1. 'perception', is one of the 5 groups of existence (khandha, q.v.), and one of the 7 mental factors (cetasika) that are inseparably bound up with all consciousness (s. cetanā). It is sixfold as perception of the 5 physical sense-objects and of mental objects. It is the awareness of an object's distinctive marks ("one perceives blue, yellow, etc.," S. XXII, 79). If, in repeated perception of an object, these marks are recognized, saññā functions as 'memory' (s. Abh. St., p. 68f.).
2. saññā stands sometimes for consciousness in its entirety, e.g. in n'eva-saññā-n'āsaññāyatana, 'the realm of neither-perception-nor- non-perception'; further, in asaññā-satta, 'unconscious beings'. In both cases reference is not to 'perception' alone, but also to all other constituents of consciousness. Cf. D. 9.
3. saññā may also refer to the 'ideas', which are objects of meditation, e.g. in a group of 7 ideas, of impermanence (anicca-s. ), etc. (A. VII, 46); of 10: impurity (asubha-s.), etc. (A. X, 56), and another set of 10 in A. X. 60; or to wrong notions, as in nicca-, subha-s. (the notion of permanence, beauty), etc.