THE DAILY CUSHION: LEARN TO OBSERVE SANKHARA MIND FORMATIONS

LEARN TO OBSERVE SANKHARA MIND FORMATIONS by Steve Lin

👉 “And what is the source of consciousness?
Viññāṇañcidaṃ, bhikkhave, kiṃnidānaṃ kiṃsamudayaṃ kiṃjātikaṃ kiṃpabhavaṃ?

👉Choices.
Viññāṇaṃ saṅkhāranidānaṃ saṅkhārasamudayaṃ saṅkhārajātikaṃ saṅkhārapabhavaṃ.

👉 And what is the source of choices?
Saṅkhārā cime, bhikkhave, kiṃnidānā kiṃsamudayā kiṃjātikā kiṃpabhavā?

👉 Ignorance.
Saṅkhārā avijjānidānā avijjāsamudayā avijjājātikā avijjāpabhavā.

👉 And so, ignorance is a condition for choices.
Iti kho, bhikkhave, avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā;

👉 Choices are a condition for consciousness. … saṅkhārapaccayā viññāṇaṃ … pe …

👉 That is how this entire mass of suffering originates.
evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.

👉 When ignorance fades away and ceases with nothing left over, choices cease.
Avijjāya tveva asesavirāganirodhā saṅkhāranirodho;

👉 When choices cease, consciousness ceases. …
saṅkhāranirodhā viññāṇanirodho … pe …

👉 That is how this entire mass of suffering ceases.”
evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hotī”ti.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn12.11/en/sujato

🔆 INSIGHTS FROM SUTTA STANZA

📌 Choices (volitional mind formations) are sankhara (Pali) and are influenced by ignorance (avijjā).

📌 Sankhara (mind conditions) are a key contributor to mind consciousness, kamma, cravings, and suffering (Dukkha).

📌 Sankhara choices and conditions are impermanent and can be cultivated to end “purify consciousness” and end suffering (Dukkha).

🔆 MEDITATION TRAINING

📌 The first important step to change or purify sankhara is learn to “observe the ignorance”, “observe the wrong views”, and “observe the causes that led to poor choices or thoughts.”

📌 Second, “observe the discernment”, “observe the right views” and “observe mindfulness” that helps purify the mind sankhara and consciousness. Observe knowledge that helps make noble choices.

📌 Use mindfulness to observe “daily thoughts and choices” that create sankhara mind conditions and formations.

🔆 MEDITATION TIPS

📌 Remember that “sankhara” is constantly changing due to thoughts and choices.

📌 Don’t obsesses or fixate on past choices or sankhara. Old sankhara thoughts can be modified, purified, and replaced by new choices, new thoughts, and new sankhara.

📌 New and noble thoughts, new and noble choices, new and noble sankhara are ways to purify the mind conditions and consciousness that will end suffering and lead to nirvana.

🙏 PREPARATION FOR GUIDED MEDITATION

🧘🏽‍♀‍ MEDITATION PLACE

📌 Find a comfortable place that is quiet to sit and meditate with few interruptions and distractions to the senses.

🧘🏽‍♀‍ RELAX

📌 After sitting comfortably on a cushion or pillow or floor, place hands in lap and close the eyes.

🧘🏽‍♀‍ TRIPLE GEM (1-2 min)

📌 Prepare the mind and concentration by taking “Refuge in the Triple Gem”.

📌 Visualize each one in the mind (as an object) and generate faith and warm feelings with each one. Don’t rush this.

📌 I take refuge in The Buddha.

📌 I take refuge in The Dhamma.

📌 I take refuge in The Sangha.🧘🏽‍♀‍ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)

📌 “The Breath”

📌 Begin to focus in the breathing without attaching or stressing about it. Just relax and observe the breath.

📌 As you breath in… observe it and release.

📌 As you breath out… observe it and release.

📌 Observing the rhythm of the breath is essential to relax the body and to practice releasing.

📌 Use the out breath to practice releasing.

📌 Relaxed smiling is good to use to help relax.📌 I often will use the phrase “Peace” (in breath)

📌 “Release” (our breath)

📌 Continue observing breathing until it becomes very subtle or almost unnoticeable.

🧘🏽‍♀‍ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)

📌 “The Body”

📌 As the breath fades, the mind relaxes, the body also begins to relax.

📌 Observe the body as a (body) form. It’s not self, but only a shell, a rupa, that temporarily supports consciousness.

📌 As observing, the body, let the breath and body fade.

🧘🏽‍♂‍ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)

📌 “The Mind”

📌 As the breath fades and the body relaxes, the mind tends to become active or stay busy.

📌 As thoughts arise, don’t engage with them. Observe them and then let them fade.

📌 They will rise and they will fall unless there is engagement to feed the thoughts.

🔆 SELF-GUIDED MEDITATION

👉🏽 After preparation, relax and smile…

📌 Contemplate a recent “significant” choice (sankhara).

📌 Observe conditions, thoughts, and influences on that choice.- passions, sensual feelings, pleasures?- thoughts of family pressures?- thoughts of peer pressure?- routine or habit?- thoughts of craving or clinging to an idea?- thoughts of craving or clinging to a person?- thoughts of fears, worry?

📌 Observe how that thought and choice was influenced by past choices and throughts (sankhara).

📌 Identify “insights” from this “pattern” that can help future choices and modify sankhara conditions that can influence noble choices in the future.

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