The Formation Of Life (生命的形成)

The theory of how lives are formed is quite similar across various Buddhist medicine systems. Here, I would just refer to the formation of life in the perspective of Thai medicine to explore the relationships between the '4 elements and 5 aggregates'.

According to many texts, when a man and a woman mated, the seed of the 5 aggregates which is the sperm enters into an egg hence forming fetus. This is the beginning of 'form' (色蕴) and subsequently the consciousness (意识), feeling (受), perception (想) and activity (行) follow.

The product of 5 aggregates forms the '24 types of body shape' (形体蕴), the seeds of 4 elements (earth, water, fire and wind), 32 types of body parts, 21 types of organs related to consciousness and 8 types of perceptions. There are altogether 89 types of (genetic) matters (遗传基因) hidden within the 'mind' (心识) of a sperm that enters into an egg of a mother's womb. A life is thus formed. This new life is nourished and born, grow and mature under the influences of the 4 elements.

So, from the above description, it is fair to say that the 5 aggregates and the 4 elements are interdependent to each other. 

In Thai medicine the relationships of 4 elements and 5 aggregates are described as:

1. Seed of birth (生于种): A baby is born by the union of the 5 aggregates and seed of 4 elements.

2. Seed of existence (现于种): Refers to 89 types of life source enter into womb forming human body.

3. Seed of seed (种于种): The maintenance of proper functioning and growing of organs under nourishment of 4 elements.

The above reflects the core concepts of 'the precedence of 4 elements over the 5 aggregates' and '4 elements rules inside body while the 5 aggregates affects external'.