If you would look into the edited previous version, I’ve said that 'kaya-sankhara' have the same meaning in both contexts, but the problem is in the “I” as in “'I will breathe out…” but now I’ve come to understand that there is another meaning to 'kaya-sankhara'.
The Buddha has taught the way to identify a thought based on the basis of kaya, vedana, citta and dhamma. The common meaning given to “kaya” at present is “physical body”. But, when the term “kaya” is closely examined, it becomes evident that the term “kaya” has been used to represent the “action of a thought”.
These are actions of a thought leading to defilements, habits; It comes from “san” + “kära” or actions that involve “san”. All our thoughts, speech, and bodily actions are based on sankhara that arise in the mind. Therefore, it is important to realize that vaci sankhara and kaya sankhara also arise in the mind. Kaya sankhara are in “conscious thoughts” that make our bodies move.
In each section of the Satipatthana Suta we find the phrase “ iti ajjhattam va kaye kayanupassi viharati, bahiddha va kaye kayanupassi viharati...”. In terms of the common translations found in the books, Ajjhatta Kaya and bahiddha Kaya are considered as one’s own body and the bodies of others. Even though a mediator could contemplate one’s own body, attempts to contemplate the bodies of others may lead to problems. That is why we need to be skeptical about the real meaning of this situation.
The Satipatthana Sutta analyses a methodical, gradual approach to bring happiness and make progress steadily for practitioners. The stages such as sabba kaya patisamvedi..., passam bhayam kaya sankharam..., ajjhatta kaya, bahiddha kaya could only be discerned by a calm mind devoid of defilements to some extent. In other words, it is the stage where the in and out breaths have become shallow (rassa stage). The mind reaches “Samadhi” (concentration) at the rassa stage. Ajjhatta and Bahiddha are an analytical vision gained as a result and strength of the Samadhi.
The misunderstanding regarding these terms has resulted from the misinterpretation of the word “kaya”. The Buddha has always emphasized the functional meaning of a word when analyzing the teachings. Therefore, the functional meaning of the term “kaya” is an “action”. In this context, “ajjhatta kaya” is the internal action, meaning the action of the “mind”.
A meditator is supposed to observe whether or not his mind gets distorted as a result of an external stimuli, in terms of the Buddha’s teaching referred to as “ajjhattam va kaye kayanupassi viharati”. To take an example… If a person is teasing you from afar, you could see his attempts to infuriate you with his foolish, insensible actions. You could hear his remarks aimed at disappointing you. Despite these provoking actions, if you could remain indifferent without letting these provoking actions distort your mind, then, your ajjhatta kaya (mind) is not subjected to any change, distortion due to bahiddha kaya (external action). If your mind had any negative impact due to these external actions (bahiddha kaya), you need to understand that you lacked the thoughts of “letting go” which could have prevented the negativities in the mind. You did not let go of the causes responsible for your mental stress. At this stage, you become aware that your mind is still geared towards the four miserable states of existence'' (satara apa). In this circumstance, the meditator realizes that if he were to progress with happiness and contentment, he should not accept and link with any external stimuli, relations. He decides at this moment that what is needed to preserve happiness is to identify each thought without letting them in to distort the mind through further dealings. He needs to sever external sensory links by confining thoughts brought about by the sense faculties to “identify”, “become aware” only.
Now, we know that the root cause for our discomfort, suffering is getting involved, getting hooked up to the external world. With this first-hand knowledge, one is able to deal with any action of the external world, without having any negative impact on the internal world (ajjhatta kaya); without letting any external action shaken the internal world (ajjhatta kaya). This is the Satipatthana teaching known as “ajjhattam va kaye kayanupassi viharati...”.
A meditator who progresses to this stage would comprehend perfectly that suffering is brought about by getting involved in external relations, stimuli. This is a very important stage in the Buddhist teachings involving the Dukkha Sacca (Noble Truth of Suffering and Samudaya Sacca (Noble Truth of Origination of Suffering). This stage brings the understanding that whenever an individual’s mind gets corrupted, distorted and changed to another condition, it is due to an admittance and involvement with a sense – faculty- based object.
Bhavana is the advancement of mind which results from both, the practice of “letting go” and the discipline achieved by “letting go”. The anapana pabba (section on In and Out breathing) leads a practitioner’s mind towards a defilement-free state in three stages referred to as Sila, Samadhi and Panna. This is the stage known as “rassa” where a practitioner experiences shallow breathing during the anapana meditation. This is the composed state of mind known as Samadhi. So, it is clear that the cultivation of Sila and Samadhi is a direct result of subjugation of defilements due to the exercise of “letting go” and the discipline achieved by sustaining the process of “letting go”. Panna is the understanding one gains at this stage. One realizes that one’s achievement is in line with the section “sabba kaya patisamvedi assasikkhamiti sikkhati… in the Satipattana Sutta. Accordingly, one experiences finer in and out breath, tranquility of mental factors (kaya-passaddhi) and tranquility of consciousness (citta-passaddhi), and less tendency for attachment at this stage.
'Kaya-sankhara' is also found in the 2nd nidana of Paticcasamuppada. Paticca samuppada begins with avijja (ignorance). What runs contrary to avijja is vijja (clear knowledge). It is the conduct based on non-attachment. When the conduct is geared based on non-attachment (vijja), formations (sankhara) cease to arise – vijja paccaya visamkara. As the Buddha’s conduct is entirely devoid of any attachment, the Buddha is known as “vijja carana sampanno”.
“kathameva bhikkhave sankhara…”; analysing the formations (sankhara) the Buddha classified three types of sankhara, namely , kaya sankhara ( in & out breathing – as defined in the Culavedalla Sutta), vaci sankhara (initial & sustained thought' -vittaka & vicara ) and citta sankhara (perception & feeling). These formations are shrouded in avijja (avijja) and function as a flow of energy associated with attachment which could be comparable to magnetic force.
Formations with high degree of heat energy are known as “apunyabhi sankhara”. Formations with moderate heat energy are known as “punyabhi sankhara” and the formations with lower heat energy are known as “anenjabhi sankara”.
As long as avijja is in existence sankharas are bound to form with resulting attachment. When a mind is cultivated to dispense with avijja, then, sankhara begin to cease. This is the stage where the mind is devoid of intense heat and attachment. This mental state is described in the verse,
” visamkhara gatham cittam , tanha nam khayamajjhaga…”. When sankaharas are present, vinnana (consciousness) takes place, and so on, and so on….