Mkoll wrote: ↑Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:51 am
What exactly is this "physical life faculty" that is said to perish so quickly?
The sutta appears to be a metaphor; saying how life is so fleeting thus urgency for practise is required. It appears to be a maranasati
. The speedstar arrow catcher also appears a metaphor for sati. As for 'ayusankhara', it appears to be merely the life-force, as mentioned in MN 43 & DN 16:
SN 20.6 wrote:āyusaṅkhārā khīyanti: waning of the life forces
khī + ya
is exhausted; wastes away; becomes dejected.
MN 43 wrote:āyu parikkhīṇo: vitality is [totally] spent
pp. of parikhīyati
MN 43 wrote:When someone dies, their physical, verbal and mental processes have ceased and stilled; their vitality is spent; their warmth is dissipated; and their faculties have disintegrated.
Yvāyaṃ, āvuso, mato kālaṅkato tassa kāyasaṅkhārā niruddhā paṭippassaddhā, vacīsaṅkhārā niruddhā paṭippassaddhā, cittasaṅkhārā niruddhā paṭippassaddhā, āyu parikkhīṇo, usmā vūpasantā, indriyāni paribhinnāni.
DN 16 wrote:So at the Cāpāla tree shrine the Buddha, mindful and aware, surrendered the life force.
Atha kho bhagavā cāpāle cetiye sato sampajāno āyusaṅkhāraṃ ossaji.
Sati (mindfulness, reflective awareness, recollection) is the quick awareness and recall of the things which must be recalled. It must be as quick as an arrow. We also can describe sati as a vehicle or transport mechanism of the fastest kind. This most rapid transport doesn't carry material things, it carries wisdom and knowledge. Sati delivers paññä (wisdom) in time to meet our needs. Through the practice of mindfulness with breathing, sati is trained fully.