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From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
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(Sanskrit संस्कार) Saṃskāra literally means "that which has been put together" and "that which puts together."

"Vritti (whirlpool, thought-wave) arises in the mind-ocean. It operates for sometime. Then it sinks below the threshold of normal consciousness. From the surface of the conscious mind wherein it was uppermost for some time, it sinks down deep into the region of the subconscious mind (Chitta). There, it continues to be a subliminal action and becomes a Samskara (impression). A conscious action-whether cognitive, affective or conative-assumes a potential and hidden (Sukshma and Avyakta) form just below the threshold of consciousness. This is termed a Samskara." - Swami Sivananda, Mind - Its Mysteries and Control

"Those who have not eliminated the Abhayan Samskara, the innate fear, will flee from the Ninth Sphere by telling to others that the work in the forge of the Cyclops (sex) is worthless." - Samael Aun Weor, Tarot & Kabbalah; Cosmic Teachings of a Lama

In Buddhism, samskara is the the fourth skandha and the second link in the twelve Nidanas, the chain of dependent origination.

a.samskara means the production of new qualities and abhyasa means habit due to constant practice (satata-kriya).
b.A Samskara is a blockage, an impression from the past.
c.Samskara is meaning the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical energies that follow the individual into this lifetime from past lifetimes.

Mental Formations and Impressions (Samskaras in Sanskrit) belong to the Five Aggregates and compose the second link in the principle of Dependent Origination in Buddhist philosophy. Samskara is a Sanskrit word (Pali: Sankhara) that means "to fashion” or “to do together." Other translations for samskara include fabrication, formation, latent impression, residual impression, predisposition, imprint, innate tendency, mold, or inborn nature.

Samskaras refer to the impressions left in your mind after any experience, which includes the tendencies or predispositions that you acquire as a result of these impressions. These impressions may also include any repetitious activity, good and bad, pleasant or unpleasant, which creates karma that binds us to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

The experience of a traumatic event as a child, for example, is an unpleasant experience caused by external factors that may leave a strong impression in the mind. If this problem is not addressed, this may lead to serious long-term negative consequences such as the inability to respond appropriately to stress.

Another example is the impression left by the pleasant experience of eating junk food and sweets. Some people actually get addicted to these kinds of stuff. What usually happens when we experience something pleasant is that we tend to mindlessly repeat it without considering its long-term effects. The wordhabit” may seem to be an appropriate translation of samskara, but its full scope includes other patterns of behavior that we also exhibit as you can see from the previous example.

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"Each aspect of a deity has its own symbolism. For example, Vajrayogini, a red semi-naked dancing goddess related to the Prajnaparamita and known as the "Mother of all the Buddhas," has three bloodshot eyes symbolizing her ability to know the past, present, and future. Her crown of five skulls symbolizes transmuting the five kleshas into the five wisdoms. The 51 severed heads in a garland around her neck show that she has conquered the 51 samskaras (ego-centered concepts). Her fangs terrify the maras, or the demons of ego-clinging. The flames she stands in are the flames of wisdom."

"Formation, or concept (sometimes "compositional factors") refers, in a general way to thinking. More particularly, it refers to the type of activity that takes place in a mind. There are fifty-one divisions, called samskaras, each with additional subdivisions:

These 51 States may be: virtuous, nonvirtuous, neither or variable

As is indicated above, they divide into five groups and are either virtuous, nonvirtuous, neither virtuous nor nonvirtuous, or are variable."

In Hinduism, samskara can refers either to a series of ritual initiations (Sanskar) or more importantly, to formations in the mind, impressions, consequences.

In Hinduism, any of the personal sacraments traditionally observed at every stage of life, from the moment of conception to the scattering of one's funeral ashes. The observance of the samskaras is based on custom and on such texts as the Puranas, and differs considerably according to region, caste, or family. The most generally accepted list of 16 traditional samskaras includes ceremonies for conception, a male birth, name-giving, the upanayana, and marriage. There is also a body of noncanonical samskaras performed by and for the benefit of women.