Yana wrote:4) Breathing in and out, calm the breath
8) Breathing in and out, calm the mind conditioners
12) Breathing in and out, liberate the mind.
Daverupa wrote:I see this process, then, as basically one of calming involvement within one or another of these first three frames of reference, i.e. as getting attention in tune with the sankhara operative within a particular frame in order that they may be let go of.
In-&-out breaths are kaya sankhara. Directed thought & evaluation are verbal sankhara. Perceptions & feelings are citta sankhara. - MN 44
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. The correct meaning depends on the context. This knowledge will be valuable in your further studies.
In step three, the aim is to experience all kaya, all bodies. The essence of this step is to feel all bodies while breathing in and breathing out. We already began to observe while practicing the beginning steps that the breath is the conditioner of our flesh-and-blood bodies. We contemplate more distinctly the fact that there are two kaya (bodies).
The breath is a body in that it is a group or collection. The flesh-body is a kaya because it is a group or collection, also. There are these two groups or bodies. One group is the breath that conditions the flesh-body group. Analyze this experience to see distinctly that there are two groups. And see how they condition each other. Contemplate this more and, more emphatically until it is obvious.
The specific aim of this step is that we must know that there are two groups and that one group conditions, nourishes, and supports the other group. The breath group nourishes the body group.
When the breath is coarse the flesh-body gets aggravated and when the breath is fine the body calms down. In this step, we emphasize this secret until it becomes absolutely clear.
These bodies condition each other in this way. The body which is the causal conditioner is given the name kaya-sankhara (body conditioner) to distinguish it from the other, the one effected by the conditioning, the “conditioned body."
See them arise together, fall together, coarsen together, become fine together, grow comfortable together, and become uncomfortable together. Realize how intimately they are connected.
This is what is meant by "seeing all bodies," Watch both bodies together and see them condition each other.
Now we come to step seven: "experiencing the mind-conditioner (cittasankhara-patisamvedi)." If we have completed step six successfully, then we know all about the feelings of piti and sukha. What does the arising of piti do to the citta? What does the arising of sukha do to the citta? What kind of thoughts does piti condition? What kind of thoughts does sukha condition? We have noted and scrutinized these effects since steps five and six. Once we come to step seven, it is easy to realize that, "Oh, piti and sukha are mind-conditioners." These vedana are mind-conditioners in the same way that the breath is the body-conditioner. The method of study and observation is the same as in step three.
We have observed that piti is coarse and excited, whereas sukha is fine and peaceful. Thus, when piti conditions or brews up a thought, the thought is coarse. On the other hand, when sukha brews up a thought, it is calm and tranquil. This is how we realize that the vedana condition thoughts. Then we realize that the feelings condition both coarse thoughts and subtle thoughts. We call this activity "conditioning the mind."
When piti is strong, it causes trembling in the body. And if it is very strong the body might even dance or bounce with joy. This feeling is coarse and powerful. On the other hand, sukha is calming, soothing, and relaxing. We learn that their characteristics are very different. When piti dominates the mind, it is impossible to think subtle thoughts. We feel a tingling all over; it makes the hair stand up all over our bodies. Sukha, however, has advantages. It leads to tranquil, refined states. It can cause subtle, profound, and refined thoughts.
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