Translations of
English: aggregate, mass, heap
Pali: khandha
Sanskrit: स्कन्ध (skandha)
Bengali: স্কন্ধ (skandha)
Burmese: ခန္ဒာ
(IPA: )
Chinese: 蘊(T) / 蕴(S)
Japanese: 五蘊
(rōmaji: go'un)
Khmer: បញ្ចក្ខន្ធ
(RR: on)
Shan: ၶၼ်ႇထႃႇ
([khan2 thaa2])
Tibetan: ཕུང་པོ་ལྔ་
(phung po lnga)
Thai: ขันธ์
Vietnamese: Ngũ uẩn
Glossary of Buddhism

In Buddhist phenomenology and soteriology, the skandhas (Sanskrit) or khandhas (Pāḷi), aggregates in English, are the five functions or aspects that constitute the sentient being.[1][2] The Buddha teaches that nothing among them is really "I" or "mine".

In the Theravada tradition, suffering arises when one identifies with or clings to an aggregate. Suffering is extinguished by relinquishing attachments to aggregates.

The Mahayana tradition further puts forth that ultimate freedom is realized by deeply penetrating the nature of all aggregates as intrinsically empty of independent existence.


  • Etymology 1
  • Description in the Sutta Pitaka 2
    • The five skandhas 2.1
    • Suffering and release 2.2
      • Understanding dukkha 2.2.1
      • Clinging causes future suffering 2.2.2
      • Release from samsara 2.2.3
    • No essence 2.3
    • Arahants 2.4
  • Understanding in Theravada Abhidhamma 3
    • Six consciousnesses 3.1
    • Twelve Sense Bases 3.2
    • Eighteen Dhātus 3.3
    • Four Paramatthas 3.4
      • Ultimate realities 3.4.1
      • Mapping of the paramatthas 3.4.2
    • Twelve Nidanas 3.5
      • Inclusion of the five aggregates 3.5.1
      • Three lives 3.5.2
  • Understanding in the Mahayana-tradition 4
    • India 4.1
      • Prajnaparamita 4.1.1
      • Madhyamaka 4.1.2
      • Yogacara 4.1.3
    • China 4.2
      • Absolute and relative 4.2.1
      • Tathagatagarbha 4.2.2
    • Tibet 4.3
      • Insubstantiality 4.3.1
      • Deity yoga 4.3.2
      • Bardo deity manifestations 4.3.3
    • Description in Śūraṅgama Sūtra 4.4
      • The five skandhas 4.4.1
      • Reason of clinging 4.4.2
      • Strengthening of the five skandhas 4.4.3
      • Weakening of the five skandhas 4.4.4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8
    • Sutta-pitaka 8.1
    • Anthologies of suttas 8.2
    • Single sutras 8.3
    • Abhidhamma, Pali commentaries, modern Theravada 8.4
    • Mahayana 8.5
    • Secondary literature 8.6
  • External links 9
    • Theravada 9.1
    • Mahayana 9.2
    • Vajrayana 9.3


Outside of Buddhist didactic contexts, "skandha" can mean mass, heap, pile, gathering, bundle or tree trunk.[3][3]

According to Thanissaro, the buddha gave a new meaning to the term "khanda":

Prior to the Buddha, the Pali word khandha had very ordinary meanings: A khandha could be a pile, a bundle, a heap, a mass. It could also be the trunk of a tree. In his first sermon, though, the Buddha gave it a new, psychological meaning, introducing the term clinging-khandhas to summarize his analysis of the truth of stress and suffering. Throughout the remainder of his teaching career, he referred to these psychological khandhas time and again.[4]

Description in the Sutta Pitaka

The Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon contains the teachings of the Buddha, as preserved by the Theravada tradition.

The five skandhas

The sutras describe five aggregates:[4]

  1. [6]
  2. "sensation" or "feeling" (Skt., Pāli vedanā; Tib. tshor-ba): sensing an object[7] as either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.[8][9]
  3. "perception", "conception", "apperception", "cognition", or "discrimination" (Skt. samjñā, Pāli saññā, Tib. 'du-shes): registers whether an object is recognized or not (for instance, the sound of a bell or the shape of a tree).
  4. "mental formations", "impulses", "volition", or "compositional factors" (Skt. samskāra, Pāli saṅkhāra, Tib. 'du-byed): all types of mental habits, thoughts, ideas, opinions, prejudices, compulsions, and decisions triggered by an object.[10]
  5. "consciousness" or "discernment"[11] (Skt. vijñāna, Pāli viññāṇa,[12] Tib. rnam-par-shes-pa):
  6. In the Nikayas/Āgamas: cognizance,[5][13] that which discerns[6][14]
  7. In the Abhidhamma: a series of rapidly changing interconnected discrete acts of cognizance.[15]
  8. In some Mahayana sources: the base that supports all experience.[16]
  9. The Buddhist literature describes the aggregates as arising in a linear or progressive fashion, from form to feeling to perception to mental formations to consciousness.[17] In the early texts, the scheme of the five aggregates is not meant to be an exhaustive classification of the sentient being. Rather it describes various aspects of the way an individual manifests.[7]

    Suffering and release

    Bhikkhu Bodhi (2000b, p. 840) states that an examination of the aggregates has a "critical role" in the Buddha's teaching for several reasons, including:[18]

    1. Understanding suffering: the five aggregates are the "ultimate referent" in the Buddha's elaboration on dukkha (suffering) in his First Noble Truth: "Since all four truths revolve around suffering, understanding the aggregates is essential for understanding the Four Noble Truths as a whole."
    2. Clinging causes future suffering: the five aggregates are the substrata for clinging and thus "contribute to the causal origination of future suffering".
    3. Release from samsara: clinging to the five aggregates must be removed in order to achieve release from samsara.

    Understanding dukkha

    In the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta the Buddha provides the classic elaboration on the first of his Four Noble Truths, "The Truth of Suffering" (Dukkhasacca):

    The Noble Truth of Suffering [dukkha], monks, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, association with the unpleasant is suffering, dissociation from the pleasant is suffering, not to receive what one desires is suffering—in brief the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering.[9]

    Clinging causes future suffering

    The Samyutta Nikaya contains the Khandhavagga ("The Book of Aggregates"), a book compiling over a hundred suttas related to the five aggregates. The Upadaparitassana Sutta ("Agitation through Clinging Discourse," SN 22:7) describes how non-clinging to form prevents agitation:

    ...[T]he instructed noble disciple ... does not regard form [or other aggregates] as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form. That form of his changes and alters. Despite the change and alteration of form, his consciousness does not become preoccupied with the change of form.... [T]hrough non-clinging he does not become agitated." (Trans. by Bodhi, 2000b, pp. 865-866.)

    The most explicit denial of substantiality in the early texts is one that was quoted by later prominent Mahayana thinkers:

    All form is comparable to foam; all feelings to bubbles; all sensations are mirage-like; dispositions are like the plantain trunk; consciousness is but an illusion: so did the Buddha illustrate [the nature of the aggregates].[10]

    Release from samsara

    In the Pāli Canon and the Āgamas, the majority of discourses focusing on the five aggregates discusses them as a basis for understanding and achieving liberation from suffering.[11]

    Liberation is possible by insight into the workings of the mind. Traditional mindfulness practices can awaken this by understanding, release and wisdom.

    In the classic Theravada meditation reference, the "Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta" ("The Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse," MN 10), the Buddha provides four bases for establishing mindfulness: body (kaya), sensations (vedana), mind (citta) and mental objects (dhamma).[19] When discussing mental objects as a basis for meditation, the Buddha identifies five objects, including the aggregates.

    Through mindfulness contemplation, one sees an "aggregate as an aggregate" — sees it arising and dissipating. Such clear seeing creates a space between the aggregate and clinging, a space that will prevent or enervate the arising and propagation of clinging, thereby diminishing future suffering.[20] As clinging disappears, so too notions of a separate "self."

    No essence

    The aggregates don't constitute any 'essence'. In the Samyutta Nikaya, the Buddha explains this by using the simile of a chariot:

    A 'chariot' exists on the basis of the aggregation of parts, even so the concept of 'being' exists when the five aggregates are available.[12][21]

    Just as the concept of "chariot" is a reification, so too is the concept of "being". The constituents of being too are unsubstantial in that they are causally produced, just like the chariot as a whole.[13]

    The chariot metaphor is not an exercise in ontology, but rather a caution against ontological theorizing and conceptual realism.[14] Part of the Buddha's general approach to language was to point towards its conventional nature, and to undermine the misleading character of nouns as substance-words.[15]


    The skandha analysis of the early texts is not applicable to arahants. A tathāgata has abandoned that clinging to the personality factors that render the mind a bounded, measurable entity, and is instead "freed from being reckoned by" all or any of them, even in life. The skandhas have been seen to be a burden, and an enlightened individual is one with "burden dropped".[16]

    Understanding in Theravada Abhidhamma

     The Five Aggregates (pañca khandha)
    according to the Pali Canon.
    form (rūpa)
      4 elements


      mental factors (cetasika)  



     Source: MN 109 (Thanissaro, 2001)  |  

    While early Buddhism reflects the teachings as found in the Pali Sutta Pitaka and the Chinese Agama, the Early Buddhist schools developed detailed analyses and overviews of the teachings found in those sutras, called Abhidharma. Each school developed its own Abhidharma, the best known is the Theravāda Abhidhamma. The Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma has been preserved partly in the Chinese Agama.

    Six consciousnesses

    The teaching of the six sense bases provides an alternative to the five aggregates as a description of the workings of the mind.[17] In this teaching, the coming together of an object and a sense-organ results in the arising of the corresponding consciousness. The suttas themselves don't describe this alternative. It is in the Abhidhamma, striving to "a single all-inclusive system"[18] that the five aggregates and the six sense bases are explicitly connected.[18]

    This might be described as follows (illustrated in the figure to the right):[19]

    • Form (rūpa) arises from experientially irreducible physical/physiological phenomena.[22]
    • The coming together of an external object (such as a sound) and its associated internal sense organ (such as the ear) — gives rise to consciousness (viññāṇavijñāṇa).[23]
    • The concurrence of an object, its sense organ and the related consciousness (viññāṇa • vijñāṇa) is called "contact" (phassasparśa).[24][25][26]
    • From the contact of form and consciousness arise the three mental (nāma) aggregates of feeling (vedanā), perception (saññāsaṃjñā) and mental formation (saṅkhāra • saṃskāra).[27][28]
    • The mental aggregates can then in turn give rise to additional consciousness that leads to the arising of additional mental aggregates.[29]

    In this scheme, form, the mental aggregates,[30] and consciousness are mutually dependent.[31]

    Twelve Sense Bases

    There are Twelve Sense Bases:

    • The first five external sense bases (visible form, sound, smell, taste and touch) are part of the form aggregate.
    • The mental sense object (that is, mental objects) overlap the first four aggregates (form, feeling, perception and formation).
    • The first five internal sense bases (eye, ear, nose, tongue and body) are also part of the form aggregate.
    • The mental sense organ (mind) is comparable to the aggregate of consciousness.

    While the benefit of meditating on the aggregates is overcoming wrong views of the self (since the self is typically identified with one or more of the aggregates), the benefit of meditation on the six sense bases is to overcome craving (through restraint and insight into sense objects that lead to contact, feeling and subsequent craving).[20][21][22][32]

    Eighteen Dhātus

    The eighteen dhātus[33] – the Six External Bases, the Six Internal Bases, and the Six Consciousnesses – function through the five aggregates. The eighteen dhātus can be arranged into six triads, where each triad is composed of a sense object, a sense organ, and sense consciousness. In regards to the aggregates:[23]

    • The first five sense organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body) are derivates of form.
      • The sixth sense organ (mind) is part of consciousness.
    • The first five sense objects (visible forms, sound, smell, taste, touch) are also derivatives of form.
      • The sixth sense object (mental object) includes form, feeling, perception and mental formations.
    • The six sense consciousness are the basis for consciousness.
    The Eighteen Dhātus
    Six External Bases (bāhya-āyatana) Six Internal Bases (adhyātma-āyatana) Six Consciousnesses (vijñāna)
    (1) Visual Objects (rūpa-āyatana) (2) Eye Faculty (cakṣur-indriya-āyatana) (3) Visual Consciousness (cakṣur-vijñāna
    (4) Auditory Objects (śabda-āyatana) (5) Ear Faculty (śrota-indriya-āyatana) (6) Aural Consciousness (śrota-vijñāna)
    (7) Olfactory Objects (gandha-āyatana) (8) Nose Faculty (ghrāṇa-indriya-āyatana) (9) Olfactory Consciousness (ghrāṇa-vijñāna)
    (10) Gustatory Objects (rasa-āyatana) (11) Tongue Faculty (jihvā-indriya-āyatana) (12) Gustatory Consciousness (jihvā-vijñāna)
    (13) Tactile Objects (spraṣṭavya-āyatana) (14) Body Faculty (kaya-indriya-āyatana) (15) Touch Consciousness (kaya-vijñāna)
    (16) Mental Objects (dharma-āyatana) (17) Mental Faculty (mano-indriya-āyatana) (18) Mental Consciousness (mano-vijñāna)

    Four Paramatthas

    The Abhidhamma and post-canonical Pali texts create a meta-scheme for the Sutta Pitaka's conceptions of aggregates, sense bases and dhattus (elements).[24] This meta-scheme is known as the four paramatthas or four ultimate realities.

    Ultimate realities

    There are four paramatthas; three conditioned, one unconditioned:

    • Material phenomena (rūpa, form)
    • Mental factors (the nama-factors sensation, perception and formation)
    • Consciousness
    • Nibbāna

    Mapping of the paramatthas

    The mapping between the aggregates, the twelve sense bases, and the ultimate realities is represented in this chart:[34]

    aggregate external
    sense base
    sense base
    form visible form,
    sound, smell,
    taste, touch
    ear, nose,
    tongue, body
    sensation   52

    Twelve Nidanas

    The Twelve Nidanas describe twelve phenomenal links by which suffering is perpetuated between and within lives.

    Inclusion of the five aggregates

    Embedded within this model, four of the five aggregates are explicitly mentioned in the following sequence:

    • mental formations (saṅkhāra • saṃskāra) condition consciousness (viññāṇa • vijñāna)
    • which conditions name-and-form (nāma-rūpa)
    • which conditions the precursors (saḷāyatana, phassa • sparśa) to sensations (vedanā)
    • which in turn condition craving (taṇhā • tṛṣṇā) and clinging (upādāna)
    • which ultimately lead to the "entire mass of suffering" (kevalassa dukkhakkhandha).[35]

    The interplay between the five-aggregates model of immediate causation and the twelve-nidana model of requisite conditioning is evident, for instance underlining the seminal role that mental formations have in both the origination and cessation of suffering.[36][37]

    Three lives

    According to Schumann, the nidānas are a later synthesis of Buddhist teachings meant to make them more comprehensible. Comparison with the five skandhas shows that the chain contains logical inconsistencies, which can be explained when the chain is considered to be a later elaboration.[25] This way it is explainable that nāma-rūpa in consciousness in the nine-fold are the beginning or start, while in the twelve-fold chain they are preceded by ignorance and formations. Those can only exist when nāma-rūpa in consciousness are present. Schumann also proposes that the twelve-fold is extended over three existences, and illustrates the succession of rebirths. While Buddhaghosa in Vasubandhu maintains a 2-8-2 schema, Schumann maintains a 3-6-3 scheme, putting the five skandhas alongside the twelve nidānas.[25]

    The 12-fold chain the 5 skandhas
    First existence
    1. Body
    2. Sensation
    3. Perception
    1. Ignorance
    2. Formations 4. Formations
    3. Consciousness 5. Consciousness
    Second existence
    4. Nāma-rūpa 1. Body
    5. The six senses
    6. Touch
    7. Sensation 2. Sensation
    3. Perception
    4. Formations
    5. Consciousness
    8. Craving
    9. Clinging
    Third existence
    10. Becoming
    1. Body
    11. Birth
    2. Sensation
    3. Perception
    4. Formations
    5. Consciousness
    12. Old age and death

    Understanding in the Mahayana-tradition

    The Mahayana developed out of the traditional schools, introducing new texts and putting other emphasises in the teachings, especially sunyata and the Bodhisattva-ideal.



    The Prajnaparamita-teachings developed from the first century BCE onward. It emphasises the "emptiness" of everything that exists. This means that there are no eternally existing "essences", since everything is dependently originated. The skandhas too are dependently originated, and lack any substantial existence .[38]

    This is famously stated in the Heart Sutra. The Sanskrit version[39] of the classic "Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra" ("Heart Sutra") states:

    The noble Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva,
    while practicing the deep practice of Prajnaparamita
    looked upon the Five Skandhas,
    seeing they were empty of self-existence,[26][40][41][42][43][44]
    said, "Here Shariputra,
    form is emptiness, emptiness is form,
    emptiness is not separate from form,
    form is not separate from emptiness;
    whatever is form is emptiness,
    whatever is emptiness is form."[26] The same is true with feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness.[27]


    The Madhyaka-school elaborates on the notion of the middle way. Its basic text is the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, written by Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna refuted the Sarvastivada conception of reality, which reifies dhammas.[13] The simultaneous non-reification of the self and reification of the skandhas has been viewed by some Buddhist thinkers as highly problematic.[28]


    The Yogacara-school further analysed the workings of the mind, and developed the notion of the Eight Consciousnesses. These are an elaboration of the concept of nama-rupa and the five skandhas, adding detailed analyses of the workings of the mind.


    When Buddhism was introduced in China it was understood in terms of its own culture. Various sects struggled to attain an understanding of the Indian texts. The Tathāgatagarbha Sutras and the idea of the Buddha-nature were endorsed, because of the perceived similarities with the Tao, which was understood as a transcendental reality underlying the world of appearances. Sunyata at first was understood as pointing to the Taoist "wu", nothingness.[29][30]

    Absolute and relative

    In China, the relation between absolute and relative was a central topic in understanding the Buddhist teachings. The aggregates convey the relative (or conventional) experience of the world by an individual, although Absolute truth is realized through them.

    Commenting on the Heart Sutra, D.T. Suzuki notes:

    When the sutra says that the five Skandhas have the character of emptiness [...], the sense is: no limiting qualities are to be attributed to the Absolute; while it is immanent in all concrete and particular objects, it is not in itself definable.[31]


    The Tathāgatagarbha Sutras, which developed in India, played a prominent role in China. The tathagatagarbha-sutras, on occasion, speak of the ineffable skandhas of the Buddha (beyond the nature of worldly skandhas and beyond worldly understanding). In the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra the Buddha tells of how the Buddha's skandhas are in fact eternal and unchanging. The Buddha's skandhas are said to be incomprehensible to unawakened vision.


    The Vajrayana tradition further develops the aggregates in terms of mahamudra epistemology and tantric reifications.


    Referring to mahamudra teachings, Chogyam Trungpa [32] identifies the form aggregate as the "solidification" of ignorance (Pali, avijja; Skt., avidya), allowing one to have the illusion of "possessing" ever dynamic and spacious wisdom (Pali, vijja; Skt. vidya), and thus being the basis for the creation of a dualistic relationship between "self" and "other."[45]

    According to Trungpa Rinpoche,[33] the five skandhas are "a set of Buddhist concepts which describe experience as a five-step process" and that "the whole development of the five an attempt on our part to shield ourselves from the truth of our insubstantiality," while "the practice of meditation is to see the transparency of this shield." [34]

    Deity yoga

    Trungpa Rinpoche writes (2001, p. 38):

    [S]ome of the details of tantric iconography are developed from abhidharma [that is, in this context, detailed analysis of the aggregates]. Different colors and feelings of this particular consciousness, that particular emotion, are manifested in a particular deity wearing such-and-such a costume, of certain particular colors, holding certain particular sceptres in his hand. Those details are very closely connected with the individualities of particular psychological processes.

    Bardo deity manifestations

    The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Fremantle & Trungpa, 2003) makes the following associations between the aggregates and tantric deities during the bardo after death:

    The blue light of the skandha of consciousness in its basic purity, the wisdom of the dharmadhātu, luminous, clear, sharp and brilliant, will come towards you from the heart of Vairocana and his consort, and pierce you so that your eyes cannot bear it. [p. 63]
    The white light of the skandha of form in its basic purity, the mirror-like wisdom, dazzling white, luminous and clear, will come towards you from the heart of Vajrasattva and his consort and pierce you so that your eyes cannot bear to look at it. [p. 66]
    The yellow light of the skandha of feeling in its basic purity, the wisdom of equality, brilliant yellow, adorned with discs of light, luminous and clear, unbearable to the eyes, will come towards you from the heart of Ratnasambhava and his consort and pierce your heart so that your eyes cannot bear to look at it. [p. 68]
    The red light of the skandha of perception in its basic purity, the wisdom of discrimination, brilliant red, adorned with discs of light, luminous and clear, sharp and bright, will come from the heart of Amitābha and his consort and pierce your heart so that your eyes cannot bear to look at it. Do not be afraid of it. [p. 70]
    The green light of the skandha of concept [samskara] in its basic purity, the action-accomplishing wisdom, brilliant green, luminous and clear, sharp and terrifying, adorned with discs of light, will come from the heart of Amoghasiddhi and his consort and pierce your heart so that your eyes cannot bear to look at it. Do not be afraid of it. It is the spontaneous play of your own mind, so rest in the supreme state free from activity and care, in which there is no near or far, love or hate. [p. 73]

    Description in Śūraṅgama Sūtra

    The five skandhas

    1. "Form":[35] In Śūraṅgama Sūtra 3:5, Buddha proved that nothing can cause things to appear in our eye. There is no cause and effect to cause things to appear. Form neither has cause nor happens naturally.
    2. "Feeling":[36] In Śūraṅgama Sūtra 3:10, Buddha proved that nothing can cause our feeling. There is no cause and effect to make us feel things. Feeling neither has cause nor happens naturally.
    3. "Thinking":[37] In Śūraṅgama Sūtra 3:14, Buddha proved that our thinking can't cause anything to happen. There is no cause and effect related to thinking. Thinking neither has cause nor happens naturally.
    4. "Activity":[38] In Śūraṅgama Sūtra 3:18, Buddha proved that things happens one after another can't have cause and effect with each other. The event happened earlier can't cause the event to happen later. There is no cause and effect related to activity. Activity neither has cause nor happens naturally.
    5. "Discrimination":[39] In Śūraṅgama Sūtra 3:22, Buddha proved that our discrimination between things neither has cause nor happens naturally. According to later verification in the sutra,[40] this discrimination, especially the concept of "existence"[41] and "disappearance" is the fundamental reason why a spirit is clinging to the illusion.

    In the sutra, Buddha proved that none of the Five Aggregate,[42] the Six Entrances,[43] the Twelve Places,[44] Eighteen Realms,[45] the Seven Elements[46] has a cause or is natural. They all come from Buddha-nature[46]. Buddha-nature is and isn't everything in the illusion [47][47].

    Reason of clinging

    The reason why a spirit is clinging to the illusion is because of the discrimination of "existence" and "disappearance".[48] The discrimination makes the spirit to believe that clinging to the illusion is "existence" and detaching is "disappearance"[48]. When all five aggregates disappear, the concept of "disappear" itself is without context and base. Then the spirit will transcend out of the Maya Illusion and become enlightened[40][49].

    Strengthening of the five skandhas

    Śūraṅgama Sūtra doesn't mention why and by who the illusion was created. However, it does explain how the four elements[50] mix and unit to trap spirits inside.[51]

    (Unverified) According to other religions, demon maya's primary effort is to continuously strengthen the five aggregates as the only hope to lock spirits inside the illusion. Demon maya assigns destinies, wars, disasters, diseases to spirits in order to maximize the interactions between the spirits and the illusion. Demon maya assigns a soul[52] (subconscious) to each spirit (consciousness). The soul has knowledge of the past, the future, the surrounding space[50] and is responsible to make the

    • A View on Buddhism: Mind and Mental Factors, web page including description of the Five Aggregates.


    • The Five Skandhas, table showing the five skandhas, prepared by Alan Fox (Dept. of Philosophy, U. of Delaware).


    • Khandavagga suttas (a selection), translated primarily by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.


    External links


    • Bodhi, Bhikkhu (trans.) (2000b), The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, Boston: Wisdom Publications,  
    • Ñāṇamoli, Bhikkhu (trans.) & Bodhi, Bhikkhu (ed.) (2001). The Middle-Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-072-X.

    Anthologies of suttas

    • Bodhi, Bhikkhu (ed.) (2005a). In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pāli Canon. Boston: Wisdom Pubs. ISBN 0-86171-491-1.

    Single sutras

    • Nyanaponika Thera (trans.) (1998). Sallatha Sutta: The Dart.
    • Nyanasatta Thera (trans.) (1994). Satipatthana Sutta: The Foundations of Mindfulness.
    • Piyadassi Thera (trans.) (1999). Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta: Setting in Motion the Wheel of Truth.
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997a). Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse (DN 15). Retrieved 2008-02-13 from " Access to Insight".
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997b). Nagara Sutta: The City.
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997c). Parivatta Sutta: The (Fourfold) Round [SN 22.56].
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997d). Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising (SN 22.2). Retrieved 2008-02-13 from "Access to Insight".
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997e). Sallatha Sutta: The Arrow [SN 36.6].
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1998). Culavedalla Sutta: The Shorter Set of Questions-and-Answers [MN 44].
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (2001a). Khajjaniya Sutta: Chewed Up [SN 22.79].
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (2001b). Maha-punnama Sutta: The Great Full-moon Night Discourse [MN 109].
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (2005). Maha-dukkhakkhandha Sutta: The Great Mass of Stress [MN 13].
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (2006). Anapanasati Sutta: Mindfulness of Breathing [MN 118].

    Abhidhamma, Pali commentaries, modern Theravada

    • Bodhi, Bhikkhu (ed.) (2000a). A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma: The Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Ācariya Anuruddha. Seattle, WA: BPS Pariyatti Editions. ISBN 1-928706-02-9.
    • Bodhi, Bhikkhu (18 Jan 2005b). MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta (continued) Ninth dharma talk on the Satipatthana Sutta (MP3 audio file).
    • Buddhaghosa, Bhadantācariya (trans. from Pāli by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli) (1999). The Path of Purification: Visuddhimagga. Seattle, WA: BPS Pariyatti Editions. ISBN 1-928706-00-2.
    • Ñāṇamoli, Bhikkhu (trans.) (1998). Mindfulness of Breathing (Ānāpānasati): Buddhist texts from the Pāli Canon and Extracts from the Pāli Commentaries. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. ISBN 955-24-0167-4.
    • Soma Thera (trans.) (2003). The Way of Mindfulness. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. ISBN 955-24-0256-5.
    • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002). Five Piles of Bricks: The Khandhas as Burden & Path.


    • Fremantle, Francesca & Trungpa, Chõgyam (2003). The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo. Boston: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 1-59030-059-9.
    • Nhât Hanh, Thich (1988). The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press. ISBN 0-938077-11-2.
    • Nhât Hanh, Thich (1999). The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching. NY: Broadway Books. ISBN 0-7679-0369-2.
    • Red Pine (2004). The Heart Sutra. Emeryville, CA: Shoemaker & Hoard. ISBN 1-59376-009-4.
    • Suzuki, Daisetz Teitaro (1960). Manual of Zen Buddhism. NY: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-3065-8.
    • Trungpa, Chögyam (1976). The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation. Boulder: Shambhala. ISBN 0-87773-084-9.
    • Trungpa, Chögyam (1999). The Essential Chögyam Trungpa. Boston: Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-466-6.
    • Trungpa, Chögyam (2001). Glimpses of Abhidharma. Boston: Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-764-9.
    • Trungpa, Chögyam (2002). Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. Boston: Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-957-9.

    Secondary literature

    • Gal, Noa (July 2003). The Rise of the Concept of ‘Own-Nature’: (Sabhāva) in the Paisambhidāmagga [excerpt from Ph.D. thesis]. Oxford: Wolfson College. Retrieved 2008-01-22 from "Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies" at Internet Archive.
    • Sue Hamilton. "From the Buddha to Buddhaghosa: Changing Attitudes Toward the Human Body in Theravāda Buddhism." In Religious Reflections on the Human Body, edited by Jane Marie Law. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995, pp. 46–63.
    • Sue Hamilton. Identity and Experience: the Constitution of the Human Being According to Early Buddhism. London: Luzac Oriental, 1996.
    • Jinpa, Thupten (2002). Self, Reality and Reason in Tibetan Philosophy: Tsongkhapa's Quest for the Middle Way. Routledge.
    • Kalupahana, David (1975). Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism. The University Press of Hawaii.
    • Lai, Whalen (2003), Buddhism in China: A Historical Survey. In Antonio S. Cua (ed.): Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy, New York: Routledge 
    • Nattier, Jan (1992). "The Heart Sutra: A Chinese Apocryphal Text?" Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 153–223.
    • Rawson, Philip (1991). Sacred Tibet. NY: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-81032-X.
    • Schumann, Hans Wolfgang (1974), Buddhism: an outline of its teachings and schools, Theosophical Pub. House 
    • Swanson, Paul L. (1993), The Spirituality of Emptiness in Early chinese Buddhism. In: Buddhist Spirituality. Indian, Southeast Asian, Tibetan, Early Chinese; edited by Takeuchi Yoshinori, New York: Crossroad 


    1. ^ Skandhas
    2. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Handful of Leaves Volume 2, 2nd edition 2006, page 309.
    3. ^ Thanissaro (2002)
    4. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Five Piles of Bricks: The Khandas as Burden and Path. Access to Insight. 2002.
    5. ^ See, for instance, SN 22.79, "Being Devoured" (Bodhi, 2000b, p. 915).
    6. ^ Peter Harvey, The Selfless Mind. Curzon Press 1995, page 143-146
    7. ^ Damein Keown quoting Sue Hamilton: [2].
    8. ^ SN 22.86
    9. ^ Piyadassi Thera, trans. Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta ("The Setting in Motion the Wheel of Truth Discourse", Samyutta Nikaya 56:11). Access to Insight. 1999.
    10. ^ Kalupahana (1975), page 85. The quote is from S 3.142, and also occurs in the agamas.
    11. ^ See, for instance, in the Samyutta Nikaya's Khandha-sayutta's discourses SN 22.1 through 22.55 (Bodhi, 2000b, pp. 853-94).
    12. ^ Kalupahana (1975), page 78
    13. ^ a b Kalupahana (1975), page 78.
    14. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu, [3].
    15. ^ Noa Ronkin, Early Buddhist Metaphysics. Routledge 2005, page 245.
    16. ^ Peter Harvey, The Selfless Mind. Curzon Press 1995, page 229.
    17. ^ Bodhi 2000b, p. 1122.
    18. ^ a b Bodhi 2000b, p. 1123.
    19. ^ See, for instance, MN 109 "The Great Full-moon Night Discourse" (Thanissaro, 2001b), SN 22.56 "Phases of the Clinging Aggregates" (Bodhi, 2000b, pp. 895-97) and SN 35.93, "The Dyad (2)" (Bodhi, 2000b, pp. 1172-3).
    20. ^ Trungpa Rinpoche 1976
    21. ^ Bodhi (2000b), pp. 1125-26
    22. ^ Bodhi (2005b)
    23. ^ Bodhi (2000a), pp. 287-8.
    24. ^ Bodhi (2000a), p. 6.
    25. ^ a b Schumann 1974.
    26. ^ a b Red Pine (2004), p.2.
    27. ^ Nhat Hanh (1988), p.1. Again, also see Red Pine (2004), p. 2, and Suzuki (1960), p. 26.
    28. ^ Jinpa 2002 , page 112.
    29. ^ Lai 2003.
    30. ^ Swanson 1993, p. 373.
    31. ^ Suzuki (1960), p. 29, n. 4.
    32. ^ Trungpa, 2001, pp. 10–12; and, Trungpa, 2002, pp. 124, 133-4
    33. ^ Trungpa Rinpoche 1976, pp. 20–22
    34. ^ Trungpa Rinpoche 1976, p. 23
    35. ^ Shurangama Sutra 3:5
    36. ^ Shurangama Sutra 3:10
    37. ^ Shurangama Sutra 3:14
    38. ^ Shurangama Sutra 3:18
    39. ^ Shurangama Sutra 3:22
    40. ^ a b c d Shurangama Sutra 5:134
    41. ^ Shurangama Sutra 2:26
    42. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 3:5
    43. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 3:27
    44. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 3:60
    45. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 3:95
    46. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 3:138
    47. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 4:73
    48. ^ a b c https:/ Shurangama Sutra 2:26
    49. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 2:183
    50. ^ https:/ Śūraṅgama Sūtra 3:144
    51. ^ https:/ Śūraṅgama Sūtra 4:14
    52. ^ Three types of soul
    53. ^ Shurangama Sutra 7:88 - 7:257
    54. ^ Reincarnation
    55. ^ Shurangama Sutra 1:263
    56. ^ Shurangama Sutra 2:64
    57. ^ Shurangama Sutra 2:61
    58. ^ https:/ Śūraṅgama Sūtra 5:226
    59. ^ https:/ Śūraṅgama Sūtra 5:134
    60. ^ https:/ Śūraṅgama Sūtra 8:19
    61. ^ https:/ Śūraṅgama Sūtra 4:206
    62. ^ Ultimate Extinction of the Dharma Sutra
    63. ^ 大佛顶首楞严经卷六
    64. ^ Shurangama Sutra (Charles Luk) Page 191
    65. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 8:300
    66. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 8:19
    67. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 4:164
    68. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 8:12
    69. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 2:18
    70. ^ Shurangama Sutra 5:222
    71. ^ Shurangama Sutra 5:226
    72. ^ a b Shurangama Sutra 4:173
    73. ^ a b Shurangama Sutra (Chinese and English)
    74. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 6:10
    75. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 6:20
    76. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 6:31
    77. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 6:48
    78. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 7:5
    79. ^ Sure, Heng. "Ph.D.". On Fasting From a Buddhist's Perspective. Retrieved 28 May 2014. This tradition avoids the five pungent plants (onions, garlic, shallots, leeks and chives) as well as eggs, and of course, alcohol and tobacco in any form. 
    80. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 7:14
    81. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 7:19
    82. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 8:25
    83. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 8:50
    84. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 8:82
    85. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 8:174
    86. ^ https:/ Shurangama Sutra 8:238
    87. ^ a b Shurangama Sutra 4:158


    1. ^ These are not physical components, but rather an agglomeration or coming together of subliminal inclinations or tendencies.[1]
    2. ^ Thanissaro (2002) maintains that, according to the Pali Canon, the Buddha never defined a "person" in terms of the aggregates (Pali: khandha) per se. Thanissaro nevertheless notes that, contrary to what is actually said in the Canon, such a notion is expressed by some modern scholars as if it were pan-Buddhist. Thanissaro further writes: "This understanding of the khandhas isn't confined to scholars. Almost any modern Buddhist meditation teacher would explain the khandhas in a similar way. And it isn't a modern innovation. It was first proposed at the beginning of the common era in the commentaries to the early Buddhist canons — both the Theravadin and the Sarvastivadin, which formed the basis for Mahayana scholasticism." They serve as objects of clinging and bases for a sense of self.[2]
    3. ^ Also see, for example, Thanissaro (2005) where khandha is translated as "mass" in the phrase dukkhakkhandha (which Thanissaro translates as "mass of stress") and Thanissaro (1998) where khandha is translated as "aggregate" but in terms of bundling the Noble Eightfold Path into the categories of virtue (silakkhandha), concentration (samadhikkhandha) and wisdom (pannakkhandha).
    4. ^ Contemporary writers (such as Tripitaka Master Shramana Hsuan Hua, Trungpa Rinpoche and Red Pine) sometimes conceptualize the five aggregates as "one physical and four mental" aggregates. More traditional Buddhist literature (such as the Abhidhamma) might speak of one physical aggregate (form), three mental factors (sensation, perception and mental formations) and consciousness.
    5. ^ In Rawson (1991: p.11), the first skandha is defined as: "name and form (Sanskrit nāma-rūpa, Tibetan gzugs)...". In the Pali literature, nāma-rūpa traditionally refers to the first four aggregates, as opposed to the fifth aggregate, consciousness.
    6. ^ External and internal manifestations of rupa are described, for instance, in Bodhi (2000b), p. 48.
    7. ^ In these definitions, "object" refers to either a cognized form (what Western epistemologists might refer to as "sense data") or a mental expression, such as a cognized memory.
    8. ^ The Pali canon universally identifies that vedana involves the sensing or feeling of something as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral (see, for instance, SN 22). When contemporary authors elaborate on vedana, they define it similarly (see, for instance, Nhat Hanh, 1999, p. 178; Trungpa, 2001, p. 21; and, Trungpa, 2002, p. 126). The one exception is in Trungpa (1976), pp. 20-23, where he states that the "strategies or impluses" of "indifference, passion and aggression" are "part of the third stage [aggregate]," "guided by perception." (This section of Trungpa, 1976, is anthologized in Trungpa, 1999, pp. 55-58.)
    9. ^ Generally, vedanā is considered to not include "emotions." For example, Bodhi (2000a), p. 80, writes: "The Pali word vedanā does not signify emotion (which appears to be a complex phenomenon involving a variety of concomitant mental factors), but the bare affective quality of an experience, which may be either pleasant, painful or neutral." Perhaps somewhat similarly, Trungpa (1999), p.58, writes: "Consciousness [the fifth aggregate] consists of emotions and irregular thought patterns...." And Trungpa (2001), p. 32, notes: "In this case 'feeling' is not quite our ordinary notion of feeling. It is not the feeling we take so seriously as, for instance, when we say, 'He hurt my feelings.' This kind of feeling that we take so seriously belongs to the fourth and fifth skandhas of concept and consciousness."
    10. ^ The Theravada Abhidhamma divides saṅkhāra into fifty mental factors (Bodhi, 2000a, p. 26). Trungpa (2001), pp. 47ff, following the Sarvastivada Abhidharma studied in Mahayana Buddhism, states that there are fifty-one "general types" of samskara.
    11. ^ Peter Harvey, The Selfless Mind. Curzon Press 1995, page 143-146.
    12. ^ According to the Visuddhimagga XIV.82, the Pali terms viññāṇa, citta and mano are synonymous (Buddhaghosa, 1999, p. 453). However, Trungpa (2001, p. 73) distinguishes between viññāṇa and citta, stating that viññāṇa (consciousness) is "articulated and intelligent" while citta (mind) is a "simple instinctive function .... very direct, simple and subtle at the same time."
    13. ^ In commenting on the use of "consciousness" in SN 22.3 [1], Bodhi (2000b), pp. 1046-7, n. 18, states: "The passage confirms the privileged status of consciousness among the five aggregates. While all the aggregates are conditioned phenomena marked by the three characteristics, consciousness serves as the connecting thread of personal continuity through the sequence of rebirths.... The other four aggregates serve as the 'stations for consciousness' (vinnanatthitiyo: see [SN] 22:53-54). Even consciousness, however, is not a self-identical entity but a sequence of dependently arisen occasions of cognizing; see MN I 256-60."
    14. ^ Harvey writes, "This is in contrast to saññā, which knows by grouping things together, labeling them. This contrast can be seen in terms of the typical objects of these states: colours for saññā (S.III.87), but tastes (S.III.87) or feelings (M.I.292) for viññāṇa. While colours usually be immediately identified, tastes and feelings often need careful consideration to properly identify them: discernment and analysis are needed."
    15. ^ This conception of consciousness is found in the Theravada Abhidhamma (Bodhi, 2000a, p. 29).
    16. ^ While not necessarily contradicted by the Nikayas, this is a particularly Mahayana statement. For instance, Nhat Hanh (1999, pp. 180-1) states: "Consciousness here means store consciousness, which is at the base of everything we are, the ground of all of our mental formations." Similarly, Trungpa (2001, pp. 73-4) states that consciousness "is the finally developed state of being that contains all the previous elements.... [C]onsciousness constitutes an immediately available source of occupation for the momentum of the skandhas to feed on."
    17. ^ For an example of this unidirectional, linear causal model, see Trungpa (2001), pp. 36-37, where, in part, he states: "The first flash is the form and the next, feeling. As you flash further and further, the content becomes more and more involved. When you flash perception, that contains feeling and form; when you flash consciousness that contains all the other four."
    18. ^ In regards to how Theravada practitioners view the aggregates, Bodhi (2000b, p. 840) cautions: ""[T]he analysis into the aggregates undertaken in the Nikayas is not pursued with the aim of reaching an objective, scientific understanding of the human being along the lines pursued by physiology and psychology.... For the Buddha, investigation into the nature of personal existence always remains subordinate to the liberative thrust of the Dhamma...."
      Likewise, Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2002) underlines: "The [Pāli] canon depicts the Buddha as saying that he taught only two topics: suffering and the end of suffering.[8] A survey of the Pali discourses shows him using the concept of the khandhas to answer the primary questions related to those topics: What is suffering? How is it caused? What can be done to bring those causes to an end?"
      In other words, Theravada practitioners do not see the notion of the aggregates as providing an absolute truth about ultimate reality or as a map of the mind, but instead as providing a tool for understanding how our method of apprehending sensory experiences and the self can lead to either our own suffering or to our own liberation.
    19. ^ Unlike the Satipatthana Sutta, the classic Anapanasati Sutta ("Mindfulness of Breathing Discourse," MN 118) does not directly reference the aggregates. However, the Pali literature includes works that interpret the Anapanasati Sutta in light of the aggregates. In the Patisambhidāmagga: The Khuddaka Nikaya's book, the Patisambhidāmagga ("The Path of Analysis"), includes an analysis of the following meditative instruction (first tetrad, third instruction) from the Anapanasati Sutta. The Patisambhidāmagga frames the practice of the Anapanasati Sutta's third step as a contemplation of the five aggregates. The Visuddhimagga's analysis of the Anapanasatti Sutta includes an analysis of the meditative instruction. In regards to this instruction, the Visuddhimagga (Buddhaghosa, 1999, pp. 282-3; see also Ñāṇamoli, 1998, p. 40) advises one to apprehend "inconstancy" (or "impermanence"). Impermanence (anicca) is a characteristic common to all aggregates. This impermanence will lead to suffering (dukkha) if we identify with the aggregate. To avoid such suffering, the suttas instruct us to see the aggregates as the selfless (anatta) objects they are.
    20. ^ That meditation creates a space between the aggregates (including clinging) is a readily accessible meditation experience. For a published authoritative statement regarding this experience, see, for example, Trungpa (2001), pp. 85-86, where in response to a student's query he replies: "By meditating you are slowing down the process. When it has slowed down, the skandhas are no longer pushed against one another. There is space there, already there."
    21. ^ The passage is found at S 1.135, and also in the agamas.
    22. ^ For instance, see MN 109: "Monk, the four great existents (earth, water, fire, and wind) are the cause, the four great existents the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of form" (Thanissaro, 2001b). Also see SN 22.56: "The four great elements and the form derived from the four great elements: this is called form" (Bodhi, 2000b, p. 895). For more information regarding "the four great elements," see the "Mahābhūta".
    23. ^ See, for instance, SN 35.93: "In dependence on the eye and forms there arises eye-consciousness...." (Bodhi, 2000b, p. 1172); and, MN 148: "Bhikkhus, dependent on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises..." (Ñāamoli & Bodhi, 2001, p. 1134, para. 28).
    24. ^ See, for instance, SN 35.93: "The meeting, the encounter, the concurrence of these three things [eye, form and eye-consciousness] is called eye-contact...." (Bodhi, 2000b, p. 1172).
    25. ^ In addition to referring to the five form-derived sense faculties (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body), their associated objects and consciousness, phassa also pertains to these aspects of mentality (nama): mind, mind objects and mind-consciousness. In the Abhidhamma (e.g., see Bodhi, 2000a, p. 78), phassa is a mental factor, the means by which consciousness "touches" an object.
    26. ^ Traditional Buddhist texts do not directly address Western philosophy's so-called mind-body problem since in Buddhism the exploration of the aggregates is not primarily to ascertain ultimate empirical reality but to obtain ultimate release from suffering.
    27. ^ See, for instance, MN 109: "Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of perception. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of fabrications" (Thanissaro, 2001b). Also see SN 22.56: "With the arising of contact there is the arising of feeling.... With the arising of contact there is the arising of perception.... With the arising of contact there is the arising of volitional formations...." (Bodhi, 2000b, p. 896).
    28. ^ A mental aggregate arises either from conscious contact with form or from another mental aggregate (Bodhi, 2000a, pp. 78ff).
    29. ^ See, for instance, SN 35.93: "In dependence on the mind and mental phenomena there arises mind-consciousness" (Bodhi, 2000b, p. 1172). More broadly, see, for instance, SN 22.56: "With the arising of name-and-form [nāmarūpa] there is the arising of consciousness" (Bodhi, 2000b, p. 897); and, MN 109: "Name-&-form is the cause, name-&-form the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of consciousness" (Thanissaro, 2001b). In the Canon, nāmarūpa often refers to the four aggregates other than consciousness (e.g., cf. the relationship between consciousness and nāmarūpa in DN 15 [Thanissaro, 1997a] and MN 38).
    30. ^ Form and the mental aggregates together are technically referred to as nāmarūpa, which is variously defined as "name-and-form," "materiality-mentality" and "matter-mind." Bodhi (2000b), pp. 47-48, mentions that Ñāṇamoli translated nāmarūpa as "mentality-materiality," which Bodhi assesses to be "[i]n some respects ... doctrinally more accurate, but it is also unwieldy...." Bodhi goes on to note that, "in the Nikāyas, nāmarūpa does not include consciousness (viññāṇa)."
    31. ^ According to Bodhi (2000b), p. 48, based on suttas in SN 14, consciousness "can operate only in dependenece on a physical body (rūpa) and in conjunction with its constellation of concomitants (nāma); conversely, only when consciousness is present can a compound of material elements function as a sentient body and the mental concomitants participate in cognition." Also, for example, see the Nagara Sutta ("The City," SN 12:65) (Thanissaro, 1997b), where the Buddha in part states: "[F]rom name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness, from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form."
    32. ^ Bodhi conceptuatlizes the six sense bases as providing a "vertical" view of experience while the aggregates provide a "horizontal" (temporal) view (e.g., see Bodhi, 2000b, pp. 1122-23).
    33. ^ The Pāli word dhātu is used in multiple contexts in the Pāli canon: For instance, Bodhi (2000b), pp. 527-8, identifies four different ways that dhātu is used including in terms of the "eighteen elements" and in terms of "the four primary elements" (catudhātu).
    34. ^ Chart is based on Bodhi (2000a), p. 288.
    35. ^ >Put another way, it is through the five skandhas that clinging occurs. See, for instance, the Samadhi Sutta (SN 22:5) (Thanissaro, 2006b).
    36. ^ The apparent distinctions between the nidana model and the khandha model are reduced when, instead of using the twelve-nidana model of the Samyutta Nikaya, chapter 12 (e.g., Thanissaro, 1997d), one compares the nine-nidana model of the Maha-nidana Sutta (DN 15) (Thanissaro, 1997a) where consciousness conditions name-and-form and name-and-form conditions consciousness.
    37. ^ Bodhi (2000b, pp. 839-840) writes: "Whereas the teaching on dependent origination is intended to disclose the dynamic pattern running through everyday experience that propels the round of rebirth and death forward from life to life, the teaching on the five aggregates concentrates on experience in its lived immediacy in the continuum from birth to death." Perhaps in a similar vein, Bodhi (2000b, pp. 762-3, n. 132) notes elsewhere that, according to the Samyutta Nikaya's subcommentary: "There are two kinds of origin, momentary origin (khanika-samudaya) and origin through conditions (paccaya-samudaya). A bhikkhu who sees one sees the other."
    38. ^ While Red Pine (2004) contextualizes the Prajnaparamita texts as a historical reaction to some early Buddhist Abhidhammas, some interpretations of the Theravada Abhidhamma are consistent with the prajnaparamita notion of "emptiness."
    39. ^ According to Nattier (1992), the Heart Sutra was originally composed in Chinese and later back-translated into Sanskrit. Thereafter, it became popular in India and later Tibet. As indicated in an endnote further below, elements in this translation are not present in Chinese versions of this sutra.
    40. ^ See also Nhat Hanh (1988), p. 1, and Suzuki (1960), p. 26. Nhat Hanh (1988) adds to this first verse the sentence: "After this penetration, he overcame all pain." Suzuki (1960), p. 29, notes that this additional sentence is unique to Hsuan-chuang's translation and is omitted in other versions of the Heart Sutra.
    41. ^ In the Theravada canon, the English word "self-existence" is a translation of the Sanskrit word svabhava. Regarding the term sabhāva (Pali; Skt: svabhāva) in the Pali Canon, Gal (2003), p. 7, writes: "To judge from the suttas, the term sabhāva was never employed by the Buddha and it is rare in the Pali Canon in general. Only in the post-canonical period does it become a standard concept, when it is extensively used in the commentarial descriptions of the dhammas [conditioned mental and physical processes] and in the sub-commentarial exegesis. The term sabhāva, though, does occur on various occasions in five canonical or para-canonical texts: the Paisambhidāmagga, the Peakopadesa, the Nettippakaraa, the Milindapañha and the Buddhavasa." Gal (p. 10) speculates that the use of the term sabhāva in the Paisambhidāmagga might be the earliest occurrence in Pali literature and quotes (p. 7, esply. n. 28) from this text (Pais. II 178) the application of the phrase sabhāvena suñña (Pali for "empty of sabhāva") to each of the aggregates — at least superficially similar to an application of svabhāva in the Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra ("Heart Sutra") cited in this article.
    42. ^ when "emptiness of self" is mentioned, the English word "self" is a translation of the Pali word "atta" (Sanskrit, "atman"); in the Sanskrit-version of the Heart Sutra,
    43. ^ Note that Chinese versions of the Heart Sutra do not contain the notion of svabhava.
    44. ^ "Svabhava" has also been translated as "self-nature" (Suzuki, 1960, p. 26), "separate self" (Nhat Hanh, 1988, p. 16) and "self-existence" (Red Pine, 2004, p. 67).
    45. ^ This type of analysis of the aggregates (where ignorance conditions the five aggregates) might be akin to that described by the Twelve Nidanas.
    46. ^ Buddha-nature (如来藏) is translated as the Treasury of the Thus Come One in Shurangama Sutra
    47. ^ This is similar as saying everything in a video game is not true and natural but generated by the computer. The computer is and isn't everything in the game
    48. ^ A similar situation is that someone has been playing a video game for too long. His mind becomes tired[49] and the game becomes realistic to him[48]
    49. ^ 生灭既灭。寂灭现前。 忽然超越世出世间。 ”Since production and extinction were gone, still extinction was revealed. 5:134 ”Suddenly I transcended the mundane and transcendental worlds, and throughout the ten directions a perfect brightness prevailed. I obtained two supreme states.5:137[40]
    50. ^ Remote viewing suggested that all subconscious are connected together and have access to the past and the future
    51. ^ The model of emotion and instinct is decided by Four Pillars of Destiny
    52. ^ The idea is similar to Perceptron as long as the output of same inputs are consistent
    53. ^ as long as the interaction with the illusion is consistent with the interal model, see Statistical classification
    54. ^ This situation is same as if someone's information on a server was archived by the administrator. It's impossible to retrieve the information without knowing the method


    See also

    “It is like purifying muddy water by placing it in a quiet vessel which is kept completely still and unmoving. The sand and silt settle, and the pure water appears. This is called the initial subduing of the guest-dust affliction. 4:160 “The complete removal of the mud from the water is called the eternal severance of fundamental ignorance. 4:159 “When clarity is pure to its essence, then no matter what happens there is no affliction. Everything is in accord with the pure and wonderful virtues of Nirvana. 4:160.[87]

    After all five aggregates disappear, Buddha indicates that "no matter what happens there is no affliction"[87]

    “Ananda, when that good person, in cultivating samadhi, has put an end to the formations skandha, the subtle, fleeting fluctuations - the deep, imperceptible, pivotal source and the common foundation from which all life in the world springs - are suddenly obliterated. In the submerged network of the retributive karma of the pudgala, the karmic resonances are interrupted. 8:238 “There is about to be a great illumination in the sky of Nirvana. It is like gazing east at the cock's final crow to see the light of dawn. The six sense faculties are empty and still; there is no further racing about. Inside and outside there is a profound brightness. He enters without entering. Fathoming the source of life of the twelve categories of beings throughout the ten directions, he can contemplate that source without being drawn into any of the categories. He has become identical with the realms of the ten directions. The light does not fade, and what was hidden before is now revealed. This is the region of the consciousness skandha. 8:239 “If he has become identical with the beckoning masses, he may obliterate the individuality of the six gates and succeed in uniting and opening them. Seeing and hearing become linked so that they function interchangeably and purely. The worlds of the ten directions and his own body and mind are as bright and transparent as Vaidurya. This is the end of the consciousness skandha. This person can then transcend the turbidity of life spans. Contemplating the cause of the consciousness skandha, one sees that the negation of existence and the negation of nonexistence are both unreal, and that upside-down false thoughts are its source. 8:241[86]

    After the Consciousness Skandha disappears, one can transcend the turbidity of life spans.

    “Ananda, when the good person who is cultivating samadhi has put an end to the thinking skandha, he is ordinarily free of dreaming and idle thinking, so he stays the same whether in wakefulness or in sleep. His mind is aware, clear, empty, and still, like a cloudless sky, devoid of any coarse sense-impressions. He contemplates everything in the world - the mountains, the rivers, and the earth - as reflections in a mirror, appearing without attachment and vanishing without any trace; they are simply received and reflected. He does away with all his old habits, and only the essential truth remains. 8:174 “From this point on, as the origin of production and destruction is exposed, he will completely see all the twelve categories of living beings in the ten directions. Although he has not fathomed the source of their individual lives, he will see that they share a common basis of life, which appears as a mirage - shimmering and fluctuating - and is the ultimate, pivotal point of the illusory faculties and sense objects. This is the region of the formations skandha. 8:179 “Once the basic nature of this shimmering fluctuation returns to its original clarity, his habits will cease, like waves subsiding to become clear, calm water. This is the end of the formations skandha. This person will then be able to transcend the turbidity of living beings. Contemplating the cause of the formations skandha, one sees that subtle and hidden false thoughts are its source. 8:180[85]

    After the Formation Skandha disappears, one can transcend the turbidity of living beings.

    “Ananda, when the good person who is cultivating samadhi has put an end to the feeling skandha, although he has not achieved freedom from outflows, his mind can leave his body the way a bird escapes from a cage. From within his ordinary body, he already has the potential for ascending through the Bodhisattvas' sixty levels of sagehood. He attains the `body produced by intent' and can roam freely without obstruction. 8:82 “This is like someone talking in his sleep. Although he does not know he is doing it, his words are clear, and his voice and inflection are all in order, so those who are awake can understand what he is saying. This is the region of the thinking skandha. 8:83 “If he puts an end to his stirring thoughts and rids himself of superfluous thinking, it is as if he has purged defilement from the enlightened, understanding mind. Then he is perfectly clear about the births and deaths of all categories of beings from beginning to end. This is the end of the thinking skandha. He can then transcend the turbidity of afflictions. Contemplating the cause of the thinking skandha, one sees that interconnected false thoughts are its source. 8:84[84]

    After the Thinking Skandha disappears, one is perfectly clear about the births and deaths of all categories of beings from beginning to end.

    Ananda, when the good person who is cultivating samadhi and shamatha has put an end to the form skandha, he can see the mind of all Buddhas as if seeing an image reflected in a clear mirror. 8:50 “He seems to have obtained something, but he cannot use it. In this he resembles a paralyzed person. His hands and feet are intact, his seeing and hearing are not distorted, and yet his mind has come under a deviant influence, so that he is unable to move. This is the region of the feeling skandha. 8:51 “Once the problem of paralysis subsides, his mind can then leave his body and look back upon his face. It can go or stay as it pleases without further hindrance. This is the end of the feeling skandha. This person can then transcend the turbidity of views. Contemplating the cause of the feeling skandha, one sees that false thoughts of illusory clarity are its source. 8:51[83]

    When the Feeling Skandha disappears, one can leave his body.

    “Ananda, you should know that as a cultivator sits in the Bodhimanda, he is doing away with all thoughts. When his thoughts come to an end, there will be nothing on his mind. This state of pure clarity will stay the same whether in movement or stillness, in remembrance or forgetfulness. 8:25 “When he dwells in this place and enters samadhi, he is like a person with clear vision who finds himself in total darkness. Although his nature is wonderfully pure, his mind is not yet illuminated. This is the region of the form skandha. 8:26 “If his eyes become clear, he will then experience the ten directions as an open expanse, and the darkness will be gone. This is the end of the form skandha. He will then be able to transcend the turbidity of kalpas. Contemplating the cause of the form skandha, one sees that false thoughts of solidity are its source. 8:26[82]

    When the Form Skandha disappears, the darkness will be gone.

    Śūraṅgama Sūtra[73] is dedicated to explain the correct and fastest method to eliminate all five aggregates. Reading through the sutra text[73] several times is highly recommended. All five aggregates can be eliminated if one can cut off outflow and contemplate the hearing from inside. Outflow can only be cut off if one can cease all thoughts. To cut off outflow, one must not have sex,[74] or kill (eat meat),[75] or steal,[76] or lie[77],or eat onion and garlic.[78][79] If these principles can be strictly hold,[80] then it's easy to cut off the outflow.[81]

    This method is said to be the only method to achieve self enlightenment without the need of external help.[71] The reason is given in a previous chapter[72] which can be interpreted as follows, the soul (subconscious) need to access all time and space to calculate the sound, while other senses only have partial access to the data, thus "hearing is complete".[72]

    “It is like a puppeteer who plays with shadows and works the dolls to seem as real as people. Although one sees them move about freely, they are really governed by a set of strings. Cease operating the controls and they return to stillness. The entire illusion is without a nature. 5:222[70]

    The first sentence "初于闻中,入流亡所" is the method and the rest sentences described how the five aggregates disappear one after another. There are several translations of the first sentence.[40][64] According to Shurangama Sutra, suffering and clinging is caused by outflow. Ceasing all physical and mental activity can stop the outflow. Therefore, the first sentence can be interpreted as, "Initially, (by contemplating) the sound. The solid form[65] boils away,[66] flows back and becomes light again." Sounds help to locate the "space" in the mind.[67] "Space" which contains all worlds is like a wisp of cloud that dots the vast sky in the mind.[68] Sound makes the "space" to alter into solid forms and to vibrate. Anything moves is dust.[69] By contemplating this vibration, the solid forms boils, flows back and becomes light again. "Space" and form are essentially the same. Boiling the form aggregate also undermines the "space".

    初于闻中,入流亡所。所入既寂。动静二相了然不生。如是渐增。闻所闻尽。尽闻不住。觉所觉空。空觉极圆。空所空灭。生灭既灭。寂灭现前。 忽然超越世出世间。十方圆明。获二殊胜。[63]

    Śūraṅgama Sūtra was predicted by Buddha as the first Sūtra to be destroyed.[62] The original Sanskrit version is not known to be extant. The next extant version is in ancient Chinese. Further translations may not be able to contain the correct meaning. In the Chinese Sūtra text, the quickest method was introduced by Guanyin Bodhisattva and was described as

    Each spirit has infinite light.[60] If a person concentrates his thoughts on objects inside the illusion, because those objects are merely illusions, the light goes to nowhere. This is called "outflow". If a person has the ability to cease all thoughts, then "outflow" stops. Further, if a person can contemplate a sense inside his mind, because that sense does exist, all light will focus on that sense and melt it away.[61] This is called "inflow". The fastest method to eliminate aggregates is to flow all lights into the center of the hearing by contemplating the hearing during Samadhi.

    To weaken and eliminate all five aggregates, the best method described in Śūraṅgama Sūtra is to contemplate the hearing.[58] The person needs to cease all thoughts and continuously contemplating the center of hearing.[59]

    Weakening of the five skandhas

    According to Shurangama Sutra, the knowledge stored inside the soul will become inaccessible after reincarnation[55][54]. If the knowledge is stored inside the spirit, then this knowledge should always be accessible[56] even inside dreams, and this knowledge shouldn't base on anything inside the illusion.[57]

    [48], and interacts more with the illusion.[53]. The stronger the five aggregates is, the more a spirit will recognize the illusion as true and natural[52]