- The word khandha (Skr. skandha) means the trunk of a tree and is generally used to mean group or aggregate [Footnote ref 135]. We have seen that Buddha said that there was no atman (soul). He said that when people held that they found the much spoken of soul, they really only found the five khandhas together or any one of them.
All these states rise depending one upon the other (_paticcasamuppanna_) and when a man says that he perceives the self he only deludes himself, for he only perceives one or more of these. The word rupa in rupakhandha stands for matter and material qualities, the senses, and the sense data [Footnote ref 137].
But "rupa" is also used in the sense of pure organic affections or states of mind as we find in the _Khandha Yamaka_, I.p. 16, and also in _Samyutta Nikaya_, III. 86. Rupaskandha according to _Dharmasamgraha_ means the aggregate of five senses, the five sensations, and the implicatory communications associated in sense perceptions _vijnapti_).
The elaborate discussion of _Dhammasangani_ begins by defining rupa as "_cattaro ca mahabhuta catunnanca mahabhntanam upadaya rupam_" (the four mahabhutas or elements and that proceeding from the grasping of that is called rupa) [Footnote ref 138].
just as he himself though not a ghost nor a bird makes himself appear as a ghost or a bird, so these elements though not themselves blue make themselves appear as blue (_nilam upada rupam_), not yellow, red, or white make themselves appear as yellow, red or white (odatam upadarupam),
If we take the somewhat conflicting passages referred to above for our consideration and try to combine them so as to understand what is meant by rupa, I think we find that that which manifested itself to the senses and organs was called rupa.
The four elements manifested themselves in certain forms and were therefore called rupa; the forms of affection that appeared were also called rupa; many other mental states or features which appeared with them were also called rupa [Footnote ref 141].
The mahabhutas or four elements were themselves but changing manifestations, and they together with all that appeared in association with them were called rupa and formed the rupa khandha (the classes of sense-materials, sense-data, senses and sensations).
"In editing the second book of the Abhidhamma pitaka I found a classification distinguishing between sanna as cognitive assimilation on occasion of sense, and sanna as cognitive assimilation of ideas by way of naming.
The latter is called perception of the equivalent word or name (_adhivachana-sanna_) and is exercised by the _sensus communis_ (mano), when e.g. 'one is seated...and asks another who is thoughtful: "What are you thinking of?" one perceives through his speech.'
Thus there are two stages of sanna-consciousness,
1. contemplating sense-impressions,
2. ability to know what they are by naming [Footnote ref 143]."
About sankhara we read in _Samyutta Nikaya_ (III. 87) that it is called sankhara because it synthesises (_abhisankharonti_), it is that which conglomerated rupa as rupa, conglomerated sanna as sanna, sankhara as sankhara and consciousness (_vinnana_) as consciousness.
The fact that we hear of 52 sankhara states and also that the sankhara exercises its synthetic activity on the conglomerated elements in it, goes to show that probably the word sankhara is used in two senses, as mental states and as synthetic activity.
Vinnana or consciousness meant according to Buddhaghosa, as we have already seen in the previous section, both the stage at which the intellectual process started and also the final resulting consciousness.
Buddhaghosa in explaining the process of Buddhist psychology says that "consciousness(_citta_)first comes into touch (_phassa_) with its object (_arammana_) and thereafter feeling, conception (_sanna_) and volition (_cetana_) come in.
But it should not be thought that contactis the beginning of the psychological processes, for in one whole consciousness (_ekacittasmim_) it cannot be said that this comes first and that comes after, so we can take contact in association with feeling (_vedana_), conceiving (_sanna_) or volition (_cetana_); it is itself an immaterial state but yet since it comprehends objects it is called contact."
"There is no impinging on one side of the object (as in physical contact), nevertheless contact causes consciousness and object to be in collision, as visible object and visual organs, sound and hearing;
And as if, sire, two cymbals were to strike against each other, or two hands were to clap against each other; one hand would represent the eye, the second the visible object and their collision contact.
Contact is the manifestation of the union of the three (the object, the consciousness and the sense) and its effect is feeling (_vedana_); though it is generated by the objects it is felt in the consciousness and its chief feature is experiencing (_anubhava_) the taste of the object.
As the cook, when he has prepared food of diverse tastes, puts it in a basket, seals it, takes it to the king, breaks the seal, opens the basket, takes the best of all the soup and curries, puts them in a dish,
and master, eats whatever he likes, even so the mere tasting of the food by the cook is like the partial enjoyment of the object by the remaining states, and as the cook tastes a portion of the food, so the remaining states enjoy a portion of the object, and as the king, being lord, expert and master,
eats the meal according to his pleasure so feeling being lord expert, and master, enjoys the taste of the object and therefore it is said that enjoyment or experience is its function [Footnote ref 145]."
The special feature of sanna is said to be the recognizing (_paccabhinna_) by means of a sign (_abhinnanena_). According to another explanation, a recognition takes place by the inclusion of the totality (of aspects)--_sabbasangahikavasena_. The work of volition (_cetana_) is said to be coordination or binding together (_abhisandahana_).
He was exceedingly energetic and exceedingly strenuous; he doubled his strength and said
"When one says 'I,' what he does is that he refers either to all the khandhas combined or any one of them and deludes himself that that was 'I.
' Just as one could not say that the fragrance of the lotus belonged to the petals, the colour or the pollen, so one could not say that the rupa was 'I' or that the vedana was 'I' or any of the other khandhas was 'I.'
There is nowhere to be found in the khandhas 'I am [Footnote ref 147]'."