The five aggregates (or “heaps,” or skandhas) are:
- Form, body
- Feelings, sensations (physical, emotional)
- Perceptions (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, thoughts)
- Impulses, volition, will, intention (karma)
- Consciousness, cognition (mind)
Together, these constitute what we generally consider to be our self. I often find it hard to place something into just one of the five heaps — in particular, I think No. 2 and No. 3 overlap a lot. But this is probably unimportant. What’s more important is that everything we “are” can be placed into one or more of the heaps, so it seems the idea of the five skandhas is pretty comprehensive.
The way I use these heaps as tools in my practice is to notice that every single one of them is always changing. Not a single heap is permanent or fixed.
So where is “I”? This self I am so sure of, that seems so real and solid to me — what is it?