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Perception (Skt. saṃjña; Tib. འདུ་ཤེས་, dushé, Wyl. ‘du shes) — one of the fifty-one mental states defined in Abhidharma literature. According to the Compendium of Abhidharma, it belongs to the subgroup of the five ever-present mental states. Also one of the five skandhas.


In the Khenjuk, Mipham Rinpoche says:

  • Tib. འདུ་ཤེས་ནི་མཚན་མར་འཛིན་པ།
  • Perception is apprehending characteristics (Rigpa Translations)
  • Perceptions consist of the grasping of distinguishing features (Erik Pema Kunsang)

Alternative Translations

  • Conception (David Karma Choepel[1])
  • Cognition (Tony Duff)
  • Discernment or recognition (Berzin)
  • Identifications (Peter Alan Roberts)


  1. David Karma Choepel: 'du shes, samjna. This is commonly translated as perception, but that has several meanings in English and this aggregate refers to only one of them. The aggregate of feeling, part of the aggregate of formations, and the aggregate of consciousness are also perception, and so calling this aggregate perception is potentially confusing and misleading. What this aggregate refers to is the mental process of forming an idea about the object: it is like when one sees a vase and thinks “That is big” or “That is small.” Additionally, in other contexts the word ‘du shes matches the usage of the English words conception or idea.