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EDIT: The answers still do satisfy the question in the mind, although they are answers to the question on 'paper'. Apologies for the lack of skill in phrasing the question. Let us see if the following clears up what is being asked:.


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Imagine life as a series of moments; one moment after another in a line infinitely long. Imagine that there is a decision that must be made, to chose A or B, both equally likely to be chosen for whatever reason, such as lack of understanding which is the right choice.

The teaching of St Thomas Aquinas

This decision is present only in a single moment within the infinite series of moments. What is that single moment of choice? What is that single moment made of, what substance, what phenomena? Why A over B, or B over A, if both are equally likely? For having willed, one acts by body, speech, or mind. Kamma is not fate. It literally means action, that is volitional action. A deed done deliberately through body, speech or mind. Every volitional action except that of a Buddha or of an Arahant is called Kamma. Kamma-formations sa"nkhaara-cetanaa, 'karmic volition' constitutes both good and evil.

In Karmic Volition kusala Akusala Centanaa , good gets good, evil gets evil. Like attracts like. It is natural law that every action produces a certain effect.

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Kamma denotes volition cetanaa and the other accompanying mental states found in any particular moral or immoral type of consciousness. Mind is the forerunner of all good and bad mental states. Cetanaa or volition is the most important of all mental states. It is this volition that constitutes Kamma, for the Buddha says - 'I declare that cetanaa volition is Kamma'.

Article 1. Whether intention is an act of the intellect or of the will?

Mind precedes all actions and serves as the principal element both in performing and in assessing deeds. It is mind that rules and shapes action. Words and deeds are also produced by mind. Volitional thought when occurring as kamma leading to rebirth on the sensuous plane, feeds and conditions sensuous existence. When occurring as kamma leading to rebirth on the fine-material or immaterial plane, it feeds and conditions the corresponding existence.

There are six classes of volitions cetanaa : will directed to forms ruupa-cetanaa , to sounds, odors, tastes, bodily impressions, and to mental objects. All such volitional constructs were conditioned by ignorance of the reality behind appearance. It is this ignorance that keeps us from making skillful decisions. These three things are born dependent on contact. Therefore, when there is consciousness, all these factors arise: attention, contact, volition, perception and feeling, with a combination of the four great elements.

Mentality nama consists of: feeling, perception, volition, contact, and attention — the same factors. From what we perceive we create sankhara mental formations. If the mental factor was directed to a certain matter, on that occasion there is volitional activity, and this is called sankhara.

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In the passive sense it refers to any compound form in the universe, a human being, or a thought. All such things are impermanent, arising and passing away. So this single moment of choice — intention - needs to be skillful. An intention occurs according to what we perceive.

Intentions occur about sounds, smells, tastes, and contacts that are recognized. The usual case is that the world is created within ownself as a result of ignorance. For an intention volitional effort to occur, feeling and perception should be in the mix. This is called contact. There are six kinds of contact. Contact of eye is the coming together and meeting of: eye, form and consciousness of eye.

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When we close our eyes, there is no contact of the eye, as consciousness of eye is not there at that moment to cognize a form. The same is true for contact with the other five faculties: ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. There is no doer. As for what is doing the choosing…. The arising of volition cetanaa is the result of mental factors.


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They may be wholesome or unwholesome intentions. Mental factors are not permanent, they constantly change. They are the result of desire. For instance if our consciousness is with the physical food we consume, we have a desire for food. We derive pleasure from what we eat. We have a passion for what we eat.

Volition and the Function of Consciousness - Oxford Scholarship

Thus our mind is attached to the food. When our mind is attached, consciousness arises and grows. It grows like a tree. Therefore the cause for the growth of consciousness is passion, delight or pleasure and craving. When consciousness arises, mentality-materiality nama rupa is established.

It is a reaction in our body - contact and feelings have arisen automatically. There are six factors that manifest itself. The four elements that constitute our body - the material phenomena rupa ; contact phassa , feeling vedanaa , perception sannaa , volition cetanaa and attentiveness manasikara. This is Kamma in the making. Your actions are the results of choices that come and go. You can change yourself through changes in your actions. You always shape your life by the choices you make in what you say and do. The usual culprits are distractions, either internal or external.

The internal ones are other thoughts, other intentions. Usually we are not in charge of our thoughts and act impulsively. A lot of them are buried in subconscious parts of your awareness. We shape our life by the choices we make in what we say and do. The aggregate of volitional activities sankharakkhandha is a burden.

Life demands that we satisfy our daily needs and desires and for that satisfaction we decide on A over B, or B over A. This choice gets encouragement from our volition prompted by desire. Volition is an act of will or decision to act. There are three kinds of actions born of volition: i thoughts; ii speech; iii physical movement.

All actions start with a thought mental action , which is why the Dhammapada states:. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought.


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If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow. Bhikkhus, sensual thoughts arise with a source, not without a source; thought of ill will arises with a source, not without a source; thought of harming arises with a source, not without a source. And how is this so? In dependence on the harmlessness element there arises perception of harmlessness. Whether choose A or B is depend upon volition, volition is, you have your choice whether choose A or B.

But when you choose right that is "conscience" sense of right and wrong. Volition will power, desire, incline, volition, inclination, intent, readiness is you have choose A or B even conscience or without lack of understanding.