This Old Heap


A “being,” according to the Buddha, is made up of “aggregates,” or “heaps.” These, of course, are common translations for the Buddhist term “skandha,” which originally could refer to a “mass,” “heap,” “pile,” “gathering,” “bundle” or even “tree trunk.” So, we are an amalgamation of changeable things, in five layers from “form,” the body, to “consciousness.” Even the continuity we feel over time is included in the skandhas, and this offers important clues to our practice.

Co-abbot Kyogen Carlson, one set of “heaps,” offered a Dharma Talk on this to all other sets of heaps that gathered together into one big heap on Sunday, July 27, at Jason Lee Elementary School. Look at the Scientific American article on “Habits” he refers to.

Kyogen Carlson