiences with Rinzai (臨済) Zen in Arizona and later in Seattle, I became curious about the history of Rinzai in Japan, but I was surprised to find that information is limited. Most Rinzai historical information in English focuses on Hakuin and on ancient Chinese masters, but there’s a huge gap in information on everything in between. Then I found a book called Five Mountains: The Rinzai Zen Monastic Institutions in Medieval Japan which provided a nice, readable explanation of the history. If you’re interested, I think it’s a great book to read. I wanted to write this post almost 6 months ago, but I’ve been so busy with the new baby, that I haven’t been able to write until now.

So, I wanted to share what I learned from the book, as Rinzai in Japan underwent many changes in its 800+ year history. It’s certainly not critical to Zen practice, but it’s nice to have the background anyway just for reference (i.e. “why does my temple do things the way they do?”). It’s also nice to see all the contributions Zen teachers have made across many generations.

Eisai and “Esoteric” Rinzai

The first person to bring Rinzai to Japan was the monk Eisai, who was part of the state-sponsored Tendai sect. He went to Song-Dynasty China (宋) twice, and brought back the first Rinzai lineage to Japan (along with green tea, according to tradition) on his second trip. During his second trip to China, Eisai encountered a Chinese Zen monk named Xu-an Huai-chang (虚庵懐敞, Kian Eshō in Japanese) who trained him for more than 3 years. Xu-an was also interested in esoteric Buddhism (密教, mikkyō) so Eisai was able to learn Rinzai Zen, but also keep his training as a Tendai monk. This worked well for him when he returned to Japan.

In Japan, Eisai started to setup new monasteries, introduce Zen teachings and such, but the Tendai monastery of Enryakuji (Mt. Hiei) opposed the new teachings, and Eisai teachings were banned for a few years starting in 1194. Back then, the new Zen teachings were called the “Daruma School” after Bodhidharma (daruma in Japanese). Although Eisai was able to defend himself in a treatise called the Kōzen Gokokuron (興禅護国論) or “Treatise for Promoting Zen for the Protection of the Nation”, he eventually moved to Kamakura, where Enryakuji had much less influence.

The new Kamakura government was more open to Eisai’s teachings, and Hojo Masako was impressed enough to make him an abbot of a small Zen monastery, Jufukuji, the first Zen temple in Japan. Later he was given funds to build a new temple called Kenninji (建仁時, website here). Eisai’s version of Zen continued to blend the Zen teachings from Song-Dynasty China with esoteric teachings. He also spent his life working to revive the Buddhist monastic discipline which had become lax during that period.

Kamakura Period Zen and Chinese Teachers

Eisai’s Zen community was very small, and remained small until a few generations later under the 5th shogun of Kamakura, Hojo Tokiyori (1227 – 1263), who was personally devoted to Zen and eventually become a serious disciple.

By this time, China had changed as well: the Mongols had conquered China and setup a new dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty (元). The Mongols did not destroy Buddhist institutions in China, contrary to belief, but actively supported some Zen schools (specifically the school founded by Ta-Hui), over others. Schools which were not supported by the new Mongol government focused their energy elsewhere, and monks from China began to arrive in Japan.

These Chinese monks were greatly welcomed by the Kamakura Government because they brought much-needed Zen training and discipline, but also the latest Chinese culture: Confucian learning, art, culture, poetry, etc. This helped to improve the culture and prestige of Kamakura. The first such monk was Lanqi Dao-long (蘭渓道隆, Rankei Doryu in Japanese, 1213-1278). He was already middle-aged when he came to Japan. Shogun Tokiyori consulted with Lanqi on building a new, proper Zen temple in the Chinese-style, and this became Kenchōji Temple (website here). By the time that Lanqi died, he left behind a power school of Rinzai Zen called Daikaku-ha (大覚派) which was based in Kamakura around Kenchoji.

Other monks followed after that, some more successful than others. The second monk to arrive, Wu-an Pu-ning (兀庵普寧, Gottan Funei in Japanese, 1197-1276) was already a famous monk in China when he arrived in Japan at the age of sixty. However, his stern nature, and purist approach annoyed many people in Kamakura. It is said that he refused to bow to a statue of Jizo Bodhisattva because he was a Buddha and Jizo was only a bodhisattva. Further, people in Japan had a strong anti-Mongol sentiment, and Wu-an was accused of being a spy for the Mongols (Lanqi was briefly accused too). So, after Shogun Tokiyori died, Wu-an returned to China.

On the other hand, a younger monk from Lanqi’s school, Taxiu Zhengnien (大休正念, Daikyū Shōnen, 1214-1288) was well received in Japan, and stayed for 20 years until his death, and helped contribute to Zen teachings and training through this time.

Another important monk who came later was I-shan I-ning (一山一寧, Issan Ichinei in Japanese, 1247-1317) who was an official monk from the Yuan Dynasty. The Kamakura government recognized his training and qualities and decided to make him an abbot of Kenchoji and other important monasteries in Kamakura. I-shan was well trained in many aspects of Chinese culture, and his time in Kamakura and Kyoto was highly influential to “Zen culture” at the time, and to his Japanese disciples we will see shortly.

Throughout the Kamakura Period, the Shoguns actively supported Zen institutions and monks from China continued to arrive and train Japanese monks and help bring new Buddhist training and culture as a result.

Kyoto and the Five Mountain System

Toward the end of the Kamakura Period above, the powerful monasteries in Kamakura were organized into a system that was modeled from the “5 Mountains” system in China. This was called the gozanjissetsu system (五山十刹). Specifically, the system was organized like so:

  • The top five monasteries were gozan (五山, “five mountains”) monasteries.
  • Below this were 2nd-rank monasteries called jissetsu (十刹) or jissatsu.
  • 3rd-rank temples were called shozan (諸山) which meant “various temples”.
  • Finally, many temples were left out of this system altogether. These were called rinka (林下) and considered inferior or backwater temples. As we’ll see though, this was not always true.

When the government changed from Kamakura to the new government in Kyoto (the Ashikaga Shoguns/Muromachi government), the basic system stayed the same. The only difference was which temples were Gozan temples and so on.

Eventually, the new Muromachi government decided to compromise and have 5 monasteries for both Kyoto and Kamakura, which means there were 10 Gozan temples total, 5 in Kyoto and 5 in Kamakura. The ones in Kyoto, of course, were considered more important.

During this time, the most influential monk was a Japanese monk named Musō Soseki (夢窓 疎石, 1275-1351). He had studied under the Chinese monk, I-shan I-ning, and other teachers, until he became an important teacher of the new Ashikaga Shoguns. Musō Soseki was a man of many talents. He was an excellent teacher of Zen, but also brought a lot of culture and refinement to the urban Zen culture. He was also the designer of many famous Zen gardens in Kyoto, though none of the originals survive now. Nevertheless, Musō’s lineage of monks became the most powerful lineage in Japanese Zen at the time and were frequently abbots and teachers to the Muromachi government.

Overall, the Ashikaga Shoguns were less personally interested in Zen than the Kamakura Shoguns, but they heavily promoted it as a way of under-cutting monasteries like Mt. Hiei and its army of warrior-monks (sōhei 僧兵). But also, as a way of adding more culture and civilization to Kyoto.

Rinzai Zen at this time was at the height culture. Zen training and discipline gradually declined in the urban temples, but the poetry, art, tea ceremony and sophistication reached higher and higher levels. Eminent monks at the time served as political advisors, ambassadors, and envoys too. Much of what we know as “Zen culture” now dates from this period, especially through the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, ironically the worst shogun ever.

But not everything was rosy though.

First, as the Ashikaga Shoguns weakened, they were less and less able to protect the gozan temples. Eventually, when the disastrous Onin War broke out, Kyoto was almost totally destroyed, and the gozan temple system was severely damaged, and never fully recovered. The Onin War essentially spells the end of the Gozan System of Rinzai Zen.

Also, not all Zen monks were content with this system. Two famous monks from this time, Ikkyū Sōjun (一休宗純, 1394–1481) who was the inspiration for the Japanese character, and Yōsō Sōi (養叟宗頤, 1379–1458), were dissatisfied with the Zen culture in the gozan system.

Both left the system and became abbots of a temple named Daitokuji (大徳寺), which we’ll talk about next.

Alternative Temples in Rinzai Zen

While the Gozan system grew and flourished, some temples were excluded from the system. Ironically, over time these temples became very important to Rinzai Zen today.

The temples of Daitokuji and Myōshinji were both excluded from the Gozan System. Daitokuji was a temple that had been loyal to Emperor Go-Daigo, who opposed the Ashikaga Shoguns, and so it was punished later. The temple of Myōshinji (妙心寺, website here), on the other hand, was just not that important in the first place.

The two temples had a series of important monks who rejected the worldly culture of the Gozan temples, and focused on more strict Zen practice:

  • Nanpo Jōmyō (南浦紹明 1235–1308), who founded Daitokuji.
  • Shūhō Myōchō (宗峰妙超 1282–1337), who was the disciple of Nanpo Jomyo, and
  • Kanzan Egen (関山慧玄 1277-1361), who was the disciple of Shuho Myocho and founded Myoshinji.

Kanzan is the most famous of the three. He was known as a strict Zen master, who was not interested in worldly affairs. According to tradition, even after he was famous, he lived in a small hut with a leaky roof, and served only rice crackers (senbei) to guests. Emperor Hanazono was so impressed by Kanzan Egen, that he gave Kanzan one of his villas, which became Myoshinji. Also, because of Kanzan’s efforts, he is frequently cited in Rinzai Zen lineages during ceremonies or chanting. You can read more about him here.

Anyhow, Myoshinji and Daitoku benefitted from the merchants of Sakai, a port town near Osaka, and from the new warlords who became powerful during and after the Onin War such as Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and so on. So, as the Gozan temples declined, the temples of Myoshinji and Daitokuji began to flourish.

However, eventually Myoshinji and Daitokuji eventually became victims of their own success, just like the Gozan temples. Myoshinji in particular grew very rapidly into a powerful temple, but also became more and more involved in politics, public ceremonies and business ventures and so on. By the 16th century, it was politically powerful, but monastic discipline had greatly declined. For this reason, Hakuin became a famous reformer of Myoshinji, its monastic lineage, and of Rinzai Zen as a whole.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Conclusion

The Rinzai Zen we know today descends from Hakuin, Kanzan Egen, and the Myoshinji lineage as a whole. But if you look further back, you can also see contributions (direct and indirect) by many other monks who came and went.

Posted in Buddhism, Religion, Zen | Tagged | 3 Comments

No One In Charge

Anicca vata sankhara
Upada vaya dhammino
Upakituva nirujihanti
Tesang vupasamo sukho

All conditioned things are impermanent
Their nature is to arise and pass away.
To live in harmony with this truth
Brings the highest happiness.

– Theravada Buddhist funeral chant

A while back, I posted about a Buddhist analogy of waves and water, which describes everything around us. The idea is that everything around us (including our feelings, thoughts, trends and such) are like waves: they arise, then disappear again, and then more waves arise, disappear, etc. This is a very popular analogy in Mahayana Buddhism (daijōbukkyō in Japanese 大乗仏教), but I’ve never seen it used in Theravada Buddhism (jōzabukkyō in Japanese 上座仏教).

However, when I saw this chant above today, I noticed that it basically expressed the same thing. I have noticed before that Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism often mean the same thing, but use different styles and different words to express it. Still, the meaning is the same. If someone is not familiar, they can seem like very different branches of Buddhism, but if someone is familiar enough with one kind of Buddhism, they can see the same teachings in other schools of Buddhism.

Anyhow, the title of this blog post comes from an article by respected monk, Bhikkhu Bodhi, when he says:

We learn to see the true nature of the sankharas, of our own five aggregates: as unstable, conditioned processes rolling on with no one in charge.

The Pali word sankhara means “formations”, as in something that arises from causes and conditions. In other words, the “waves” I mentioned before. ;) These waves keep rolling on, with no one in control. People keep making more waves because of things like ignorance and selfishness, and the cycle keeps going, whether you want it to or not.

The “five aggregates” (go-un 五蘊) mentioned above are the five pieces, five components, that make a living being:

  • Physical Form (色) – Your body (physical brain, etc)
  • Sensation (受) – Sight, sound, touch, etc.
  • Perception (想) – Awareness of sight, sound, touch, etc,
  • Mental Formations (行) – Thoughts like “it’s hot”, or “I see a tree”, “I smell bacon”, etc.
  • Conscious thought (識) – Further thoughts like “That’s a big tree”, or “That bacon tastes good”.

You can see the Five Aggregates mentioned in the famous Heart Sutra (hannya shingyō 般若心経) here for example:

觀自在菩薩行深般若波羅蜜多時照見五蘊皆空度一切苦厄

Kannon Bodhisattva saw into the nature of the Five Aggregates and found them equally empty [unstable, conditioned processes, with "no one in charge"] and overcame all pain

I’m digressing, but it’s interesting how these Buddhist truths get expressed both in Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.

Posted in Buddhism, Hosso, Religion, Theravada | 4 Comments