17. Does Buddhism See the Mind as Separate from the Body?
Peter Harvey [+]
University of Sunderland
A key Buddhist belief concerns rebirth: that a person does not fully come to an end at death, but goes on to another rebirth. So the Buddha saw the view of materialists as mistaken, characterizing them as “annihilationists.” A person is more than the material body, then. The most common Buddhist analysis of a person is in terms of the five khandhas (Pali; Sanskrit: skandhas): “aggregates” or “bundles.” These are: • material form (rūpa): four primary elemental processes termed “earth”, “water,” “fire,” and “wind,” plus other processes dependent on these; • pleasant, unpleasant or neutral feeling tone (vedanā); • perception (Pali: saññā; Sanskrit: saṃjñā), which labels, classifies, and recognizes/misrecognizes sense-objects; • volitional activities (Pali: saṅkhāra; Sanskrit: saṃskāra), in the form of tendencies, emotions, attitudes, and volitional responses; • consciousness (Pali: viññāṇa; Sanskrit: vijñāna), the awareness of any object of the physical senses or mind.