Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

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Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Viscid » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:52 am

From the Dukkha Sutta:

On one occasion Ven. Sariputta was staying in Magadha in Nalaka Village. Then Jambukhadika the wanderer went to Ven. Sariputta and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After this exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to Ven. Sariputta: "'Stress, stress,' it is said, my friend Sariputta. Which type of stress [are they referring to]?"

"There are these three forms of stressfulness, my friend: the stressfulness of pain, the stressfulness of fabrication, the stressfulness of change. These are the three forms of stressfulness."


( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html )

'Stressfulness of pain' and 'Stressfulness of change' are both fairly straight-forward in terms of why they should be considered forms of suffering. However, why do Saṅkhāras cause suffering? Also, since we are always in the process of creating or experiencing some conditioned thing, is there a persistent suffering that always accompanies our experience?
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby chownah » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:29 am

I think of the suffering due to volition this way:
I love children...I really do....it is very easy for me to lose all sense of propriety if I see a baby and will immediately start saying goo goo smile gaa gaa...etc. If I see a small toddler walking around exploring the world I have a strong urge to show them a flower or a worm so that I can share in their delight....I love children...........but when I'm wanting to meditate....and the children come to me to play...then they are a nuisance....they are a beautiful nuisance...a wonderful nuisance....but they induce the stress of distracing me from the deeper wonder of meditation.
Volitions are like children...they can be very nice but ultimately they distract one from what is even nicer still and so they are suffering....
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:32 am

Greetings,

For what it's worth, I don't think the three categories denoted are necessarily mutually exclusive, especially when you consider that the Buddha advised in SN 55.3 to "Remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications, percipient of stress in what is inconstant..."

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If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby santa100 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:03 pm

According to the definition of sankhara from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sa%E1%B9%85kh%C4%81ra :

"saṅkhāra-khandha is understood to be that which propels human (and other sentient) beings along the process of becoming (bhava) by means of actions of body and speech (kamma).[9] The Buddha stated that all volitional constructs are conditioned by ignorance (avijja) of the reality (sacca) behind appearance.[10] It is this ignorance that ultimately causes human suffering (dukkha). The calming of all such fabrications (sabba-saṅkhāra-nirodha) is synonymous with Enlightenment (bodhi), the achieving of arahantship."
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby piotr » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:13 pm

Hi,

According to tradition, here, saṅkhāra doesn't mean volitional formation (i.e. intention, cetanā), but has different, more general meaning. As Buddhaghosa puts it in his Visuddhimagga:

    Herein, bodily and mental, painful feeling are called intrinsic suffering (dukkha-dukkha) because of their individual essence, their name, and their painfulness. [Bodily and mental] pleasant feeling are called suffering in change (vipariṇāma) because they are a cause for the arising of pain when they change (M I 303). Equanimous feeling and the remaining formations of the three planes are called suffering due to formations (saṅkhāra-dukkha) because they are oppressed by rise and fall.

    Path of Purification, 2011, p. 511
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Nyana » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:34 pm

In the context of the first noble truth, dukkha encompasses the following:

The unsatisfactoriness of pain (dukkhadukkhatā):

  • birth (jāti)
  • aging (jarā)
  • illness (byādhi)
  • death (maraṇa)
  • sorrow (soka)
  • lamentation (parideva)
  • pain (dukkha)
  • unhappiness (domanassa)
  • despair (upāyāsā)

The unsatisfactoriness of change (vipariṇāmadukkhatā):

  • association with what is unpleasant (appiyehi sampayogo)
  • separation from what is pleasant (piyehi vippayogo)
  • not getting what is wanted (yampiccha na labhati)

The unsatisfactoriness of fabrications (saṅkhāradukkhatā):

  • the five clinging-aggregates (pañcupādānakkhandhā)


Also the Nettippakaraṇa:

    Herein, the world is, at one time or another, somewhat free from to the unsatisfactoriness of pain as well as the unsatisfactoriness of change. Why is that? Because there are those in the world who have little sickness and are long-lived. But only the nibbāna component with no fuel remaining (anupādisesa nibbānadhātu) liberates from the unsatisfactoriness of fabrications.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:34 am

Ñāṇa wrote:But only the nibbāna component with no fuel remaining (anupādisesa nibbānadhātu) liberates from the unsatisfactoriness of fabrications.


Brilliant.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby chownah » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:03 am

What is the Nettippakaraṇa?
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby sublime » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:40 am

An obscure text
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:12 am

First, a question:

The term "saṅkhāradukkhatā" is a compound. There are many ways to interpret compounds, and interpret one must for it to make any sense in English.
The use of the words "due to" indicates one sort of compound interpretation, but it is obviously not the only one.
For example, "suffering which is volitional formation(s)", or "suffering of volitional formations", etc. are possible others.

It may help to first get this in order before asking the question, lest the question itself be incorrect, or at least turning the meaning of the original phrase elsewhere.

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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Nyana » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:59 am

chownah wrote:What is the Nettippakaraṇa?

An important Pāli text for sutta commentary and interpretation. It's been translated by Ven. Ñaṇamoli as The Guide.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Ben » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:00 am

Chownah,

This: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nettipakarana
may be of interest to you.
kind regards,

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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby chownah » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:17 pm

Nana and Ben,
Thanks for the links.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby piotr » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:56 pm

Hi,

Paññāsikhara wrote:The term "saṅkhāradukkhatā" is a compound. There are many ways to interpret compounds, and interpret one must for it to make any sense in English.
The use of the words "due to" indicates one sort of compound interpretation, but it is obviously not the only one.
For example, "suffering which is volitional formation(s)", or "suffering of volitional formations", etc. are possible others.


I think that rendering it by “due to” or “because of” is justified by Commentary which says: Saṅkhāradukkhatāti saṅkhārabhāvena dukkhatā.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:01 pm

To know sankharadukkhata, vipassana is required. The other two are much more gross. Without knowing sankharadukkhata to it's utmost degree, no 'escape from the field of perception' is possible.

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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:24 pm

rowyourboat wrote:To know sankharadukkhata, vipassana is required. The other two are much more gross. Without knowing sankharadukkhata to it's utmost degree, no 'escape from the field of perception' is possible.


But only the nibbāna component with no fuel remaining (anupādisesa nibbānadhātu) liberates from the unsatisfactoriness of fabrications.


Wouldn't stream-enterers be much more perceptive of sankharadukkhata because they have been in momentary contact with the Unconditioned, and are thus aware of the liberation which stands in stark contrast to the constriction of the 'field of perception?'
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Nyana » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:27 pm

Viscid wrote:Wouldn't stream-enterers be much more perceptive of sankharadukkhata because they have been in momentary contact with the Unconditioned, and are thus aware of the liberation which stands in stark contrast to the constriction of the 'field of perception?'

The noble paths and fruitions cannot be attained nor cognized without perception (saññā). Also, translating asaṅkhata as "the Unconditioned" can be very misleading. There is no Unconditioned Ground in the Pāli dhamma. SN 43.1:

    And what, monks, is the not-fabricated (asaṅkhata)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the not-fabricated.

And Vibhaṅga 184:

    What, there, is the not-fabricated component (asaṅkhatā dhātu)? The elimination of passion, the elimination of aggression, the elimination of delusion: this is called the not-fabricated component.

The Pāli dhamma isn't a theistic religion or an essentialist philosophy. Therefore, there is no reason to capitalize terms such as nibbāna or asaṅkhata or the deathless (amata) or the dhamma (in the context of the teaching itself). The only terms which should be capitalized in English translation are proper nouns (personal names, place names, text names, sutta names) according to the conventions of the English language.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:42 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:The Pāli dhamma isn't a theistic religion or an essentialist philosophy. Therefore, there is no reason to capitalize terms such as nibbāna or asaṅkhata or the deathless (amata) or the dhamma (in the context of the teaching itself). The only terms which should be capitalized in English translation are proper nouns (personal names, place names, text names, sutta names) according to the conventions of the English language.
And we might also do away with such misleading translated as "the deathless," the unconditioned," which suggest there is some thing that is the deathless or the unconditioned that is outside of, separate from, the khandhas.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:56 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And we might also do away with such misleading translated as "the deathless," the unconditioned," which suggest there is some thing that is the deathless or the unconditioned that is outside of, separate from, the khandhas.


Buuuuuuuuuuut:

Ud. VIII.3 wrote:"Verily, there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible"


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Saṅkhāradukkhatā - Suffering due to Volitional Formations

Postby Nyana » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:58 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And we might also do away with such misleading translated as "the deathless," the unconditioned," which suggest there is some thing that is the deathless or the unconditioned that is outside of, separate from, the khandhas.

Indeed. I'm now using "not-fabricated" for asaṅkhata and "death-free" for amata. The latter is borrowed from Norman.
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