The Five Skandhas
The Buddhist doctrine of egolessness seems to be a bit confusing to
people. I think this is because there is some confusion as to what is
meant by ego. Ego, in the Buddhist sense, is quite different from the
Freudian ego. The Buddhist ego is a collection of mental events
classified into five categories, called Skandhas, loosely translated as
bundles, or heaps.
If we were to borrow a western expression, we could say that "in the
beginning" things were going along quite well. At some point, however,
there was a loss of confidence in the way things were going. There was a
kind of primordial panic which produced confusion about what was
happening. Rather than acknowledging this loss of confidence, there was
an identification with the panic and confusion. Ego began to form. This
is known as the first skandha, the skandha of form.
After the identification with confusion, ego begins to explore how it
feels about the formation of this experience. If we like the experience,
we try to draw it in. If we dislike it, we try to push it away, or
destroy it. If we feel neutral about it, we just ignore it. The way we
feel about the experience is called the skandha of form; what we try to
do about it is known as the skandha of impulse/perception.
The next stage is to try to identify, or label the experience. If we can
put it into a category, we can manipulate it better. Then we would have
a whole bag of tricks to use on it. This is the skandha of concept.
The final step in the birth of ego, is called the skandha of
consciousness. Ego begins to churn thoughts and emotions around and
around. This makes ego feel solid and real. The churning around and
around is called samsara literally, to whirl about.
The way ego feels about its situation (skandha of feeling) determines
which of the six realms of existence it creates for itself.
--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "SteveW" <eugnostos2...@...> wrote:
> So how does one separate ego from mind?
> Hi Dave, pleased to meet you. So tell me, if ego is just a convenient
the 5 skandas, who is it that wants to separate ego from mind?
And if the skandas arise in Mind, how would that even be possible? Who
that is afflicted with OCD? Just some stuff to think about.