They are empty of a soul or permanent essence of self. These four words ("five skandhas are empty") are the essence of the earliest Buddhist teachings. These are the foundation on which Avalokiteshvara tells us that other things are empty, which the Heart Sutra classifies into six types: (1) the five skandhas, (2) the twelve sense bases, (3) the 18 elements or dhatus, (4) the twelve links of dependent arising, (5) the four noble truths, and (6) the merit of practice. The emptiness of inherent nature means that not only is the self empty of inherent nature, but each of the five skandhas is also individually empty. The five are: Rupa (matter), Vedana (feeling), Sanjna (ideation); Samskara (forces or drives) Vijnana (consciousness or sensation). The most important point Buddha made in the teaching related to the five skandhas is that the skandhas are not “you”, and that clinging to these aggregates as “me” is an illusion. Likewise, feelings, perceptions, mental formations (or volition) and consciousness are all empty." Therefore, anything that changes is empty of inherent nature. Before we look at the term skandhas, it might be useful to deal first with the term "empty" since it is the central teaching, not only of the Heart Sutra but also of the entire Mahayana literature. As I will explain in more detail in a bit, the Five Skandhas aren’t so much a teaching in an of themselves as they are a … "The five skandhas (or aggregates) are empty of intrinsic existence. Five Skandhas The five groups of elements (Dharmas) into which all existences are classified in early Buddhism. This Body is not other than Emptiness and Emptiness is not other than this Body. Avalokiteshvara while practicing deeply with the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore, suddenly discovered that all of the five Skandhas are equally empty, and with this realisation he overcame all Ill-being. At Buddhagate Monastery in Lafayette, California I recite the Heart sutra with every meditation practice. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form, emptiness is not other than form, form too is not other than emptiness. all of the five Skandhas are equally empty, and with this realisation he overcame all Ill-being. Clearly perceived the empty nature of the five skandhas" The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra, Chung Tai Translation This is the Heart Sutra, beloved in Buddhist Mahayana schools and monasteries. Five Empty Skandhas, Delivered from All Distress and Suffering, Form is Emptiness These are from Zen Master Hakuin's Poison Words For the Heart (his commentary to the Heart Sutra) All Five Skandhas Are Empty Listen Sariputra, this Body itself is Emptiness and Emptiness itself is this Body. It is in this state of intuitive awareness that the bodhisattva perceives the five skandhas to be empty. 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