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(Skt.; Pāli, saññā). The third of the five aggregates (skandha), saṃjñā is the psychological faculty of perception or discernment. Saṃjñā is said to recognize the distinctive characteristics of things, for example, by identifying different colours. It is sixfold, with respect to perception of the objects of the five senses plus the ideas perceived by the mind. Sometimes the term is used simply in the sense of ‘idea’ or ‘concept’, especially in lists of meditation topics (for example, anitya-saṃjñā as the concept of impermanence; see anitya).

Subjects: Buddhism.

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