Skandhas in all schools of Mahayana Buddhism

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johnwhi
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Skandhas in all schools of Mahayana Buddhism

Post by johnwhi »

I began to study Mahayana Buddhism and learned about skandhas.

The teachings of Mahayana Buddhism say that every person is made up of skandhas: form, sensations, perceptions, mental activity or formations and consciousness.


I want to know:

1. Do all modern schools of Mahayana Buddhism believe that every person is made up of skandhas?

2. Do all modern schools of Mahayana Buddhism allow Buddhists, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to believe that other people consist of skandhas such as form, sensations, perceptions, mental activity or formations and consciousness, or are only Buddhists who have not yet come to enlightenment allowed to believe in it?
Thanks
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Aemilius
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Re: Skandhas in all schools of Mahayana Buddhism

Post by Aemilius »

"All schools of Buddhism", that is quite a lot. Different scholars and different schools translate the skandhas differently, there are many interpretations of what these skandhas actually are. The first skandha, rupa, is form or matter. It is the form of subject and object, it is not just one's body. This is one explanation. You are reborn as subject and object, you are reborn with your own outer world of objects. You erroneously interpret the form of objects as being "out there", totally independent of your consciousness.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
Malcolm
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Re: Skandhas in all schools of Mahayana Buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

johnwhi wrote: Fri Sep 24, 2021 11:37 am
1. Do all modern schools of Mahayana Buddhism believe that every person is made up of skandhas?

2. Do all modern schools of Mahayana Buddhism allow Buddhists, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to believe that other people consist of skandhas such as form, sensations, perceptions, mental activity or formations and consciousness, or are only Buddhists who have not yet come to enlightenment allowed to believe in it?
Thanks
1. Yes.

2. The aggregates are a common teaching in Mahayana, taught by Buddhas and high bodhisattvas.
"Death stands before all who are born."
— Ācārya Aśvaghoṣa
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Aemilius
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Re: Skandhas in all schools of Mahayana Buddhism

Post by Aemilius »

"In the Samyukta Agama, the Buddha asks the ascetic Shrenika Vatsagotra if the Tathagata (another name for a buddha) is the same as the skandhas, and Shrenika says, "No, Bhagavan." Again the Buddha asks if the Tathagata is separate from the skandhas, and again Shrenika answers, "No, Bhagavan."The Buddha then asks if the Tathagata is inside the skandhas. Again Shrenika answers, "No, Bhagavan."The Buddha then asks if the skandhas are inside the Tathagata. Once more Shrenika says, "No, Bhagavan." Finally the Buddha asks if the Tathagata is not the skandhas, to which Shrenika answers, "No, Bhagavan". Likewise, in the Perfection ofWisdom in Eight Thousand Lines, the Buddha says that enlightenment is neither inside the skandhas nor outside them, nor both inside and outside them, nor other than the skandhas."

The Heart-sutra, Translation and Commentary by Red Pine
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
Malcolm
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Re: Skandhas in all schools of Mahayana Buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

Aemilius wrote: Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:58 am "In the Samyukta Agama, the Buddha asks the ascetic Shrenika Vatsagotra if the Tathagata (another name for a buddha) is the same as the skandhas, and Shrenika says, "No, Bhagavan." Again the Buddha asks if the Tathagata is separate from the skandhas, and again Shrenika answers, "No, Bhagavan."The Buddha then asks if the Tathagata is inside the skandhas. Again Shrenika answers, "No, Bhagavan."The Buddha then asks if the skandhas are inside the Tathagata. Once more Shrenika says, "No, Bhagavan." Finally the Buddha asks if the Tathagata is not the skandhas, to which Shrenika answers, "No, Bhagavan". Likewise, in the Perfection ofWisdom in Eight Thousand Lines, the Buddha says that enlightenment is neither inside the skandhas nor outside them, nor both inside and outside them, nor other than the skandhas."

The Heart-sutra, Translation and Commentary by Red Pine
Yes, because thus would make the tathagata and bodhi a self.
"Death stands before all who are born."
— Ācārya Aśvaghoṣa
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Gregory Wonderwheel
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Re: Skandhas in all schools of Mahayana Buddhism

Post by Gregory Wonderwheel »

johnwhi wrote: Fri Sep 24, 2021 11:37 am I began to study Mahayana Buddhism and learned about skandhas.

The teachings of Mahayana Buddhism say that every person is made up of skandhas: form, sensations, perceptions, mental activity or formations and consciousness.

I want to know:

1. Do all modern schools of Mahayana Buddhism believe that every person is made up of skandhas?

2. Do all modern schools of Mahayana Buddhism allow Buddhists, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to believe that other people consist of skandhas such as form, sensations, perceptions, mental activity or formations and consciousness, or are only Buddhists who have not yet come to enlightenment allowed to believe in it?
Thanks
One might question the terminology of "made up of." A person is not made up of skandhas. A person is imagined to reside in imagined skandhas. The notion of "made up of" comes from the traditional analysis of the person. When we start with the premise that there is a "person," a "separate entity," a "soul," a "self", etc., this is the naive position of mundane consciousness. With the traditional analysis, like taking apart the chariot or Chevrolet, the concept of the person is taken apart into the five main systems known as the five skandhas (literally, the shoulder branches). Unfortunately, some Buddhists stop here and imagine the skandhas to be "real" and the person to be "unreal." But since each of the skandhas can be further analyzed into constituent "parts", each skandha is as "unreal" or as imagined as the person is.

No true Buddhist would claim to 'allow" or disallow what others believe, think, or imagine. We simply share how this life appears to us, and let others believe what they want to believe.

The first skandha, rupa, is the sensory data of shape and color, of sound, taste, etc. not "form" as matter or object. To call rupa "matter" is ignorance because it is projecting sensory data as something other.

People don't "consist of" skandhas, the mind manifests the skandhas so we can consist and exist.

I view the skandhas as the five types of "ception": (1) inception, (2) reception (3) perception (4) conception and (5) deception.

"Ception" and "ceive" have a common root, so by the five skandhas we (1) inceive, (2) receive (3) perceive (4) conceive and (5) deceive.
The root of both "cept(ion)" and "ceive" is capere from the Indo-European root kap meaning to take, to grasp. Thus in this view, the five skandhas are the five ways our mind grasps itself in order to manifest and realize itself. They are not things that we are made of, but processes of the mind that we are.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Skandhas in all schools of Mahayana Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

If you draw a circle, and in the upper half of the circle, draw two dots side by side, and in the lower half of the circle draw an arc whose ends curve upward, this produces the appearance of a “smiley face”. There isn’t really a face, there are just things arranged together.

The skandhas are like that. We can say that a being is composed of, of made of skandhas, or however you want to imagine it. But it doesn’t mean there is a self which has actually been produced by the combination of the skandhas.

There is just the experience of appearance.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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