The Five Skandhas

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The Five Skandhas

Post by sherab zangpo on Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:20 am

Discuss the five skandhas.
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Re: The Five Skandhas

Post by sherab zangpo on Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:39 am

The five skandhas are.

1. Rupa (form)

2. Vedana (feeling)

3. Samjna (perception)

4. Samakara (karmic formation)

5. Vijnana (consciousness)


Five different types of experiences, events or dharmas.


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Re: The Five Skandhas

Post by muni on Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:15 am


THE AGGREGATES 🐝 Phung Po lNga Po.

A 'person' can be described as a number of phenomena into a single working unit. In Western philosophy, one usually refers to Body, Mind and (sometimes) Soul or Spirit. In Buddhism, the Five Aggregates (Skandhas in Skt.) are used to analyse a person. Please note that the terminology can be confusing, as e.g. the term 'Feeling' refers to something very specific here: :

1. Form - the body (rupa Skt.)
2. Primary Consciousness or Perception- the five sense consciousnesses (smell, touch, taste, seeing and hearing) and mental consciousness, in other words, direct perception (samjna Skt.)
3. Feeling - this refers only to the mental separation of perceptions into pleasant, unpleasant and neutral (nothing more). (vedana in Skt.)
4. Recognition, Consciousness, Discrimination or Distinguishing Awareness - in many ways similar to the discriminating intellect which makes us realise the difference between a chair and a flower. (vijnana in Skt.)
5. Compositional Factors, Volition - these are all other remaining mental processes, in general "thoughts". (samskara Skt.)
To begin with, it is interesting to see that four out of five aggregates are concerning the mind, and they do not directly correspond to the divisions made in Western psychology at all. Furthermore, the distinctions in Buddhist psychology are made from the point of view of how to obtain liberation and buddhahood; certainly not to figure out how 'the brain works'.
Simply said, in Buddhism, the brain is regarded as a part of the body where many of the instructions of the mind are led to the other parts of the body, it is not regarded as the 'factory of thoughts'; thoughts are purely a function of the (non-physical) mind.

"From contact comes feeling.
From feeling comes reaction.
This is what keeps us in the cycle of birth and death.
Our reactions to our feelings are our passport to rebirth."
Ayya Khema

To use a simple example of how this works, let's say: something touches our hand:
- This is physical contact, and (as we know from Western science) our nerve cells pick up the movement of the skin, and translate it into energy (more subtle part of the Body).
- This energy is then picked up by Primary Consciousness/Perception, which is an aspect of the mind, in Buddhism, this is actually called the Contact (see below as the 5th. Omnipresent Mental Factor); the contact between the physical and the mental aspects.
- Next, the mental process of Feeling evaluates the Perception and decides it to be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
- Simultaneously, Recognition/Discrimination gets to work in finding out what the thing is touching my hand, is it pressure or heat, etc. and is it related to other information; maybe I see a table near my hand and consider it likely that my hand must be touching the table.
- Based on the Feeling and Discrimination, the mind creates the Compositional Factors/Volition, which are for example, the reaction to the hand to withdraw if it is unpleasant, an instruction to the eyes to check what is touching the hand, possibly projections/thoughts like 'it must be this bothersome fly again' or 'I am touching the table I am walking past' etc.
Dalai Lama. _/\_

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Re: The Five Skandhas

Post by muni on Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:32 am

When aggregates appear together is there in the ignorant mind the illusion of self produced; a self that exists as an unchanging entity that charactarizes us and that one must be pleased and protected. 🦋

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Re: The Five Skandhas

Post by muni on Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:12 am

The Dhyana Buddhas in accordance with The Five Skandas. sunny

Form = Vairocana or called Sang Gya Nam Par Nang Zad.

Consciousness = Akshobhya or Called Sang Gya Mi Kyod Pa.

Perception = Amithaba or called Sang Gya Öd Pak Me.

Feeling = Ratnasambhava or called Sang Gya Rinchen Jung Dan.

Mental formation = Amoghasiddhi or called Sang Gya Dön yöd Drub Pa.

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Re: The Five Skandhas

Post by muni on Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:11 am

Dharma Talk: The Five Skandhas Wheel Lama Surya Das.



When we look inside -- when we wonder who and what we are and what's going on, when we ask who or what am I, who is experiencing our experience -- what do we find, if anything? Who am I? What am I? Where is the experiencer? Is it in my head? My brain? My heart? My legs? What do we find? Do we really exist as we think we do? Am I different than you? Are we who we think we are? That's the main subject of self-inquiry in Dharma -- to know one's self; to know one's true nature; to realize who and what we all are; to recognize the Buddha-nature, the transpersonal, innate nature, not just our superficial, momentary, conditioned personality, which is just the tip of the iceberg.

The original teacher of Buddhism in this world (Lord Buddha, the Awakened One, 563-483 B.C., India) gave his idea about who and what we are. We can use that as a framework, rather than just wandering around with "Oh, I don't know who I am" or "Who could know?" or "Who knows," always passing the buck. In truth the buck stops here, in your own lap. That's the bad news. But that's also the good news -- that mastery is in one's hands. We can know ourselves, as Socrates (among others) exhorted us. And this self-knowledge will make us free.
We have, or we are, a form. But what else are we? Are we just a body? Are we just flesh and blood, from dust to dust, as it says? The Buddha said we are the five skandhas. The word skandha is a tough word to translate. It means heap, aggregate, or component of individuality. We are five of these. Just check it out and let's see what it means, and what else there might be, if anything at all.

First, form: Solidity, earth element, shape.
Second, feelings: Sensations. Not just emotional feelings, but also physical sensations and so on. Whatever we feel.
The third skandha is perceptions: Experiences, like thoughts, sights, sounds, and so on. In the second and third skandhas, in feelings and perceptions, liking and not liking arise. That's when the whole problem, the whole duality, the whole push and shove starts. The entire, exhausting treadmill or roller coaster of ups and downs.
The fourth is will or volition: Intending to do things. That's where karma comes in. Liking and not liking arise, then from that devolves reactions. Reactions rather than freedom and proactivity.
Our form feels things, perceives things this way or that way, liking or not liking. Then actions or intentions push or pull, trying to get more, get less, ignore it, or get away from it. Avoidance, denial, greed, demandingness, attachment, and so on, equals dissatisfaction and misery.
And fifth is consciousness, or as Buddhism says, consciousnesses: States of mind.


That's what we are, according to the enlightened perspective of Buddha. Has anybody found anything else that they think we are that is not included in those five? So where is the soul? Where is the ego, the id, and the super ego in that scheme? It's interesting. If you analyze, maybe you feel guilty or depressed, or maybe you feel victimized, or maybe you feel powerful -- which skandha does that fit in? You can then see that all of the skandhas, these heaps, these piles, are bunches of stuff themselves. Like a pile of sand, a whirling composite of forces. There's no fixed entity anywhere. The body changes all the time, right? Do we look the same way we looked five or ten or twenty years ago? Every seven years every cell in the body changes completely. Not to mention how our mind is changing all the time. And our feelings, sensations, and perceptions.

So who or what are we? Who am I? Ask yourself that simple, utterly profound question. Who or what am I? Who is experiencing one's own experience, right now, this very moment? Feel it, sense it; don't just think and analyze. Who is present, in yourself, right now?!
Blake said exuberance is beauty. I like that. We can fantasize exuberantly about ourselves -- we are an eternal soul, we are light, and so on. We can all make up our own notions if we choose. But it's all equally made up, exuberantly, creatively made up. We create and experience our reality. It comes out of our own psychological and karmic conditioning. So all of these five skandhas are composite, like congeries, whirling groups of forces, just like the body is. Not a fixed thing. The feelings, sensations, perceptions, intentions, states of consciousness -- where is that "what am I"? Where is your immortal soul? Where is your who you think you are? Check it out. That's the exercise. That's the direction one can look when one goes more precisely into who or what am I and what's happening here.
One's own name and form and self-concept are more like a constellation being named, with lines drawn in between the points of light to shape into a form -- a concept superimposed upon reality, somewhat different than reality itself.
This analysis leads to the realization of the three characteristic marks of existence: Anicca, anatta, and dukkha -- impermanence, ungovernable or not-self, and dissatisfactoriness. We can see that the body is anicca, impermanent, changeable. This is not dogma; this is just how it is, at least according to the enlightened vision of Buddha. Tell me -- is it right?
And the body is dukkha, ultimately dissatisfying. Who can get lasting, ultimate fulfillment from a body, from a sensual experience? Even the highest body experiences are fleeting and ephemeral, leaving us thirsting for more.
The most tricky fact of life of these three is anatta -- not-self, ungovernable, selfless. Is the body anatta? Is there a governor?

Like a Star @ heaven Who's running the show? Like a Star @ heaven That's the meaning of anatta, not-self, which opens into great sunyata or emptiness, openness -- not just of the self, but of all created things. No independent existent entity anywhere. You can call this thing in front of me a gong, but you could also call it metal. You could also call it brown. You could call it a musical instrument. Or you could call it an antique. It depends on how you relate to it, how you conceive of it and label it. Similarly, everything depends on conceptual imputation. Nothing is just a particular thing. It's all interrelated. Everything is relative.
Things can be viewed from any number of different angles. Look deeply, explore reality in your own experience, moment by moment. Find out for yourself. It can be incredibly rewarding.
We are not who we think we are. One person says she's a woman. Someone else says there's a beautiful woman. Someone else says there's a young woman. Someone else might say there's an American. From the point of view of the aliens or the animals, what would they say? Who knows, but it would be quite different, right? It all depends on your perspective. So we are not who we think we are. We all have these fantasies, almost like superstitions, about ourselves; but when you check, there's form, feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness. That's what comprises our individual existence, according to the enlightened Buddha.

This is a very interesting reduction of all of our sandcastles and fancies about ourselves. It's not meant to be depressing, but to introduce how things are, to introduce enlightened view or complete understanding. There is karma, there is cause and effect, and just as there is a way to perpetrate suffering, there is a way to end suffering, through insight and understanding how things actually work and who and what we are. It is not beyond our grasp, when we apply ourselves to the spiritual work, the inner investigation. So turn the spotlight, the searchlight, inwards; discover yourself.
This kind of deconstructionist approach can be applied to anything, so we can understand that things are not exactly what they seem to be. We can relinquish some of our clinging and our concepts about things, including mine and yours and our incessant craving: I want and I must have. All that falls apart gradually when you again and again see through the illusion that these fixed entities are real and that this fixed entity -- one's self -- is real. Then selfish grasping loosens, and we are more naturally at ease with everyone and everything, with things just as they are.

States of consciousness change all the time. There is no one state of consciousness that is lasting or fulfilling. So we stop taking refuge in any particular, temporary state of mind. As we grow up and mature, we get less and less idealistic. We get more disillusioned about the pleasures of the senses as being really fulfilling. We seek more deeply and see that it's not just the physical sensations that are fulfilling, that are the answer to our existential questions, to the crises we all face today. Pleasure and success alone is not enough, not what we really want. It's not just beautiful perceptions or sights or sounds, or hearing beautiful music all day that's going to answer our quest. It's not material possessions. It's not just having the right state of mind that's going to answer our quest. States of mind are always changing -- no matter how high, no matter how ecstatic we become, no matter what new drug or new meditation comes around; it's just another trip. This is not about getting high. This is about the inherent freedom and wholeness of being.

Like a Star @ heaven Authentic Dharma makes us free. Like a Star @ heaven
So when we look into ourselves, it might be interesting to reflect on these five skandhas. You can read about them more deeply in different books, in the sutras as well as in modern books. Apply this analysis to yourself as a touchstone, which is where it really counts. That is where the rubber meets the road, where movement and spiritual growth actually occurs, through one's own regular spiritual practice.
What is all this me and mine, my body? We can say "my body." No one is going to argue if I say this is my body. Except for the Lord of Death! I never have had an original thought in my whole life, and I'm supposed to be a poet and creative. My mind; it's a joke. My intentions. Somebody said about a political leader, "He's just like a pillow. He always shows the imprint of whatever head was just leaning on it." I'm just passing on what's been passed to me. My wife and my this and my that; it's illusion, and yet we're invested in it. It's fool's gold, but we invest our whole life and energy in it, with very small returns.

Me, myself, and I: The Three Stooges! It's fun, it's fine, yet it's absurd. Let's keep a bigger perspective, and not be lost in illusory appearances.
All of this analysis and examination can actually help support the meditative process, which is ultimately non-analytical and non-conceptual. It can help us have some basis for letting go, for relaxing and allowing, for relinquishing a lot of the dualism and selfishness which drives all the incessant pushing and the pulling. (I want, I need. I'm happy, I'm sad.) All of our neurosis, psychosis, and pathology. All our dissatisfying behavior.

According to Buddhist medicine -- and there are Buddhist medical tantras and teachings -- all the poisons, all the kleshas (conflicting emotions and inner obscurations), all the illnesses come from the mind. It's not just saying that everything is psychosomatic; it's a little deeper than that. It's that it's all karmic. It's all effects of causes that we create through negative actions, unwholesome ways of being, our energies getting tied up and knotted. The diseases come from the imbalance of the energies and the humors, which are related to the movements of the spirit and the mind. It's all interconnected. And just as the causes of illness and suffering are within us, true health, happiness, and well-being are within us, too.
We can heal many of these illnesses and imbalances from within, as it were, by working with the energy, the prana, and through purifying the heart and mind, realigning our karma, balancing our karma skillfully. Once we see that it is not just rigidly me and mine, that's it's a process -- everything is in process -- we can see where to skillfully adjust. Where to apply the lever, how to use the rudder. A little rudder can move the whole boat. If the boat is going in the direction of madness or lack of health or unhappiness, a little steering is called for. It's no big deal. We don't have to commit suicide and hope we get a better boat next time. To commit suicide so we get out of the rat race completely is a big mistake. There are other alternatives, and I think it is incumbent upon us to find and adopt them, rather than to just give up and give in to despair, hopelessness, and pain. We can transcend, we can go beyond, we can heal our so-called souls if not our bodies and minds. There is always hope.

I think this five skandha scheme is a very interesting one, in the sense that it can begin to raise some very interesting questions and help us dig deeper, rather than just having a vague, amorphous kind of understanding. We are individual. We are each responsible for ourselves and our karma and our relations. Our individuality is comprised of these five aggregates or skandhas. We can work with that. It is actually an expression of the Buddha-nature. _/\_ _/\_ _/\_

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Re: The Five Skandhas

Post by sherab zangpo on Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:32 am

Muni la, thank you for sharing Surya Das la teaching style. I think it most certainly helps beginners like me to understand in a simple way, to present the teacher Shakyamunis sutra lessons in an easy way!

:yoda:

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Re: The Five Skandhas

Post by muni on Fri May 01, 2009 10:33 am

_/\_ _/\_

Phayul Changchub Dargyeeling Teaching.

Regarding the Buddhist Concept of Non-Attachment:Avalokitesvara Perceived That All Skandas Are Empty

Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom,
saw clearly that the five aspects of human existence are empty, and so released himself from suffering.
His enlightenment is summarized in the [b]Heart of the Prajna-Paramita Sutra, also called Heart Sutra;

which is the shortest and the most popular sutra in Buddhism.

During his practice of contemplation and illumination the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara attained Truth.
By means of his minutely subtle Dharma practice he penetrated the five skandhas, perceiving them as empty.
The five skandhas, namely form, feelings, perceptions, volitions and consciousness continually provide
five occasions for craving and clinging. Two types of craving and clinging characterize the human mind:

1) Craving and clinging to form and
2) Craving and clinging to mind.
Clinging to form is the domain of the form skandha; the remaining four skandhas constitute the domain
of the mind and the clinging to mind is generated in those four realms.

All our grasping, manifested in our attachments and aversions, is generated and developed due to the activity of these four skandhas. Craving and clinging emerge at birth, and the Buddha-dharma aims to sever them.

The initial clinging is ego bound. Ego is the anchor of our volition to grasp and to possess, the root of our
attachments and aversions, and via these, the root of our suffering. Clinging to the body as the true self begins
to manifest in the early childhood: Normally, the six organs produce six types of data, six kinds of consciousness
and the four skandhas along with them; jointly these constitute the delusory ego. Craving and clinging is
spontaneous at birth; at that time, ego is formulated simultaneously with the form skandha. The rest of our
existence is built up by our countless ego-affirming acts involving all the skandhas, but most prominently
the skandha of feeling; its domain contains pleasant, unpleasant and neutral or indifferent types of feelings.

The body depends on the mind to be provided with pleasant occasions and protected from discomfort.
There must be thinking, i.e., perceptions, followed by action, and action means volition. They, in turn,
require established bases of knowledge, and that is the role of the consciousness skandha. Children are sent
to school to learn, to acquire knowledge that prepares them for the future. When there is sufficient knowledge,
there is action, invariably preceded by thinking as planning, imagining, remembering and so on. The body
then receives the support it needs. There is ego--grasping, and confusion is generated by the five skandhas as
the ego-notion imposes itself on the process of experience.

Once it has become clear beyond any doubt that this present body is not the self, that one can only say "mine",
or "my body", all delusion regarding the five skandhas is broken off, and ignorance along with it. What a pity
that worldlings get so deeply confused and completely fail to understand this brilliant doctrine; grasping
the skandhas and the ego-notion, they twist the data to fit their own picture as to how reality should be. Actually,
the body is not the self; it is like a house that I might call mine all right, but to consider it to be myself would be
a ridiculous error. In the same way, I can't say "this body is myself' but I can say "this body is mine."

What is the real self? Our Original Nature is our real self. It depends on the body temporarily; the body is not
different from a house. A house is completed and then gradually deteriorates; similarly, the body has birth and
death and the part in between. Our True Nature (real self), on the other hand, has neither birth nor death.
It is enduring and unchanging. The teaching of Real Self and of illusory ego is basic to all Buddhadharma.
When it is understood, clinging is easily broken off.

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Re: The Five Skandhas

Post by muni on Sat May 02, 2009 10:06 am

sherab zangpo wrote:Muni la, thank you for sharing Surya Das la teaching style. I think it most certainly helps beginners like me to understand in a simple way, to present the teacher Shakyamunis sutra lessons in an easy way!

:yoda:

Sherab

Had not understood, apologize. 🚽

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Re: The Five Skandhas

Post by muni on Sat May 16, 2009 7:20 am

"There are people who can speak with expensive words about the Dharma without having had any true personal experience of it.

But even their fine words overflow, the fire of the five poissons (dwelling in that compounded skandas-appearance) is all the time burning inside.
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche."


Those who can apply the instructions of teaching to themselves, can show the jewel in simple words. _/\_

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