VOLITIONAL FORMATION : ( sankhara, samskara in sanskrit) refers to actions of physique, speech, and thoughts, that are accompanied by intention ( CETANA) .
It is that this karma which provides rise to future rebirth or ‘ rebirth according to shikhara’. Certain beings come up in numerous realms in keeping with their actions of physique, speech or thoughts. These actions and reactions ( conditioned response) can both be meritorious, demeritorious, and in- between.
There are three sorts of volitional formations:
1. bodily volitional formation
2. verbal volitional formation
3. psychological volitional formation.
CETANA : ( intention, will )
“What one intends, what one plans, and whatever one has a tendency towards:  There is a support for the establishing of consciousness. When consciousness is established, has come to growth, there is inclination. When there is an inclination, there is coming and going. When there is coming and going, there is passing away and being reborn. When there is passing away and being reborn, future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair comes to be. Such is the origination of this entire mass of suffering .”
“If one does not intend and does not plan, but one still obsesses about something, this becomes the basis for the maintenance of consciousness. When there is the basis, there is the support; there is the establishing of consciousness. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.”
“But, bhikkhus, when one does not intend, one does not plan, and one does not have a tendency towards anything no basis exists for the maintenance of consciousness. When there is no basis, there is no support for the establishing of consciousness. When consciousness is unestablished, does not come to growth there is no inclination. When there is no inclination, there is no coming and going. When there is no coming and going, there is no passing away and being reborn. Future birth, aging, and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.” – SN 12.40: Cetana Sutta (3) — Volition
Some may ask ‘ How do we act, have a sense of direction, or make progress in the spiritual path ( or in life) if we let go of intention or will ?’ For instance: ‘ How do we get into a jhana when we don’t search it ?’
An 11.2 An Act of Will :
The causes for the pure growth of Awakening components without will.
Samyutta Nikaya XXVII.7 Cetana Sutta:
“Monks, any desire & passion with regard to intentions involving forms is a defilement of the mind. Any desire & passion with regard to intentions involving sounds…intentions involving aromas…intentions involving flavors…intentions involving tactile sensations…intentions involving ideas is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing.”
Note : Volitional Formation ( sankhara) is the second hyperlink in Dependent Arising. The subsequent hyperlink is Consciousness (Vinnana) .