Ajahn Sumedho

The analysis of the five aggregates or skandhas is a central topic of Buddhist practice. Those that recite the Heart Sutra are familiar with how it is mentioned and analyzed, and those familiar with the Four Establishments of Mindfulness are familiar  with how the aggregates are observed.

The five aggregates are mentioned as:

  1. Form
  2. Feeling
  3. Discrimination
  4. Compositional Factors
  5. Consciousness

In this interesting article by Ajahn Sumedho, entitled “You are not a permanent person,” he uses the analysis of the five aggregates to understand that we are not a permanent being.

Why Analyze the Five Aggregates?

Studying the five aggregates can be used as a way to generate wisdom that is necessary to be free of suffering. In his article, Ajahn Sumedho says:

So much of our suffering is around attachment to perceptions, views, opinions and emotional habits. In the enlightened mind one is breaking out of conditioning. Because there is an infinite variety of conditioned phenomena, the Buddha talked in terms of just five groups (five khandhas) in which to get a perspective on it, and this is to be understood in a very direct way, not in a theoretical way.  Each one of us experiences through the body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness, and consciousness is functional.