Five Aggregates - Panca Khandha The Buddha taught that the human being is made up of five aggregates (Panca Khandha) - Nama (feeling; perception; mental formations; consciousness) and Rupa (matter)
Five Aggregates - Panca Khandha Human Matter (Rupa) Mind (Nama) Element Of Extension Sensation or Feeling C e (Earth) Pathavi Vedana t a Element Of Cohesion s Perception Sanna (Water) Apo i k a Element Of Heat (Heat) Mental Formations Tejo Sankhara CElement Of Motion (Wind) i Consciousness Vinnana Vayo t t a
Nama (Mind) Citta Cetasikas Consciousness (Vinnana) 50 cetasikasThe mind is made up of two components – Citta & Cetasikas.The function of the Citta (or Consciousness) is to be aware of the external or mental object.The Cetasikas ‘add’ meaning into the object. It is the cetasikas that ‘colour’ our mind and give meaning to the object. Wholesome states like compassion & equanimity are created by cetasikas. Unwholesome states like hatred, greed, delusion are also created by cetasikas too.
Nama (Mind) Citta CetasikasConsciousness (Vinnana) Sensation or Perception Mental Feeling (Sanna) Formations (Vedana) (Sankhara) 1 cetasika 1 cetasika 50 cetasikasThe cetasikas are in turnclassified into 3 Total – 52 cetasikasAggregates – Feeling;Perception and MentalFormations.
Mental Aggregate of Consciousness - Vinnana Consciousness does not recognise an object. It is only a sort of awareness – awareness of the presence of an object.In the above example, the physical object strikes the eyes. The eyeconsciousness becomes aware that a colour object has struck the eyes. Itdoesn’t know what the object is.Or if a sound wave strikes the ears, the hearing consciousness becomesaware than a sound strikes the ears. It doesn’t know what the sound is.
Mental Aggregate of Perception - Sanna It is perception that recognises objects whether physical or mental. A box of jewels!!Perception acts like a memory to us. In the above example, the mindremembers from the shapes and colours of the objects that it is a Box ofJewels.If it is sound, the memory remembers that the sound is English orMandarin, etc and understands the sound.
Mental Aggregate of Sensation - Vedana These are all our sensations or feelings - pleasant or unpleasant or neutral, experienced through the contact of physical and mental organs with the external world. What precious jewels!! I am going to be rich!!Because of past memories, the mind immediately forms a feeling for theobject – either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.For example, if we don’t like noisy people and we meet a noisy person,the ‘unpleasant’ feeling will arise immediately.
Mental Aggregate of Mental Formations -Sankhara In this group are included all volitional activities (both good and bad) or kamma. I must take it. Nobody is watching me.. Greed The last mental aggregate is the most important – it is here that kamma is generated. In the above example, the person is overcome by Greed because of the pleasant feeling generated by Vedana. Or if he meets a noisy person, he feels angry immediately because of the unpleasant feeling generated by Vedana.
Mental Aggregate of Mental Formations -Sankhara The Sankhara group is made up of 50 types of mental formations. Examples: Delusion, ignorance, dullness Compassion Greed, attachment, sensuous Sympathetic joy desire Understanding of things as they Conceit, pride really are Hatred, anger, aversion Worry, scruples, remorse Envy, jealousy Wish, desire or will Sceptical doubt, perplexity Etc, etc, etc. Faith, confidence These are basically your mental states – Equanimity, mental balance whether wholesome of unwholesome. Right speech Wholesome states generate good kamma; Right action unwholesome states generate bad kamma.
Consciousness (Citta)At the blink of an eye, billions of consciousnesswould have started and fallen away.Each unit of consciousness consists of 3 instants (khana).They are: Arising/genesis – uppada Static/development – thiti Cessation/dissolution - bhanga Arising Static Cessation Arising Static Cessation
In the above example, at the split of a second, the eyesare presented with an array and different shade of colours– from the trees; stream, goat, bird, dog, butterfly, etc.The objects keep changing every second – the animalsmove; the water flows; the leaves sway, etc. Billions ofthese light rays will be striking the eyes every moment.
At the same split of a second, the ears are presented withan array and different tone of sounds – from the swayingtrees; stream, goat, bird, dog, etc. The sounds keepchanging every second too. Billions of these soundwaves will be striking the ears every moment.
The eye and ear consciousness are only aware of colourand sound. They do not know what these objects are.
To know what these objects are, Vedana, Sanna andSankhara will have to come in and play their roles.The person then recognises the river, trees, rock, goat, bird,butterfly, dog, etc. He also recognises the sound and whichanimals produce the sound. If he is a nature lover, he willhave a pleasant feeling being with nature and that willgenerate wholesome states of mind.