The Four Noble Truths & The Contaminated Five Aggregates

This article discusses the book ‘The Four Noble Truths’ by Geshe Tashi Tsering (ISBN 9780861712700). You can learn about Geshe Tashi Tsering at

The five aggregates are our body and four facets of the mind:

  1. Form (our body).
  2. Feeling (raw sensory data).
  3. Discrimination (interpretation and labeling).
  4. Compositional factors (various mental processes, including the process of volition).
  5. Consciousness (awareness, the capacity for experience).

In other words, the five aggregates are the sum total of our current state of unenlightened existence. On pg.41 Geshe Tashi Tsering describes our five aggregates as contaminated.

Our current five aggregates are contaminated because they are products of ignorance and delusion. Very simply, because our aggregates are contaminated, we suffer.

In other words, the five aggregates are the result of our previous ignorance and delusion in the context of the 12LDO (12 Links of Dependent Origination). Geshe Tashi Tsering states that the five aggregates are contaminated, but it is important to make the distinction that the five aggregates are the resultant and not the cause of our suffering.

In the 12LDO includes the fourth item Name & Form which are the result of past delusion and karmic actions. On pg.95 Geshe Tashi Tsering illustrates how ignorance, clinging (attachment), and craving (grasping) are the delusions that give rise to our negative karmic actions, and these karmic actions performed under the influence of delusions give rise to results including Name & Form.

In other words, we should look to the source of our problems rather and seek out a solution. In the case of our current suffering in the five aggregates, the source of our problems is the ignorance of the law of karma and our self-grasping.

Love, @HappyOps