Liberation through Non-Clinging: An Exploration of the Five Aggregates

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The goal of the Buddhist path is sometimes defined as “liberation through non-clinging.” But what is meant by clinging? In the First Noble Truth, the Buddha proclaimed that there is dukkha (suffering, stress, distress, unsatisfactoriness), and he defined dukkha in short as “the five clinging-aggregates” of form, feeling-tone, perception, formations, and consciousness. To have any possibility of experiencing the freedom of non- clinging, we first need to understand the nature of our clinging more fully. In this five-day retreat, we will explore the five clinging-aggregates through a combination of silent sitting and walking meditation, sutta study, and interpersonal practice in pairs and small groups using the guidelines of Insight Dialogue. Practicing in solitude and together, we can directly experience not only the dukkha of clinging, but the possibility of its release.

Learning Intentions:

To cultivate an experiential understanding of how clinging to the five aggregates causes suffering; how to free oneself from these different areas of clinging; to have new understanding about how clinging/identification constructs a sense of self; and how releasing clinging brings insight into anatta or not-self.