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Reference "the five aggregates" (skandhas)

Also see "The Five Aggregates: A Study Guide" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu at

Lecture Notes (Moses 1/28/2008)

Based on Chogyam Trungpa (1940-1987) "The Development of Ego" in The Buddha and His Teachings, Ed. Samuel Bercholz and Sherab Chodzin Kohn (Boston: Shambhala, 1993) pp. 73-82.

  • The beginning point (Trungpa 74-75)
    • "Open space" as "basic ground" as "first instant of perception"
    • Vidya: "primordial intelligence connected with the space and openness"
    • "We are this space, we are one with it, with vidya, intelligence and openness"
  • Self-consiousness (75-76)
    • our dance, because it becomes "too fast", makes the open space solid
    • in the solidity we become self-conscious
    • duality between space and I, blackout, we forget the open space
    • Avidya: negation, unintelligence, ignorance
  • First Skandha: ignorance form (76-77)
    • as if a grain of sand upon a moonlit desert took notice of its separateness
    • "ignorance born within": I have always been separate!
    • "self-observing ignorance": "seeing oneself as an external object, which leads to the first notion of :*'other'"
    • one begins to create the world of forms as a pure reaction to one's projections
  • Second Skandha: feeling (77)
    • in order to feel, we capture the other, demanding a feeling as warrant for our existence, closing :*the open field in order to have something to respond to
  • Third Skandha: perception-impulse (77-78)
    • our feeling is hooked into a switchboard of perception, connected to action
    • there are three impulses: hatred, desire, stupidity
  • Fourth Skandha: concept (78)
    • name, categorize, label
    • the heavy ego speculates, names itself "I am"
  • Fifth Skandha: consciousness (79)
    • thoughts and feelings produce the "six realms" (lokas) (81-82)
      • Deva Loka: Heaven
      • Asura Loka: Jealous gods
      • Human realm
      • Animal realm
      • Preta Loka: hungry ghosts
      • Hell

From here we approach the teachings and begin the practice...

Chogyam Trungpa was a lama of the Trungpa line who fled Tibet following the Chinese invasion. He later resigned his office to become a lay teacher, creating several venues of education, including the Naropa Institute. A summary of his colorful life may be found at WikiPedia. See also an extended selection of an important book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, at