A human being is composed of Five aggregates (skandas): form, feelings, perception, mental formations, and consciousness.
Form – Means our body including the five sense organs and our nervous system.
Feelings – There is a river of feelings inside of us. Our feelings are formations, impermanent and without substance.
Perceptions – Noticing, naming, conceptualizing, perceiver and perceived. All suffering is born from wrong perceptions. Understanding, the fruit of meditation, can dissolve our wrong perceptions and liberate us. “Where there is perception, there is deception.” -Diamond Sutra.
Mental Formations – There are 51 mental formations present in our store consciousness in the form of seeds. Every time a seed is touched it manifests on the upper level of our consciousness as a mental formation. With daily practice we are able to nourish and develop wholesome mental formations and transform unhealthy ones. Freedom, non-fear, and peace are the result of this practice.
Consciousness – Consciousness in this context means store consciousness, which is the basis of everything that we are, the ground of all our mental formations. Consciousness contains all other aggregates and is the basis of their existence. Consciousness is simultaneously both collective and individual.
The five aggregates are interconnected or as Thich Nhat Hahn says, “Inter-are.”
If you learn how to practice love, compassion, joy, and equanimity, you will know how to heal the illness, anger, sorrow, insecurity, sadness, hatred, loneliness and unhealthy attachments.
Whoever practices the Four Immeasurable Minds together with the Seven Factors of Awakening, the Four Noble Truths, and the Noble Eightfold Path will arrive at deep enlightenment.
The first aspect of true love in Buddhism is friendship.
The second aspect of true love is compassion.
The third aspect of true love is joy. True love always brings joy to us and the ones we love.
The fourth element of true love is equanimity: nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even mindedness, letting go. If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging it is not true love. This is the wisdom of equality.
Costa Rica is one of the most Biodiverse countries on planet earth. While we were there we were able to enjoy a rich variety of flora in vivid living color. I share some of that experience with you in the following pictures.
Outside Child, Allison Russell’s extraordinary debut album is “about resilience, survival, transcendence, the redemptive power of art, community, connection, and chosen family.” It is also about a journey out of an abusive background and of breaking the cycle of abuse. Her first solo album, released just this month, rises above the confessional to the spiritual. It is full of emotional intelligence and raw power. Her voice is plaintive, haunting, and heartrending. The song Nightflyer from the album is a perfect example. She is appearing tonight at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville; I wish I could be there. She has performed with Our Native Daughters, a group of banjo-playing Black women at the invitation of Rhiannon Giddens. I give you Allison Russell.