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...
(2) As the fourth of the five aggregates, sankhara is defined as the six classes of volitions (cha cetanakaya, III 60, 25-28), that is, volition regarding the six types of sense objects. Hence again I render it volitional formations. But the sankharakhanda has a wider compass than the sankhara of dependent origination series, comprising all instances of volition and not only those that are kammically active. In the Abhidhamma Pitaka and the commentaries, the sankharakhanda further serves as an umbrella category for classifying all mental concomittants of consciousness apart from feeling and perception. It thus includes all wholesome, unwholesome, and variable mental factors mentioned but not formally classified among the aggregates in the Sutta Pitaka
-- Introduction to A translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, Bhikkhu Bodhi
Q: What is it that clings?
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