D.O. question

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Re: D.O. question

Postby ground » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:27 pm

Hi acinteyyo

Above we may have learned that DO may be interpreted this way (e.g. several lives) or another way (e.g. atemporal understanding). Sankhara implies "volition". Selecting one understanding out of two or three or several possible understandings could be perceived as "volitional activity".
Now there are several possible responses to this:
1. No this is not Sankhara, because ...
2. Yes this also is Sankhara, but this does not mean that any apprehension is the result of ignorance (1st link), because ...

Response of kind 1 might elucidate the interpretation of Sankhara more specifically.
Response of kind 2 might elucidate the approach to discerning "delusiveness" and "validity" of interpretation of teachings (exegeses of scriptures).

Kind regards

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Re: D.O. question

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:54 pm

TMingyur wrote:Hi acinteyyo

Above we may have learned that DO may be interpreted this way (e.g. several lives) or another way (e.g. atemporal understanding). Sankhara implies "volition". Selecting one understanding out of two or three or several possible understandings could be perceived as "volitional activity".
Now there are several possible responses to this:
1. No this is not Sankhara, because ...
2. Yes this also is Sankhara, but this does not mean that any apprehension is the result of ignorance (1st link), because ...

Response of kind 1 might elucidate the interpretation of Sankhara more specifically.
Response of kind 2 might elucidate the approach to discerning "delusiveness" and "validity" of interpretation of teachings (exegeses of scriptures).

Kind regards

So do you mean sankhara is a kind of "volitional activity"?
My english is not perfect, therefore I sometimes have difficulties to understand. ;)

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: D.O. question

Postby ground » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:20 am

acinteyyo wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Hi acinteyyo

Above we may have learned that DO may be interpreted this way (e.g. several lives) or another way (e.g. atemporal understanding). Sankhara implies "volition". Selecting one understanding out of two or three or several possible understandings could be perceived as "volitional activity".
Now there are several possible responses to this:
1. No this is not Sankhara, because ...
2. Yes this also is Sankhara, but this does not mean that any apprehension is the result of ignorance (1st link), because ...

Response of kind 1 might elucidate the interpretation of Sankhara more specifically.
Response of kind 2 might elucidate the approach to discerning "delusiveness" and "validity" of interpretation of teachings (exegeses of scriptures).

Kind regards

So do you mean sankhara is a kind of "volitional activity"?
My english is not perfect, therefore I sometimes have difficulties to understand. ;)

best wishes, acinteyyo


Dear acinteyyo

well, isn't it? How would you like to define "sankhara"?
If "activity" sounds too "physical" to you you may skip it. For me "activity" also includes the dynamics of thoughts.

Here it reads:
Sankhara (mental fashionings, fabrications, or formations).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-subject.html#s

I find this compliant with "volition", don't you? I do not consider "volition" to be an "independent" phenomenon.

Kind regards

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Re: D.O. question

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:17 pm

It is correct that sankhārā can have the meaning of "volition". To clear up the words I mean cetanā when I'm talking about "volition" (a better word would be intention).
So sankhārā can be cetanā. But I think the term sankhārā can not be understood just that easily.
I'll come later back to this.
TMingyur wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:So do you mean sankhara is a kind of "volitional activity"?

[...]well, isn't it? How would you like to define "sankhara"?

We could also say instead of "volitional activity", "intented action", right? This would be a perfect match, because intention or volition is cetanā and action or activity is kamma. The Buddha said about kamma and cetanā:
AN6.63 wrote:Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & mind.


sankhārā is in my opinion a very difficult word, because there are much more definitions in the suttas and we have to be very careful to not mix up the different meanings sankhārā can have according to the applicable context.
In general we can say that sankhārā means in all contexts, 'something that something else depends on', that is to say a determination. But we want to find a more detailed definition within the context of D.O.
Interessting is also this passage from the "Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising" SN12.2, which gives us a definition with respect to D.O.:
"And what are fabrications? These three are fabrications: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, mental fabrications. These are called fabrications.

We can see that there are three sankhārā: bodily sankhārā, verbal sankhārā and mental sankhārā. Notice the similarity to what is said in AN6.63: [...] one does kamma by way of body, speech and mind.
There is another sutta where we can see what bodily, verbal and mental sankhārā are. The Culavedalla Sutta:
MN44 wrote:"Now, lady, what are fabrications?"
"These three fabrications, friend Visakha: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, & mental fabrications."
"But what are bodily fabrications? What are verbal fabrications? What are mental fabrications?"
"In-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Directed thoughts & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."
"But why are in-&-out breaths bodily fabrications? Why are directed thoughts & evaluation verbal fabrications? Why are perceptions & feelings mental fabrications?"
"In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications."

So bodily fabrications are in-and-out breaths, because these things are tied up with the body.
Verbal fabrications are directed thoughts and evaluation, because having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech.
And mental fabrications are perceptions and feelings, because these are things tied up with the mind.

Ven. Ñanavira said on the matter of sankhārā being kamma or cetanā.
Now the traditional interpretation says that sankhārā in the paticcasamuppāda context are kamma, being cetanā. Are we therefore obliged to understand in-&-out-breaths, thinking-&-pondering, and perception and feeling, respectively, as bodily, verbal, and mental kamma (or cetanā)? Is my present existence the result of my breathing in the preceding existence? Is thinking-&-pondering verbal action? Must we regard perception and feeling as intention, when the Suttas distinguish between them (Phuttho bhikkhave vedeti, phuttho ceteti, phuttho sañjānāti...(Contacted, monks, one feels; contacted, one intends; contacted, one perceives;...) [SN35.93]
Certainly, sankhārā may, upon occasion, be cetanā; but this is by no means always so. The Cūlavedallasutta tells us clearly in what sense in-&-out-breaths, thinking-&-pondering, and perception and feeling, are sankhārā (i.e. in that body, speech, and mind [citta], are intimately connected with them, and do not occur without them); and it would do violence to the Sutta to interpret sankhārā here as cetanā.
Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to suppose from the foregoing that sankhārā in the paticcasamuppāda context cannot mean cetanā. One Sutta (SN12.51) gives sankhārā in this context as puññābhisankhāra [puññā means merit], apuññābhisankhāra [apuññā means demerit], and āneñjābhisankhāra [āneñjā means imperturbability], and it is clear enough that we must understand sankhārā here as some kind of cetanā. Indeed, it is upon this very Sutta that the traditional interpretation relies to justify its conception of sankhārā in the context of the paticcasamuppāda formulation. It might be wondered how the traditional interpretation gets round the difficulty of explaining assāsapassāsā [in-and-out-breathing], vitakkavicārā [thought-conception and discursive thinking], and saññā [perception] and vedanā [feelings], as cetanā, in defiance of the Cūlavedallasutta passage. The answer is simple: the traditional interpretation, choosing to identify cittasankhāra with manosankhāra, roundly asserts (in the Visuddhimagga) that kāyasankhāra [bodily formation], vacīsankhāra [verbal formation], and cittasankhāra [mental formation], are kāyasañcetanā [bodily intention], vacīsañcetanā [verbal intention], and manosañcetanā [mind intention],—see §16 --, and altogether ignores the Cūlavedallasutta. The difficulty is thus, discreetly, not permitted to arise.
§16 There is nothing to add to what was said about kāyasankhāra, vacīsankhāra, and cittasankhāra, in §5, except to note that we occasionally encounter in the Suttas the terms kāyasankhāra, vacīsankhāra, and manosankhāra (not cittasankhāra). These are to be understood (SN12.25) as kāyasañcetanā, vacīsañcetanā, and manosañcetanā, and should not be confused with the former triad.[g] Other varieties of sankhārā met with in the Suttas (e.g. āyusankhārā, 'what life depends on', in Majjhima v,3 <M.i,295>), do not raise any particular difficulty. we shall henceforth take it for granted that the essential meaning of sankhāra is as defined in §11.
§11 Let us now turn to the beginning of the paticcasamuppāda formulation and consider the word sankhāra. The passage from the Cūlavedallasutta quoted in §5 evidently uses sankhāra to mean a thing from which some other thing is inseparable—in other words, a necessary condition. This definition is perfectly simple and quite general, and we shall find that it is all that we need. (If a sankhāra is something upon which something else depends, we can say that the 'something else' is determined by the first thing, i.e. by the sankhāra, which is therefore a 'determination' or a 'determinant'. It will be convenient to use the word determination when we need to translate sankhāra.)


To cut a long story short. I think that within the context of D.O. sankhārā means "the conditions which must be there for something (e.g. conditions for "volitional activity")" as well as "the conditioned something itself (e.g. "volitional activity")".
Imho one would jump to conclusions seeing sankhārā only as some kind of "volitional activity" (kamma or cetanā). And I only wrote about some of the definitions of sankhārā which can be found in the sutta within the context of D.O..

So to come back to your question you formerly asked.
TMingyur wrote:After all interpretation of DO as meaning this or that is a manifestation of sankhàra, right?

Yes it is a sankhāra, but this does not mean that every kind of sankhāra is the result of ignorance.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: D.O. question

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:00 pm

Greetings Acinteyyo, all,

acinteyyo wrote:Imho one would jump to conclusions seeing sankhārā only as some kind of "volitional activity" (kamma or cetanā).


Agreed. If the Buddha meant kamma or cetanā, that's what he would have said.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: D.O. question

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:24 am

Hi Retro,

probably yes. When I think of the five groups of clinging, one of the five groups is the sankhāra-khandha.
Within the context of the five groups of clinging the term "sankhāra" has a definitive meaning.
SN22.56 wrote:"And what are fabrications? These six classes of intention — intention with regard to form, intention with regard to sound, intention with regard to smell, intention with regard to taste, intention with regard to tactile sensation, intention with regard to ideas: these are called fabrications. From the origination of contact comes the origination of fabrications. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of fabrications. And just this noble eightfold path is the path of practice leading to the cessation of fabrications...

Here we can see that sankhāra is cetanā.
Whereas sankhāra within the context fo D.O. has its origin in ignorance (avijjā), within the context of the five groups of clinging sankhāra has its origin in contact (phassa).
For me it is more easy to understand, when I keep in mind the general meaning:
acinteyyo wrote:'something that something else depends on'

therefore sankhāra and sankhāra are just different things on which different things depend on, and it is important to not mix up the different sankhārā only because of the same term.
It is a complicated matter, but when I remember right, it is said that the Dhamma taught by the Buddha is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:

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Re: D.O. question

Postby ground » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:04 pm

Hi acinteyyo

many thanks for your reply.

Referring to the two issues touched earlier:
1.
TMingyur wrote:Response of kind 1 might elucidate the interpretation of Sankhara more specifically.

"Sankhara" has been explicated as to the variety of interpretations of this term. So I am a bit reluctant to call this "more specific" since actually (precision of) meaning has been dissipated.

2.
TMingyur wrote:Response of kind 2 might elucidate the approach to discerning "delusiveness" and "validity" of interpretation of teachings (exegeses of scriptures).

acinteyyo wrote:Yes it is a sankhāra, but this does not mean that every kind of sankhāra is the result of ignorance.

Well ... never mind ;)

Kind regards


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