Defined by Andrew Olendzki
So there you are, happily reading the primary texts of early Buddhism in order to better understand the essential teachings of the Buddha. You get to the part that talks about a person practicing in accordance with the dhamma—knowing things directly as they really are and seeing what is impermanent as impermanent with right view. Your head is nodding in affirmation, “Yeah, that’s me all right.” Then all of a sudden you get to the next sentence: “Therefore, one should abide in the utter disgust for the aggregates” [i] (Woodward’s translation).
“Whoa! Wait a minute. What’s up with that?” You think there must be something wrong here. How can the intimate awareness of moment-to-moment phenomena, the opening to states just as they are, lead to such a yucky response? We all know the monks and nuns are encouraged to contemplate death, the disintegration of the body in cemeteries, and other such, well, monastic things. But surely a lay Buddhist vipassana practitioner (for example) deserves a more positive outlook on life from all this mindful, conscious awareness.