"For all its ecstatic nature,
for all its power, sex is just

another human drive. If we

avoid it just because it is

more difficult to integrate

than anger or fear,then we

are simply saying that when

the chips are down we

cannot follow our own

practice. "This is dishonest

a nd unhealthy." The Mind of

Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist

Ethics (1984), Robert Aiten
Roshi said (pp. 41-42)



The Sanskrit word skandha means "heap" or "aggregate." The Buddha taught that an individual is a combination of five aggregates of existence, called the Five Skandhas. These are:

  1. Form
  2. Sensation
  3. Perception
  4. Mental formations
  5. Consciousness

Various schools of Buddhism do not interpret the skandhas in exactly the same way. Generally, the first skandha is our physical form. The second is made up of our feelings, emotional and physical, and our senses -- seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling.


The third skandha, perception, takes in most of what we call thinking -- conceptualization, cognition, reasoning. This also includes the recognition that occurs when an organ comes into contact with an object. Perception can be thought of as "that which identifies." The object perceived may be a physical object or a mental one, such as an idea.