In Buddhist phenomenology and soteriology, the skandhas (Sanskrit) or khandhas (Pāḷi), aggregates in English, are the five functions or aspects that constitute the sentient being: matter, sensation, perception, mental formations and consciousness. The Buddha teaches that nothing among them is really "I" or "mine". The elements are:
- "mental formations"
In the Theravada tradition, suffering arises when one identifies with or clings to an aggregate. Suffering is extinguished by relinquishing attachments to aggregates.
The Mahayana tradition further puts forth that ultimate freedom is realized by deeply penetrating the nature of all aggregates as intrinsically empty of independent existence.