(Sanskrit skandha, Tibetan pungpo nga) Literally “group, pile, aggregate, heap.” A general term of Buddhist philosophy describing the basic faculties of a sentient being or “personality.”
1. Corporeality or form (rupa)
2. Sensation (vedana)
3. Perception (samjana)
4. Mental Formations (samskara)
5. Consciousness (vijnana)
Each aggregate is composed of a combination of factors and parts, which implies that it does not have independent existence. This is the basis for the Buddhist argument that there is no independently existing self.
The Skandhas relate to five lower bodies or sephiroth.
1. Physical Body (Malkuth)
2. Ethereal Body (Yesod; made of four ethers and vibrating with Tattvic energy)
3. Lunar Astral/Emotional Body (Hod): the body of desires
4. Lunar Mental Body (Netzach)
5. Essence or Consciousness (Tiphereth)
It is said in Buddhism that our suffering comes from the attachments and cravings that reside within the skandhas, or in other words, the egos live within the psyche of the terrestrial man. The bodies of the soul (skandhas) must be cleaned and purified through alchemical birth and psychological death. This work is done by the Cosmic Christ within the Bodhisattva, as clearly symbolized in the Prajnaparamita Sutra:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Cosmic Christ) while moving in the deep course of Perfect Understanding (Binah) shed light on the five Skandhas (the light of transmuted fire) and found them equally empty [of self]. (because the fire destroys the egos) After this penetration, he overcame all pain. (Resurrection)
In Gnosis, the term aggregates is usually used in reference to impermanent and inhuman psychological "I's" ("egos" or defects) that fill the lower levels of consciousness and trap the psyche in suffering. Aggregates are psychological elements created by means of desire. Each aggregate traps a certain percentage of consciousness, which when freed through the destruction of the aggregate, results in the awakening of consciousness in a positive manner. In synthesis, a psychic aggregate is a positive or negative value that is the source of suffering. See also ego, defect, "I."