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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Sakkayaditthi

(Sakkāyaditthi) A Pali term meaning “the illusion that a person is a separate personal identity.” It is a fundamental concept in Buddhism, and is related to the doctrine of the kandhas (Sk. skandhas) or five aggregates which produce this illusion. It is one of the ten fetters to be overcome in spiritual initiation.

The teaching of Sakkayaditthi finds affirmation in theosophical literature. In The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, the Mahatma KOOT HOOMI states that there are really seven skandhas which includes the five traditional ones in Buddhism which, in Sanskrit, are: nama-rupa (lit. “name and form” but implying the identification of oneself as embodied), vedana (feeling), samjna (perception), samskara (habit patterns or tendencies, quirks of character), and vijñana (conditioned consciousness). Two more unnamed skandhas are the ones responsible for the illusion of Sakkayaditthi, “the ‘heresy or delusion of individuality’ and of Attavada [Sk. Atma-vada] ‘the doctrine of Self,’ both of which (in the case of the fifth principle, the soul) lead to the maya of heresy and belief in the efficacy of vain rites and ceremonies, in prayers and intercession” (ML, p. 199).

Helena P. BLAVATSKY states that the bliss of Devachan is “an outcome of Sakkayaditthi, the delusion or ‘heresy of individuality,’ which heresy, together with the attavadic chain of causes, is necessary for the monad’s future birth” (CW V:78).

V.H.C.

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