The mind for Buddhists is not a simple unity, but a complex
cooperative activity involving four factors: feeling, perceptions,
mental formations and consciousness.
feel all experience as pleasant, painful or neutral.
Feeling is the mental factor that has the function of experiencing
the 'flavor' of the object, the effective quality of the object.
There are three basic types of feelings: pleasant, painful
and neutral feeling. Feeling can further be subdivided
by way of the sense faculty through which it originates: feeling
which arises by contact with the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body
and mind, which amounts to eighteen types of feeling (three
kinds each through six sense faculties).
The mental act of grasping the distinguishing qualities of
the object. Perception takes note of the object's features,
it identifies and notes. Perception is divided into
six categories by way of the sense objects that it takes
Perception of form
Perception of sound
Perception of smell
Perception of taste
Perception of touch
Perception of ideas
is the mental factor which arouses us to act by way of
body or speech.
This comprehensive group contains a number of volitional factors.
While many are mentioned, the most important is volition or
will. This is the mental factor which arouses us to act by
way of body or speech. Mental formations also include all different
desires and emotions, including the wholesome and unwholesome
roots. These are the basic psychological roots of unwholesome
actions: greed hatred and delusion, and the basic roots of
wholesome actions: generosity, loving kindness and wisdom.
Consciousness is the key factor of the mind. It is the basic
awareness of the object, the light of awareness which makes
all experience possible. Consciousness is divided into
six types by way of its basis:
makes all experience possible.
eye consciousness — cognizes visual objects.
ear consciousness — cognizes sound
nose consciousness — cognizes smell
tongue consciousness — cognizes taste
body consciousness — cognizes tangible sensations
mind consciousness — cognizes objects of outer senses
such as sights, sounds, etc as well as mental objects
such as ideas, concepts, images, abstract notions etc.
Consciousness seems similar to perception, but these two perform different
functions. Consciousness is the general awareness of objects,
while perception is the specific factor which grasps
the object's distinctive qualities.
To fully understand the five aggregates means to see
them as they really are, and this means to see them in terms
of the three characteristics of existence. In the next
lesson you will learn about these three characteristics — impermanence,
unsatisfactoriness or suffering, and selflessness or