Meditating on the Sankhara

The Pali word “sankhara” literally means “coming together,” or as I like to paraphrase it in English, “synthesis.” More specifically, it refers to synthesis of experiential phenomena (which includes cognitive, emotional, sensory and perceptual elements) in the Buddhist tradition. Meditating on these phenomena, I think, forms the essence of Buddhist meditation.

There are some later Buddhist traditions that have come up with other ways of meditating, and there is certainly something to be said of these other spiritual practices, it is mindfulness of the arising of mental phenomena, and their origins, that constitutes the essence of earliest and best meditative practices and provides the greatest insight into the nature of the mind and its complicity in our suffering.

“i. On seeing a form with the eye,

one investigates the form that is the basis for mental joy,
one investigates the form that is the basis of mental pain,
one investigates the form that is the basis of equanimity.
ii. On hearing a sound with the ear,

one investigates the sound that is the basis for mental joy,
one investigates the sound that is the basis of mental pain,
one investigates the sound that the basis of equanimity.
iii. On smelling a smell with the nose,

one investigates the smell that is the basis for mental joy,
one investigates the smell that is the basis of mental pain,
one investigates the smell that is the basis of equanimity.
iv. On tasting a taste with the tongue,

one investigates the taste that is the basis for mental joy,
one investigates the taste that is the basis of mental pain,
one investigates the taste that is the basis of equanimity.
v. On feeling a touch with the body,

one investigates the touch that is the basis for mental joy,
one investigates the touch that is the basis of mental pain,
one investigates the touch that is the basis of equanimity.
vi. On cognizing a mind-object with the mind,

one investigates the mind-object that the basis of mental joy,
one investigates the mind-object that is the basis of mental pain,
one investigates the mind-object that is the basis of equanimity.
Dhātu Vibhaṅga Sutta

Know that the feels are impermanent so do not cling onto them
If he feels a pleasant feeling,

he understands that it is impermanent;
he understands that it is not to be clung to;
he understands that there is no delight in it.
If he feels a painful feeling,

he understands that it is impermanent;
he understands that it is not to be clung to;
he understands that there is no delight in it.
If he feels a neutral feeling,

he understands that it is impermanent;
he understands that it is not to be clung to;
he understands that there is no delight in it.
If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it in a detached manner.

If he feels a painful feeling, he feels it in a detached manner.

If he feels a neutral feeling, he feels it in a detached manner.”

Dhātu Vibhaṅga Sutta

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Experienced psychology writer and practitioner of psi abilities. Looking forward to contributing to a worldwide awakening to the reality of psi phenomena.

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