Formations

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Ngawang Drolma.
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Formations

Post by Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:27 pm

Hi all,

I'm going to start asking things that I've wanted to know but hesitated to ask (because they're so darn basic).

Ignorance is not-knowing, greed, hatred, desire, and craving are emotional states. Okay so far?

Consciousness and emotions are formations. So how could formations be caused by craving or ignorance when they are formations themselves?

Thanks :)

Element

Re: Formations

Post by Element » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Drolma wrote:Ignorance is not-knowing, greed, hatred, desire, and craving are emotional states. Okay so far?

Consciousness and emotions are formations. So how could formations be caused by craving or ignorance when they are formations themselves?

Thanks :)
In Pali, there is the word 'sankhara'. This can be a thing, process or cause.

For example, in the Pali, there is the phrase: "Sabbe sankhara annica". Here sankhara means conditioned things or formations. All conditioned things are impermanent. Consciousness here is a conditioned thing or formation, just as the body or a block of cement is a conditioned thing.

However, sankhara can also mean a process, namely, the process of concocting or forming. Thus, one thing can concoct, condition or stir up another thing. For example, ignorance can stir up hatred, which can stir up bad karma such as killing which is the condition for imprisonment or mental derangement. Thus this process of formation, of things forming out of other things, is also sankhara.

Sankhara can also mean 'concocter', the thing that concocts or conditions. For example, in the second link of dependent origination, the word sankhara means 'concoctor' (although the scholars never say this). This meaning of concoctor is confirmed in the suttas, such as:
Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabricator.

MN 44
Last edited by Element on Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Ngawang Drolma.
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Re: Formations

Post by Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:28 pm

Hi Element,

Wonderful. Thanks :D

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andyebarnes67
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Re: Formations

Post by andyebarnes67 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:07 pm

Ngawang Drolma. wrote:
Ignorance is not-knowing, greed, hatred, desire, and craving are emotional states. Okay so far?
I think there are two kinds of ignorance, in fact.
The first is, as you say, 'not knowing' and as such is a kind of passive state of mind that simply, well, doesn't know.
The second is more subtle and is more akin to what we see in other when we might say 'he is being ignorant'. It's a more motive choice to ignore. In this case, to ignore the true nature of the formations.

Ajahn Geoff (Thanissaro) , and I'm sure some others, prefer to translate Sati as heedfulness rather than mindfulness and I think this very apt here.

Still bound by hindrances such as greed, anger and hatred, we can fail to appreciate the threefold (Anicca, anatta & dukkha) nature of formations even though we understand this on an intellectual level.
Only when we are heedful of our attachment to formations can the hindrances begin to fall away and so further formations prevented from forming.
Metta
:meditate:
Andy Barnes
My comments are by nature, subjective interpretations from my mind. As such, they are never wrong, They are as they are. They are never right, They are as they are.

paul
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Re: Formations

Post by paul » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:42 am

"Ajahn Geoff (Thanissaro) , and I'm sure some others, prefer to translate Sati as heedfulness rather than mindfulness..."

This is wrong, heedfulness is quite a separate factor to mindfulness and is better referred to as as basic zeal.

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andyebarnes67
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Re: Formations

Post by andyebarnes67 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:09 am

paul wrote:"Ajahn Geoff (Thanissaro) , and I'm sure some others, prefer to translate Sati as heedfulness rather than mindfulness..."

This is wrong, heedfulness is quite a separate factor to mindfulness and is better referred to as as basic zeal.
Whilst aware that, strictly speaking, it is Appamada that is translated as 'heedfulness', I know that A. Geoff has used heedfulness and mindfulness interchangeably.
(I would find you some references on ATI but difficult on phone)
You may disagree with him, but to state simply that it is 'incorrect' omits to acknowledge that you, like him, can only speak from your own subjective view and not categorically.
Metta
:meditate:
Andy Barnes
My comments are by nature, subjective interpretations from my mind. As such, they are never wrong, They are as they are. They are never right, They are as they are.

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