Did the Five Aggregates predate the Buddha?

Did the Five Aggregates predate the Buddha? I would think that the words for each aggregate had to predate the Buddha or he could not have used them since they would not be meaningful. Does anyone know if Brahmins or Jains made use of the FIve Aggregates as person prior to the Buddha?

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That’s a very interesting question. I’ve always thought that it was the Buddha’s original insight to describe what is taken for a ‘self’ in terms of the five khandhas, a mode of thinking about and observing what we call ‘I’ or ‘me’.

The vocabulary the Buddha used to label the khandhas was around (and the Sanskrit word skandha is used in the Vedas), but he certainly could have redefined the meaning of the words. The Buddha is often seen redefining words to express his new, unique insights.

But I could be wrong and also look forward to other’s replies.

The short answer is that the khandhas don’t appear in pre-Buddhist Vedic literature, nor in the oldest Jain literature.

The individual words (rupa, vedana, etc.) of course appear in the Brahmin texts, but not together, and in very different contexts.

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