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Mind and Craving 61 tion will fall away from the true law (dhamma), just like the wheel that was made in six days, and the one who is not crooked in motivation will stand firm in the dhamma, like the wheel made in six months less six days. So far it has been argued that sankhara and its related compounds (abhisankhara and abhisankharoti) are volitional terms in both scope and usage. We have seen how abhisankhara indicates a momentum, a dynamic force that keeps the wheel rolling, and how this definition complements the dispositional nature of sankhara. Contributing as it does to meritorious, demeritorious, and "imperturbable" action, sankhara is the effector of deeds (kamma) and therefore the principal factor of responsibility in the Series of Dependencies. But is it to be regarded as a conscious or unconscious responsibility , a conscious or unconscious volition? We must now turn to this important question in order to demonstrate that sankhara reflects both conscious and unconscious willing. 15. Sankhara Understood as Conscious and Unconscious Volition Sankhara has an obvious conscious conative dimension. This is seen in its relation to ignorance (avigja) , traditionally the first link in the Series of Dependencies. In the formula ("unconscious volitions are provoked by ignorance"—"avijja paocaya sankhara"), will and subsequent willed actions or deeds (kamma) are shown to be casually linked with one's level of attained truth. Because in Buddhism ignorance is usually associated with both conscious and unconscious indifference to the four Noble Truths, volition may emerge from the conscious as well as the unconscious disposition towards the truths. Thus ignorance prompts willed activities that can be morally unfavourable (apunnabhisankhara, S.2.82), whereas a more enlighted response to the truths initiates morally superior willing. Again, as seen in M.I.389 and A.2.230, sankhara as 62 Craving and Salvation "seeking after ends" and as "making a choice" denotes a deliberate act of will, consciously carried out. Even in the sense of motivation sankhara can be understood as a term of conscious willing. Evidence for the claim that sankhara also has an unconscious volitional dimension is harder to find. It is nonetheless present in several key texts. The first of these, A.1.170, cannot be considered an unusual or exceptional passage because it is the same as a similar text in D.3.104: Brahmin, what is the marvellous ability of mind reading (adesanapatihariyam, or "guessing other people's character")? In this case, a certain one can announce by means of a sign, this is your memo. Such and such is your mano, such and such your oitta. And again, brahmin, perhaps he does so after hearing a voice from men or nonhumans or spirits, or on judging some sound he has heard, an utterance intelligently made by one who is reasoning intelligently.... Then again, brahmin, in this case suppose a certain one does not announce by any of the signs, yet maybe, when he has attained a state of concentration which is free from cogitative and reflective thought (avitakkam aviaaram samadhirn) can comprehend (pariaaa) thus: According to how the mental forces (manosank'hare) are disposed in the mind of this venerable one, he will think such a thought (amun nama vitakkam) now. A.1.170 Commenting on this strategic passage, Jayatilleke writes: As the subject is apparently not conscious of the presence of these sankhara which subsequently determine or influence his processes of thought, they are presumably not present in his consciousness when they are perceived by the exercise of the telepathic powers of the other.... In this passage we therefore find perhaps the earliest historical mention of unconscious mental processes.48 Two other passages lend support to this account of the Mind and Craving 63 unconscious. As mentioned, one of these is D.3.104f, where the Buddha teaches the four degrees of discernment (dassana samapatti) . The third and fourth degrees are described in terms of a divided stream of consciousness (vinnana-sotam): Again, lord, he goes on after that to discern the unbroken flux of consciousness (vinnana-sotam), established both in this world and in another world without a sharp distinction into two parts (ubhayato abbocahinnam). This is the third degree of discernment. Again, lord, he goes on to discern the unbroken flux of consciousness as not established either in this world or in another world. This crucial passage indicates that vinnana, which we have so far discussed only as a process of consciousness, also has a dimension in a "world...


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