As per Buddhism, what are elements of soul, or what is soul made of?

(If we split body and soul to separate them, then what are elements of soul?)

  • 2
    there is no soul in buddhism.. there is compounded or dependent arising of phenomena.. look up dependent origination on google.. Commented May 21, 2015 at 5:22
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5 Answers 5


In Buddhism a human being is composed of matter, feelings, perceptions & memories, mental fabrications (thinking) and consciousness.

A soul is a conceptual belief which does not exist. It is concept which is deeply ingrained in the mind.

Just like a car is just a concept which is an accumulation of parts a steering wheel, chassis, wing mrrors etc..

For more on consciousness in the Theravada tradition and how kamma transmigrate see my other post

  • Thanks for reply. You mean, if body dies then that's end of life? Then you used past kamma, which lives in consciousness. I am asking about (LIVE IN COUNSCIOUSNESS)<- What is this and what is its form? Commented May 21, 2015 at 7:02
  • When the body dies, the desire to exist makes sure that the consciousness finds another body or recepticle. We can say that its form is pure awareness containing the energies of past tendencies(kamma).
    – Samadhi
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 7:42
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    The idea that consciousness migrates sounds suspiciously 'soul-like'. Commented May 21, 2015 at 10:28
  • Yes it does, the questioner is just trying to get a basic grasp of Buddhism and it's sufficient to know that there isn't a soul the way most people think of it. Beyond that there are cans of worms, like buddha-nature, citta that's doesn't die, promodial clear light, re-birth linking consciousness, etc..
    – Samadhi
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 10:45
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    It would be good if you could add citations and preferably qualify your answer as being based on a certain tradition. This certainly isn't the orthodox Theravada viewpoint. Commented May 22, 2015 at 2:31

There is nothing worthy of calling the soul as the collection of aggregates, we call I, are changing and subjected to unsatisfactoriness.

Following might be off interest: Is There a Soul? A study based on the Pali Canon From The Buddha’s Teachings (Piyasilo, 1991b), revised by Piya Tan


There is a velocity which get generated from the act of attachments (Raga Attachment, Moha Attachments, Dwesha Attachments) in a given moment. This velocity Vinyana get stored in a place in mind. If a person don't get attached with Raga, dwesha, Moha using Ana Pana sathi meditation then at that moment you are in a nibana state of mind (no velocity is generated at that moment) If he/she can sustain the state of mind by removing 100% of Raga Dwesha Moha then you attain nibana. So in simple terms soul is nothing but the velocity you carry from one moment to another. Even without a Body you can generate this velocity (ex: gods, pretha, gandaba they all generate this velocity)


In Hinduism, the 'soul' ('Atman') is something permanent that reincarnates from life to life (as described in the Bhagavad Gita, for example).

At least in the Christian Gospels attributed to Jesus, the 'soul' appears to be described as something more like the human mind/'heart'/conscience that can be saved/set free or, otherwise corrupted/defiled (by karma); what in Buddhism is called the 'citta'.

(However, the same as in Buddhism, over historical time, the soul has been taken in Christianity to be something that exists after the passing of the physical body).

In Buddhism, the 'soul' or 'citta' is something 'immaterial'. Therefore, it cannot be said what it is 'made of'.

All that can be known is the 'soul' knows, feels, perceives, thinks & creates emotions that can torment itself into suffering or, otherwise, can be set free/purified from suffering.

The Buddhist scriptures define 'mind'/'soul' as being made up of 'feeling', 'perception', 'intention', 'contact' & 'attention'; plus other mental faculties such as 'mindfulness', 'decision', 'energy', 'zeal', etc.

But what 'mind'/'citta'/'soul' is 'made of' cannot be defined because it is 'immaterial' ('arupa').


In your question, you appear to suggest that the soul and body are two separate things. From this, I am assuming that you are actually talking about the mind (which is associate with thoughts, emotions, intentions, etc.) when you say 'soul'.

Therefore, I am assuming that you are interested in understanding what the mind is. The primary source in Buddhism which has comprehensive theoretical explanations about the mind is called 'Abhidhamma'. Here is the link to an English translation of the Abhidhamma: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf It is a very complicated text to study, but it will certainly answer your question about what the mind is made up of.

However, it is my personal suggestion that it would be wise to have a comprehensive practical understanding of your mind instead. Then you can see for yourself what the mind is made up of, what are the elements of the mind, etc. without having to believe in theory. It will also be much more of use to you to have a practical understanding of your mind, since it can lead you to being free from your mental defilements (which are one of the main elements of the mind) and therefore lead you to freedom from suffering (the goal of following the Buddhist path).

If you want to have a comprehensive practical understanding of your mind, you must learn to be aware of your mind correctly (the practice of following the Buddhist path). If you want to learn to be aware of your mind, and therefore understand the mind, follow thoroughly the comprehensive meditation instructions of the great monk called Yuttadhammo which can be found in this book: http://static.sirimangalo.org/howto/HTM.pdf

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