Kevin Wacknov's Coffee Notes

Vectorfield Simulation of the Buddhist Skandhas (Thieves of Awareness)

The Five Skahndhas (body, consciousness, sensation, perception, mental formations) are the five areas we lose our awareness in. The Heart Sutra says that if we realize all five fields are empty, we will be free. The simulation below (downloadable, pictured) images each field as a vector field.

The Body: imaged as an outline, since that is my first impression of it.

Sensation: felt as a simple oscillation of any felt field (math: sin(t) ).

Perception: noticing that one field oscillates in one direction, another field in another direction. (math: -sign(x) ).

Consciouness: noticing that the field strength changes with location. (math: e^(-x^2) ).

Mental Formation: deliberately changing the direction of oscillation of some field. (math: -1*oscillation ).

Skandhas and their Vectorfields
Skandha interpretation factor finger
body am I aware of my physical body? outline image pinky
sensation do I feel a basic oscillation of some field? cos(t), sin(t) ring
perception do I notice a difference between any two fields? -sign(x) middle
mental formations am I deliberately moving the energy? -1 * oscillation pointer
consciousness am I aware of the diminishment of awareness away from my center? exp(-x^2) thumb

In the Java simulation (download here), each skandha factor can be turned on or off by clicking a button. The resulting vectorfield is shown (images below).

Body + Perception
Body + Perception + Consciousness

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