The five skandhas are (my choice of terms):
- Substance, what is
- Sensation, attraction or repulsion
- Conception, the modelling as objects
- Mental formation, our habits of thought
- Consciousness, that which observes
- Recognising the impermanent, relative and composed nature of all substance (for Substance and Conception).
- Recognising there is no inherent good or evil, appeal or repulsion, and appreciating all things for their roles.
- Freeing ourselves from our preconceptions and seeing each moment anew.
- Observing the full contingency of our consciousness on our experience.
The last one is tricky for me. Consciousness-as-observer is impermanent (we sleep and die) but it feels unchanging. My best formulation of the emptiness of consciousness is that it is contingent on the other skandhas, it is an illusion conjured by their illusory existence. There is no observer, the sensation conception and formations simply arise. When they do not, when we are asleep, the observer appears to disappear - it was never there.