bahasa inggris pun bingung juga tuh
In Pāli texts, the term manasikara refers to a state of “directed attention”, where e.g. an adept directs his attention at a certain phenomenon in meditation. The same use is also known for the term manaskāra in Sanskrit.
At the same time, in Buddhist epistemological treatises within the fold of the pramāṇa tradition, “manaskāra” features as one of a set of causes for perception. Perception, paradigmatically sense-perception, arises out of an object, a sense-faculty, potential additional factors such as light in the case of visual perception, and a preceding moment of consciousness termed “manaskāra”. This is usually also translated as “attention”.
In conversations here and there, it has occurred to me that there is some confusion about what “manaskāra” in Buddhist epistemology actually is. If “attention” is required for a perception to arise, this suggests the participation of some kind of directionality of the mind in the causation of perception. One is looking for something to eat and sees food.
But to my understanding, “manaskāra” in Buddhist epistemology functions not to direct one’s mind towards specific objects, but in a much weaker sense: to ensure that the perceiving subject is not asleep, not afflicted by diseases that obstruct perceptions, not intoxicated, and so forth. It is not an “attention” towards something in particular, but a general condition of normality on the part of the mind-stream. This differs from earlier uses of “manasikara”/”manaskāra”.
Can this weaker sense still be understood from the translation “attention” or should we look for a better term? I thought of “attentiveness”, but it might have the same misleading connotations.
This deserves to be followed up: are there any explicit discussions in Sanskrit texts on this topic?