The Relationship of Vitakka and Vicāra
In the development of jhānic states, these two factors of vitakka and vicāra, accurate aim and impingement, are absolutely important. The two of them have a close relationship which is much discussed in the scriptures. Below are two examples.
Imagine that you have a brass cup that is covered with dirt and stains. You take brass polish and put it on a rag. Holding the cup in one hand, you use the other hand to rub the rag against its surface. Working diligently and carefully, soon you will have a shiny cup.
In the same way, a yogi must hold his or her mind in the particular place where the primary object is occurring, the abdomen. He or she keeps applying mindfulness at that place, rubbing it until the stains and pollution of the kilesas disappear. Then he or she will be able to penetrate into the true nature of what is happening at that spot. He or she will comprehend the process of rising and falling. Of course, if other objects become more prominent than the primary object, a yogi must note them applying vitakka and vicāra toward the new phenomena.
Holding the mug with one hand is analogous to vitakka, while the polishing action is analogous to vicāra. Imagine what would happen if this yogi only held on to the mug and did not polish it. It would remain as dirty as before.
If he or she tried to polish it without holding it steady, it would again be impossible to do a good job. This illustrates the interdependency of the two factors.
... it seems the words used during one's insight meditation mask the phenomenon being observed slightly ...
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