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Jul 14th
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Home Teachings The Five Aggregates The Burden of the Five Aggregates - Upadana - Clingings

The Burden of the Five Aggregates - Upadana - Clingings

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Article Index
The Burden of the Five Aggregates
Upadana - Clingings
Carrying the Burden
Who Carries the Burden
Individual and Khanda
Purity of Gifts
Short Summary
Cause of Burden
Craving for Sensual Pleasures
Craving for Existence
Craving for Non-Existence
Throw Down the Burden
All Pages

Upadana – Clingings

Upadana means clinging or grasping, and it is manifested in four ways:-

(1) kamupadana, clinging to sensual pleasures:

Pleasurable sensations arise when we come into contact with sensuous objects. Because of these sensation, a desire to enjoy them is developed in us, and we get attached to them. Our attachment may relate to sensations aroused within us or sensations prompted from outside. When the male desires the female and vice versa, there is affinity between the sexes. It is an example of strong attachment, and we yearn for the pleasurable sensations which we come into contact at present as well as those which we hope to have contact with in the future. We desire to have what is hard to obtain, and when we have what is not easily obtainable, we cannot part it easily. This is attachment to sensual existence, but our desires do not rest here, they go beyond to the groups of mind and matter. As we cling to them, there develops in us an attachment to corporeal and formless existences. These are also kamupadana, clinging to sensuous objects..

(2) ditthupadana, clinging to wrong views:

Clinging to wrong views or beliefs is ditthupadana. In general, we are attracted to ideologies. Hence it is not unusual for us to become attached to this or that ideology, moderately or intensely. But in this particular case, we are concerned with wrong ideologies or beliefs. There are wrong beliefs about morality and the existence of self or ego. I shall in the first instance, leave aside these two which will be treated separately later on. The belief that there is no kamma, action, whether wholesome or unwholesome, there is no resultant of kamma , and there is no hereafter fall into the category of clinging to wrong views .

(3) silabbatupadana, clinging to wrong religious practices:

Clinging to wrong religious practices that do not lead to cessation of the round of rebirths and to realization of nibbāna is clinging to wrong religious practices. It means performance of religious rites not consistent with the path of purification. It includes cattle-practices and dog-practices which stem from the belief that by behaving like cattle and dogs, one gains salvation from suffering. Other similar beliefs include worshipping animals such as cattles and dogs, devas, sakkas, brahmas, or powerful lords and masters with a view to gain liberation from human miseries. The belief that all sins will be expiated if one bathes in the Ganges or makes sacrifice of animals is another example of wrong religious practices. To put it briefly, all religious rites and practices where the Noble Eightfold Path is absent cannot be regarded as wholesome deeds that lead to the cessation of suffering.

(4) attavadupadana, clinging to the doctrine of self or ego:

Clinging to the idea of self is attavadupadana. There are many theories about the origin of life. Some relate to the belief that a piece of living matter resides in the body, and one exists when that matter is living, but one's existence ceases at the moment it dies. This way of thinking is clinging to the doctrine of self or ego, which means that existence terminates completely with death, and it is called nihilism. Another ideology is sassataditthi where atta, self or ego, is presumed to be indestructible, and is therefore eternal. Since at its death it transfers itself into another body, it is called eternalism.

In the final analysis, the four kinds of clings originated from desire or craving and wrong view or wrong belief. Clinging to sensual pleasures belongs to craving while the remaining three clingings belond to wrong views. The former is based on sensuous objects while the latter is on wrong thinking.


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The Dhammapada

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