I read the following intentional thought on the internet:

Intention is directed conscious energy. When we think about doing something, where does that energy go? Thoughts like these are created before every conscious action as a means to mitigate the quantity and quality of the repercussion. If an individual cultivates an intention enough, the chances of inadvertently performing the action is more within reason.

  1. What is "conscious energy" in Buddhism?

  2. In Buddhism, does "conscious intention" mean "wise intention"?

  3. If cultivating intention leads to action more within reason, are ignorant actions without intention or unintentional in Buddhism?

1 Answer 1


I can only define this from a Theravada perspective, that being: intention is the energizing of action which comes about through sensory stimulation. In that way, it could be seen as 'directed conscious energy' because, in Theravada, they often use the six-sense consciousnesses model. For instance, an object impedes the eye, a feeling/perception initiates intention. The conglomerate (heaped mass) of these components is called consciousness, or in this instance 'eye consciousness', (Pali: cakkhu-viññāṇa). It begins with form, the first of the five aggregates. That's how the passage you have quoted reads to me.

Now, occasionally I write my own suttas and as I was responding to this, one of my suttas came to mind. Here is an excerpt that may strengthen my interpretation of the passage you quoted.

...Furthermore, monks - form, feeling, perception and volition are to be observed as they are. Imagine four town pigeons in place of these four aggregates wondering loosely in the same vicinity. When food is thrown down, they swarm towards that food, they gather around that food and, in doing so, they appear to create a single mass. That single mass makes up the fifth aggregate of consciousness. In the same way, when a sense object is thrown into the range of the eye organ, form, feeling, perception and volition gather and contract into a subjective experience brought about by contact with that sense object. That very subjective experience is known as consciousness. Monks, this is birth...

In other spiritual fields, conscious energy might be given a different interpretation. For example, conscious energy could be confused with mindfulness in Buddhism and I think this answers your second question.

From a Theravada perspective, (using the six-sense consciousnesses model) directed conscious energy can be seen to produce one of three actions from which their corresponding results occur - vipaka: wholesome, unwholesome or neutral or kusala, akusala and avyākata respectively.

To conclude, it might be best to relinquish the narrowing down of any interpretation of 'directed conscious energy' and keep it within the wider scope of the previous paragraph.

  • you appear to be saying all states of consciousness result in intention. is this so? for example, now i can hear the faint but pervasive mass hum or chirp of many insects from all of the trees around me. are you saying my mind has intention towards this mass of humming sound? Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 5:05
  • lol - u write your own suttas. that is fricking amazing ! Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 5:07
  • @Dhammadhatu - Yes, your mind had intention towards the sound of the insects; your attention was placed at the ear organ from which you drew up a description of that sound. The question is: did you personally choose to place your attention there? Moreover, it's not necessary to understand intention in quantitative terms, but to see that its various appearances are dependent on circumstances for which ownership seems redundant.
    – user17652
    Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 9:51
  • thanks for your answers, but, sorry, no, there is no intention whatsoever towards the insect sounds Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 0:05
  • @Dhammadhatu - you may be correct. My understanding of these things is evolving. Kind regards.
    – user17652
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 7:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .