Monday, March 26, 2007


Buddhist doctrine describes one physical and four mental aggregates: [1][2]

  1. "form" or "matter" (sa., pi. rūpa):

    includes both external and internal matter. Externally, rupa is the physical world. Internally, rupa includes the material body and the physical sense organs.[3] Alternately, it is described as the tangible manifestation of ignorance, the basis for the creation of a dualistic relationship between "self" and "other."[4]
  2. "sensation" or "feeling" (sa., pi. vedanā):

    sensing pleasant, unpleasant or neutral (neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant).[5] Generally considered not to include "emotions."[6]
  3. "perception" or "cognition" (sa. samjñā, pi. saññā):

    registers whether sense data is recognized or not (for instance, the sound of a bell or the shape of a tree). From samyutta-ñana, conditioned knowledge. It is ordinarily conditioned by ones past sankhara, and therefore conveys a coloured image of reality. [7]
  4. "mental formations" or "volition" (sa. samskāra, pi. sankhāra) />

    all types of mental habits, thoughts, ideas, opinions, compulsions, and decisions.[8] Sankhāra arise from contact with form or from other mental factors. Sankhāra are the source of karma.
  5. "consciousness" (sa. vijñāna, pi. viññāṇa[9]):

    the base that supports all experience.[10] Alternately, it is envisioned as series of rapidly changing interconnected discrete acts of cognizance.[11]

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