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14 04 2012 FRIDAY LESSON 581 FREE ONLINE eNālāndā Research And Practice UNIERSITY And THE BUDDHIST ONLINE GOOD NEWS LETTER by ABHIDHAMMA RAKKHITA through Verses and Stories Dhammapada Verse 134 Retaliation Brings Unhappiness Garlanding Dr BR Ambedkar’s Statue on 14-04-12 & Meeting on 15-04-12 at BSP Office at 09:00 Hrs
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Dhammapada: Verses and

Dhammapada Verse 134Tranquillity Should Be Preserved

About Dr B R Ambedkar

Dr B R Ambedkar was born in a caste which was considered as the lowest of the low. People said that it was a sin it they offered him water to drink, and that if he sat in a cart it would become unclean. But this very man framed the Constitution for the country. His entire life was one of struggles. And his personal life was too sad; he had lost his first wife and sons. But even though he did not lose his dareness for the social welfare of people of India. The boy who suffered bitter humiliation became the first Minister for Law in free India, and shaped the country’s Constitution.

It is no wonder that everyone called him ‘Babasaheb’, out of love and admiration. Bhimrao Ambedkar was the lion-hearted man who fought for equality, justice and

also take refuge in the words of the Buddha to be your own guide. Take
refuge in your own reason. Do not listen to the advice of others. Do not
succumb to others. Be truthful and take refuge in the truth. Never
surrender to anything. If you keep in mind this message of Lord Buddha
at this juncture, I am sure, your decision will not be wrong.”
-Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

“What you have lost others have gained. Do not believe in fate; believe in your strength.”

 - Dr.B.R. Ambedkar

B. R. Ambedkar

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar ([bʱiːmraːw raːmdʑiː aːmbeːɽkər]; 14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), popularly also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, political leader, philosopher, anthropologist, historian, orator, economist, and editor. He was also the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution.[3] Born into a poor Mahar (considered an Untouchable caste) family, Ambedkar campaigned against social discrimination, the system of Chaturvarna – the categorization of Hindu society into four varnas – and the Hindu caste system.
He returned to Buddhism and is also credited with providing a spark for
the transformation of hundreds of thousands of untouchables to Theravada Buddhism. Ambedkar was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1990.

Overcoming numerous social and financial obstacles, Ambedkar became one of the first outcastes
to obtain a college education in India. Eventually earning law degrees
and multiple doctorates for his study and research in law, economics and
political science from Columbia University and the London School of Economics,
Ambedkar gained a reputation as a scholar and practiced law for a few
years, later campaigning by publishing journals advocating political
rights and social freedom for India’s untouchables. He is regarded as a Bodhisattva by some Indian Buddhists, though he never claimed himself to be a Bodhisattva.[4]



[edit] Early life and education

Dr. ‎Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar seen as a young man[5]

Ambedkar was born in the British-founded town and military cantonment of Mhow in the Central Provinces (now in Madhya Pradesh).[6] He was the 14th and last child of Ramji Maloji Sakpal and Bhimabai.[7] His family was of Marathi background from the town of Ambavade (Mandangad taluka) in the Ratnagiri district of modern-day Maharashtra. They belonged to the Mahar caste, who were treated as untouchables and subjected to socio-economic discrimination.[8] Ambedkar’s ancestors had for long been in the employment of the army of the British East India Company, and, his father served in the Indian Army at the Mhow cantonment. He had received a degree of formal education in Marathi and English, and encouraged his children to learn and work hard at school.[9]

Belonging to the Kabir Panth,
Ramji Sakpal encouraged his children to read the Hindu classics. He
used his position in the army to lobby for his children to study at the
government school, as they faced resistance owing to their caste.
Although able to attend school, Ambedkar and other untouchable children
were segregated and given no attention or assistance by the teachers.
They were not allowed to sit inside the class. Even if they needed to
drink water somebody from a higher caste would have to pour that water
from a height as they were not allowed to touch either the water or the
vessel that contained it. This task was usually performed for the young
Ambedkar by the school peon, and if the peon was not available then he
had to go without water, Ambedkar states this situation as “No peon, No Water”.[10] Ramji Sakpal retired in 1894 and the family moved to Satara
two years later. Shortly after their move, Ambedkar’s mother died. The
children were cared for by their paternal aunt, and lived in difficult
circumstances. Only three sons – Balaram, Anandrao and Bhimrao – and two
daughters – Manjula and Tulasa – of the Ambedkars would go on to
survive them. Of his brothers and sisters, only Ambedkar succeeded in
passing his examinations and graduating to a higher school. Bhimrao Sakpal Ambavadekar the surname comes from his native village ‘Ambavade’ in Ratnagiri District.[11]
His Brahmin teacher, Mahadev Ambedkar, who was fond of him, changed his
surname from ‘Ambavadekar’ to his own surname ‘Ambedkar’ in school

[edit] Higher education

Ambedkar’s family moved to Bombay
in 1902 and he became the only untouchable enrolled at Elphinstone High
School. In 1906 his marriage to a nine-year old girl, Ramabai, was
arranged.[1] In 1907, he passed his matriculation examination and in the following year he entered Elphinstone College, which was affiliated to the University of Bombay,
becoming the first from his untouchable community to do so. This
success provoked celebrations in his community and after a public
ceremony he was presented with a biography of the Buddha by Dada
Keluskar, the author and a family friend.[1]
By 1912, he obtained his degree in economics and political science from
Bombay University, and prepared to take up employment with the Baroda
state government. His wife gave birth to his first son, Yashwant, in the
same year. Ambedkar had just moved his young family and started work,
when he dashed back to Mumbai to see his ailing father, who died on 2
February 1913.[12]

In 1913 he moved to the United States. He had been awarded a Baroda
State Scholarship of 11.50 British pounds a month for three years under a
scheme established by the Gaekwar of Baroda that was designed to provide opportunities for postgraduate education at Columbia University. Soon after arriving there he settled in rooms at Livingston Hall
with Naval Bhathena, a Parsi who was to be a lifelong friend. He passed
his MA exam in June 1915, majoring in Economics, with Sociology,
History, Philosophy and Anthropology as other subjects of study; he
presented a thesis, Ancient Indian Commerce. In 1916 he offered another MA thesis, National Dividend of India-A Historic and Analytical Study. On 9 May, he read his paper Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development before a seminar conducted by the anthropologist Alexander Goldenweiser. In October 1916 he was admitted to Gray’s Inn
for Law, and to the London School of Economics for economics where he
started work on a doctoral thesis. In June 1917 he was obliged to go
back to India as the term of his scholarship from Baroda ended, however
he was given permission to return and submit his thesis within four
years. He travelled separately from his collection of books, which were
lost when the ship on which they were despatched was torpedoed and sunk
by a German submarine.[12]

[edit] Opposition to untouchability

As Ambedkar was educated by the Baroda State,
he was bound to serve that State. He was appointed as Military
Secretary to the Gaikwar of Baroda but had to quit within a short time.
He described the incident in his autobiography, Waiting for a Visa.[10]

Thereafter he tried to find ways to make a living for his growing
family. He worked as a private tutor, as an accountant, investment
consulting business, but it failed when his clients learned that he was
an untouchable.[citation needed] In 1918 he became Professor of Political Economy in the Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics
in Bombay. Even though he was successful with the students, other
professors objected to his sharing the same drinking-water jug that they
all used.[13]

As a leading Indian scholar,[14] Ambedkar had been invited to testify before the Southborough Committee, which was preparing the Government of India Act 1919. At this hearing, Ambedkar argued for creating separate electorates and reservations for untouchables and other religious communities. In 1920, he began the publication of the weekly Mooknayak (Leader of the Silent)
in Mumbai with the help of Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj I (1884–1922),
Maharaja of Kolhapur. Ambedkar used this journal to criticize orthodox
Hindu politicians and a perceived reluctance of the Indian political
community to fight caste discrimination. His speech at a Depressed
Classes Conference in Kolhapur impressed the local state ruler Shahu IV, who described Ambedkar as the future national leader
and shocked orthodox society by dining with Ambedkar. Having resigned
from his teaching position, in July he returned to London, relying on
his own savings, supplemented by loans from the Maharaja of Kolhapur and
his friend Naval Bhathena. He returned to the London School of
Economics, and to Gray’s Inn
to read for the Bar. He lived in poverty, and studied constantly in the
British Museum. In 1922, through unremitting hard work, Ambedkar once
again overfulfilled all expectations: he completed a thesis for a M.Sc.
(Economics) degree at London School of Economics, and was called to the
bar, and submitted a PhD thesis in economics to the University of
London. Ambedkar established a successful legal practice. Early on his
legal career, Ambedkar was engaged in a very important lawsuit which had
been filed by some Brahmins against three non-Brahmin leaders: K.B.
Bagde, Keshavrao Jedhe and Dinkarrao Javalkar. They were being
prosecuted for writing a pamphlet stating that Brahmins had ruined
India. On the prosecution side was L. B. Bhopatkar, a lawyer from Poona.
Ambedkar argued his case very ably, put up a very eloquent defence and
won the case in October 1926. The victory was resounding, both socially
and individually for the clients.[15]

[edit] Protests

While practicing law in the Bombay High Court he tried to uplift the
untouchables in order to educate them. His first organized attempt to
achieve this was the Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha, which was intended to promote education and socio-economic improvement, as well as the welfare of “outcastes“, at the time referred to as depressed classes.[16]

By 1927 Ambedkar decided to launch active movements against
untouchability. He began with public movements and marches to open up
and share public drinking water resources, also he began a struggle for
the right to enter Hindu temples. He led a satyagraha in Mahad to fight for the right of the untouchable community to draw water from the main water tank of the town.[17]

He took part in an event in which casteist text Manu Smriti was burned by a Brahmin G.N. Sahasrabuddhe.[18]

He was appointed to the Bombay Presidency Committee to work with the all-European Simon Commission in 1925.[19]
This commission had sparked great protests across India, and while its
report was ignored by most Indians, Ambedkar himself wrote a separate
set of recommendations for future constitutional recommendations.[20]

[edit] Poona Pact

Due to Ambedkar’s prominence and popular support amongst the
untouchable community, he was invited to attend the Second Round Table
Conference in London in 1932.[21]
Gandhi fiercely opposed separate electorate for untouchables, though he
accepted separate electorate for all other minority groups such as
Muslims and Sikhs, saying he feared that separate electorates for
untouchables would divide Hindu community into two groups.[21]

When the British agreed with Ambedkar and announced the awarding of
separate electorates, Gandhi began a fast while imprisoned in the Yerwada Central Jail of Pune
in 1932 against the separate electorate for untouchables only. Gandhi’s
fast provoked huge civil unrest across India, and orthodox Hindu
leaders, Congress politicians and activists such as Madan Mohan Malaviya and Palwankar Baloo
organized joint meetings with Ambedkar and his supporters at Yerwada.
Fearing a communal reprisal and genocide of untouchables, Ambedkar
agreed under massive coercion from the supporters of Gandhi. This
agreement, which saw Gandhi end his fast, was called the Poona Pact. As a result of the agreement, Ambedkar dropped the demand for separate electorates that was promised through the British Communal Award
prior to Ambedkar’s meeting with Gandhi. Instead, a certain number of
seats were reserved specifically for untouchables (in the agreement,
called the “Depressed Class”).[22]

[edit] Political career

In 1935, Ambedkar was appointed principal of the Government Law College, Mumbai,
a position he held for two years. Settling in Mumbai, Ambedkar oversaw
the construction of a house, and stocked his personal library with more
than 50,000 books.[23] His wife Ramabai died after a long illness in the same year. It had been her long-standing wish to go on a pilgrimage to Pandharpur,
but Ambedkar had refused to let her go, telling her that he would
create a new Pandharpur for her instead of Hinduism’s Pandharpur which
treated them as untouchables. Speaking at the Yeola Conversion
Conference on 13 October in Nasik, Ambedkar announced his intention to
convert to a different religion and exhorted his followers to leave Hinduism.[23] He would repeat his message at numerous public meetings across India.

In 1936, Ambedkar founded the Independent Labour Party, which won 15 seats in the 1937 elections to the Central Legislative Assembly. He published his book The Annihilation of Caste
in the same year, based on the thesis he had written in New York.
Attaining immense popular success, Ambedkar’s work strongly criticized
Hindu orthodox religious leaders and the caste system in general.
Ambedkar served on the Defence Advisory Committee and the Viceroy’s
Executive Council as minister for labour.

In his work Who Were the Shudras?,
Ambedkar attempted to explain the formation of Untouchables. He saw the
Shudras, who form the lowest caste in the ritual hierarchy of the Hindu
caste system, as being separate from Untouchables. Ambedkar oversaw the
transformation of his political party into the Scheduled Castes Federation, although it performed poorly in the elections held in 1946 for the Constituent Assembly of India. In his 1948 sequel to Who Were the Shudras?, which he titled The Untouchables: A Thesis on the Origins of Untouchability, Ambedkar said that:

The Hindu Civilisation … is a diabolical
contrivance to suppress and enslave humanity. Its proper name would be
infamy. What else can be said of a civilisation which has produced a
mass of people … who are treated as an entity beyond human intercourse
and whose mere touch is enough to cause pollution?[2]

[edit] Pakistan or the Partition of India

Between 1941 and 1945, he published a number of books and pamphlets, including Thoughts on Pakistan,
in which he criticized the Muslim League’s demand for a separate Muslim
state of Pakistan but considered its concession if Muslims demanded so
as expedient.[24]

In the above book Ambedkar wrote a sub-chapter titled If Muslims truly and deeply desire Pakistan, their choice ought to be accepted.
He wrote that if the Muslims are bent on Pakistan, then it must be
conceded to them. He asked whether Muslims in the army could be trusted
to defend India. In the event of Muslims invading India or in the case
of a Muslim rebellion, with whom would the Indian Muslims in the army
side? He concluded that, in the interests of the safety of India,
Pakistan should be acceded to, should the Muslims demand it. According
to Ambedkar, the Hindu assumption that though Hindus and Muslims were
two nations, they could live together under one state, was but an empty
sermon, a mad project, to which no sane man would agree.[24]

Ambedkar was also critical of Islam and its practices in South Asia. While justifying the Partition of India, he condemned the practice of child marriage in Muslim society, as well as the mistreatment of women.

No words can adequately express the great and many evils of polygamy
and concubinage, and especially as a source of misery to a Muslim woman.
Take the caste system. Everybody infers that Islam must be free from
slavery and caste. […] [While slavery existed], much of its support
was derived from Islam and Islamic countries. While the prescriptions by
the Prophet regarding the just and humane treatment of slaves contained
in the Koran are praiseworthy, there is nothing whatever in Islam that
lends support to the abolition of this curse. But if slavery has gone,
caste among Musalmans [Muslims] has remained.[24]

He criticized the discrimination against the Arzal classes among
Muslims who were regarded as “degraded”, as well as the oppression of
women in Muslim society through the oppressive purdah
system. He alleged that while purdah was also practiced by Hindus, only
among Muslims was it sanctioned by religion. He criticized their
fanaticism regarding Islam on the grounds that their literalist
interpretations of Islamic doctrine made their society very rigid and
impermeable to change. He further wrote that Indian Muslims have failed
to reform their society unlike Muslims in other countries like Turkey.[24]

[edit] Role in drafting India’s Constitution

“Ambedkar at his desk” (an art piece) at Ambedkar Museum in Pune

Upon India’s independence on 15 August 1947, the new Congress-led
government invited Ambedkar to serve as the nation’s first law minister,
which he accepted. On 29 August, Ambedkar was appointed Chairman of the
Constitution Drafting Committee, charged by the Assembly to write
India’s new Constitution.[25]

Granville Austin has described the Indian Constitution
drafted by Ambedkar as ‘first and foremost a social document’. … ‘The
majority of India’s constitutional provisions are either directly
arrived at furthering the aim of social revolution or attempt to foster
this revolution by establishing conditions necessary for its

The text prepared by Ambedkar provided constitutional guarantees and protections for a wide range of civil liberties
for individual citizens, including freedom of religion, the abolition
of untouchability and the outlawing of all forms of discrimination.[27]
Ambedkar argued for extensive economic and social rights for women, and
also won the Assembly’s support for introducing a system of reservations of jobs in the civil services, schools and colleges for members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, a system akin to affirmative action.[28]
India’s lawmakers hoped to eradicate the socio-economic inequalities
and lack of opportunities for India’s depressed classes through these
measures. The Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the
Constituent Assembly.

Ambedkar resigned from the cabinet in 1951 following the stalling in
parliament of his draft of the Hindu Code Bill, which sought to expound
gender equality in the laws of inheritance, marriage and the economy.
Although supported by Prime Minister Nehru, the cabinet and many other
Congress leaders, it received criticism from a large number of members
of parliament.[why?] Ambedkar independently contested an election in 1952 to the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, but was defeated. He was appointed to the upper house, of parliament, the Rajya Sabha in March 1952 and would remain as member till death.

[edit] Second Marriage

After the completion of the drafting work of India’s constitution,
Ambedkar came to Bombay for his treatment. In the hospital where he was
being treated, he came across a Dr. Miss Sharada Kabir. He was also in
the need for a companion in his old age. He chose to marry the Saraswat Brahmin Dr. Sharada Kabir, on the morning of April 15th 1948, the 2nd day of his 56th year, at his residence No. 1, Hardinge Avenue, New Delhi. The marriage was celebrated under the Civil Marriages Act by the Deputy Commissioner of Delhi. The New York Times described the marriage as more significant than the wedding of a royalty to a commoner.[29]. She adopted the name Savita. She took care of him for the rest of his life. [2]

[edit] Going back to Buddhism

Ambedkar studied anicent history and anthopology extensively
thoughout his life. He researched and found out that the Mahar people
were an ancient Buddhist community of India who had been forced to live
outside villages as outcasts because they refused to renounce their
Buddhist practices. He considered this to be why they became
untouchables and he wrote a book on this topic, entitled Who were the Shudras?.

Dikshabhumi, a stupa at the site in Nagpur, where Ambedkar embraced Buddhism along with many of his followers

Ambedkar studied Buddhism all his life, and around 1950s, Ambedkar
turned his attention fully to Buddhism and travelled to Sri Lanka (then
Ceylon) to attend a convention of Buddhist scholars and monks.[30] While dedicating a new Buddhist vihara near Pune,
Ambedkar announced that he was writing a book on Buddhism, and that as
soon as it was finished, he planned to make a formal conversion back to
Ambedkar twice visited Burma in 1954; the second time in order to
attend the third conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in Rangoon. In 1955, he founded the Bharatiya Bauddha Mahasabha, or the Buddhist Society of India. He completed his final work, The Buddha and His Dhamma, in 1956. It was published posthumously.

After meetings with the Sri Lankan Buddhist monk Hammalawa Saddhatissa,[32] Ambedkar organised a formal public ceremony for himself and his supporters in Nagpur on 14 October 1956. Accepting the Three Refuges and Five Precepts from a Buddhist monk
in the traditional manner, Ambedkar completed his own conversion, along
with his wife Dr. Savita Ambedkar(née Sharada Kabir). He then proceeded
to convert a large number (some 500,000) of his supporters who were
gathered around him.[31] He prescribed the 22 Vows for these converts, after the Three Jewels and Five Precepts. He then traveled to Kathmandu in Nepal to attend the Fourth World Buddhist Conference.[citation needed] His work on The Buddha or Karl Marx and “Revolution and counter-revolution in ancient India” remained incomplete.[33]

[edit] Death

Annal Ambedkar Manimandapam, Chennai

Bust of Ambedkar at Ambedkar Museum in Pune

Since 1948, Ambedkar had been suffering from diabetes. He was bed-ridden from June to October in 1954 owing to diabetes and failing eyesight.[31]
He had been increasingly embittered by political issues, which took a
toll on his health. His health worsened during 1955. Three days after
completing his final manuscript The Buddha and His Dhamma, it is said that Ambedkar died in his sleep on 6 December 1956 at his home in Delhi.[34]

A Buddhist-style cremation[35] was organised for him at Dadar Chowpatty beach on 7 December, attended by hundreds of thousands of people.[34] A conversion program was supposed to be organised on 16 December 1956.[36] So, those who had attended the cremation were also converted to Buddhism at the same place.[36]

Ambedkar was survived by his second wife Savita Ambedkar (née Sharda Kabir), who died in 2003.[37] and his son Yashwant (known as Bhaiyasaheb Ambedkar).[38] Ambedkar’s grandson, Ambedkar Prakash Yashwant, is the chief-adviser of the Buddhist Society of India,[39] leads the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh[40] and has served in both houses of the Indian Parliament.[40]

A number of unfinished typescripts and handwritten drafts were found
among Ambedkar’s notes and papers and gradually made available. Among
these were Waiting for a Visa, which probably dates from 1935–36 and is an autobiographical work, and the Untouchables, or the Children of India’s Ghetto, which refers to the census of 1951.[31]

A memorial for Ambedkar was established in his Delhi house at 26 Alipur Road. His birthdate is celebrated as a public holiday known as Ambedkar Jayanti or Bhim Jayanti. He was posthumously awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1990.[41] Many public institutions are named in his honour, such as the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University in Hyderabad; Dr BR Ambedkar University in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh; B. R. Ambedkar Bihar University, Muzaffarpur; the Dr. B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar; the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur,
otherwise known as Sonegaon Airport; the Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law
University in Tamil Nadu; DR. Ambedkar Law Collage in Nagpur and the Dr.
Ambedkar Government Law College in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. A large
official portrait of Ambedkar is on display in the Indian Parliament

On the anniversary of his birth (14 April) and death (6 December),
and on Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din (14 October) at Nagpur, at least half
a million people gather to pay homage to him at his memorial in Mumbai.[42] Thousands of bookshops are set up, and books are sold. His message to his followers was “Educate!, Organize!, Agitate!.”[43]

[edit] Writings and speeches

The Education Department, Government of Maharashtra(Bombay) published
the collection of Ambedkar’s writings and speeches in different

Volume No. Description
vol. 1. Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development and 11 other essays
vol. 2. Dr Ambedkar in the Bombay Legislature, with the Simon Commission and at the Round Table Conferences, 1927–1939
vol. 3. Philosophy of Hinduism ; India and the pre-requisites of communism ; Revolution and counter-revolution ;Buddha or Karl Marx
vol. 4. Riddles in Hinduism[45]
vol. 5. Essays on untouchables and un-touchability
vol. 6. The evolution of provincial finance in British India
vol. 7. Who were the shudras? ; The untouchables
vol. 8. Pakistan or the partition of India
vol. 9. What Congress and Gandhi have done to the untouchables ; Mr. Gandhi and the emancipitation of the untouchables
vol. 10. Dr. Ambedkar as member of the Governor General’s Executive Council, 1942–46
vol. 11. The Buddha and his Dhamma
vol. 12. Unpublished writings ; Ancient Indian commerce ; Notes on laws ; Waiting for a Visa ; Miscellaneous notes, etc.
vol. 13. Dr. Ambedkar as the principal architect of the Constitution of India
vol. 14. (2 parts) Dr.Ambedkar and The Hindu Code Bill
vol. 15. Dr. Ambedkar as free India’s first Law Minister and member of opposition in Indian Parliament (1947–1956)
vol. 16. Dr. Ambedkar’s The Pali grammar
vol. 17 (Part I) Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and his Egalitarian Revolution – Struggle
for Human Rights. Events starting from March 1927 to 17 November 1956
in the chronological order
(Part II) Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and his Egalitarian Revolution –
Socio-political and religious activities. Events starting from November
1929 to 8 May 1956 in the chronological order
(Part III) Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and his Egalitarian Revolution –
Speeches. Events starting from 1 January to 20 November 1956 in the
chronological order
vol. 18 (3 parts) Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Speeches and writing in Marathi
vol. 19 Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Speeches and writing in Marathi
vol. 20 Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Speeches and writing in Marathi
vol. 21 Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Photo Album and correspondence.
  Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Speeches

[edit] Legacy

Ambedkar’s legacy as a socio-political reformer, had a deep effect on
modern India. In post-Independence India his socio-political thought
has acquired respect across the political spectrum. His initiatives have
influenced various spheres of life and transformed the way India today
looks at socio-economic policies, education and affirmative action
through socio-economic and legal incentives. His reputation as a
scholar led to his appointment as free India’s first law minister, and
chairman of the committee responsible to draft a constitution. He
passionately believed in the freedom of the individual and criticized
equally both orthodox casteist Hindu society. His condemnation of Hinduism
and its foundation of caste system, made him controversial and
unpopular among the Hindu right. His conversion to Buddhism sparked a
revival in interest in Buddhist philosophy in India and abroad.[46]

Ambedkar’s political philosophy has given rise to a large number of
Dalit political parties, publications and workers’ unions that remain
active across India, especially in Maharashtra. His promotion of the Dalit Buddhist movement
has rejuvenated interest in Buddhist philosophy in many parts of India.
Mass conversion ceremonies have been organized by Dalit activists in
modern times, emulating Ambedkar’s Nagpur ceremony of 1956.[47]

Outside India, at the end of the 1990s, some Hungarian Romani people
drew parallels between their own situation and the situation of the
Dalits in India. Inspired by Ambedkar’s approach, they started to
convert to Buddhism.[48]

[edit] In popular culture

Several movies, plays, and other works have been based on the life and thoughts of Ambedkar. These include:

  • Jabbar Patel directed the English-language movie, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar,[49] in 2000. This biographical depiction was sponsored by India’s National Film Development Corporation and the Ministry of Social Justice. The film was released after a long and controversial gestation period.[citation needed]
  • David Blundell, professor of anthropology at UCLA
    and historical ethnographer, has established ‘Arising Light’ – a series
    of films and events that are intended to stimulate interest and
    knowledge about the social and welfare conditions in India. Arising Light is a film on the life on Dr B. R. Ambedkar and social welfare in India.
  • The play ‘Ambedkar Aur Gandhi‘, directed by Arvind Gaur and written by Rajesh Kumar, tracks two prominent personalities of history – Mahatma Gandhi and Bhimrao Ambedkar.[50]
  • A Vedic scholar from Pune, Prabhakar Joshi,
    began writing a biography of Ambedkar in Sanskrit in 2004. Joshi is a
    recipient of Maharashtra Government’s ‘Mahakavi Kalidas’ award. The
    completed work, “Bhimayan”, comprises 1577 Shlokas and is intended as an
    atonement for the injustice done to the young Bhimrao by some teachers.[51]
  • The Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Samajik Parivarthan Sthal has been constructed at Lucknow by the BSP leader Mayawati. The chaitya consists of monuments showing Ambedkar’s biography and quotes

“You must have firm belief in the sacredness of yourgoal. Noble is your aim and sublime and glorious is your mission. Blessed are those who are awakened to their duty to those among whom they are born. Glory to those who devote their time, talent and their allto the amelioration of
slavery. Glory to those who would keep on their struggle for the liberation of the enslaved despite of heavy odds, carping humiliations, storms and dangers till the downtrodden secure their human rights”. -Babasaheb Dr.Ambedkar. Best wishes of Baba’s  Jayanti. – Gopinath, BSP

Son of Soil..Pioneer of Social Justice… Voice of humanity…We salute the true father of ore nation dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.- BSP
Dr. Rahul

134. Tranquillity Should Be Preserved

If like a broken gong
never you reverberate,
quarrelling’s not part of you,
that Nibbana’s reached.

Explanation: When an individual is tranquil and silent like a
flattened out metal pot, it is as if he has already attained Nibbana. Such a
person does not engage in vain talk. Even when it is struck, the flattened out
metal pot cannot make a sound in return.









The Five Skandhas

Introduction to the Aggregates

The historical Buddha spoke often of the
Five Skandhas, also called the Five Aggregates or the Five Heaps. The skandhas,
very roughly, might be thought of as components that come together to make an
individual. Every thing that we think of as “I” is a function of the
skandhas. Put another way, we might think of an individual as a process of the

When the Buddha taught the Four Noble
Truths, he began with the first Truth,
life is “dukkha.” This is often translated as “life is
suffering,” or “stressful” or “unsatisfactory.” But
the Buddha also used the word to mean “impermanent” and
“conditioned.” To be conditioned is to be dependent on or
affected by something else. The Buddha taught that the skandhas were dukkha.

The component parts of the skandhas work
together so seamlessly that they create the sense of a single self, or an
“I.” But the Buddha taught that there is no “self”
occupying the skandhas. Understanding the skandhas is helpful to seeing through
the illusion of self.

Please note that the explanation here is
very basic. The various schools of Buddhism understand the skandhas somewhat
differently, so as you learn more about them you may find that the teachings of
one school don’t exactly match the teachings of another. The explanation that
follows is as nonsectarian as I could make it.

In this discussion I’ll be talking about the
Six Organs or Faculties and their corresponding objects, so I’m going to list
them here for reference:

The Six
Sense Organs or Faculties







The Six
Corresponding Objects

Visible form




Tangible things

Thoughts and ideas

What are the skandhas? Here is a basic
guide. (The non-English names given for the skandhas are in Sanskrit unless
otherwise noted.)

The First Skandha: Form (Rupa)

Rupa is form or matter; something material
that can be sensed. In early Buddhist literature, rupa includes the Four Great
Elements (solidity, fluidity, heat, and motion) and their derivatives. These
derivatives are the first five faculties listed above (eye, ear, nose, tongue,
body) and the first five corresponding objects (visible form, sound, odor,
taste, tangible things).

Another way to understand rupa is to think
of it as something that resists the probing of the senses. For example, an
object has form if it blocks your vision — you can’t see what’s on the other
side of it — or if it blocks your hand from occupying its space.

The Second Skandha: Sensation (Vedana)

Vedana is physical or mental sensation that
we experience through contact of the six faculties with the external world. In
other words, it is the sensation experienced through the contact of eye with
visible form, ear with sound, nose with odor, tongue with taste, body with
tangible things, mind (manas) with ideas or thoughts.

It is particularly important to understand
that manas — mind — in the skandhas is a sense organ or faculty, just like an
eye or an ear. We tend to think that mind is something like a spirit or soul,
but that concept is very out of place in Buddhism.

Because vedana is the experience of pleasure
or pain, it conditions craving, either to acquire something pleasurable or
avoid something painful.

The Third Skandha: Perception (Samjna, or in Pali, Sanna)

Samjna is the faculty that recognizes. Most
of what we call thinking fits into the aggregate of samjna.

The word “samjna” means
“knowledge that puts together.” It is the capacity to conceptualize
and recognize things by associating them with other things. For example, we
recognize shoes as shoes because we associate them with our previous experience
with shoes.

When we see something for the first time, we
invariably flip through our mental index cards to find categories we can
associate with the new object. It’s a “some kind of tool with a red
handle,” for example, putting the new thing in the categories
“tool” and “red.” Or, we might associate an object with its
context — we recognize an apparatus as an exercise machine because we see it
at the gym.

The Fourth Skandha: Mental Formation (Samskara, or in Pali,

All volitional actions, good and bad, are
included in the aggragate of mental formations. How are actions
“mental” formations? Remember the first lines of the dhammapada (Acharya
Buddharakkhita translation

Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is
their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks
or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is
their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or
acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.

The aggregate of mental formations is
associated with
karma, because volitional acts create karma. Samskara also
contains latent karma that conditions our attitudes and predilections. Biases
and prejudices belong to this skandha, as do interests and attractions.

The Fifth Skandha: Consciousness (Vijnana, or in Pali, Vinnana)

Vijnana is a reaction that has one of the
six faculties as its basis and one of the six corresponding phenomena as its
object. For example, aural consciousness — hearing — has the ear as its basis
and a sound as its object. Mental consciousness has the mind (manas) as its
basis and an idea or thought as its object.

It is important to understand that
consciousness depends on the other skandhas and does not exist independently
from them. It is an awareness but not a recognition, as recognition is a
function of the third skandha. This awareness is not sensation, which is the
second skandha. For most of us, this is a different way to think about

It is also important to remember that
vijnana is not “special” or “above” the other skandhas. It
is not the “self.” It is the action and interaction of all five
skandhas that create the illusion of a self.

People in a boat, the usual image
for name-and-form in the
Wheel of Life


by Chogyam Trungpa

To understand more precisely the process of
confirming the solidity of I and other, that is, the development of ego, it is
helpful to be familiar with the five skandhas, a set of Buddhist concepts which
describe ego a five-step process.

The first step or skandha, the birth of ego,
is called “form” or basic ignorance. We ignore the open, fluid, and
intelligent quality of space. When a gap or space occurs in our experience of
mind, when there is a sudden glimpse of awareness openness, absence of self,
then a suspicion arise: “Suppose I find that there is no solid me? That
possibility scares me. I don’t want to go into that. That abstract paranoia,
the discomfort that something may be wrong, is the source of karmic chain
reactions. It is the fear of ultimate confusion and despair. The fear of the
absence of the self, of the egoless state, is a constant threat to us.
“Suppose it is true, what then? I am afraid to look.” We want to
maintain some solidity but the only material available with which to work is
space, the absence of ego, so we try to solidify or freeze that experience of
space. Ignorance in this case is not stupidity, but it is a kind of
stubbornness. Suddenly we are bewildered by the discovery of selflessness and
do not want to accept it; we want to hold on to something.

Then the next step is the attempt to find a
way of occupying ourselves, diverting our attention from our aloneness. The
karmic chain reaction begins. Karma is dependent upon the relativity of this
and that–my existence and my projections–and karma is continually reborn as
we continually try to busy ourselves. In other words, there is a fear of not
being confirmed by our projections. One must constantly try to prove that one
does exist by feeling one’s projections as a solid thing. Feeling the solidity
of something seemingly outside you reassures you that you are a solid entity as
well. This is the second skandha, “feeling.”

In the third stage, ego develops three
strategies or impulses with which to relate to its projections: indifference,
passion and aggression. These impulses are guided by perception. Perception, in
this case, is the self-conscious feeling that you must officially report back
to central headquarters what is happening in any given moment. Then you can
manipulate each situation by organizing another strategy.

In the strategy of indifference, we numb any
sensitive areas that we want to avoid, that we think might hurt us. We put on a
suit of armor. The second strategy is passion–trying to grasp things and eat
them up. It is a magnetizing process. Usually we do not grasp if we feel rich
enough. But whenever there is a feeling of poverty, hunger, impotence, then we
reach out, we extend our tentacles and attempt to hold onto something.
Aggression, the third strategy, is also based on the experience of poverty, the
feeling that you cannot survive and therefore must ward off anything that
threatens your property or food. Moreover, the more aware you are of the
possibilities of being threatened, the more desperate your reaction becomes.
You try to run faster and faster in order to find a way of feeding or defending
yourself. This speeding about is a form of aggression. Aggression, passion,
indifference are part of the third skandha, “perception/impulse.”

Ignorance, feeling, impulse and
perception–all are instinctive processes. We operate a radar system which
senses our territory. Yet we cannot establish ego properly without intellect,
without the ability to conceptualize and name. Since we have so many things
happening, we begin to categorize them, putting them into certain pigeon-holes,
naming them. We make it official, so to speak. So “intellect” or
“concept” is the next stage of ego, the fourth skandha, but even this
is not quite enough. We need a very active and efficient mechanism to keep the
instinctive and intellectual processes of ego coordinated. That is the last
development of ego, the fifth skandha, “consciousness.”

Consciousness consists of emotions and
irregular thought patterns, all of which taken together form the different
fantasy worlds with which we occupy ourselves. These fantasy worlds are
referred to in the scriptures as the “six realms”. The emotions are
the highlights of ego, the generals of ego’s army; subconscious thought,
day-dreams and other thoughts connect one highlight to another. So thoughts
form ego’s army and are constantly in motion, constantly busy. Our thoughts are
neurotic in the sense that they irregular, changing direction all the time and
overlapping one another. We continually jump from one thought to the next, from
spiritual thoughts to sexual fantasies to money matters to domestic thoughts
and so on. The whole development of the five skandhas–ignorance/form, feeling,
impulse/perception, concept and consciousness–is an attempt on our part to
shield ourselves from the truth of our insubstantiality.

The practice of meditation is to see the
transparency of this shield. But we cannot immediately start dealing with the
basic ignorance itself; that would be like trying to push a wall down all at
once. If we want to take this wall down, we must take it down brick by brick;
we start with immediately available material, a stepping stone. So the practice
of meditation starts with the emotions and thoughts, particularly with the
thought process.

The 5 Skandhas

The 5 skandhas, also known as the 5
aggregates or go-un (
五蘊) in Japanese are basically the 5 gateways
to our existence.  We experience the world through these 5 concepts and
they are the reason we are disconnected to our true Buddha-nature and feel our

In Buddhism, it is understood that we are not separate from the rest of the
creation.  We are part of it and it is part of us.  We are a
whole.  The five skandhas are what gives us the
of separateness as they give us our sense of individuality.

They are:








Form is the first skandha.  It is
the physical world
as we perceive it, classify it and experience it.  It consists of the 6
senses we use to perceive and classify the world (touch, smell, sight, smell,
hearing and thought) and the four elements of the earth, air, water and fire.
All classifications of the world are included in this skandha: feminity,
masculinity, weight, height, shape, movement, etc.

Example: The person (form) in front of me is a woman(form).


The second skandha is sensation, often time called feeling.  This later is
misguiding though as it could mean a mix of any of the other skandhas. 
Sensations are the judgment we pass on a perception we gain through the
experience of the 6 senses.  This judgment, be it pleasant, unpleasant or
neutral (the three modes) will determine our future interactions with that
sensation.  This leads to craving of the pleasant sensations and rejection
of the unpleasant one.  This in turn leads to suffering.

Example: The woman in front of me is gorgeous (sensation) and
sings like and angel (sensation).


The third one is perception but it could be better understood as conception or
discrimination.  It is to mentally recognize the meaning of a form or
to register the absence of recognition.

Example:  The beautiful woman singing in front of me is Tina
(perception) and I don’t know the song (perception).


Mental formations are the way our brain arranges the information it gathers
through the different senses and perception.  They will create our
personality when they become habits and character.

Example: The song the woman is signing is soft-rock (formation)
because of the rhythm (form) and lyrics (formation).

Another example: In the morning I take a coffee because it helps
me to wake up. (formation)


This last skandha is like the master. 
Consciousness is like the coach who allows us to coordinate the team.
  Through consciousness, we perceive our separateness from the
surrounding environment and we process the other aggregates to form a
streaming series of thoughts.   What choices we
make, what decision we take are all a process of consciousness. This is what
animates our body.  It is the life force driving the vehicle we are
lodging in.

Example: The woman in front of me is Tina
, I’ll go talk to her (consciousness) and
ask her an autograph (consciousness).  If I get one, my sister will be
jealous. (consciousness)


The five aggregates are part of why we are suffering.  They give us the
illusion of individuality and keep us from reaching our full potential of
Buddhahood.  They are like doors locking us in a cell.  When we are
able to transcend these, we will attain enlightenment and Nirvana, thus ending
the cycle of rebirth and suffering.

Read more:

Five Skandhas

1) form, 2) feeling, 3) cognition, 4) formations, 5)

The mind is like a master painter

Who can paint all worlds.

From it are produced the five skandhas

As well as all Dharmas.

(FAS, HYSC 30:54-70))

When the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara was practicing the profound prajna-paramita,
he illuminated the five skandhas and saw that they are all empty.

(HS 1)

Meaning ofSkandhas

Skandha is a Sanskrit word meaning heap, pile, or aggregate. The Buddha
illustrated his teaching about the skandhas by using five small
piles–heaps–of different grains. The skandhas are general divisions
for categorizing all phenomena in the conditioned world. Because they include
within them all transitory, impermanent phenomena, they are an important tool
for understanding the Buddhist doctrine of no-self. If one analyzes all aspects
of what one feels to be one’s “self”, one finds that all fall within
the scope of the Five Skandhas.

“The Five Skandhas as they are found in your body:

1) The body is the form

2) Once you have the form skandha, you then have feelings of enjoyment and pleasure.

3) You want pleasure, and so you give rise to polluted thinking,
which is
cognition. How can I
get what I want? How can I actually indulge in pleasure?

4) You have to go and do it. That is formations.

5) Acting requires a certain amount of wisdom, a consciousness which is a kind of small
intelligence, a minute amount . . . .

“Your body achieves its aims. ‘Oh, enjoyment! Ahhh!’ The
enjoyment lasts about five minutes. Because of the excessive exertion, your
blood vessels rupture and then death comes. . . . What was it all about? It was
just the Five Skandhas.

“The Five Skandhas are just five ways of uniting, of
working together to open a company. The company, once opened, opens again and
again… The skandha-company grows everywhere like a wild vine which is
never cut. Once opened, the Five Skandhas, Inc. always stays open, always
feeling that there is hope. What hope? ‘Ah! This life I didn’t make money, but
wait until next life and I will be able to make some.’ Who can know whether there
will be even less capital in the next life?” (HS 46-47)

“When you break through all five skandhas, and are
no longer deluded by them, you can ‘cross beyond all suffering’. You can then
put an end to all bitterness. Seeing that the Five Skandhas are all empty is
getting rid of the attachment to self.” (LY II 104)


-i Rupa Skandha - The Body, the Elements and their Corporealness,
Tangibility (Tamas Guna of Yoga and Ayurveda)

And why, brethren, do ye say body (i.e., form)? One is affected
, brethren. That is why the word “body” is used. Affected by what?
Affected by touch of cold and heat, of hunger and thirst, of gnats, mosquitoes,
wind and sun and snakes. One is affected, brethren. That is why we say
“body”. (Kindred Sayings III 72-73)

“What is FORM? The body is included among the form-dharmas;
since it is form, it is called the “form-body”. Your form-body has an
appearance, but when you seek for its origin you will find that it is empty…
When the Four Great Elements, namely earth, water, fire, and wind, unite, the
body comes into being.

This is what is meant by having a form. Working together the
elements establish a corporation. The corporation comes into being from the
four conditioned causes: earth, which is characterized by solidity and
durability; water, which is characterized by moisture; fire, which is
characterized by warmth; wind, which is characterized by movement. When the
four conditioned causes disperse, each has a place to which it returns;
therefore, the body becomes empty.” (HS 44-45)

“Once you break through the Form Skandha, ‘all the
mountains, rivers, and great earth are seen as empty.’” (LY II 103)

Form includes the Four Great
and the eleven derived types of form known as the Eleven Form


Name State Activity

1) earth solidity produced by repulsion

2) water liquidity or produced by attraction


3) fire temperature produced by heat

4) air/wind expansion, light- produced by motionless, mobility

When they are in equilibrium, the Four Great Elements together
produce a pure form which is not detectible by the ordinary senses. That pure
form is the inner substance of the five perceptual organs and the medium of
their actual functioning. When the Four Great Elements are out of equilibrium,
different combinations of them produce both the coarse material aspect, or
“sheaths”, of the perceptual organs and also their objects (what they


Organs Objects

1) eyes 6) sights
2) ears 7) sounds
3) nose 8) smells
4) tongue 9) tastes
5) body 10) tangible objects
11) subtle traces

The subtle traces are mental residue of verbal and physical
action. They can be understood as the “seeds” of future retribution.


2. FEELINGVedana Skandha - Bodily
Sensations (Rajas Guna of Yoga and Ayurveda)

And why, brethren, do ye say “feeling”? One feels,
brethren. That is why the word “feeling” is used. Feels what? Feels
pleasure and pain; feels neutral feelings. One feels, brethren. That is why the
word “feeling” is used. (Kindred Sayings III 73)

“Once the body manifests, it likes pleasurable FEELINGS.
There are three kinds of feelings, which correspond to the three kinds of

Feelings of suffering;
Feelings of happiness;
Feelings which are characterized by neither suffering
nor happiness.” (HS 45)

“A state arises and you perceive it; you feel it is
pleasurable. Eating good things, putting on a fine garment, feeling warm and
being greatly delighted–these feelings of contentment, as well as feelings of
displeasure and pain, are all grouped under the Feeling Skandha.” (LY II

Feelings are pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. They arise from
contact of organ, object, and consciousness. Feeling includes both the primary
sensation and the primary affective categorization of it.


3. COGNITIONSamjna Skandha -
Thinking, Recognizing, Perceiving (Sattva Guna of Yoga and Ayurveda)

And why, brethren, do ye say “perception”? One
perceives, brethren. That is why the word “perception” is used.
Perceives what? Perceives blue-green, perceives yellow, or red, or white. One
perceives, brethren. That is why the word “perceptions” is used. (Kindred
III 73)

When you are awake, your mind thinks. When you are asleep, you
dream. Thus your thinking moves false emotions through interaction. (SS VIII

“As for COGNITION, you certainly must have (the need for)
false thoughts if you want enjoyment. You can’t be without it. ‘How can I think
of a way to buy a car? How can I buy a beautiful home? How can I think of a way
to buy a yacht? an airplane?’ Your false thoughts fly back and forth and your
hair turns white. Why? It turns white from false thinking.” (HS 46)

Cognition is the differentiation and identification of objects
both physical and mental. Therefore, it includes both higher perceptual
functions and thinking processes, including those of language.


4. FORMATIONS - Samskara
- Impulses, Volitional Tendencies, Compositional Factors (Rajas

In many of the passages below the alternate translation
‘activities’ is used.

And why, brethren, do ye say “the

Because they compose a compound. That is why, brethren, the word
“activities-compound” is used. And what compound do they compose?

It is the body that they compose into a compound of body. It is
feeling that they compose into a feeling-compound. It is perception that they
compose into a perception compound; the activities into an activities-compound;
consciousness into a consciousness-compound. They compose a compound, brethren.
Therefore, the word (activities)-compound is used. (Kindred Sayings III

“These activities never stop. They progress and shift
through subtle changes. Your nails grow long, your hair grows, your energy
wanes, and your face becomes wrinkled. The processes continue and yet you never
wake up.” (SS VIII 277)

“When you lie in bed at night, you have a thousand
plans…Sometimes you get up early and act on them. Sometimes sleeping seems
nice, and you just sleep. FORMATIONS are basically the acting out of
karma, that is,
really acting upon your
false thinking.” (HS

“Activities mean movement. They are ceaseless. People are
first young, and they become middle-aged, and then old, and then they die.
Thought after thought arises and is extinguished, thought after thought without
cease. This is the skandha of activities.” (SS III 22)

Formations refer to both conscious and non-conscious volitional
forces, including:

a) conscious intentions or acts of will, the most important
category of this skandha;

b) innate predispositions (karma from past lives);

c) unconscious forces having to do with basic life functions,
nourishment, and growth.


The Eight

And why, brethren, do ye say consciousness?

One is conscious, brethren. Therefore, the word
“consciousness” is used. Conscious of what? Of (flavours) sour or
bitter; acrid or sweet; alkaline or non-alkaline; saline or non-saline. One is
conscious, brethren. That is why the word “consciousness” is used. (Kindred
III 74)

It is like rapidly flowing water which appears to be still on
the surface. You don’t detect the flow, but it is, nevertheless, not
flowing.” (SS VIII 280)

“The skandha of consciousness involves the making of
distinctions. It discriminates, considers, and seeks advantages from
circumstances.” (SS III 22)

Consciousness is the subtle basis of feeling, cognition, and
formations. It consists of a subtle distinction-making awareness that
distinguishes awareness from the objects of awareness. It is a flux of
constantly changing knowing activity.



Body (i.e., form), brethren, is impermanent. What is
impermanent, that is suffering. What is suffering, that is not the Self.

What is not the Self, “that is not mine, that am not I,
that is not the Self of me.” This is the way one should regard things as
they really are, by right insight.

So likewise with regard to feeling, perception, the activities,

So seeing, brethren, the well-taught Ariyan [i.e., noble]
disciple feels disgust at body, at feeling, perception, the activities and

Feeling disgust he is repelled: by repulsion he is released; by
that release set free, knowledge arises: “in the freed man is the free
thing,” and he knows: ‘destroyed is rebirth; lived is the righteous life;
done is the task; for life in these conditions there is no hereafter.” (Kindred
III 68-69)

The skandha of form is like a mass of foam, because, when
taken hold of, it cannot be kept together (in the hand); feeling is like a
bubble because, as lasting only for a moment, it is impermanent; perception
(cognition) is like a mirage, because it is misled by the thirst of craving;
the impulses (formation) are like a plantain tree because, when (the
leaf-sheaths) are taken away, no core remains; consciousness is like a dream,
because it takes hold of what deceives. Therefore, the five skandhas
have no self, (and they contain) no person (pudgala), no living being,
no living soul, no personality and no manhood (purusa). . . . (Conze,
tr. Arya-prajnaparamita-hrdaya-tika 54)

Aggregate (khandha):
Any one of the five bases for clinging to a sense of self: form (physical
phenomena, including the body), feelings, perceptions (mental labels),
thought-fabrications, consciousness. 

(Source: Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu,, Revised: Sun



FIVE SKANDHAS: 1) Chinese Mandarin: wu yun , 2) Sanskrit:
skandha, pancopandana- skandhah, 3) Pali: khandha, 4)
Alternate Translations: heaps, aggregates, agglomerations.   5)
Tibetan: phung po lnga


Tibetan: phung po lnga

Literally, “heap.” The five skandhas, or aggregates, are the five
basic transformations that perceptions undergo when an object is perceived.
They are form, feeling, conception, formation, and consciousness. In the
confused state, we cling to one or another aspect of these five as a concrete
self. When the skandhas are actually seen for what they are, no self is found
in them, either singly or taken together. Moreover, one does not find any
individual apart from them. In Vajrayana, they are correlated to the five
Buddhas of the mandala.

1) Form Aggregate, gzugs kyi phung po, rupa skandha
2) Feeling Aggregate, tshor ba’i phung po, vedana skandha
3) Conception Aggregate, ‘du shes kyi phung po samjna skandha
4) Formation Aggregate, ‘du bye kyi phung po, samskara skandha
5) Consciousness Aggregate, rnam par shes pa’i phung po, vijnana skandha

Tibetan source:


See also: Dharma/dharma.

(Source: Epstein, 2003: pp. 85
- 89)

Buddhist Text Translation Society (
References: HS 24-28, 41-48; LY II 103-104, 223-225; SS III 4-24; SS VIII.


(NOTE: Numerous corrections and enhancements
have been made
under Shastra tradition and “Fair Use”
by an Anonymous Buddhist Monk Redactor
(Compiler) of this
Buddhist Encyclopedia Compilation


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teachings and practices of the
Five Traditions transmitted by the Buddha Shakyamuni:

1.  Teaching School 
(Mahayana Sutrayana - Paramitayana - Hua Yan and Tian Tai, Yogachara, Nalanda
Madhyamika, Theravada Sutta)   

See also: Tripitaka (1. Sutras, 2. Vinaya, 3. Shastras or Abhidharma, or Tantra), Taisho Catalog Numbering System, Dharma, and names of individual sutras (such as Shurangama
, Avatamsaka
[Flower Adornment Sutra], Lotus Sutra [Wonderful
Dharma Flower Sutra],
Earth Store
, Dharani Sutra, Brahma Net
, Medicine
Master Buddha Sutra
, Sixth
Patriarch Platform Sutra
, Sutra in 42
, Sutra on the
Buddha’s Bequeathed Teaching
, et al.

Moral Regulations School  (Vinaya Pratimoksha Shila - Bodhisattva
Pranidhana -
Vajrayana-Samaya - Yogic Yama)

3.  Esoteric School 
Mantrayana -
Tantrayana -
Dharani - Secret
School of the Mahayana)

4.  Meditation School  (Indian Dhyana Samadhi - Shamatha - Vipassana, Chinese Chan, Japanese
        Tibetan Mahamudra of Kagyupa, and
Tibetan Dzogchen of Nyingmapa)

5.  Pure Land Devotional School  (Bhakti Puja - Buddha-Bodhisattva
Mindfulness and Nama Japa —
         Name Recitation of Buddhas
Amitabha-Amitayus, Medicine
- Bhaisajya Guru - Akshobhya,
         and Bodhisattvas:
Avalokiteshvara-Guanyin-Chenrezig-Mahakala, Tara, Samantabhadra Universal
Great Wisdom,
Maitreya Great
Mahasthamaprapta Great
Ksitigarbha - Earth Store
Great Vows,
Vajrapani, Vajrasattva,
         Chandraprabha Moonlight
Radiance, Suryaprabha Sunlight Radiance,
Medicine King
, Medicine
Superior Bodhisattva

         and others Dharma Protecting
Dharmapala Lokapala Bodhisattvas,
Gods and

Sources for the Above Material on the Teachings of the Buddha:

Primary Compilation Source: Epstein, Ronald B., Ph.D, compiler, Buddhist
Text Translation Society’s Buddhism A to Z
, Burlingame, California:
Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2003. ISBN: 0881393533  Paperback: 284

Secondary Compilation Source: The Seeker’s Glossary of
, 2nd ed., San Francisco, California: Sutra Translation Committee
of the United States and Canada, 1998:     

Secondary Compilation Source: Muller, Charles, editor, Digital
Dictionary of Buddhism
[DDB], Toyo Gakuen University, Japan, 2007: 
Username is “guest”, with no password. - Based in large
part on the
Dictionary of
Chinese Buddhist Terms
with Sanskrit and English Equivalents (by Soothill and Hodous)
Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass, 1997.

Secondary Compilation Source: Ehrhard, Diener, Fischer, et al, The
Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen
, Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala
Publications, 1991.  296 pages.  ISBN 978-0-87773-520-5,,

The Dharma is a
thus these research compilations
and audio and video teaching materials are
free-of-charge by this
anonymous Buddhist Monk
for the
Bodhi Resolve
of All Sentient
in the Universe

…under a Creative
Commons License

The rights to textual segments (”quoted, paraphrased, or
excerpted”) of the are owned by the
author-publisher indicated in
the brackets next to each segment and are make available and commented on
(under the “shastra tradition”) under
Fair Use. For rights
regarding the Buddhist “Encyclopaedia - Glossary - Dictionary”
compilation as a whole, please know that it is offered under this
Creative Commons License.

This Nalanda University site (
is redacted by an anonymous

Buddhist monk
for the
benefit of all living beings
so they may diligently (virya
paramita) cultivate freely to
Bodhi enlightenment for the sake
of all. 

On the Buddha Shakyamuni’s Birthday 2007,
this free redaction is
offered (received,
upheld, read, recited, studied, pondered, explained, and written out),
in accordance with the
Saddharma Pundarika Sutra
Chapter 19: “Merit and
of a Dharma Master” as a
selfless offering to the Buddhas and Bodhisattva Sangha above
to adorn the
Pure Lands and
liberate living beings suffering in
samsara below by
compassionately helping them to plant
good roots in this and
their future rebirths.
merit is dedicated

Increasing Effect Mantra:
Om Sambhara Sambhara (These
Bhikshu Bodhisattva Bodhichitta Vows) Bimana Sara (Spread) Maha (Greatly) Java (Rapidly) Hum (recited 7x)

To increase by 100,000 times the merit created:
Tadyatha Om Pancha Griya (five
offerings or five

Om Dhuru Dhuru Jaya (Victory) Mukhe (Face or Mouth) Svaha (7x)

I Now Universally Transfer the Merit and
of to All Beings to realize Anuttara-Samyak-Sam-Bodhi
(“Unsurpassed Proper and Equal Right Enlightenment”)

Sarva Mangalam.
May all be Auspicious.

Arya Bhikshu Shantideva’s Bodhisattvacharyavatara
Just as
Manjushri works
To fulfill the aims of all limited beings
To the far reaches of space in the ten directions,
May my
behavior become just
like that.

For as long as space
And for as
long as wandering
beings remain,
I too remain
for that
Dispelling the
sufferings of wandering

(Like Ananda says in the Shurangama
introduction to the Shurangama Mantra,
“And even could the nature of
shunyata melt away, my
would still remain unmoved.)

Whatever sufferings wandering beings might have,
May all of them
ripen on me,
And through the
Bodhisattva assembly,
May wandering beings enjoy happiness.

May the teachings,
the sole medicine for the sufferings of wandering beings
And the
source of all
Continue to endure for a very
long time,
and shows of respect.

Updated May 10, 2008


The Five Skandhas and the New Millennium

by Martin Goodson


It may be because we are coming to the end of one millennium and
about to enter another that there is a great interest in news stories that signal
the end of the world. In 1998, a new film was released called ‘Deep Impact’.
It was about a comet colliding with Earth. At the time, a space agency
revealed that in the twenty-first century, Earth will narrowly miss a
collision with an asteroid that will cross its orbit. Although the warning
turned out to greatly overestimate the danger, it provided a great platform
to launch the film and, from Hollywood’s point of view, could not have been
better timed.

One thousand years ago in parts of Europe, the population was also
in the grip of an end-of-time fever. Then, of course, the carrier was not
science but religion. Christianity has always had a strong eschatological
teaching and indeed the early Christians believed that the end of the world
was imminent. The turn of the first millennium provided an opportunity for
this fear to manifest. They were convinced that the world was about to be
destroyed in a great battle between God and the Antichrist and that this
battle would usher in the New Kingdom.

Whether our collective concern for the future of our species is
aimed at asteroids colliding with Earth or at man’s effect on the
environment, we should not forget that medieval Europeans’ fears were every
bit as real to them as ours are to us. It is not whether our scientific
concerns are true or not but our obsession with the belief in our mass
destruction at this particular time that is so reminiscent of the turn of the
first millennium. In this way we share something with those people of one
thousand years ago and the struggle against a feeling of powerlessness in a
universe that is so much larger than us.

Those people, however, at least could take comfort in being the
chosen few who would be saved and make it into the New Kingdom. As we have
lost our religious values by and large, we are more subject to the darker
side of nature, whether from the vastness of space or from the powerful
forces within the human heart that guide our actions for good or ill. Science
may give us explanations about how things happen but it cannot help us to
forge a relationship with these powers and with the universe. We simply do not
understand why things are the way they are. Why is it that we have evolved so
far and yet in a moment may be wiped out by a meteor or a new killer disease?
Why is it that some people carry out the most horrific and calculated crimes,
so much so that our media seem obsessed by such acts of cruelty, going over
and over their causes in an effort to make sense of them? Why do even we
ourselves, often acting against our better judgment, almost monotonously
carry out acts that we know will only make trouble for us and those we hold

The contradictions and contrariness of life can be just too
overwhelming, and most of the time we distract ourselves from these dilemmas.
Otherwise, we would become caught up in the apparent pointlessness of it all
and be swamped by our helplessness. In extreme cases this mood can lead to
our own demise, as in the legend of the Lorelei, who lured travelers into
swampy ground to drown them.

A feeling of alienation from the universe and from our own
inherent nature, which reveals our place in it, has led us into this
predicament. What we need is to reestablish a link with that which lies
beyond the restricted horizon of this self, to find something that can help
us to forge a relationship with those natural forces within us upon which we
have turned our back. In order to do this, we need a map to show us the way.

Every doctrinal formula given us by the Buddha contains an
insight. But it is not enough that this insight is realized on an
intellectual level only. The intellect, for all its development, does not go
deep enough to satisfy the whole human being. There is too much within us
that lies unknown and often in direct opposition to the will of the
intellect. An insight acts as a center of gravity different from that of ‘I’,
‘me’ and ‘mine’. In order for such an insight to ripen, a wholehearted
awareness must be cultivated. This of course is going to conflict with ‘my’
wishes, normal habits and concerns that otherwise distract me. At times it
will feel like going against the grain to work with a particular formula as
more and more it comes into conflict with the attitude of ‘I’, ‘me’ and
‘mine’. These emotional onslaughts must be borne if the insight is to bear
fruit. In fact it is the energy that powers these emotional uprushes that
will gradually loosen the bonds of ‘I’ and at the same time nurture the
developing insight into consciousness. It is important to realize that as
this process continues, small precursor insights will arise and that it will
be tempting to stop and intellectualize them. This, however, would sustain
the formation of ‘my opinions’, thus making further insights impossible, as
true insight is not an idea but something fluid, something alive that will
manifest slightly differently in different situations. This is something that
the intellect with its ‘either/or’ approach cannot do.

The insight in the formula of the Five Skandhas is the realization
that no part of the human mind-body is a separate ’self’ or ‘I’. The skandhas
are like a river. It may have a particular name such as ‘Thames’ but it never
remains the same; it is in constant flux. And when awareness of this flowing,
changing quality of the skandhas is sufficiently cultivated, we realize this
from moment to moment.

The first skandha is Form (rupa), which takes in the physical
senses and their objects &endash; shape and colour, sounds, tastes,
smells, tactile objects. Form stands for the body and the physical world. We
need to be aware of our cultural conditioning as regards both our bodies and
the physical world in general. Our native religion places great emphasis upon
the separation of the spirit from the material world and views the latter as
flawed and even intrinsically evil. This view is an example of the
lopsidedness of ‘I’, of how ‘I’ likes to split things into extremes and place
them in opposition to each other. Of late, this dislike and mistrust of the
body has swung to the other extreme. This other view sees ‘my body’ as a
temple to ‘me’. It is here as a center to my life and to give me satisfaction.
I like to pamper it and dress it up and compare it to the bodies of others. I
feel a need to constantly reshape it, dye it, pierce it, tattoo it and, most
important of all, protect it from old age. Alas, old age cannot be kept at
bay forever: the body changes over time in accordance with nature, not my
wishes, and my attitude changes as I begin to hate and despise it because it
has let me down. In order to compensate for this, I may change my values and
turn to the spirit for comfort. Remember, in our Western view spirit and
matter are quite separate, and in this way I can ignore my body. But the
emotional highs of the spirit are not fulfilling either. I am caught between
an overemphasis on the body or a negation of it. I am never at ease with the

Form needs to be recognized for what it is &endash;
Buddha-nature in corporeal form. Buddha-nature gives rise to all forms yet it
is neither a form in itself nor separate from form. It manifests from one
moment to the next, and to try to cling to it is to try to capture the
liveliness of a river in a teacup.

Staying with the body and the situation the body is in is an
excellent way to cultivate Awareness (sati). It provides an anchor and
something to keep giving myself to when my thoughts and underlying passions
or emotions (klesa) carry me away. Every few moments we can refresh our
awareness of the five senses. Or we can use one sense in particular just to
‘ground’ ourselves: when I become aware of being carried away by a daydream
or other ‘head noise’, I can open up instead and really listen, as if someone
is calling my name. Alternatively, I can become aware of my feet on the
ground or my behind on the chair. In this way I give myself into Form, sink
into Form, become absorbed into Form.

With the arising of sensory consciousness, Sensation (vedana), the
second skandha, comes to be. Sensations are pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
This is the subjective experience of them. In terms of our behavior it is
movement towards, away from or neither towards nor away from something.
Sensation acts as a motivating force on the instinctual level. It moves us
away from danger or an undesirable situation, and towards things that are
conducive to our well-being, rather like a cat moves from a cold spot to a
warmer place. But if the warm place becomes too hot, vedana will arise and
the cat will move to a cooler spot. Plants too move according to vedana,
moving their leaves and flowers towards the sun and their roots towards
water. Their shoots grow upward and their roots downward. We humans
experience vedana in the same way. I may be absorbed in reading a favorite
book, and suddenly a delicious smell from the kitchen wafts under my nose. In
a flash attention shifts from the book to the pleasant smell ‘Ah, dinner!’

In meditation, following the breath or counting the out-breath is
mundane. It can be experienced as boring, as an unpleasant Sensation.
Immediately craving arises and as a result, there is grasping for something
more pleasant. Thoughts arise and are experienced as pleasant, thus I become
absorbed in them until some time later the awareness arises that I have been
daydreaming, and once again it is back to meditation. This process of
slipping into pleasant day dreams happens unconsciously, which is why the
conscious experience is of suddenly coming to oneself and realizing that day
dreaming has been taking place. I do not ‘choose’ to think. If, however, we
are fully conscious of vedana and completely given into or absorbed into it,
then no outflow takes place and no craving arises. Awareness of this process
gives rise to the insight that vedana is conditioned by the arising of
sensory consciousness and in turn conditions the arising of craving. In other
words, there is no ‘doer’ or subject to be bored by meditation, and no one
who decides to think about something more pleasant instead. Understanding
that vedana can be habituated leads us to see why difficulties arise in
changing old patterns of behavior and adopting new ones that are conducive to
the Buddha’s Way.

Perception (samjña) is the third skandha and it involves
identifying and recognizing the data that arise from the sense gates. It
brings objects into consciousness and names them. Thus if I look at a crowd
of people and recognize the face of an old friend, that face will seem to
stand out. Perception recognizes by selecting two or three characteristics
and committing them to memory. So if, for example, my friend has a
distinctive hair style, that will be a primary characteristic for
identification. However, should my friend change his hair style, I may not
recognize him for a moment when next I see him. I must rely on the other,
unchanged characteristics. Thus we can see that the faculty of recognition
relies on recognizing external characteristics and matching them to memories.
All perceived objects are seen as collections of these characteristics. As
these are all subject to change, there is no essential self-hood to any
perceived form.

Volitional Mental Objects (samskara), the fourth skandha, consist
of thoughts, dreams, wishes, imaginings, emotions etc. It is important to
understand that ‘volitional’, by an act of will, refers to the passions
(klesa). Any volitional action, whether in thought, word or deed, is ‘I’
trying to get something or to get rid of something, thus the awareness of
’self’ is born out of the energy manifesting as the passions. This means that
far from being separate from my thoughts and feelings, I am my thoughts and
feelings and will act in accordance with the nature of that particular emotion.
Consequently, a sense of self born from aversion just wants to get rid of the
undesired object, and the thoughts that arise are aversive, aggressive or
withdrawn. A self that is born from the emotion of desire wants something.
The resulting feelings of craving and grasping are only concerned with the
desired object and cannot rest until the desire burns itself out. This shows
up the futility of trying to push unwanted mental states away. The pushing
and the desire to push are born from the mental state of aversion that I am
trying to get rid of.

Our mistake in Buddhist training is to take these feelings and
thoughts and allied mental states as real. In fact, they are like a dream.
The dreamer does not know that he is dreaming: he is part of the dream and cannot
be separated from it. The dream seems quite real, just as in waking life the
physical world is quite real. Nor is it of use to say there is nothing real
to be afraid of to someone who is terrified of spiders. The fear is quite
real. The feeling of threat is real. Thoughts then arise that compound and
reinforce the feeling. Maybe this spider has escaped from a zoo and has a
fatal bite! We know only too well how in a crisis the mind manufactures
thoughts that always seek to establish the current mental state.

These thoughts and states do not remain the same; they constantly
change. Even powerful emotions do not last. If something has really upset me,
and we know how that goes, I go over the grievance in my mind, re-visiting it
again and again. But just try to maintain the level of anger. A point will
come when it begins to subside. At that moment try to keep up the irritation.
Even if I try by going over the irritating scene in my head, sooner or later
I shall be distracted by something else. Other mental states arise and crowd
the anger out. Someone talks to me and I become involved in a conversation or
something interesting comes on the TV. Yet when a powerful emotion is in full
spate, it is not possible to concentrate on anything else. Even if a distraction
would normally interest me, I cannot give it my full attention, as the anger
will not let me go. Thus we can see that such a state, with its accompanying
thoughts and wishes, fears and hopes and imaginings, expectations and
longings, is not mine. It comes and goes as forces outside ‘my control’
dictate, and these forces are much stronger than I. As anyone involved in a
Buddhist training knows, these forces are constantly creating distractions
from this moment, and this ‘me’ is generated by those selfsame states from
moment to moment.

Consciousness (vijñana), the fifth skandha, is the way by which
the other skandhas are known. Everything manifests itself through
Consciousness. Nothing can come into existence without it. Consciousness, on
the other hand, cannot arise without an object, thus there is no such thing
as ‘empty- of-all-objects Consciousness’. Buddhist terms such as emptiness or
void (sunyata) mean that Consciousness is empty of anything permanent and is
in a constant state of flux, that nothing exists without prior cause or
condition and that there is nothing separate or independent from

Ajahn Chah once gave a beautiful metaphor for just this. He
likened meditation to a pool in a forest. Day after day animals come to drink
from it. Some of these animals are well known; some are strange. All of them
come for a long or short time but sooner or later they all disappear back
into the darkness of the forest.

Finally, we must understand that the insight within the Five
Skandhas does not arise by me intellectually puzzling things out. It arises,
as intimated above, by immersing myself in the stream of life, by being as
open and attentive as possible to the skandhas as they come and go. It is the
difference between wandering through the landscape with my head lowered,
wrapped in thoughts about me, my problems and what I want and don’t want, and
holding my head up and opening up to that landscape of which for the time
being I am part.

The Five Skandhas, by Mark Goodson
Journal - The Middle Way Journal

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