In the previous post your Narrator has given an introduction about the consistency between religion and science. In this post your Narrator will explore the question whether the five skandhas include everything that we may need for our spiritual development.
During the following stages on their Odyssey the two main characters will continue with their quest for who we are, where we come from and where we shall go to. First we will visit the five common realities:
o Facts and logic – scientific reflection and consciousness
o Intensities and associations – intuitive reflection and consciousness
o Emptiness – mode of consciousness
o Change – mode of consciousness
o interconnectedness – mode of consciousness
How do these five realities relate to the five skandha’s from the Mahâyâna Buddhism and with the emptiness of these skandhas according to the Heart Sutra ?
The answer to the second question is easy at this moment: the two main characters will look for the answer at the third stage at the reality – Emptiness.
The answer to the first question is also quite simple. The five realities include the five skandhas whereby the five realities better reflect the contemporary consciousness.
The fifth and final skandha – consciousness – constitutes the other four skandha’s and at the same time is derives from these four skandhas . Consciousness underlies the five realities and consciousness is formed by the five realities. As far as your Narrator is aware, there is no difference between the fifth skandha – including emptiness – and the five realities.
The first skandha – form – in contemporary form, coincides with the five realities, because form takes shape by facts and logic (or lack of it), by intensities and associations for the experience of form, by change because everything changes and by interconnectedness because a form exists in relation to other forms.
The second skandha – feelings and sensation – coincides with the second reality for the experience, with the fourth reality for the change of feelings and with the fifth reality for the experience of feelings within and by a society.
The third skandha – perception, recognition or distinction – coincides with the first reality as far as its nature of facts and things, with the second reality insofar as the distinction of intensities and associations concerned, with the fourth reality for the change of distinction and recognition, and with the fifth reality for the distinction and recognition relative to other things, facts, entities, living beings and events.
The fourth skandha – mental impressions, impulses, imprinting – is reflected in a similar way as the third skandha in the first, second, fourth and fifth reality
As far as your Narrator is aware, the five skandhas – including the emptiness – coincide with the five realities which the main characters will visit.
At the end of the Odyssey, the two main characters may in retrospect perhaps conclude whether the five skandhas provide everything that is needed for our spiritual development.
The following post will be available within a few weeks. One of the main characters is still recovering from the efforts and the other main character has made the first part of the report on “One”, “Two” and “Three”; this report is almost ready to be published. The version in the English language is not ready yet. In about four weeks the main characters will resume their Odyssey.
 See several translations of the Heart Sutra, e.g. by Red Pine (Bill Porter), Edward Conze, Donald S. Lopez Jr.