Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby Sylvester » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:25 am

Kenshou wrote:The practice of the satipatthanas and anapanasati do certainly aim for the abandonment of vitakka and vicara, but I would question whether this means that these practices are only really being practiced when those factors aren't present, or if it's that their abandonment is a result of that practice, with that abandonment specifically occurring with entrance to the 2nd jhana where it is explicitly stated that they cease. Which I believe removes some of the difficulty in determining whether vitakka and vicara in the context of the 1st jhana must refer to something a little different.



Yes, I agree. The borders of the samadhikkhandha are not clearly staked out. But, I suspect, that to the extent that kusalasankappa are present when one is meditating, that would fall within the Sammavayama factor, rather than the Sammasati factor.

One just oscillates between the 2, until the mind is truly settled.

And certainly, as Retro posts, SN 22.59 does seem to lay out a practice that contains a fair bit of "mental chatter" as it were. However, my objection to his reliance on that sutta is two-fold -

1. this practice was outlined in that sutta as pertaining to the ariyasavaka, ie Stream Enterer and above;
2. the outcome of this practice is Nibbida, a very advanced stage of practice that again is limited to ariyasavakas.

This is not vanilla Sammasati. I do not see a single reference to Nibbida or nibbindati in the Satipatthanasamyutta.
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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:47 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:And certainly, as Retro posts, SN 22.59 does seem to lay out a practice that contains a fair bit of "mental chatter" as it were. However, my objection to his reliance on that sutta is two-fold -

1. this practice was outlined in that sutta as pertaining to the ariyasavaka, ie Stream Enterer and above

In connection with this objection, the same instruction can be found in...

MN 28: Maha-hatthipadopama Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The Maha-hatthipadopama Sutta makes no reference to the audience being ariya, and if anything, the fact it is delivered by Sariputta lends further suggestion that they are not necessarily ariya.

Nyanaponika Thera wrote:It is said that whenever Sariputta gave advice, he showed infinite patience; he would admonish and instruct up to a hundred or a thousand times, until his pupil was established in the Fruition of stream-entry. Only then did he discharge him and give his advice to others. Very great was the number of those who, after receiving his instruction and following it faithfully, attained to Arahatship. In the Sacca-vibhanga Sutta (Majjh. 141) the Buddha says: "Sariputta is like a mother who brings forth, while Moggallana is like a nurse of that which has been brought forth. Sariputta trains to the Fruit of stream-entry, and Moggallana trains to the highest goal."

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el090.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby Sylvester » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:50 am

retrofuturist wrote:
What you quoted here appears to relate to the transition between first to second jhana. This is based on the selections of your quote that I have bolded below.

It may be expected of anyone, Ananda—whether bhikkhu or bhikkhuni—who dwells with a mind well established in the four establishments of mindfulness, that such a one will perceive successively loftier stages of distinction.

What four? Here, Ananda, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world. While he is contemplating the body in the body, there arises in him, based on the body, either a fever in the body or sluggishness of mind, or the mind is distracted outwardly.

That bhikkhu should then direct his mind towards some inspiring sign. When he directs his mind towards some inspiring sign, gladness is born. When he is gladdened, rapture is born.

When the mind is uplifted by rapture, the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body experiences happiness. The mind of one who is happy becomes concentrated. He reflects thus: 'The purpose for the sake of which I directed my mind has been achieved. Let me now withdraw it.' So he withdraws the mind and does not think or examine (na ca vitakketi na ca vicāreti). He understands: 'Without thought and examination, internally mindful, I am happy.'



Unfortunately, your interpretation would run up against DN 9, which discusses the role of "thinking" in respect of each of the "peaks of perception" (saññagga) represented by the Jhanas and further attainments. In 1st Jhana, sensual perception ceases, and is replaced by the perception of pitisukha born of seclusion. What holds for each of these peaks of perception is this -

cetayamānassa me pāpiyo, acetayamānassa me seyyo. Ahañceva kho pana ceteyyaṃ, abhisaṅkhareyyaṃ, imā ca me saññā nirujjheyyuṃ, aññā ca oḷārikā saññā uppajjeyyuṃ; yannūnāhaṃ na ceva ceteyyaṃ na ca abhisaṅkhareyyan’ti


"Thinking" destroys the subtle perception of the attainment and brings back the "gross" (oḷārikā ) perception that had been transcended. If one thinks in 1st Jhana, sensual perceptions simply rush back in and that's the end of that 1st Jhana.

To my simple mind, "vitakka" is just one of those polysemous words that admits of degrees and differences of meaning. It all depends on context.
Last edited by Sylvester on Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:03 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby Sylvester » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:56 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:And certainly, as Retro posts, SN 22.59 does seem to lay out a practice that contains a fair bit of "mental chatter" as it were. However, my objection to his reliance on that sutta is two-fold -

1. this practice was outlined in that sutta as pertaining to the ariyasavaka, ie Stream Enterer and above

In connection with this objection, the same instruction can be found in...

MN 28: Maha-hatthipadopama Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The Maha-hatthipadopama Sutta makes no reference to the audience being ariya, and if anything, the fact it is delivered by Sariputta lends further suggestion that they are not necessarily ariya.

Nyanaponika Thera wrote:It is said that whenever Sariputta gave advice, he showed infinite patience; he would admonish and instruct up to a hundred or a thousand times, until his pupil was established in the Fruition of stream-entry. Only then did he discharge him and give his advice to others. Very great was the number of those who, after receiving his instruction and following it faithfully, attained to Arahatship. In the Sacca-vibhanga Sutta (Majjh. 141) the Buddha says: "Sariputta is like a mother who brings forth, while Moggallana is like a nurse of that which has been brought forth. Sariputta trains to the Fruit of stream-entry, and Moggallana trains to the highest goal."

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el090.html

Metta,
Retro. :)


Silence could just as easily be interpreted to mean that the audience were ariyasavaka. And while the Ven Sariputta was compared to the mid-wife, I don't see why that should preclude him from taking others all the way.
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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:53 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:Silence could just as easily be interpreted to mean that the audience were ariyasavaka. And while the Ven Sariputta was compared to the mid-wife, I don't see why that should preclude him from taking others all the way.

It doesn't, but you're clutching at straws here.

(Re: DN 9, I'll have a look at it later and get back to you)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby Sylvester » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:16 am

Straws, moi?

Respectfully, the one misreading MN 28 is the one clutching at straws.

evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ


Can you find any suttas that speak of the putthujana having sammappaññā?
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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:21 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:Can you find any suttas that speak of the putthujana having sammappaññā?

Can you provide an English translation for the Pali tract of text you quote?

Ditto with the part of DN 9 I'm supposed to be looking at - the suttas of the Digha Nikaya are hardly known for their brevity, so some indication as to where you're looking would be helpful. Regardless, whatever your reasons for finding it problematic, ven. Thanissaro was comfortable translating vitakka as thought in DN 9. You may claim he is in error, but at least directly acknowledge that you are doing so.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:When you move from the first to the second jhana, you let go of verbal fabrication, and your relationship to the breath changes. Singleness of preoccupation is a factor of all the levels of jhana, but when you get into the second jhana, the Buddha uses a new term: unification. In unification, it feels as if your awareness and the breath become one. It's not as if you're sitting outside of the breath kneading it through the body; you're immersed in a lake with the cool water of a spring welling up inside. You're actually one with the breath. You don't have to adjust it anymore; you don't have to evaluate it anymore. Things begin to meld together, merge together, and actually stay that way all the way up through the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. This is what happens when you let go of the verbal fabrication of directed thought and evaluation.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ions5.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:21 am

Greetings,

Extract from...

SN 36.11: Rahogata Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"There are these six calmings. When one has attained the first jhāna, speech has been calmed. When one has attained the second jhāna, directed thought & evaluation have been calmed. When one has attained the third jhāna, rapture has been calmed. When one has attained the fourth jhāna, in-and-out breathing has been calmed. When one has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, perception & feeling have been calmed. When a monk's effluents have ended, passion has been calmed, aversion has been calmed, delusion has been calmed."

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby Sylvester » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:04 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Extract from...

SN 36.11: Rahogata Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"There are these six calmings. When one has attained the first jhāna, speech has been calmed. When one has attained the second jhāna, directed thought & evaluation have been calmed. When one has attained the third jhāna, rapture has been calmed. When one has attained the fourth jhāna, in-and-out breathing has been calmed. When one has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, perception & feeling have been calmed. When a monk's effluents have ended, passion has been calmed, aversion has been calmed, delusion has been calmed."

Metta,
Retro. :)


It's all too easy, Retro, to simply cut-&-paste a translation from ATI to bolster your case.

Unfortunately, the task is not that simple, not when the dispute hinges on the meaning and translation of vitakka-vicara. If it were that simple, all I need is to brandish BB and Ven Analayo's comments on what vitakka-vicara mean, in the context of the Jhanas and MN 44. I would have thought we should have outgrown such naive citations of translations, when the translations are themselves the subject of dispute.

Re your request for the corresponding English phrase in MN 28, it's -

Taṃ netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti – evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ.

And that should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: "This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self."


Sammappaññā is not simple theoretical knowledge, but something borne out of a deeply experiential touching of the truth. I can think of no better sutta which describes the place of sammappaññā than MN 8, which seems to equate sammappaññā with the destruction of one of the lower Fetters, which event defines Stream Entry -

"Cunda, as to those several views that arise in the world concerning self-doctrines and world-doctrines, if [the object] in which these views arise, in which they underlie and become active, is seen with right wisdom (sammappaññā) as it actually is, thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self' — then the abandoning of these views, their discarding, takes place in him [who thus sees].


Sammappaññā is not a way of contemplating the khandhas, or the method to Stream-Entry. It is Stream-Entry itself.

As for the DN 9 passage, you could use this from ATI-

'Thinking is bad for me. Not thinking is better for me. If I were to think and will, this perception of mine would cease, and a grosser perception would appear. What if I were neither to think nor to will?'
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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:11 am

Greetings Sylvester,

sylvester wrote:It's all too easy, Retro, to simply cut-&-paste a translation from ATI to bolster your case. Unfortunately, the task is not that simple, not when the dispute hinges on the meaning and translation of vitakka-vicara.

Let us cast the net further then, shall we? Earlier, the following MN 44 translation met with your dissatisfaction...

Nanananda wrote:Having first had the initial thought and discursive thought, one subsequently utters a speech, therefore initial and discursive thought is an activity of speech"."

Slyvester wrote:It is certainly possible to translate the Pali in such a free manner, but the Pali does not discuss the nouns, but the denominative verbs vitakketi and vicareti instead. Should it make a difference?

Let us then see how some other translators address this particular sentence...

Bodhi / Nanamoli wrote:First one applies thought and sustains thought, and subsequently one breaks out into speech; that is why applied thought and sustained thought are the verbal formation

Nanavira Thera wrote:First, friend Visākha, having thought and pondered, afterwards one breaks into speech; that is why thinking-&-pondering are speech-determination.

Sister Upalavanna wrote:Friend, Visaaka, earlier having thought and pondered, someone breaks into speech, therefore thinking and pondering are verbal determinations.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications.

Are all these translators in error? What sayeth our local Pali savant?

sylvester wrote:I think, sometimes, the over-wrought and complicated explanation may be worthwhile pursuing.

Yes, it would seem that is your inclination.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby Sylvester » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:23 am

Naturally I'm happy with BB's translation. You omitted to mention his caution in his SN that vitakka-vicara in the context of Jhana does not mean thought in the ordinary sense of word. Perhaps you missed the fact that BB equates vitakka-vicara with sankappa = intention?
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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:26 am

Greetings Sylvester,

If you're going to make an Appeal To Patchwork, rather than telling me what I "omitted to mention", perhaps you could bring your argument forward more transparently. As it stands, your last post gives no basis upon which anyone could make further investigation into your claims.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:28 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:Sammappaññā is not a way of contemplating the khandhas, or the method to Stream-Entry. It is Stream-Entry itself.

The relevance to Ben's enquiry being what exactly...?

Are you suggesting that certain practices taught by Sariputta and the Buddha should not be attempted prior to Stream Entry?

Or are you saying the culmination of these practices leads to stream-entry (which should serve as a motivation, rather than demotivation for undertaking them)?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby Sylvester » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sylvester,

If you're going to make an Appeal To Patchwork, rather than telling me what I "omitted to mention", perhaps you could bring your argument forward more transparently. As it stands, your last post gives no basis upon which anyone could make further investigation into your claims.

Metta,
Retro. :)


It's difficult to be generous, when you see fit to bring the debate down to this level of non-sequitor -

retrofuturist wrote:
sylvester wrote:
I think, sometimes, the over-wrought and complicated explanation may be worthwhile pursuing.


Yes, it would seem that is your inclination.


Oh well, I don't have to own your anusayas.

I don't have my copy of BB's SN handy, but perhaps recourse to Ven Analayo would not be out of line -

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... itakka.pdf

: see pages 3 and 4.

Similar comments can be found at his "Satipaṭṭhāna: The direct path to realization", pp 75 -79.

As to the relevance of my discussion of "sammappaññā ", it has no relevance to Ben's query. It was directed at your reliance on MN 28 (in which sammappaññā was found), in support of your SN 22.59 interpretation.

As to whether these practices should or should not be developed prior to Stream-Entry, that's a non-starter. Your interpretation calls for a lot of conceptual chatter. To that extent, I would say it probably needs to shut-up, before it even comes close to perfect Sammasati. The avitakka authorities I cited can certainly be developed, and that seems to be how many modern teachers teach the satipatthanas. One cannot avoid thoughts and words when starting the practice, but one has to learn to drop the words to allow the satippathanas to deepen.

The problem with the simplistic reading is that it treat the "iti" markers that populate the satipatthana instructions and Jhana pericopes as denoting "thoughts" or thinking. While iti clitics can function to report direct speech or thoughts, or even show motive, these are not the only grammatical functions of the quotation marks in Pali. It also functions as subject/object complementisers, in this case the verb being either pajanati or vipassati. In Western language philosophy, the complementiser's function is fulfilled by the word "that" (he sees that A is B), whereas in Pali, the complementiser is framed with the iti markers instead (he sees "A is B"). I've said before that the contents of such complementisers in vipassana are sacca-s (truths).

If you look at any of the arupa attainement formulae, each base of the arupa is couched in iti markers. These are not thoughts, but perceptions as DN 9 explains. In fact, if you look closely, DN 9 explicates that each immaterial base is a "sukhumasaccasanna" (a subtle [but/and] true perception). What the "iti" is doing in these cases, be they satipatthanas or jhanas, is to demarcate a proposition that is true.
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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:11 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Thanks for the Ven Analayo link. The synonym "application of the mind" seems reasonable in the sense that it is like a 'truncated' form of thought...

Analayo wrote:The interrelation between these two nuances of vitakka can also be seen in the realm of speech. Here vitakka is, together with vicara, a formation responsible for speaking, vacisankhara (M.I.301). In fact when speaking, at times one may verbally express something that has already been fully formulated in the mind, fully “thought” out. Yet, at other times there may just be a general sense of direction about what one is going to say and one still has to search the right words while speaking. This general sense of direction also falls within the range of meaning of vitakka, not only the fully formulated thoughts at those times when one has already planned one’s speech. This sense of a general direction, in the sense of an application of inclination of the mind, requires the support of vicara in order to be carried through.

As I understand it, sanna requires a 'frame' (being more properly defined as apperception, than perception), but that 'frame' doesn't need to be a rambling internal monologue. It could just be a well worn, habitual "anicca-frame" etc. that once upon a time (or in early stages) may involve the word "anicca" or "impermanent", but in time the word itself becomes an impediment to concentration and observation, and is therefore dropped... but the 'frame' which the word represented and facilitated is not dropped. Could the 'frame' be vicara, perhaps?

sylvester wrote:In Western language philosophy, the complementiser's function is fulfilled by the word "that" (he sees that A is B), whereas in Pali, the complementiser is framed with the iti markers instead (he sees "A is B"). I've said before that the contents of such complementisers in vipassana are sacca-s (truths).

Do you know of any translators who translate in the way you recommend, so we can compare how this plays out in practice?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby Sylvester » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:59 am

retrofuturist wrote:
sylvester wrote:In Western language philosophy, the complementiser's function is fulfilled by the word "that" (he sees that A is B), whereas in Pali, the complementiser is framed with the iti markers instead (he sees "A is B"). I've said before that the contents of such complementisers in vipassana are sacca-s (truths).


Do you know of any translators who translate in the way you recommend, so we can compare how this plays out in practice?



I'll start with a meditation text where this can be contrasted. I don't know how old this translation is, but it was attributed to ATI by VRI -

Breathing in long, he discerns that he is breathing in long; or breathing out long, he discerns that he is breathing out long. [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns that he is breathing in short; or breathing out short, he discerns that he is breathing out short. [3] He trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body, and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body. [4] He trains himself to breathe in calming the bodily processes, and to breathe out calming the bodily processes.
etc


http://www.vipassana.com/canon/majjhima/mn118.php

The Pali, with all its iti-s, is -

Dīghaṃ vā assasanto ‘dīghaṃ assasāmī’ti pajānāti, dīghaṃ vā passasanto ‘dīghaṃ passasāmī’ti pajānāti; rassaṃ vā assasanto ‘rassaṃ assasāmī’ti pajānāti, rassaṃ vā passasanto ‘rassaṃ passasāmī’ti pajānāti; ‘sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī assasissāmī’ti sikkhati, ‘sabbakāyapaṭisaṃvedī passasissāmī’ti sikkhati; ‘passambhayaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ assasissāmī’ti sikkhati, ‘passambhayaṃ kāyasaṅkhāraṃ passasissāmī’ti sikkhati.



The current translation on ATI preserves the iti clitic -

[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'


To be fair and precise, the example above was probably a poor one, since the "iti" was not functioning as a complementiser, but to indicate goal or motive.

A good example of the complementiser that was recently discussed, is a doctrinal text, namely MN 38 here -

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=10017#p153428

The contrast was in how Ajahn Thanissaro rendered the clitic, versus BB using the Western form of the complementiser.

Ajahn Thanissaro -
Haven't I, in many ways, said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness'?


versus MLDB -

"Misguided man, have I not stated in many ways consciousness to be dependently arisen since without a condition there is no origination of consciousness?"


Someone who promoted a labelling approach to satipatthanas, based on the iti markers -

http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2008/03 ... llakkheti/

but he may have changed his mind more recently -

http://theravadin.wordpress.com/

(scroll down to his 11 Jul 11 entry)
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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:15 am

Greetings Sylvester,

Thanks.

Based on what I quoted above from Analayo, and if my paragraph following it holds water, the distinction "in practice" may merely be a matter of degrees... degrees which are difficult to capture in language without being pedantic.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby Sylvester » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:02 am

Hi Retro

I think it may not be just an issue of degree. The Samanamandika Sutta talks of the disappearance of "sankappa" in the Jhanas, and Ven Analayo interprets "sankappa" to be "intention" (From Craving to Liberation, p.44). This disappearing act, if read together with MN 117, suggests that the vacisankhara at the very most basic level are intentions. I'm sure you're familiar the Nidana Samyutta's characterisation of the sankharas to comprise the 3 sankharas = 3 sancetanas, including vacisankhara.

In his "From Grasping to Emptiness", he calls the vacisankhara in 1st Jhana a "subtle mental ripple", p.124.
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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:16 am

Greetings,

Sylvester wrote:vacisankhara at the very most basic level are intentions.

Of course.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Vitakka and Vicara in Jhana practice

Postby Nyana » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:30 am

Sarvāstivāda, Sautrāntika, and Yogācāra ābhidharmikas consistently define vitakka & vicāra as two types of "mental discourse" (manojalpa, lit: "mind-talk"). For example, Vasubandhu defines vitakka as "mental discourse which investigates" (paryeṣako manojalpa) and vicāra as "mental discourse which reflects" (pratyavekṣako manojalpa). Vitakka is considered to be coarse (cittsyaudārikatā) and vicāra comparatively more subtle (cittsyasūkṣmatā). Compare with the Theravāda Peṭakopadesa, which gives a detailed word analysis of these terms in the context of the jhāna formula:

    Vitakka is like a text-reciter who does his recitation silently. Vicāra is like him simply contemplating it (anupassati). Vitakka is like non-comprehension (apariññā). Vicāra is like full comprehension (pariññā). Vitakka is the analytical understanding of language (niruttipaṭisambhidā) and the analytical understanding of knowledge (paṭibhānapaṭisambhidā). Vicāra is the analytical understanding of dhamma (dhammapaṭisambhidā) and the analytical understanding of meaning (atthapaṭisambhidā). Vitakka is the mind's skill in pleasantness. Vicāra is the mind's skill in endeavor. Vitakka is about this being skillful, this unskillful, about this to be developed, this to be abandoned, this to be verified. Vicāra is like the abandoning, the development, the verification.
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