AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.

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AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.

Post by mikenz66 »

AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi


https://suttacentral.net/en/an3.23

“Bhikkhus, there are three kinds of persons found existing in the world. What three?

(1) “Here, bhikkhus, some person generates afflictive bodily activities, afflictive verbal activities, and afflictive mental activities. In consequence, he is reborn in an afflictive world. When he is reborn in an afflictive world, afflictive contacts touch him. Being touched by afflictive contacts, he feels afflictive feelings, exclusively painful, as in the case of hell-beings.

(2) “Someone else generates unafflictive bodily activities, unafflictive verbal activities, and unafflictive mental activities. In consequence, he is reborn in an unafflictive world. When he is reborn in an unafflictive world, unafflictive contacts touch him. Being touched by unafflictive contacts, he feels unafflictive feelings, exclusively pleasant, as in the case of the devas of refulgent glory.

(3) “Still another generates bodily activities that are both afflictive and unafflictive, verbal activities that are both afflictive and unafflictive, and mental activities that are both afflictive and unafflictive. In consequence, he is reborn in a world that is both afflictive and unafflictive. When he is reborn in a world that is both afflictive and unafflictive, both afflictive and unafflictive contacts touch him. Being touched by both afflictive and unafflictive contacts, he feels both afflictive and unafflictive feelings, mingled pleasure and pain, as in the case of human beings, some devas, and some beings in the lower worlds. [361]

“These, bhikkhus, are the three kinds of persons found existing in the world.”

Notes

[360] Devā subhakiṇhā. These are the deities in the divine realm cor-
responding to the third jhāna. See AN 4.123.

[361] Mp: “Those in the lower world referred to here are the afflicted
spirits with palaces (vemānikapetā). For at times they experience
fortune, at times they experience their [painful] kamma; they
undergo mixed pleasure and pain.”
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Re: AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.

Post by mikenz66 »

This sutta marks the start of another section of Bhikkhu Bodhi's Thematic Guide:
4. Kamma and its results

Volitional activities are obviously a key part of the Buddha's teaching on kamma.

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Re: AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.

Post by The Thinker »

mikenz66 wrote:Volitional activities are obviously a key part of the Buddha's teaching on kamma.
Yes indeed, If we wake up angry or enter into a poor mood(thought) be it envy ,jealousy etc, it is easy to get swept further into the negative ocean of thought, we must pause and observe, then let go of those unwholesome states of thought, all thoughts change, all things change.
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth
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Re: AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

Does the sutta itself actually say something equating to "reborn" or have certain liberties been taken with the above translation?

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

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.

Post by mikenz66 »

Paul Davy wrote: Does the sutta itself actually say something equating to "reborn" or have certain liberties been taken with the above translation?
The Pali is:
upapajjati: to be reborn in; rises. (upa + pad + ya)
[Definition from the built-in SuttaCentral dictionary, activated from Menu->Controls.]
https://suttacentral.net/pi/an3.23

It's similar to MN135:
“Here, student, some man or woman kills living beings and is murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. Because of performing and undertaking such action, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell. But if on the dissolution of the body, after death, he does not reappear in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell, but instead comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is short-lived. This is the way, student, that leads to short life, namely, one kills living beings and is murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings.
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn135/8
Which is analysed here:
Exploring the Ancient Path in the Buddha’s Own Words. Lesson 3.5.10. Cūḷakammavibhaṅgasuttaṃ. The Result of Unwholesome and Wholesome Actions – part one1

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Re: AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.

Post by mikenz66 »

From Anicca Vata Sankhara by Bhikkhu Bodhi
The word sankhara is derived from the prefix sam, meaning "together," joined to the noun kara, "doing, making." Sankharas are thus "co-doings," things that act in concert with other things, or things that are made by a combination of other things. Translators have rendered the word in many different ways: formations, confections, activities, processes, forces, compounds, compositions, fabrications, determinations, synergies, constructions. All are clumsy attempts to capture the meaning of a philosophical concept for which we have no exact parallel, and thus all English renderings are bound to be imprecise. I myself use "formations" and "volitional formations," aware this choice is as defective as any other.

However, though it is impossible to discover an exact English equivalent for sankhara, by exploring its actual usage we can still gain insight into how the word functions in the "thought world" of the Dhamma. In the suttas the word occurs in three major doctrinal contexts. One is in the twelvefold formula of dependent origination (paticca-samuppada), where the sankharas are the second link in the series. They are said to be conditioned by ignorance and to function as a condition for consciousness. Putting together statements from various suttas, we can see that the sankharas are the kammically active volitions responsible for generating rebirth and thus for sustaining the onward movement of samsara, the round of birth and death. In this context sankhara is virtually synonymous with kamma, a word to which it is etymologically akin.

The suttas distinguish the sankharas active in dependent origination into three types: bodily, verbal, and mental. ....
The current sutta discusses these three sankharas.

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Re: AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.

Post by Sylvester »

mikenz66 wrote:
Paul Davy wrote: Does the sutta itself actually say something equating to "reborn" or have certain liberties been taken with the above translation?
The Pali is:
upapajjati: to be reborn in; rises. (upa + pad + ya)
[Definition from the built-in SuttaCentral dictionary, activated from Menu->Controls.]
https://suttacentral.net/pi/an3.23

It's similar to MN135:
“Here, student, some man or woman kills living beings and is murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. Because of performing and undertaking such action, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell. But if on the dissolution of the body, after death, he does not reappear in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell, but instead comes back to the human state, then wherever he is reborn he is short-lived. This is the way, student, that leads to short life, namely, one kills living beings and is murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings.
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn135/8
MN 135 also uses the verb upapajjati (arises), which is rendered as "reappears" in the translation. The next rebirth verb is āgacchati (comes to/returns to).
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Re: AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.

Post by mikenz66 »

Here's the relevant passage on Dependent Origination defining saṅkhāra:
“And what, bhikkhus, are the volitional formations? There are these three kinds of volitional formations: the bodily volitional formation, the verbal volitional formation, the mental volitional formation (kāyasaṅkhāro, vacīsaṅkhāro, cittasaṅkhāro). These are called the volitional formations.
https://suttacentral.net/en/sn12.2/14" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Compare the current sutta:
“Here, bhikkhus, some person generates afflictive bodily activities, afflictive verbal activities, and afflictive mental activities.

Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco puggalo sabyābajjhaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkharoti, sabyābajjhaṃ vacīsaṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkharoti, sabyābajjhaṃ manosaṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkharoti.
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Re: AN 3.23 Saṅkhāra Sutta. Volitional Activities.

Post by Kamran »

mikenz66 wrote:From Anicca Vata Sankhara by Bhikkhu Bodhi
The word sankhara is derived from the prefix sam, meaning "together," joined to the noun kara, "doing, making." Sankharas are thus "co-doings," things that act in concert with other things, or things that are made by a combination of other things. Translators have rendered the word in many different ways: formations, confections, activities, processes, forces, compounds, compositions, fabrications, determinations, synergies, constructions. All are clumsy attempts to capture the meaning of a philosophical concept for which we have no exact parallel, and thus all English renderings are bound to be imprecise. I myself use "formations" and "volitional formations," aware this choice is as defective as any other.

However, though it is impossible to discover an exact English equivalent for sankhara, by exploring its actual usage we can still gain insight into how the word functions in the "thought world" of the Dhamma. In the suttas the word occurs in three major doctrinal contexts. One is in the twelvefold formula of dependent origination (paticca-samuppada), where the sankharas are the second link in the series. They are said to be conditioned by ignorance and to function as a condition for consciousness. Putting together statements from various suttas, we can see that the sankharas are the kammically active volitions responsible for generating rebirth and thus for sustaining the onward movement of samsara, the round of birth and death. In this context sankhara is virtually synonymous with kamma, a word to which it is etymologically akin.

The suttas distinguish the sankharas active in dependent origination into three types: bodily, verbal, and mental. ....
The current sutta discusses these three sankharas.

:anjali:
Mike
http://justalittledust.com/blog/?p=1155" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Linda Blanchard, who wrote "Dependant Arising in Context", translates of Sankhara as innate drives.

"
When I say it is “a drive” I don’t mean just any old drive. It is a very specific drive: a drive for the existence of and protection of and knowledge of the self, a very driven-drive, a slightly over-the-top drive on the best of days, and a very over-the-top drive on the worst of them.

It gets this meaning from the Prajapati myth that is embedded in the first five steps of dependent arising, where sankhara is the craving for existence that brings the universe into being. This leads me to believe that “drive” may be the best all-around translation of sankhara."

SN 22.56 (pts S iii 60)

“katame ca, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā? chayime, bhikkhave, cetanākāyā — rūpasañcetanā, saddasañcetanā, gandhasañcetanā, rasasañcetanā, phoṭṭhabbasañcetanā, dhammasañcetanā. ime vuccanti, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā. phassasamudayā saṅkhārasamudayo; phassanirodhā saṅkhāranirodho.’

And what, monks, are drives? There are six types of thoughts that will drive actions: there are those thoughts driven by visual qualities, by sounds, by scents, by tastes, by tactile qualities, and by certainties (dhamma). These are called drives. With the rise of contact, there is the rise of the drives.
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
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