clw_uk wrote:What is the meaning of Sankhara? Is it kammic formations or does it mean determinations, something which something else depends on?
I have trouble understanding what is meant by Sankhara. All i can work out is that it seems to mean "that which is put together"
"‘‘Kiñca , bhikkhave, saṅkhāre vadetha? Bhikkhus, why do they speak of sankhara?
Bhikkhus, this nature naturally concocts concocted things (abhisankharonti), for this reason it is called "sankhara." What does it concoct? It concocts rupa as something concocted with "formness," it concocts vedana as something concocted with "feelingness," it concocts sanya as something concocted with "recognition-ness," it concocts sankhara as something concocted with "concoctingness," it concocts vinyana as something concocted with "cognition-ness." Bhikkhus, this nature naturally concocts concocted things, for this reason it is called "sankhara."
Why are directed thought & evaluation verbal fabricators?
Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabricators.
With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one feels, one perceives (labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one complicates. Based on what a person complicates, the perceptions & categories of complication assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future forms cognizable via the eye.
If one feels joy, but knows not feeling's nature,
bent towards greed, he will not find deliverance.
If one feels pain, but knows not feeling's nature,
bent toward hate, he will not find deliverance.
And even neutral feeling which as peaceful
the Lord of Wisdom has proclaimed,
if, in attachment, he should cling to it,
he will not be free from the round of ill.
THE THREE MEANINGS OF SANKHARA: BHIKKHU BUDDHADASA
I would like to take this opportunity to discuss all the meanings of the term "sankhara." This is a very common and important word in the Pali scriptures, but many people have problems with it due to its different uses and meanings. Languages are like that, uncertain and seemingly unreliable. The single word "sankhara" can mean "conditioner," the cause that conditions; it can mean "condition," the result of the action of conditioning; and it can mean "'conditioning," the activity or process of conditioning. We use the same word for the subject of the conditioning, "the concocter," as well as the object, "the concoction." We even use it for the activity, "the concocting," itself. This may be a bit confusing for you, so please remember that "sankhara" has three meanings. The correct meaning depends on the context. This knowledge will be valuable in your further studies.
Study the three meanings of sankhara in this body of ours. There is no need to study it in books or in a theoretical way. The body itself is a sankhara. It has been conditioned by a variety of causes and by the many things of which it is formed. Thus, it is a sankhara in the meaning of "condition." Once this body exists, it causes the arising of other things, such as thoughts, feelings, and actions. Without the body these thoughts and actions could never happen. Thus, it is a "conditioner" because it causes other actions. Lastly, in this flesh-body sankhara of ours, there is the process of conditioning going on constantly. We can discover all three aspects of the word sankhara within this very body. Study the meaning of sankhara in this comprehensive way. Then you will find it easy and convenient to realize more and more profound Dhamma as you go on.
In step three - "experiencing all bodies," experiencing both the breath and this flesh-body - each of these three meanings is practiced. First, we contemplate the flesh-body as the thing conditioned by the breath. Then, we see the breath as the conditioner of the flesh-body. Lastly, we observe the activity of conditioning that always exists simultaneously between the two of them. Thus, in the practice of step three we see the conditioner, the condition and the action of conditioning. This conditioning of the body is the physical level of sankhara. We have not yet seen it on the mental level. Step three is this work of seeing these three things together, simultaneously and continuously, within the mind. Then, you will see everything concerning the term "sankhara," especially as it relates to the kaya and its activity, right here in step three.
Element wrote:For experiential understanding, when we meditate and can feel agitation in the breath, this agitation is ignorance conditioning the kaya sankhara. As Buddha taught: ignorance conditions sankhara, sankhara conditions consciousness. When the breath is agitated by ignorance, the conscious mind also is not clear.
Similarly, this agitated breath, agitated by ignorance, conditions the body-mind. Therefore, in our meditation, we observe this agitation of ignorance conditioning the breathing which conditions consciousness, mentality and the body. Similarly, when we calm the agitation in our breathing, we observe the nirodha of the agitation in the breathing and the freeing of the body and mind from dukkha.
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