Re: Five What?

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Posted by David ( on October 04, 2000 at 10:20:10:

In Reply to: Five What? posted by Aaron on October 03, 2000 at 20:55:36:


As has already been posted, they are form, sensation, perception, volition, and consciousness. But repetitiion is good way to learn. :)

As Andreas has mentioned, in traditional Buddhist literature form consists of earth, water, wind, and fire, the "four elements." In more modern terms we would call these solids, liquids, gases, and energy. Since energy and matter are only transformations of the same, they are all form. Also as Andreas has said, with regards to the five skandhas (which comprise our notion of self) form does regard the body. But as much as we identify our self with other forms, it also consists of those. Such as if I am a stamp collector I may have a strong notion of self associated with the form of stamps. Or if I have a very strong opinion about a certain movie, that movie is a form that makes up part of my notion of self.

For sensation, it is dependent on the five physical senses, and the mental sense, but this term "sensation" actually refers to a mental activity that senses something as "beneficial" "harmful" or "neutral" according to the sutras. This "sensation" is the basic mental sensation of whether a thing is "beneficial" "harmful" or "neutral." Sometimes it is also translated as "good" "bad" or "neutral". If my understanding is correct, theis is a "pure function" mental activity whereas the next skandha "perception" has the potential for impurity, impurity here being valuation based on the notion of self.

Perception, as Andreas again has said, is the distintion, the classification of that which has come into the consciousness. Such as a tree, a man, a woman. Also characteristics such as tall, wide, green, slow. It also, however, includes self-based judgements such as beautiful, ugly, boring, etc.

Volition is the response of the mind to what is perceived, it is the extra steps, the mental action, the intention that arises whether it be an intention of desire, aversion, or a neutral intention. And, yes, it is here that karma is created... by our intention, by our action. Some teachers include the actual bodily and verbal actions that follow since they are just the manifestation of the mental action. And if this skandha is responsible for karma as the sutras say, their inclusion makes sense.

Finally is consciousness. It is the awareness dependent on the six sense organs, the six sense objects, and their contact.

The first skandha is the material factor (form), the last four are mental factors. The five skandhas are not REALLY separate things. They are an expedient analysis of our physical and mental aspects that allow us to think about them, contemplate them, and use them as a method of practice. They also are not a linear occurance, but happen cyclicly and in branched pathways.

They happen. Even for an enlightened master here on earth they happen. Without one skandha, they would be like a block wood. However, the so-called five skandhas of an enlightened master are not tainted by the illusion of self, permanence, or attachment. They are pure function. We, however, think the five skandhas are some permanent, wonderful things, and that they make up and/or define our self. That's why we suffer.

Hope this adds to the info,

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