Привожу статью Питера Харви по некоторым из основных терминов. Для удобства я добавил в текст отрывки из Палийского канона, о которых идет речь, с английскими переводами (иногда неточными). Они выделены курсивом.


Journal of Buddhist Ethics

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 3 1996

A Review of The Five Aggregates: Understanding Theravāda Psychology and Soteriology

The Five Aggregates: Understanding Theravāda Psychology and Soteriology. By Mathieu Boisvert, Editions SR Vol.17. : Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion/Corporation Canadienne des Sciences Religieuses, Wilfred Laurier Press, 1995, xii +166 pages, ISBN: 0-88920-257-5, US $24.95

Reviewed By Peter Harvey

Reader in Buddhist Studies
University of Sunderland

This is a useful analysis and overview of Theravāda ideas on the five khandhas (Sanskrit skandhas) as regards: a) the general notion of a khandha, b) their individual natures, c) their relationship to the links (nidānas) of the pa.ticca-samuppāda sequence, and d) the logic of their standard order, which is seen to parallel links 3-10.

The author surveys the khandhas as they are understood within the developed Theravāda tradition, taking into account the canonical texts, plus commentarial literature (giving full Pali of quotes in the notes). In doing so, though, he perhaps tends to treat the tradition as monolithic by downplaying differences of ideas between the Suttas and later texts.

Use has been made of the Mahidol University Budsir programme to "search exhaustively for contexts" dealing with the khandhas. However, the study makes apparent the fact that a computer search for certain key words may overlook very relevant passages that do not happen to have those words in them. A good example of this is the fact that in Boisvert's study of the sa.nkhāras, whether as a khandha or nidāna, S.II.65-66 (see Conze et al, Buddhist Texts Through the Ages text 48


Sāvatthinidāna.m. “Yañca, bhikkhave, ceteti yañca pakappeti yañca anuseti, āramma.nameta.m hoti viññā.nassa .thitiyā. Aaramma.ne sati pati.t.thā viññā.nassa hoti. Tasmi.m pati.t.thite viññā.ne virū.lhe āyati.m punabbhavābhinibbatti hoti. Aayati.m punabbhavābhinibbattiyā sati āyati.m jāti jarāmara.na.m sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā sambhavanti. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti”.

“No ce, bhikkhave, ceteti no ce pakappeti, atha ce anuseti, āramma.nameta.m hoti viññā.nassa .thitiyā. Aaramma.ne sati pati.t.thā viññā.nassa hoti. Tasmi.m pati.t.thite viññā.ne virū.lhe āyati.m punabbhavābhinibbatti hoti. Aayati.m punabbhavābhinibbattiyā sati āyati.m jātijarāmara.na.m sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā sambhavanti. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.

“Yato ca kho, bhikkhave, no ceva ceteti no ca pakappeti no ca anuseti, āramma.nameta.m na hoti viññā.nassa .thitiyā. Aaramma.ne asati pati.t.thā viññā.nassa na hoti. Tadappati.t.thite viññā.ne avirū.lhe āyati.m punabbhavābhinibbatti na hoti. Aayati.m punabbhavābhinibbattiyā asati āyati.m jātijarāmara.na.m sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā nirujjhanti. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hotī”ti.

Staying at Savatthi... [the Blessed One said,] "What one intends, what one arranges, and what one obsesses about: This is a support for the stationing of consciousness. There being a support, there is a landing [or: an establishing] of consciousness. When that consciousness lands and grows, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Such is the origination of this entire mass of suffering & stress.

"If one doesn't intend and doesn't arrange, but one still obsesses [about something], this is a support for the stationing of consciousness. There being a support, there is a landing of consciousness. When that consciousness lands and grows, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Such [too] is the origination of this entire mass of suffering & stress.

"But when one doesn't intend, arrange, or obsess [about anything], there is no support for the stationing of consciousness. There being no support, there is no landing of consciousness. When that consciousness doesn't land & grow, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress."

) is overlooked. This is clearly on the sa.nkhāra nidāna, though it does not use the key word sa.nkhāra. The passage shows that this nidāna includes the activities of willing, planning and having a latent tendency for something: a key indication of the range of meaning of the sa.nkhāras.

Boisvert rightly challenges some of the existing translations for individual khandhas, though to prefer "sensation" to "feeling" for vedanā (pp.4-5) is to imply that such states only arise from the five senses and not also from the mind-organ. Regarding another point of translation, he renders sakkāya-di.t.thi as "the view that the body is existing (permanently)" (p.4), thus overlooking the fact that sakkāya is used at M.I.299 simply to refer to all five khandhas.

“‘sakkāyo sakkāyo’ti, ayye, vuccati. katamo nu kho, ayye, sakkāyo vutto bhagavatā”ti? “pañca kho ime, āvuso visākha, upādānakkhandhā sakkāyo vutto bhagavatā, seyyathida.m – rūpupādānakkhandho, vedanupādānakkhandho, saññupādānakkhandho, sa’nkhārupādānakkhandho, viññā.nupādānakkhandho.

"'Self-identification. Self-identification,' it is said, lady. Which self-identification is described by the Blessed One?"
"There are these five clinging-aggregates, friend Visakha: form as a clinging-aggregate, feeling as a clinging-aggregate, perception as a clinging-aggregate, fabrications as a clinging-aggregate, consciousness as a clinging-aggregate. These five clinging-aggregates are the self-identification described by the Blessed One."


Sakkāya is thus best seen to mean either "existing group" or "own group". It does not just refer to the body, and, as a term, has no implications as to the permanence of what it applies to. This implication comes from the views which are held concerning it. Sakkāya-di.t.thi thus means "Views on the existing group (as being or containing a permanent Self)".

In the chapter on "The Concept of Khandha", Boisvert argues that the the five khandha analysis was a Buddhists innovation in Indian thought. He goes on to argue, following Bhikkhu Bodhi, that the difference between the khandhas and "khandhas-as-objects-of-clinging" (upādānakkhandhas) is that the former include the latter as well as what could be called the "bare aggregates". The "bare aggregates", here, are the mental aggregates of any person while they are experiencing path or fruit consciousness (which have nibbāna as object). In this state, they are themselves free from clinging and also beyond the clinging that others may try to focus on them.

In the chapter on "The Rūpakkhandha", Boisvert uses the translation "matter" for rūpa without much discussion of this (except for pp.46-7). The translation is not necessarily wrong, but it needs arguing for. He analyses how ideas of the four primary elements (earth, water, fire and air) developed in the Abhidhamma, emphasising passages asserting that they cannot exist independently of each other (p.36). He then reviews some key aspects of the twenty-three types of secondary or derived rūpa. In relating these notions to the six senses and their objects, he asserts that the dhammāyatana, the object of mind, belongs to the rūpakkhandha (p.40). Yet while the mind certainly has forms of rūpa among its objects, it can also have purely mental states among its objects. In summarising his discussion of the sense-organs, he also says (p.50) "The first five sense-organs and their respective objects ... are resisting ... and invisible". As visible objects are "resisting" and "visible", this is an incorrect summary. In his discussion of the meaning of "internal (ajjhatta)" and "external (bahiddhā )" (p.43, 47), he overlooks the fact that these terms have two types of application. In the first, the khandhas composing a particular "person" are "internal" to them, and anything else is "external". In the second, the sense-organs are "internal", and their objects which might include aspects of a person's own body or mind, which are "internal" in the first sense are "external".

In relating the rūpakkhandha to the nidānas, he rather oddly relates it to "contact" (phassa; better: "stimulation") (pp.48-51) as well as to the (first five of the) six sense-doors. Here, he overlooks the possibility of relating it to the rūpa aspect of nāma-rūpa. "Contact", in any case, is part of nāma, not rūpa (M.I.49ff.).

Vedanā, saññā, cetanā, phasso, manasikāro – ida.m vuccatāvuso, nāma.m; cattāri ca mahābhūtāni, catunnañca mahābhūtāna.m upādāyarūpa.m – ida.m vuccatāvuso, rūpa.m.

Feeling, perception, volition, contact and attention -- these are called mentality. The four great elements and the material form derived from the four great elements -- these are called materiality.

In the chapter on The "Vedanākkhandha", Boisvert correctly emphasises that vedanā is more than an "anoetic sentience", as it has some specific content: pleasure etc. (p.53). He then develops a long discussion of the state of saññā-vedayita-nirodha, but this comes as rather a digression in a chapter devoted to understanding vedanā. He argues, correctly I feel, that this particular state of nirodha cannot be simply equated with nibbāna. It is simply one possible route to attaining it. He goes on to point out correctly that vedanā is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the arising of craving, its following nidāna in the pa.ticca-samuppāda sequence. He points out a Sutta passage, along with its commentary, which says that vedanās "belonging to the householder" conduce to unwholesome states, while those "belonging to the renouncer" conduce to wholesome states (p.74).

In the chapter on "The Saññākkhandha", Boisvert emphasises the role of saññā in helping vedanā lead on to craving. He prefers "recognition" as the translation of saññā as it "tends to imply that the subject imposes certain categories upon the percept in order to classify it" (p.78). Yet while the latter statement is an appropriate one on saññā, "recognition" has the unfortunate connotation that it is always a form of correct knowledge. In English, to say one "recognises" something or someone precludes any error in cognition. Saññā certainly is a form of classificatory, labelling, interpreting activity, but it includes both correct labelling ("recognition") and incorrect labelling (misinterpretation). For this reason, I prefer the more neutral "cognition". The more usual "perception" is certainly too broad, as it covers the combined activity of saññā and viññā.na, and in any case hardly covers saññā of a mental object.

Boisvert explores the relationship of saññā to views and papañca, which he translates "obsession." While he acknowledges that saññā can be wholesome, as in recognition of impermanence (p.84), he argues that such wholesome forms of saññā, particularly when they go on to apprehend nibbāna as "the signless", are not part of the saññākkhandha (p.87). This is odd, as it is precisely such saññās which would be part of the "bare aggregates" alluded to above. Given that saññā processes the object after vedanā has arisen in response to it, Boisvert slips into saying that saññā is itself processing "sensation": his translation for vedanā (p.88, 89). To say that saññā processes vedanā is not true to the texts, though, for vedanā is simply a pleasant, unpleasant or neutral feeling -- it carries no other information. saññā simply takes as object that which has conditioned the arising of vedanā.

In the chapter "The Sa"nkhārakkhandha", Boisvert first develops a useful discussion of the various ways in which the term sa"nkhāra is used in the Pali texts. Here, a key distinction is between the sa"nkhāras as sa"nkhata, i.e. conditioned, phenomena, and the sa"nkhāras as khandha or nidāna: as active "producing" or "generating" conditioner. He also very usefully compares the active sa"nkhāras to the process of cooking a meal (p.104). In discussing this active/passive distinction, though, he asserts that anything which is conditioned, which logically would include inanimate natural objects, is conditioned by the active sa"nkhāras of a being (p.104, cf. 148). Sometimes, the texts seem to say this, but it is something that needs more discussion. Boisvert finishes the chapter by correctly arguing that the sa"nkhārakkhandha and sa"nkhāra-nidāna are the same, and that aspects of their working can also be seen in the craving, clinging and becoming nidānas.

In the chapter on "The Viññā.nakkhandha", Boisvert argues against the view that viññā.na is "bare sensations devoid of any content" (p.117), holding that it is "probably the faculty needed for the cognition of pure percept, of sensation and of conceptualisation as well" (p.118). This is generally correct, but the analysis, here, would have been improved by some reference to the theory of the citta-vīthi, or "process of cittas", found fully developed in the commentaries, in skeletal form in the Pa.t.thāna, and even alluded to in seed form in the Suttas. This is basically the theory of the perceptual process as a series of mind-states which sequentially process any object. In this, what is known by "eye-viññā.na" is less than what is known e.g. by following "mind-viññā.na" performing the function of "determining". The first is visual awareness which discerns the presence of a visual object, and also discerns its basic components, labelled by accompanying saññā; second is discernment operating at a more abstract level, in unison with accompanying saññā labelling the aspects so made out. Boisvert goes on to ignore the concept of bhava"nga, which is also part of the theory of the "process of cittas". Bhava"nga is the resting state of consciousness which occurs uninterrupted in dreamless sleep, and which is momentarily reverted to in waking consciousness between each act of processing a sense-object. In interpreting M.I.190 (p.119), Boisvert criticises any idea of a "'mind' which applies the 'act of attention'" to an object when it is known. Yet bhava" nga is such a concept of a mind-ready-to-act (though it is replaced by the more active cittas which follow it in the "process of cittas"). M.I.190 describes how viññā.na and its accompaniments arise when there is an intact sense organ, a relevant sense-object within range, and an "appropriate samannāhāra".

“Seyyathāpi, āvuso, ka.t.thañca pa.ticca valliñca pa.ticca ti.nañca pa.ticca mattikañca pa.ticca ākāso parivārito agāra.m tveva sa’nkha.m gacchati; evameva kho, āvuso, a.t.thiñca pa.ticca nhāruñca pa.ticca ma.msañca pa.ticca cammañca pa.ticca ākāso parivārito rūpa.m tveva sa’nkha.m gacchati. Ajjhattikañceva, āvuso, cakkhu.m aparibhinna.m hoti, bāhirā ca rūpā na āpātha.m āgacchanti, no ca tajjo samannāhāro hoti, neva tāva tajjassa viññā.nabhāgassa pātubhāvo hoti. Ajjhattikañceva, āvuso, cakkhu.m aparibhinna.m hoti bāhirā ca rūpā āpātha.m āgacchanti, no ca tajjo samannāhāro hoti, neva tāva tajjassa viññā.nabhāgassa pātubhāvo hoti. Yato ca kho, āvuso, ajjhattikañceva cakkhu.m aparibhinna.m hoti, bāhirā ca rūpā āpātha.m āgacchanti, tajjo ca samannāhāro hoti. Eva.m tajjassa viññā.nabhāgassa pātubhāvo hoti.

Friends, an enclosure made in space with sticks, creepers, grass, and mud is a house likewise an enclosure made out of bones, nerves and flesh is matter. When the internal eye is unimpaired, external forms do not come to the purview, with the complementary coming together, the respective consciousness does not arise When the internal eye is unimpaired, external forms come to the purview, without the complementary coming together, the respective consciousness does not arise. .When the internal eye is unimpaired, external forms come to the purview, with the complementary coming together, the respective consciousness arises.

Boisvert renders the latter phrase as "with these brought together" (p.119), rather than Jayatilleke's "appropriate act of attention". Jayatilleke is correct, though, as samannāhāra is a synonym of manasikāra, "attention" (Vibh. 321,

Pañca viññā.nā anābhogāti pañcanna.m viññā.nāna.m natthi āva.t.tanā vā ābhogo vā samannāhāro vā manasikāro vā.


Api ca me tva.m, bhaddāli, dīgharatta.m cetasā cetoparicca vidito – ‘na cāya.m moghapuriso mayā dhamme desiyamāne a.t.thi.m katvā manasikatvā sabbacetaso samannāharitvā ohitasoto dhamma.m su.nātī’ti.

Bhaddali, that only, is not the reason, I have penetrated and seen your mind throughout a long time. I knew,:this foolish man does not consider the Teaching as a whole and and take the essence.

Moreover, in the case of hearing, at least, it is clear that an intact ear and an audible sound does not always lead to awareness of sound, if one's attention is directed elsewhere.

Boisvert goes on to usefully compare viññā.na and mano, though he makes no comparison to citta. In the introduction (p.ix), he says that "The tradition emphasizes that .... there can be no consciousness without a body...", though on p.28 he accepts that in the formless rebirths, "only the four mental aggregates exist". According to the latter statement, consciousness can sometimes exist without a body.

In the chapter on "Interrelation of the Aggregates", Boisvert explores the logic of the traditional ordering of the five khandhas, and sees this as mirroring the ordering of nidānas as follows (p.142):

Nidāna Khandha
viññā.na viññā.na
nāma-rūpa all five khandhas
sa.lāyatana rūpa
phassa rūpa
vedanā vedanā
ditto saññā
ta.nhā sa"nkhāras
upādāna sa"nkhāras
bhava sa"nkhāras

A key point, here, is his idea that viññā.na, as the fifth khandha, completes a circle by going on to condition the first khandha by allowing the arising of sensory contact (phassa). In general, this is acceptable, though one could argue (I do not have space here), that bhava, at least in part, includes the operation of viññā.na. One can, in any case, explain the logic of the khandha ordering as follows:

Dependent upon eye and visual form: arises eye-viññā.na; rūpa
the meeting of the three is phassa; from phassa arises vedanā; vedanā
saññā then processes the visual object; saññā
the sa"nkhāras respond to it; sa"nkhāras
mind-viññā.na takes in the fully labelled andresponded-to object viññā.na

In discussion of these issues, Boisvert sees the nāma-rūpa nidāna as equivalent to all five khandhas (p.129). While this is true for some commentarial passages, it is not true in the Suttas, where rūpa in it is equivalent to the rūpakkhandha, and nāma is "vedanā, saññā, phassa, manasikāra" (S.II.3-4): more or less equivalent to vedanā, saññā and sa"nkhāra khandhas. Boisvert discusses the differences in meaning of nāma-rūpa (p.133) but resolves it in an unsatisfactory way: because nāma-rūpa conditions viññā.na (in some Sutta passages), it includes it. Yet the same logic would mean that phassa includes vedanā, because it conditions it.

Boisvert is right to see saññā as implied as operating between the vedanā and ta.nhā nidānas (pp.136-42), though one can also see (unwholesome) saññā as equivalent to spiritual ignorance (avijjā ), the first of the twelve nidānas. This can be seen from S.732, which says "all sa"nkhāras are calmed from the stopping of saññā: i.e. the second nidāna is transcended by the transcending of the first.

Snp. 737. “Etamādīnava.m ñatvā, dukkha.m sa’nkhārapaccayā;
sabbasa’nkhārasamathā, saññāna.m uparodhanā;
eva.m dukkhakkhayo hoti, eta.m ñatvā yathātatha.m.

Boisvert is wrong, though, in saying, without reservation, "actions performed with wisdom as their foundation do not result in sa"nkhāra" (p.141, cf. 144). This is for two reasons. Firstly, the action of an unenlightened person may be rooted in non-delusion (wisdom). In such a case, the action would generate goodness-power (puñña), and be a puññābhisa"nkhāra -- still a sa"nkhāra. In the second case, when a liberated person dies, the sa"nkhārakkhandha comes to an end (S.III.112

Sace ma.m, āvuso, eva.m puccheyyu.m– ‘yo so, āvuso yamaka, bhikkhu araha.m khī.nāsavo so kāyassa bhedā para.m mara.nā ki.m hotī’ti? Eva.m pu.t.thoha.m, āvuso, eva.m byākareyya.m– ‘rūpa.m kho, āvuso, anicca.m. Yadanicca.m ta.m dukkha.m; ya.m dukkha.m ta.m niruddha.m tadattha‘ngata.m. Vedanā… saññā… sa’nkhārā… viññā.na.m anicca.m. Yadanicca.m ta.m dukkha.m; ya.m dukkha.m ta.m niruddha.m tadattha’ngatan’ti. Eva.m pu.t.thoha.m, āvuso, eva.m byākareyyan”ti

"Then, friend Yamaka, how would you answer if you are thus asked: A monk, a worthy one, with no more mental effluents: what is he on the break-up of the body, after death?"
"Thus asked, I would answer, 'Form is inconstant... Feeling... Perception... Fabrications... Consciousness is inconstant. That which is inconstant is stressful. That which is stressful has ceased and gone to its end."

), which implies it still existed for the wisdom-imbued liberated person prior to his or her death. A liberated person still has action-producing volitions-typical sa"nkhāras, but not ones which can produce future karmic results. This must surely be because he or she lacks latent tendencies, the root of all karma-producing sa"nkhāras.

Boisvert also asserts (p.142) that pa.ticca-samuppāda in reverse order -- where all the nidānas cease/stop -- is "one version of the path leading to the eradication of misery". This is not quite correct. It is quite clear from S.II.43 that it is itself the end of dukkha, itself what the path leads to.


Sāvatthiya.m viharati …pe… “avijjāpaccayā, bhikkhave, sa’nkhārā; sa’nkhārapaccayā viññā.na.m …pe… evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.
“Katamañca, bhikkhave, jarāmara.na.m? Yā tesa.m tesa.m sattāna.m tamhi tamhi sattanikāye jarā jīra.natā kha.n.dicca.m pālicca.m valittacatā āyuno sa.mhāni indriyāna.m paripāko– aya.m vuccati jarā. Yā tesa.m tesa.m sattāna.m tamhā tamhā sattanikāyā cuti cavanatā bhedo antaradhāna.m maccu mara.na.m kālakiriyā khandhāna.m bhedo ka.levarassa nikkhepo; ida.m vuccati mara.na.m. Iti ayañca jarā idañca mara.na.m. Ida.m vuccati, bhikkhave, jarāmara.na.m. Jātisamudayā jarāmara.nasamudayo; jātinirodhā jarāmara.nanirodho. Ayameva ariyo a.t.tha’ngiko maggo jarāmara.nanirodhagāminī pa.tipadā. Seyyathida.m– sammādi.t.thi, sammāsa’nkappo, sammāvācā, sammākammanto, sammā-ājīvo, sammāvāyāmo, sammāsati, sammāsamādhi.

“Katamā ca, bhikkhave, jāti …pe… katamo ca, bhikkhave, bhavo… katamañca, bhikkhave, upādāna.m… katamā ca, bhikkhave, ta.nhā… katamā ca, bhikkhave, vedanā… katamo ca, bhikkhave , phasso… katamañca, bhikkhave, sa.lāyatana.m… katamañca, bhikkhave, nāmarūpa.m… katamañca, bhikkhave, viññā.na.m…?

“Katame ca, bhikkhave, sa’nkhārā? Tayome, bhikkhave, sa’nkhārā– kāyasa’nkhāro, vacīsa‘nkhāro, cittasa’nkhāro. Ime vuccanti, bhikkhave, sa’nkhārā. Avijjāsamudayā sa’nkhārasamudayo; avijjānirodhā sa’nkhāranirodho. Ayameva ariyo a.t.tha’ngiko maggo sa’nkhāranirodhagāminī pa.tipadā. Seyyathida.m– sammādi.t.thi …pe… sammāsamādhi.

Within his conclusion, Boisvert says "All the sense-organs except the mental organ (mano) belong to the six sense-doors, while the sense-objects along with the mental organ are included in contact (phassa)" (p.147). Here one can object: a) mano is in fact the sixth of the six sense-doors, b) phassa is part of nāma, and so cannot include physical sense-objects, c) mano is not the same as phassa, though it can condition its arising.

So, overall, The Five Aggregates is a useful study which brings together much material needed for an understanding of the khandhas. In a number of ways it is an improvement on earlier studies, but it is not an exhaustive study, and should be used with reservation, or as a basis of discussion.

Other recent studies -- which Boisvert had no chance to consult -- are Sue Hamilton's Identity and Experience: the Constitution of the Human Being According to Early Buddhism (Luzac Oriental, London, early 1996), and my own The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirvana in Early Buddhism (Curzon Press, London, October 1995; available from Hawai'i Press). The latter is, I believe, soon to be reviewed in this journal.

Copyright 1996 http://jbe.gold.ac.uk/coprite.html