Its an Indian philosophical term meaning
“mental impression, recollection, psychological imprint”.
Simply put: Think of your car’s windshield.
As you drive, a bug hits it, but your wipers arent working.
As you continue to drive, more bugs, maybe a bird,
then some mud, until you cannot see through the windshield.
Now, you are driving with your head sticking out the window.
Now consider the windshield as a samskara ..
a barrier between you and the world.
As a kid (hypothetically), you were told you were ‘stupid’
or ‘fat’ or ‘lazy’ or ‘never amount to anything’,
or ‘smart’ or ‘pretty’ or ‘clever’.
One hears these and other things from teachers,
employers, peers, so that after a while,
one begins to identify with these ideas.
Actually thinking they are ‘Who I Am’.
Working with and through the samskaras
is a way to discover these habits / character traits ..
tracking down their origin,
determining if it is yours or from some external contact,
then consciously deciding to keep it, change it, or eradicate it.
Over the years, Ive worked on relentless tracking down
those layers that obscure self from Self, to arrive at my I AM.
It has taken a lifetime.
Its been worth every moment.
When you meet the Buddha on the road .. Kill Him.