Mind & Consciousnesses
Ki to Revitalization

I could never wrap my brain around the ’4′ skandhas, largely because of the way were explained to me in the past seemed counter intuitive. On the other hand, Consciousness theory, realating to the 5th skandha, has always made more sense to me, in that the mind works on different levels simultaneously.
Skandha means something like heap, pile, component, aggregate, or cluster. The five of these make up our self, or, rather, the not self. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness; an important part of vipassana {insight}, kanjin, or spiritual introspection; consists of the consciousness expanding its awareness of the other four, which are its spheres of activity.
Rupa Skandha = Form, body, matter. Our physical structure and 6 sensory organs; the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin, and brain.
Vedana Skandha = Sensation. This means input received by the 5 senses and the mind; sights, sounds, scents, flavors, textures, and mental information.
Samnja Skandha = Perception, conception, or cognition. Of these, conception might be the best translation.
Samskara Skanha = Mental formations, will, volition, or motive. I think motive captures the intended idea the best.
Vijnana Skandha = Consciousness or Cognizance. Neither word works real well here, as many aspects of vijnana are unconscious {automatic}, or subconscious.
Samskara still confuses me, it is so often given as volition or will. It seems to me ‘habits’ might be a better word. Volition implies conscious will. Maybe my early training in Behaviorism affects my take on the idea of ‘will power.’ At this point, I connect vedana, samnja, and samskara each to a level of consciousness:
vedana: the 5 senses and autonomous, reflexive, unconscious brain & nervous functions –sort of the mind’s autopilot. Mind {mano} here is the 6th of 8 or 9 “Consciousnesses.” It includes the brain stem, sympathetic, and parasympathetic nervous systems.
samnja: the conscious, cognitive and emotive cerebral brain functions; the functioning of the 7th {manas} Consciousness. This seems to be reflective rather than reflexive. It thinks it is in control, but generally fools itself. It might be compared to the monitor, keyboard, and mouse of a computer.
samskara: the functioning of the alaya consciousness; which largely consists of subconscious, conditioned habits or patterns, influenced to some extent by will power, but less than most people give themselves credit for. It is like the hard drive or memory storage of a computer, with lots of outdated programs that junk it up. I notice that when I start a new endeavor, I start dreaming a lot, like samskara are being reorganized; similar to cleaning up, defragging, debugging, and updating a computer hard drive.
This is still speculation for now, but it is starting to make some sense.
From The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism
five components
[五陰・五蘊] (Skt pancha-skandha; Jpn go-on or go-un )
Also, five components of life, five aggregates, or five skandhas. The five components are form, perception, conception, volition, and consciousness. Buddhism holds that these constituent elements unite temporarily to form an individual living being. Together they also constitute one of the three realms of existence, the other two being the realm of living beings and the realm of the environment. (1) Form means the physical aspect of life and includes the five sense organs—eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body—with which one perceives the external world. (2) Perception is the function of receiving external information through the six sense organs (the five sense organs plus the “mind,” which inte-grates the impressions of the five senses). (3) Conception is the function of creating mental images and concepts out of what has been perceived. (4) Volition is the will that acts on the conception and motivates action. (5) Consciousness is the cognitive function of discernment that integrates the components of perception, conception, and volition. Form represents the physical aspect of life, while perception, conception, volition, and consciousness represent the spiritual aspect. Because the physical and spiritual aspects of life are inseparable, there can be no form without consciousness, and no consciousness without form. All life carries on its activities through the interaction of these five components. Their work-ngs are colored by the karma one formed in previous lifetimes and at the same time create new karma.
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