Skandha, Five Aggregates, Buddhist philosophy - Informative & researched article on Skandha, Five Aggregates, Buddhist philosophy
 Indianetzone: Largest Free Encyclopedia of India with thousand of articlesIndian Philosophy

 Art & Culture|Entertainment|Health|Reference|Sports|Society|Travel
Forum  | Free E-magazine  | RSS Feeds  
History of India|Indian Temples|Indian Museums|Indian Literature|Geography of India|Flora & Fauna|Indian Purans|Indian Philosophy|Indian Administration|Indian Languages|Education
Home > Reference > Indian Philosophy > Buddhist Philosophy > Skandha
Skandha, Five Aggregates, Buddhist philosophy
A group of five dimensions of humanity and their self experience sums up Five Aggregates in Buddhist philosophy.
 Skandha, Five Aggregates, Buddhist philosophyIn Buddhist phenomenology and soteriology, the five skandhas (Sanskrit) or khandhas (Pali) are five "aggregates" which categorise all individual experience, among which there is no "self" that can be found. A frequently asserted metaphysical corollary is that a "person" is made up of these five aggregates.

In the Theravada tradition, suffering originates when one identifies with or otherwise clings to an aggregate; thus, suffering is eliminated by renouncing attachments to aggregates. The Mahayana tradition additionally puts forth that ultimate freedom is realised by deeply pervading the inherently empty nature of all aggregates.

Outside of Buddhist didactic contexts, "skandha" can mean mass, heap, pile, bundle or tree trunk.

Buddhist doctrine distinguishes five aggregates:
  • "form" or "matter" (Sanskrit, Pali rupa): external and internal matter. Externally, rupa is the physical world. Internally, rupa comprises the material body and the physical sense organs.

  • "sensation"or "feeling" (Sanskrit, Pali vedana): sensing an object as either pleasant or unpleasant or neutral.

  • "perception", "conception", "apperception", "cognition" or "discrimination" (Sanskrit samjña, Pali sanna): registers whether an object is recognised or not (for example, the sound of a bell or the shape of a tree).

  • "mental formations", "volition", or "compositional factors" (Sanskrit samskara, Pali sankhara): all sorts of mental habits, thoughts, ideas, opinions, impulsions, and decisions sparked by an object.

  • "consciousness" (Sanskrit vijñana, Pali vinnana):

  • (a) In the Nikayas: cognisance.
    (b) In the Abhidhamma: a series of speedily changing interconnected disconnnected acts of cognisance.
    (c) In Mahayana sources: the root that supports all experience.

    In the Pali Canon, the majority of discourses concentring on the five aggregates discusses them as a foundation for understanding and attaining release from suffering, without describing relationships between the aggregates themselves. However, from some canonical preachings, a causal relationship between the five aggregates can be deduced.

    The following exemplify such relational dimensions:
    Form (rupa) originates from experientially irreducible physical/physiological phenomena.

    Form - in terms of an external object (like a sound) and its connected internal sense organ (like the ear) - gives rise to consciousness (viññ?na).

    The concurrence of an object, its sense organ and the associated consciousness (viññana) is called "contact" (phassa).

    From the contact of form and consciousness originate the three mental (nama) aggregates of feeling (vedan?), perception (sañña) and mental formation (sankhara).

    The mental aggregates can then in turn give rise to additional consciousness that leads to the developing of additional mental aggregates.

    In this outline, form, the mental aggregates, and consciousness are mutually dependent.

    Other Buddhist literature has described the aggregates as arising in a linear or progressive mode, from form to feeling to perception to mental formations to consciousness.

    (Last Updated on : 26/04/2011)
    More Articles in Buddhist Philosophy  (51)
    Recently Updated Articles in Indian Philosophy
    Concept of Ethics in Buddhism
    Concept of Ethics in Buddhism is usually based on the elucidated perspective of Lord Buddha or of his followers. Moral instructions or the Concept of Ethics are included in the Buddhist scriptures.
    Dravyas or Substances in Jain Philosophy
    Dravyas or Substances occupy an important place in the Jain school of thought. The Jain philosophers believe that the universe or the ultimate reality is made up of animate and the inanimate objects.
    Lord Pushpadanta
    Lord Pushpadanta was the Ninth Tirthankara among the twenty-four Jain Tirthankars. He left all the worldly pleasures and attained nirvana.
    Reform Movements in Digambara Sect
    Reform Movements in Digambara Sect initiated ‘the Dasas` Right to Worship Movement` and the `shastra-mudrana Virodhi Andolana`. Both the movement had been successful under their individual leaders.
    Psychic Life of Incarnate Souls
    Psychic Life of Incarnate Souls has arisen from unlimited power according to Jain Philosophy. It has been said as long as the soul is bound to any kind of matter it needs an organ to express itself.
    E-mail this Article | Post a Comment
    Forum on Indian Philosophy
    Free E-magazine
    Subscribe to Free E-Magazine on Reference
    Skandha, Five Aggregates, Buddhist philosophy - Informative & researched article on Skandha, Five Aggregates, Buddhist philosophy
    Contact Us   |   RSS Feeds
    Copyright © 2008 Jupiter Infomedia Ltd. All rights reserved including the right to reproduce the contents in whole or in part in any form or medium without the express written permission of
    Jupiter Infomedia Ltd.