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Fundamentals of Buddhism

THE FIVE AGGREGATES
This is the last in the series of twelve sessions that
we have spent together, and in this last session we are
going to look at the teaching of the five aggregates
(Skandhas — Rupa, Vedana, Samjna, Samskara and
Vijnana). In other words, we are going to look at the
Buddhist analysis of personal experience or the
Buddhist analysis of the personality.
Throughout the last lectures, I have had occasions
a number of times to make the point that Buddhist
teachings have been found relevant to modern life and
thought in the fields of science, psychology and so
forth. Here, in regard to the analysis of personal ex-
perience into the five aggregates, this is also the case.
Modern psychologists and psychiatrists have been par-
ticularly interested in this analysis. It has even been
suggested that in the Abhidharma and in the analysis of
personal experience into the five aggregates, we have a
psychological equivalent to the table of elements work-
ed out in modern science. What we have in the Buddhist
analysis of personal experience is a very careful inven-
tory and evaluation of the elements of our experience.
What we are going to do today is basically an
extension and a refinement of what we were doing at the
end of last week’s lecture. There, we spent some time on
the teachings of impermanence, suffering and not-self.
In the course of looking at the teaching on not-self, we
have explored briefly how the analysis of personal
experience can be carried out along two lines, and that is
with regard to the body, and with regard to the mind.
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