The Five Khandhas - Realities classified by way of five khandhas

The Buddha discovered the truth of all phenomena. He knew the characteristic of each phenomenon by his own experience. Out of compassion he taught other people to see reality in many different ways, so that they would have a deeper understanding of the phenomena in and around themselves. When realities are classified by way of paramattha dhammas (absolute realities), they are classified as: citta, cetasika, rūpa, nibbāna.

Citta, cetasika and rūpa are conditioned realities (sankhāra dhammas). They

arise because of conditions and fall away again; they are impermanent. One

paramattha dhamma, nibbāna, is an unconditioned reality ((asankhata

dhamma); it does not arise and fall away. All four paramattha dhammas are

anattā, non-self.


Citta, cetasika and rūpa, the  conditioned realities, can be classified by

way of the five khandhas. Khandha means 'group' or 'aggregate'. What is

classified as khandha arises because of conditions and falls away again. The

five khandhas are not different from the three paramattha dhammas which

are citta, cetasika and rūpa. Realities can be classified in many different ways

and thus different names are given to them.


The five khandhas are:

1. Rūpakkhandha, which are all physical phenomena. 

2. Vedanākkhandha, which is feeling (vedanā). 

3. Saññākkhandha, which is remembrance or  ''perception'' (saññā). 

4. Sankhārakkhandha,comprising fifty cetasikas  (mental factors arising

with the citta)

5.  Viññānakkhandha, comprising all cittas  (89 or 121).

Topic 175