Sankhara aggregate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:40 am

daverupa wrote:The various translations of the word-play over the aggregates in SN 22.79 is worth studying in this regard (though perhaps the difference between sanna and vinnana is not well-stated there).

Here is Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:

SN 22.79 wrote:And why, bhikkhus, do you call them volitional formations? ‘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.



Thanks, but I'm not sure what this means, despite looking at the other translations in Mike's thread.
How do volitional formations construct conditioned form? And how do volitional formations construct volitional formations?
I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK....
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2760
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby daverupa » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:31 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
daverupa wrote:Ultimately the foregoing methods arrest sankhara, preventing papanca and facilitating dispassion and cessation and clear seeing of things as they are. No need for an act of will might be another way to discuss this.


Is this related to that well-known passage: "In the seen, only the seen...." ( Advice to Bahiya )?


Yes, I think this points up the lack of making manifold, the lack of papanca-ing, the lack of self-reference in terms of that, and so forth.

Spiny Norman wrote:How do volitional formations construct conditioned form? And how do volitional formations construct volitional formations?


I think it's pointing out that it takes an ignorant act of will - however subtle or quick - to see an entity in place of a dependent process, which facilitates wandering on.

Otherwise, I'd be inclined to think that this describes the aggregates as being old kamma without giving them an independent ontological status. The five aggregates are parsed according to acts of will, not because they exist as five 'things' that interact.

---

The conversation should always be at the level of lived experience, not standing-to-the-side objective descriptions. This is why we would say an aggregate was acting as fuel or not, rather than saying that there are two different sorts of aggregates, the fuel kind and the nonfuel kind.

...possibly, it takes one sort of sankhara to treat an aggregate as fuel, and another sort of sankhara to lead to the cessation of that treatment while the aggregates yet persist for a time, by way of a sort of sankhara that leads to the cessation of certain dark, bright, & mixed sankhara.

Even the Path, as the one useful sort of sankhara, is abandoned, as a raft should be on the far shore.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4194
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:25 am

I think the activity of the sankhara aggregate can be viewed as how we react to the the more immediate level of experience represented by the other four aggregates - this reaction includes how we think, feel and act.
If this is correct it would suggest that the activity of the sankhara aggregate is pivotal in creating self-view, and also the main "target" for our practice.
I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK....
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2760
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:04 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

SANKHARA PASSIVE.

In its passive sense sankhara means things which are constructed. What are these things? Everything found in ordinary samsaric experience. So almost everything in the teachings, all twelve items in Dependent Origination, all of the things classed as aggregates, are sankharas - constructed.

The only thing which is not constructed (asankhata) is nibbana.

sabbe sankhara anicca - all constructed things are impermanent.
sabbe sankhara dukkha - all constructed things are painful.
sabbe dhamma anatta - all mental objects are not-self.

So my normal state-of-mind is constructed, my 'self' and my world are constructed. And these are perpetuated by being continuously re-constructed.
This is samsaric existence.

SANKHARA ACTIVE.

The volitional activities which are constructing all this are sankharas in the active sense. Our problem is that we cannot see this process. The reason for this is, that it is not just new-volition but mostly old-volition which is doing the constructing. Old habits still operating in the present keep
re-creating the same old thing over and over again.

The present state-of-mind is already a constructed thing, and full of constructed things. The volitional activities which are constructing the next state-of-mind would be classed as sankhara khandha.

"When one abides inflamed by lust, fettered, infatuated, contemplating gratification, then the five aggregates affected by clinging are built up for oneself in the future, ..." [BB, MLDB, MN 149.3]

Regards, Vincent.


:goodpost:
This might be nearer to Ven. Nanaviras position about sankhará as you think...

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:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby vinasp » Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:01 am

Hi everyone,

I think that we should explore the relationship between sankhara and volition and kamma. "Padmasiri de Silva points out that sankhara is often considered synonymous with the concept of volition or kamma." [Boisvert 1995, p. 96.]

We have already seen examples of sankhara described as volition. Here is a discourse, SN 35.146 which speaks of kamma.

"Bhikkhus, I will teach you new and old kamma, the cessation of kamma, and the way leading to the cessation of kamma. Listen to that and attend closely, I will speak.

And what, bhikkhus, is old kamma? The eye is old kamma, to be seen as generated and fashioned by volition, as something to be felt.146

The ear is old kamma ... The mind is old kamma, to be seen as generated and fashioned by volition, as something to be felt. This is old kamma.

And what, bhikkhus, is new kamma? Whatever action one does now by body, speech, or mind. This is called new kamma.

And what, bhikkhus, is the cessation of kamma? When one reaches liberation through the cessation of bodily action, verbal action, and mental action. This is called the cessation of kamma.

And what, bhikkhus, is the way leading to the cessation of kamma? It is this noble eightfold path, right view .... right concentration............"

[BB, TCDB, p. 1231, part of SN 35.146 - Kamma.]

My comments.

The 'eye' is old volition. The misconception of the eye as permanent, a source of pleasure, and related to self, is the result of past volitional thinking.
This misconception was generated by volition, as something to be known.

Or one could say that the habit of regarding the eye as permanent, as pleasure, as mine, was formed in the past by volition.

Whatever action one does now is new kamma. Note the use of 'one', all actions based on the view of self are called kamma, and (some?) produce results in samsaric existence.

Liberation removes the view of self, so there is no more kamma.

But are there still actions? It would be interesting to see the original Pali.

Regards, Vincent.
vinasp
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby vinasp » Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:13 am

Hi everyone,

1. We know that sankhara (fabricator) is sometimes explained as volition.

2. We know that the volition through which one performs actions is called kamma.

3. Therefore sankhara (fabricator) is volition through which one performs actions which produce a result.

4. So sankhara, volition, and kamma are all the same thing?

5. But there is a distinction between new and old kamma - actions, volitions, sankharas, fabricators.

Please correct me if you think any of this is wrong.

Regards, Vincent.
vinasp
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:33 am

vinasp wrote: And what, bhikkhus, is the cessation of kamma? When one reaches liberation through the cessation of bodily action, verbal action, and mental action. This is called the cessation of kamma.


I'm not sure I understand this. It seems to imply that an Arahant doesn't "do" bodily, verbal or mental action, which would presumably mean no volition and no activity in the sankhara aggregate?
I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK....
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2760
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:17 am

vinasp wrote:So sankhara, volition, and kamma are all the same thing?

I think that we should not understand "sankhará" as actual things but rather as a classification.
For example: We could say that cats, dogs, mice and rabbits (among other animals) are animals but it wouldn't be quite right to say animals are cats. (Cats are a part of the group called "animals" but the group "animals" isn't just cats.)
The same problem arises if one says sankhará are kamma and volition. Which is not quite right. It would be better to say kamma and volition are sankhata (fabricated) and sankhará (fabrications) thus avoiding the former inappropriate phrasing which probably leads to confusion.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Last edited by acinteyyo on Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby LXNDR » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:23 am

vinasp wrote:4. So sankhara, volition, and kamma are all the same thing?


maybe different functions of the same thing

Bhumija sutta (SN 12.25) seems to support this view
LXNDR
 
Posts: 456
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 5:15 am

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:29 am

acinteyyo wrote:It would be better to say kamma and volition are sankhata (fabricated) and sankhará (fabrications) thus avoiding the former inappropriate phrasing which probably leads to confusion.


I'm still not clear on the distinction between sankhata and sankhara. Are sankhata the resultant formations, a subset of the sankharas which includes both causal and resultant formations? And how do these 2 categories relate to the sankhara aggregate?
I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK....
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2760
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby daverupa » Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:49 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
vinasp wrote: And what, bhikkhus, is the cessation of kamma? When one reaches liberation through the cessation of bodily action, verbal action, and mental action. This is called the cessation of kamma.


I'm not sure I understand this. It seems to imply that an Arahant doesn't "do" bodily, verbal or mental action, which would presumably mean no volition and no activity in the sankhara aggregate?


The arahant can perform acts aligned with the Path because these acts are not conducive to brightness or darkness, and thus continuation. When the body keels over, then there's kamma-cessation wholly.

Spiny Norman wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:It would be better to say kamma and volition are sankhata (fabricated) and sankhará (fabrications) thus avoiding the former inappropriate phrasing which probably leads to confusion.


I'm still not clear on the distinction between sankhata and sankhara. Are sankhata the resultant formations, a subset of the sankharas which includes both causal and resultant formations? And how do these 2 categories relate to the sankhara aggregate?


Think of a line graph going along for a distance.

Sankhara as an aggregate is a snapshot of some span of this line. The other ways to conjugate the term are describing the line has having either increasing or decreasing slope, as it were, and so forth. So the word is surrounding this velocity of intent, and each time it's used it has to frame up part of this line image depending on the sentence, context and so forth.

So each aggregate can be though of as an old sankhara, each aggregate is delineated as a sankhara-act and is thus a sankhara-thing as such, though not a thing-thing objectively, and so on.

The word is loose on this matter, not stuck in numbered boxes, because intention is such a central concern of the Dhamma - there is a word to catch it wherever it matters.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4194
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby chownah » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:00 pm

daverupa,
You wrote, "The arahant can perform acts aligned with the Path because these acts are not conducive to brightness or darkness, and thus continuation". I am reasonably sure that it was not your intention but it does seem as if your arahant has forgotten to discard the raft. Seems to me that an arahant could perform whatever act because they are no longer bound by the path because of their mastery of intention.......I guess......don't know for sure........
chownah
P.S. Maybe with arahants there arises action but no acts......I guess......don't know for sure.......
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2735
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby daverupa » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:21 pm

My reference is, for example, in teaching. Whether the audience attends or not, the teaching is done as a sankhara, but this is not something conducive to further becoming, aligned with the Path as it is. I'm sorry for the obtuse meaning.

The Buddha rested his back, went on alms-round, etc.

SN 22.122 wrote:"Then which things should an arahant attend to in an appropriate way?"

"An arahant should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. Although, for an arahant, there is nothing further to do, and nothing to add to what has been done, still these things — when developed & pursued — lead both to a pleasant abiding in the here-&-now and to mindfulness & alertness."
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4194
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:33 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:It would be better to say kamma and volition are sankhata (fabricated) and sankhará (fabrications) thus avoiding the former inappropriate phrasing which probably leads to confusion.


I'm still not clear on the distinction between sankhata and sankhara. Are sankhata the resultant formations, a subset of the sankharas which includes both causal and resultant formations? And how do these 2 categories relate to the sankhara aggregate?

Devarupas simile is a good way to describe it.
However let me simply rephrase it. I hope if I put it this way, it'll be more accessible for you.
"It would be better to say kamma and volition are fabricated/constructed/determined and they are fabrications or fabricators (Ven. Nanavira used the word "determinations") because they fabricate/determine other phenomena as well."

"sankhata" is an adjective meaning something like "fabricated", "constructed", "determined" or "conditioned". I've also heard "conconcted".
"sankhara" is a noun meaning something like "fabrication", "construction", "determination" or "condition".
These 2 terms relate to the sankhara aggregate in so far as they denominate phenomena which can be aggregated or grouped under a common designation (namely sankhara). Particularly those phenomena which determine other phenomena as well as phenomena which depend on other phenomena or both, e.g. kamma or volition.

Does this make it any clearer?
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:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:06 pm

acinteyyo wrote:It would be better to say kamma and volition are fabricated/constructed/determined and they are fabrications or fabricators (Ven. Nanavira used the word "determinations") because they fabricate/determine other phenomena as well."
"sankhata" is an adjective meaning something like "fabricated", "constructed", "determined" or "conditioned". I've also heard "conconcted".
"sankhara" is a noun meaning something like "fabrication", "construction", "determination" or "condition".


Thanks. From a practical point of view I can see that if I make a decision to act in a particular way, then that action will have consequences arising conditionally - but also that the decision itself has arisen conditional on other factors. So in this case the decision is both a fabrication and a fabricator, or you could say both a result and a cause.

On the adjective/noun distinction, are you saying that sankhara = sankhata dhamma?
I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK....
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2760
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:11 pm

daverupa wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
vinasp wrote: And what, bhikkhus, is the cessation of kamma? When one reaches liberation through the cessation of bodily action, verbal action, and mental action. This is called the cessation of kamma.


I'm not sure I understand this. It seems to imply that an Arahant doesn't "do" bodily, verbal or mental action, which would presumably mean no volition and no activity in the sankhara aggregate?


The arahant can perform acts aligned with the Path because these acts are not conducive to brightness or darkness, and thus continuation. When the body keels over, then there's kamma-cessation wholly.


So are you saying that until the body keels over there is still some kind of kamma "generated" by an Arahant?
I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK....
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2760
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby daverupa » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:04 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:So are you saying that until the body keels over there is still some kind of kamma "generated" by an Arahant?


AN 3.33 wrote:"Now, these three are [further] causes for the origination of actions. Which three? Non-greed is a cause for the origination of actions. Non-aversion is a cause for the origination of actions. Non-delusion is a cause for the origination of actions.

"Any action performed with non-greed — born of non-greed, caused by non-greed, originating from non-greed: When greed is gone, that action is thus abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

"Any action performed with non-aversion — born of non-aversion, caused by non-aversion, originating from non-aversion: When aversion is gone, that action is thus abandoned, destroyed at the root, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

"Any action performed with non-delusion — born of non-delusion, caused by non-delusion, originating from non-delusion: When delusion is gone, that action is thus abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4194
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:17 pm

Stumped.

is that a yes, or no?

I can't discern whether that answers Spiny Norman's question or not.... :rolleye:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
User avatar
TheNoBSBuddhist
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:06 pm
Location: Loch Lomond, via the High AND Low road....

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby daverupa » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:55 pm

It's a clarificatory span of data encompassing more than those two simple choices, largely because the use of the word 'kamma' in the question touches on a broad semantic realm that has English scrambling for words with slightly different connotative realms in order to encompass the query with accuracy.

So, using that quote, I'll say that arahants, while the aggregates have yet to finally dissociate, engage with hollow/rootless action which is aligned with the Path and which is nonproductive due to nibbana.

The primary example here is teaching.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4194
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Sankhara aggregate

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:09 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:On the adjective/noun distinction, are you saying that sankhara = sankhata dhamma?

I think you could say so.
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:
User avatar
acinteyyo
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Neuburg/Donau, Germany

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alobha, Bakmoon and 8 guests