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The Five Skandhas of Buddhism and the Eastern Orthodox Church

Jibrail Almuhajir

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Howdy y'all!

Many of you have read and enjoyed the book, "Christ: The Eternal Tao" by Fr. Seraphim Rose and Hieromonk Damascene.  Sort of in that same vein, I'd like to see someone in the EOC (either the Desert Fathers or a modern day author) deal with the five skandhas found in Buddhism.  For those with no previous knowledge of the five Skandhas, they are (as I understand them):

1. Form—The eyes, ears, tongue, body and mind.
2. Sensations—The raw data that is derived from sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought.
3. Perception—The classification of those sensations.
4. Mental Formations—Actions linked to thought such as greed, anger and ignorance or wisdom, compassion and enlightenment.
5. Consciousness—Our awareness of the previous four skandhas.

It seems as though this might be a pretty good intuition of the human condition.  I'm not trying to synchronize the two Faiths, but I think these five skandhas (aka 'aggregates') have something educational to say and I wonder how the EOC would approach them?
 

WPM

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Its native to region of Asia. (Meditation helps your body recover from illness better) ... Buddhist meditation is useful
 

minasoliman

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You might be able to get some good understanding of the human condition from the spiritual writings of the desert fathers (such as St. Macarius and St. Antonios), St. John Cassian, and maybe Maximus the Confessor as well.  In other words, perhaps the collection of Philokalia might help you compare and contrast the ideas presented.
 

WPM

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Amatorus said:
Buddhorthodoxy?
No, two different religions and ethos ... The Buddhist religion of Asia isn't Judaism or Christianity.
 

Amatorus

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WPM said:
Amatorus said:
Buddhorthodoxy?
No, two different religions and ethos ... The Buddhist religion of Asia isn't Judaism or Christianity.
St. Buddha of the Indus, now that's an interesting alternate history idea.
 

ialmisry

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GabrieltheCelt said:
Howdy y'all!

Many of you have read and enjoyed the book, "Christ: The Eternal Tao" by Fr. Seraphim Rose and Hieromonk Damascene.  Sort of in that same vein, I'd like to see someone in the EOC (either the Desert Fathers or a modern day author) deal with the five skandhas found in Buddhism.  For those with no previous knowledge of the five Skandhas, they are (as I understand them):

1. Form—The eyes, ears, tongue, body and mind.
2. Sensations—The raw data that is derived from sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought.
3. Perception—The classification of those sensations.
4. Mental Formations—Actions linked to thought such as greed, anger and ignorance or wisdom, compassion and enlightenment.
5. Consciousness—Our awareness of the previous four skandhas.

It seems as though this might be a pretty good intuition of the human condition.  I'm not trying to synchronize the two Faiths, but I think these five skandhas (aka 'aggregates') have something educational to say and I wonder how the EOC would approach them?
The problem is that Buddhism holds that #5 is an illusion, fed by #1-4.  Orthodoxy holds #5 as a reality, to which #1-4 serves as means.
 

Amatorus

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But what is consciousness? What is awareness? What does it mean to "be"?
 

Jetavan

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GabrieltheCelt said:
Howdy y'all!

Many of you have read and enjoyed the book, "Christ: The Eternal Tao" by Fr. Seraphim Rose and Hieromonk Damascene.  Sort of in that same vein, I'd like to see someone in the EOC (either the Desert Fathers or a modern day author) deal with the five skandhas found in Buddhism.  For those with no previous knowledge of the five Skandhas, they are (as I understand them):

1. Form—The eyes, ears, tongue, body and mind.
2. Sensations—The raw data that is derived from sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought.
3. Perception—The classification of those sensations.
4. Mental Formations—Actions linked to thought such as greed, anger and ignorance or wisdom, compassion and enlightenment.
5. Consciousness—Our awareness of the previous four skandhas.
Your description of the five skandhas (in Pali: the five "khandhas") is pretty close, but a few corrections would be in order:

1. Form includes not just the sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body), but also that which is sensed (visible objects, noisy objects, smelly objects, tasty objects, and tactile objects). Basically anything material or physical (made up of the four elements: solidness, liquid, heat, and motion) is "form".
2. Sensation is the feeling that contact with form produces; the feeling can be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
3. Perception is the perception of the distinguishing marks of what one sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, or mentally perceives, so that one can remember it if/when one sees, hears, smells, etc., it again.
4. Mental formations include ideas and feelings (e.g., greed, anger, compassion) that arise when one perceives something.
5. Consciousness is the awareness of form, sensation, perception, and mental formations; it includes eye-awareness, ear-awareness, nose-awareness, tongue-awareness, touch-awareness, and idea/feeling-awareness.

It would seem that the mental formations would include the logismoi (λογισμοι) of Evagrius.

The process of theosis probably centers on the purification of the mental formations.

Notice that nirvana/nibbana is not a skandha.
 
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