Any time you intend anything, that’s saṅkhāra. In
meditatation you’re training the faculties.
Yes. “Conditioned by the prior intention” the attention will naturally stay with the object without an additional “act of will” during (though, obviously, in the preparatory stages, effort is necessary to overcome the hindrances in the first place)
Well this is exactly the tricky thing about entering absorption. Effort is required to get to that point, but then you have to let go.
It seems intention is not required to observe. It seems the intention is to control the mind for the sake of non-arising of hindrances & other unwholesome qualities, such as craving & attachment.
While it seems control will be lost as absorption occurs (per Ajahn Brahm’s book), it seems there is no need for control to fade away prior to losing control just before jhana comes to fruition.
I say “no”. It seems the issue/question here is the method of control. If the method of control is to force/suppress the mind then it seems that type of control must be abandoned. But if the method of control is that of letting go; then it seems there is no need to abandon that method of control. The basis of Ajahn Brahm’s method is the following sutta:
It’s when a noble disciple, relying on letting go, gains immersion, gains unification of mind.
No, it’s insight which accompanies every level of tranquillity. This is described stage by stage in several suttas dealing with the progress of tranquillity meditation, such as Majhima Nikaya 121, and 111 (advanced) and here specifically:
“And furthermore, the monk has his theme of reflection well in hand, well attended to, well-considered, well-tuned by means of discernment.”—Anguttara Nikaya 5.28
The path is conditioned (Majhima Nikaya 44), so until the last stage is subject to self and other conditioned influence.
Wherever skillfulness appears in the suttas, it refers to the handling of conditioned phenomena profitably:
"And, in the most general terms, the fact that skillfulness leads ultimately to a dimension where skillfulness is transcended, accounts for a paradoxical dynamic common to all seven sets that form the Wings: the meditator must intentionally make use of qualities from which he/she wants to escape, gaining familiarity with them in the course of mastering them to the point where they are naturally stilled. There the transcendent paths and their fruitions take over. This is the sense in which even the path of right practice must eventually be abandoned, but only after it has been brought to the culmination of its development.
Many people have misunderstood this point, believing that the Buddha’s teachings on non-attachment require that one relinquish one’s attachment to the path of practice as quickly as possible. Actually, to make a show of abandoning the path before it is fully developed is to abort the entire practice. As one teacher has put it, a person climbing up to a roof by means of a ladder can let go of the ladder only when safely on the roof."—Thanissaro
@Adkurumides What do you mean by control? Either intentions are born of wisdom or ignorance. If they’re born of ignorance then suffering ensues. Whether they’re born of wisdom or ignorance depends if proper attention and mindfulness are present at the time of contact.
So “control” comes down to remembering to have sati-sampajanna, and remembering is a matter of repetition.
Control just means picking one variable over another, so pick remembering to place your attention on the mind and 5 hindrances vs 7 factors of awakening, over and over, until you no longer need to “pick and control”.