pegembara wrote: ↑
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:56 am
LINK NO. 2: SANKHARA (VOLITION)
Ignorance of the Dhamma conditions the second link Sankhara (volition). Sankhara is defined as follows: “There are these three sankhara – kaya sankhara (body volition), vaci sankhara (speech volition), citta sankhara (mind volition).” The suttas do not explain further. Hence there is some confusion as to the meaning of sankhara. It is variously translated as formations, activities, volition, etc. However in the Samyutta Nikaya Suttas 22.56 and 22.57, it is clear that sankhara means intention or volition.
To enable us to understand better this set of three sankhara, we need to look into all the suttas where this set of three occur. When we examine the suttas we find that there are two sets of three sankharas. The two sets are:
(i) Kaya sankhara, vaci sankhara, citta sankhara also found in Majjhima Nikaya Sutta 44 (Culavedalla Sutta), and Samyutta Nikaya Sutta 41.6 (Kamabhu Sutta). Kaya sankhara is defined as in and out breaths; vaci sankhara as initial and sustained thoughts (vitakka-vicara); citta sankhara as perception and feeling.
Samyutta Nikaya Sutta 36.11 says: “The ceasing of the sankharas is gradual. In the First Jhana (state of meditative absorption), speech ceases; in the Second Jhana, thoughts (vitakka-vicara) cease; in the Third Jhana, delight (piti) ceases; in the Fourth Jhana, breathing ceases; …. In the Cessation of Perception and Feeling, perception and feeling ceases.”
Majjhima Nikaya Sutta 44 says: “When a monk is attaining the cessation of Perception and Feeling (i.e. the Cessation of Consciousness), first the speech volition ceases, then the body volition, then the mind volition…. When a monk is emerging from the attainment of Cessation of Perception and Feeling, first the mind volition arises, then the body volition, then the speech volition.”
In other words, when a monk is attaining the Cessation of Perception and Feeling, the following occurs sequentially:
(a) Speech volition, i.e. thinking (vitakka vicara), ceases – this is the Second Jhana.
(b) Body volition, i.e. breathing, ceases – this is the Fourth Jhana
(c) Mind volition, i.e. perception and feeling, ceases – this is cessation of Perception and Feeling, which includes the cessation of all the six consciousnesses.
Thus we see that when the Buddha entered parinibbana (Digha Nikaya, Sutta 16) which is the Cessation of all the six consciousnesses, he did so after attaining the Fourth Jhana. Cessation of Perception and Feeling is the complete shutdown of a living being.
Conversely, to emerge from the attainment of Cessation of Perception and Feeling, first the mind volition is activated, then the body volition, followed by speech volition.
(ii) Kaya sankhara, vaci sankhara, mano sankhara is found in Samyutta Nikaya Sutta 12.25 (repeated in Anguttara Nikaya Sutta 4.171) and Majjhima Nikaya Sutta 57.
In Samyutta Nikaya Sutta 12.25 the Buddha said “With ignorance as condition, either by oneself, Ananda, one wills bodily intentions (kaya sankhara), following which arises internally pleasure and pain; or, because of others one wills bodily intentions, following which arises internally, pleasure and pain.” (Similarly for vaci sankhara and mano sankhara)
In Majjhima Nikaya Sutta 57 the Buddha said “And what, Punna, is dark action with dark result? Here someone generates an afflictive body volition (kaya sankhara), an afflictive speech volition (vaci sankhara), an afflictive mind volition (mano sankhara), …..”
The Buddha said that kamma (intentional action) is intention or volition. So in these two suttas the Buddha is talking about unskillful or dark kamma. So this second set of sankharas, i.e. kaya sankhara, vaci sankhara, mano sankhara, refers to the creation of kamma, which is very different from the first set.
We find that the suttas that discuss Paticca Samuppada (Conditioned Arising) always refer to sankhara as kaya sankhara, vaci sankhara, citta
sankhara. The suttas that discuss kamma always refer to sankhara as kaya sankhara, vaci sankhara, mano
sankhara. So how do we explain sankhara in Paticca Samuppada?
A living being functions through the body, speech, and mind. In Majjhima Nikaya Sutta 44 we saw that when a monk attains Cessation of Perception and Feeling (which includes cessation of the six consciousnesses) which is the complete shutdown of a living being, first speech volition ceases, then body volition, and finally mind volition. When a monk emerges from the attainment of Cessation of Perception and Feeling, first the mind volition is activated, followed by body volition, and speech volition. This is the ‘coming alive’ of a monk whose six consciousnesses had totally ceased. Thus volition (sankhara) here is connected with the will-to-live which must be activated for the being to come back to life. Similarly in Paticca Samuppada sankhara (volition) should refer to the will-to-live so that the three ways in which a being functions (through mind, body, speech) ‘comes alive’, i.e. mind volition (citta sankhara), body volition (kaya sankhara), speech volition (vaci sankhara).
We note here that consciousness, the next link, is not continuous from birth to death, as many people think. The Buddha says that consciousness arises momentarily every time an external sense object (sight, sound, odour, flavor, touch, or thought) impinges on a sense organ. In one second of time many many times does consciousness arise and pass away. Every time consciousness ceases, it is this ‘will-to-live
’ (sankhara) that conditions its arising.
LINK NO. 3 : VINNANA (CONSCIOUSNESS)
As mentioned above, Sankhara (Volition) is the will or volition that Conditions Vinnana (Consciousness) to arise again every time it ceases. Consciousness is explained as “There are these six classes of Consciousness: eye-Consciousness, ear-Consciousness, nose-Consciousness, tongue-Consciousness, body-Consciousness, mind-Consciousness.”
As mentioned above, each of these Consciousness arise when there is a corresponding sense object present (Samyutta Nikaya Sutta 35.93). Without an object consciousness cannot arise because consciousness means being conscious or cognizant of something. The important point to reiterate here is that consciousness is not an unending stream from birth to death, but arises and passes away so fast that in one second, hundreds or thousands of consciousness arise and pass away. Every time it ceases it is Volition (Sankhara – connected with the will-to-live) that conditions its arising.
Whenever consciousness ceases, the living being dies. Hence a Christian saint is reported to have remarked “Every moment I die!”
http://www.tbcm.org.my/conditioned-aris ... suffering/