"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 fourth skandha, mental formations, includes habits, prejudices and predispositions. Our volition, or willfulness, also is part of the fourth skandha, as are attention, faith, conscientiousness, pride, desire, vindictiveness, and many other mental states both virtuous and not virtuous. The causes and effects of karma are especially important to the fourth skandha.


The fifth skandha, consciousness, is awareness of or sensitivity to an object, but without conceptualization. Once there is awareness, the third skandha might recognize the object and assign a concept-value to it, and the fourth skandha might react with desire or revulsion or some other mental formation. The fifth skandha is explained in some schools as base that ties the experience of life together.


The Buddha taught that our egos, personalities and the sense that the "self" is something distinctive and permanent enclosed within our bodies, are just illusory effects of the skandhas.


Also Known As: Aggregates of existence; the Five Heaps