Dharma Mom

Five Skandhas

The Five Skandhas, also known as the Five Aggregates, are a key concept in Buddhist philosophy and psychology. They refer to the five aspects of our experience that come together to create the illusion of a separate self. Understanding the skandhas can help us to see through this illusion and gain a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.

The Five Skandhas are:

  1. Form (rupa): This refers to our physical body and the physical world around us. It includes all the sensory experiences we have through our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body.
  2. Sensations (vedana): This refers to the feelings that arise in response to our sensory experiences. These feelings can be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
  3. Perceptions (sanna): This refers to the mental images and concepts that we use to interpret our sensory experiences. For example, we may perceive a certain object as a chair, a table, or a plant.
  4. Mental formations (sankhara): This refers to the mental processes that create our thoughts, emotions, and intentions. These mental formations are shaped by our past experiences and habits.
  5. Consciousness (vijnana): This refers to the awareness that arises in response to our sensory experiences and mental formations. Consciousness is not a permanent or unchanging entity, but rather a constantly changing flow of experiences.

According to Buddhist philosophy, the skandhas are all impermanent and constantly changing. They arise in dependence on one another and are empty of any inherent existence or self-nature. The illusion of a separate self arises when we mistake the skandhas for something permanent and unchanging.

For example, we may identify with our physical body (rupa) and think of it as “me” or “mine.” We may also identify with our thoughts and emotions (sankhara) and think of them as part of our self. However, in reality, all the skandhas are impermanent and constantly changing. They arise and pass away in response to conditions and are not under our control.

By understanding the skandhas, we can begin to see through the illusion of a separate self and gain a deeper understanding of the nature of reality. We can also begin to cultivate a greater sense of equanimity and compassion, as we see that all beings are subject to the same impermanence and interdependence.

In Buddhist practice, the skandhas are often used as a framework for meditation and contemplation. By observing the skandhas and seeing how they arise and pass away, we can gain insight into the nature of reality and the nature of our own experience. This can lead to a greater sense of peace and happiness, as we see through the illusions of our mistaken perceptions and gain a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.

Proudly powered by WordPress