Five Senses? – Six In Buddhism


The five colours blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavours dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the wise person is guided by what she knows
and not by what she sees.
She lets go of ‘that’ and chooses ‘this’.

Laozi, Daodejing

This is a variation on the teaching of Bodhidharma on the five senses. Our senses being hungry and craving to be satisfied. Making it that much more difficult to choose wisely. Mind is regarded as a ‘sense’ in Buddhism and as with the other five is not regarded as seperate on a fundamental level.

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8 thoughts on “Five Senses? – Six In Buddhism”

  1. This one really has me thinking. Mind as a sense. I’m of two minds I think. :)
    The discriminating one is just the other five senses jockeying for position. The one that “senses” beyond is the one to trust – but can we fool ourselves into thinking it’s the one talking, when really its the other?


  2. I’m not sure I fully understand this. Does the appreciation of natural beauty (your photo!) not contribute to teaching us “what we know”? How can we choose wisely if we don’t look? Or listen? Or taste?

  3. Well Rob, have a look again at the Scripture of Great Wisdom. But you have to know that when it says no eye, no ear etc. the seperate has not been included in the translation. It is assumed we understand that we are talking about no SEPERATE eye etc. No SEPERATE mind. I will leave you with that as time is short right now.

  4. Will pass on regards to RMFuden but you will need to send me an email to let me know which john I am sending on regards from!

  5. to publish this comment because I didn’t quite know what to say. It is easy to give quick answers but here I am probably giving a quick answer because of time pressure. Anyway. Thankyou Peter for leaving this comment.

    I wrote about beauty today, talked about triping over a stone and finding it beautiful. I believe that beauty, or how ever one wants to talk about what comes to us, just comes of itself rather by accident than design. AND there is no IT.

    I think our choosing wisely comes from allowing our senses to hear and see and feel and know and taste. To accept what comes our way and then taking that reflexive step to choose to act, or not, as we encounter that creative zone called living! How is that for an answer?

  6. What a terrific last paragraph. A palpable description of the spontaneous feeling of our liveliness. Thanks much!

    In gassho, Jim

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