Important to Buddhist belief are the five skandhas or “aggregates of attachment” said to be the source of all suffering. The skandhas are:

  1. matter or form (rupa)
  2. sensation (vedana)
  3. perception (samjna)
  4. mental formations (samskara)
  5. consciousness (vijnana)

Taken together, the five skandhas contribute to the impermanent personality and the illusion – so Buddhists believe – of individuality.

Impermanent and subject to change, skandhas may reappear from one life to another. But this reappearance is discontinuous, like an old candle burning out with a new candle being lit (a common Buddhist analogy used to try to illustrate the belief in discontinuity).

Whether or not one agrees with every aspect of Buddhist teaching, the skandhas offer a conceptual alternative that could be applied to a critique of the Hindu view of reincarnation.¹

The two religions of Buddhism and Hinduism may seem similar at a glance. However, Buddhism clearly differs from the Visistadvaita school of Hinduism because, for Buddhists, the soul too, and not just its attachments, is usually seen as illusory and without permanent existence.

¹ See, for instance, Reincarnation: A New Look at an Old Idea – Part 3.

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  1. This is a great and energetic start.

    Two issues;
    1. A person may not need to meditate for many years depending on the person – the most recent Buddha took 6 years, a Buddha in the future is expected to meet with accomplishment in one day.

    2. Beginningless Successions Can Have an End
    one may learn to control ones thoughts, by, for example training the mind to release them as they arise and other mind training.

    The underlying energy is the clear light – see Dr. Alexander Berzin’s archives for a tremendous resource…


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