YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

Sankhara aggregate - Dhamma Wheel

Sankhara aggregate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Spiny Norman
Posts: 4918
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:45 am

I thought it might be useful to have a discussion about the sankhara aggregate. How is it described, what activities does it include, how does it function, and how does it relate to the other aggregates?
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6269
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Mkoll » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:47 am

This essay by Ven. Bodhi is very informative: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_43.html
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
Spiny Norman
Posts: 4918
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:06 am

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:10 am

http://ahandfulofleaves.files.wordpress ... n_1996.pdf

Identity and Experience, by Sue Hamilton

Starts on page 66.

vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby vinasp » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:43 pm

Hi Spiny,

On sankhara's I found this passage:

"And why, bhikkhus, do you call them volitional formations? (sankhara)
'They construct the conditioned,' bhikkhus, therefore they are called volitional formations. And what is the conditioned that they construct?
They construct conditioned form as form, they construct conditioned feeling
as feeling, they construct conditioned perception as perception, they construct
conditioned volitional formations as volitional formations, they construct
conditioned consciousness as consciousness. 'They construct the conditioned,'
bhikkhus, therefore they are called volitional formations."
[BB, TCDB, part of SN 22.79]

This is not easy to understand.

Regards, Vincent.

vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby vinasp » Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:52 pm

Hi everyone,

The essay by Bhikkhu Bodhi is excellent, but may I also recommend the section
'sankhara' in the General Introduction at the start of his 'The Connected
Discourses of the Buddha.'

"In Pali we can clearly see the connection: the sankharas, the active
constructive forces instigated by volition, create and shape conditioned
reality, especially the conditioned factors classified into the five
aggregates and the six internal sense bases; and this conditioned reality
itself consists of sankharas in the passive sense, called in the commentaries
sankhata-sankhara." [page 47]

Regards, Vincent.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 2127
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:37 pm


vesak2014
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:04 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby vesak2014 » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:22 am


vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby vinasp » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:52 am

Hi everyone,

There is also an interesting passage in SN 22.81 - Parileyya.

"Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling .....regards form as self. That regarding, bhikkhus, is a formation.[133] That formation - what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises: thence that formation is born.
Thus, bhikkhus, that formation is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that craving is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that feeling is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that contact is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that ignorance is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen.
When one knows and sees this, bhikkhus, the immediate destruction of the taints occurs."

My comments:

1. Although 'regarding' is used in this passage, many views are described later using exactly the same words.

2. Later, it says: "... that eternalist view is a formation ...", so we can say that views are formations (sankharas).

3. Views are not normally seen as impermanent - quite the opposite! Here it means: capable of ceasing, vanishing.

4. The view, and the craving, feeling, contact and ignorance, are all said to be impermanent - capable of ceasing.

5. All these are also said to be 'conditioned', Bhikkhu Bodhis term for whatever is made by the constructive activity which is a sankhara.

6. All these are also said to be 'dependently arisen', part of the chain of items in Dependent Origination.

7. The chain seems to be: six-bases, contact, feeling, craving, clinging?
View-clinging is one of four kinds of clinging.

8. The constructive activity and what it makes are, I think, just two aspects of the same thing. So do sankharas depend on sankharas? Yes, some things can only be made if something else is already being made.

9. In the later (abhidhamma) list of fifty items in the sankhara khandha,
contact, volition and views are included, feeling, craving and clinging are not found, (greed, lobha, is included and may substitute for craving and clinging).

Regards, Vincent.

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:33 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

User avatar
Spiny Norman
Posts: 4918
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:12 am

Last edited by Spiny Norman on Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

User avatar
Spiny Norman
Posts: 4918
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:18 am

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

User avatar
Spiny Norman
Posts: 4918
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:28 am

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

User avatar
Spiny Norman
Posts: 4918
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:40 am

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 2127
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:53 am


User avatar
faraway
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:17 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby faraway » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:49 am

About explanation of sankhara by bhante nanavira as determination or determinant (something that something else depends on), how does it explain in term of sankhara-khandha in five aggregates?

So in five aggregates, what is something (A) and what is something else that depends on the A?
Last edited by faraway on Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.

vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby vinasp » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:44 pm

Hi everyone,

I cannot read Pali, but my understanding, so far, is that the word 'sankhara' or variations of it, can mean both the mental activity which makes 'something', and the 'thing' which is being made.

Bhikkhu Bodhi explains:

"Sankhara is derived from the prefix 'sam' (= con), 'together'. and the verb
'karoti', 'to make.' The noun straddles both sides of the active-passive divide. Thus sankharas are both things which put together, construct, and compound other things, AND the things that are put together, constructed, and compounded." [TCDB, introduction page 45.]

In his translations Bhikkhu Bodhi uses 'volitional formations construct' for the active side, and 'conditioned (something)' for the passive side. So if something is said to be 'conditioned', it means constructed.

But the thing which is constructed may be a sankhara in the active sense or only in the passive sense.

It seems that volitional formations (sankharas) can make two sorts of things:

1. More volitional formations, things which are volitional, such as contact, volition, views, perhaps craving and clinging. These are capable of making other things so they are classified in sankhara khandha.

2. Things which are not themselves volitional, or not seen as volitional, such as 'form', 'feeling', 'perception', and 'consciousness,' these are not capable of making other things, although other things can be made if they are present.

Regards, Vincent.

vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby vinasp » Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:44 pm

Hi Spiny,

Spiny said:-"I think this needs some unpacking. The "active constructive forces instigated by volition" sounds descriptive of the function of the sankhara aggregate - is that what he means?"

I am not sure. He may be speaking of sankharas in a more fundamental sense, as the mental activities which are constructing all five aggregates. If so, then these activities would be outside of the aggregates as such.

Or, the relationship could be a temporal one. The volitional formations in the present set of five aggregates are constructing the next set of five aggregates.

Regards, Vincent.

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:20 pm

Sankhara is basically willfulness: most volitions are dark, bright, or mixed, and these are to be understood and gone beyond, but the neither-sort volitions are those that lead on to nibbana, and these are fully encompassed by the integrous & ennobling eightfold Path, .

For an arahant, there will then be volitions such as going on almsround, shaving, and so forth, but these will be without upadana. Even when teaching, whether all, some, or none of the audience is paying attention, the arahant remains unruffled and unattached.

vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby vinasp » Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:26 pm

Hi everyone,

It seems, to me, that Bhikku Bodhi's understanding of sankharas is completely incompatible with Ven. Nanavira's interpretation.

My own position, at present, is much closer to that of Bhikkhu Bodhi.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but Nanavira does not explain what sankharas actually are. He makes the problem disappear by conflating sankharas with Dependent Origination. If sankharas are 'things which something else depends on,' then each item in DO can be seen as a sankhara for the next item.

But this dependency relation is already clearly explained in the teachings, without needing to call each item a sankhara. Doing such does not explain what a sankhara is, it conceals what a sankhara is.

[It may, of course, be true, that when sankhara is correctly understood then EVERY item in DO is a sankhara in itself, in the active or passive sense or both.]

Sorry to let the cat out among the pigeons!

No comments yet on Sue Hamilton's interpretation, which I have started to look at, but it may be different from the other two.

Regards, Vincent.


Return to “General Theravāda discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 37 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine