142. The five skandhas

Dogen said that the five skandhas (form, sensation, perception, mental formation, consciousness) are five pieces of Prajna; before thinking.

It is easier to see with the first two.

With the first skandha, when we sit, we don’t think, I am a man, I am a woman, this is a wall and suchlike, we just sit, right in the middle of our raw experience.

Likewise with sensation. We just feel what is there. We don’t label it.

With perception and mental formation, it’s a little harder to see Dogen’s point, but it’s very important that we do.

We just need to see the incessant urge to understand this flood of experience. This constant ‘What is this?’

It is as if we are in a room with a storyteller. The point is not to get caught up in the stories, nor to speculate if they’re true, nor to get annoyed because they’re not, but just to see the aliveness of the storyteller and, seeing this, the aliveness of everything.