Perhaps one of the biggest influences in Philosophy around the world is religion. Whether we know it or not, growing up with or without a religion, instills into us many philosophies that affect our views on life and it’s meaning is. In my own life I have been greatly impacted by Sikhism, which is the religion that I was born into. Although I did not choose to be born into it, the philosophies and ideas present in Sikhism it became a part of my reality. As I begin to study newer religions, I notice many similarities in the religions that hail from the Eastern part of the world. One religion that bears many similarities to my own personal philosophy is Buddhism. Buddhism focuses on the teachings and practices of Buddha, who emphasized finding practical ways to bring an end to suffering through meditation and detachment from worldly things. Ultimately, the goal of a human being is to escape and break the cycle of reincarnation through achieving Nirvana, which is a state in which suffering, desire, and sense of self are no longer present. When it comes to philosophy and understanding the self, Buddhism emphasizes that there is no self to understand, and it is this absence of a self that affects the views on human nature and self personhood.
Buddhists believe essentially there are five “clinging-khandhas”, or referred to as the clinging aggregates, that make up human nature. All humans are born with these and Buddhism breaks down these 5 aggregates to the following; form, feeling, perception, fabrications, and consciousness, and it are these five aggregates that make up the human burden. Thanissaro Bhikkhu, an American Theravada Buddhist monk and author, translates these 5 aggregates to:
“Form…which covers physical phenomena of all sorts, both within and without the body… Feeling feels pleasure, pain, and neither pleasure nor pain. Perception labels or identifies objects. Consciousness cognizes the six senses…along with their objects. Of the five khandhas, fabrication is the most complex…define[d] it as intention, but it includes a wide variety of activities, such as attention, evaluation, and all the active processes of the mind” (Five Piles of Brick).
Buddha speaks in the Bhara Sutta about these, “A burden indeed are the five aggregates, and the carrier of the burden is the person. Taking up the burden in the world is stressful. Casting off the burden is bliss” (“Bhara Sutta”). Every human is born with these aggregates, however unlike human nature, these limitations can be surpassed and casted away through meditation and concentration. Whereas human nature is this fixated idea that throughout life humans are born a certain way and always function in that specific way, and that is always the way it will be. These aggregates give one the ability to recognize the burden that they are placing on life and effectively begin to cut these burdens out of their life.
The idea of aggregates directly correlates with the Buddhist notion of self and...