Again, MN 20 would beg to differ. This is so dumb it's ridiculous. You know what the problem is? You're still subdividing what I call the first jhana into access concentration and absorption, which I don't do and for various reasons I argue against.
Yeah maybe not the best rabbit hole to go down with this discussion.The texts are a little contradictory when it comes to matching up the Jhānā with other worlds. For example:
“There are beings who are diverse in body but identical in perception, such as the gods of the Brahma-order who are generated through the first (jhāna). This is the second station for consciousness." - DN 15
Here the 1st Jhāna is said to be of one perception only, and those born in the Brahma-order are of the same. Those then who obtain the 1st Jhāna will be reborn in the Brahma worlds, which matches their attainment. However, gods from the Brahma-order are said to descend, or talk to the Buddha and all manner of things that aren't compatible with being constantly in 1 perception. As I say, the texts aren't all that clear. I'm somewhat sceptical of most of the cosmology myself, although not rebirth itself.
Maybe we're not on the same page here as to what "discursive thought" is. When I say "verbal thinking", I'm meaning vitakka-vicara that uses words. For example, we could have the thought "this is impermanent" and it's verbal and I would argue that it meets our purposes. Or conversely you could be having a hard time getting the mind to settle on the breath, so you say to yourself, "okay let's stay with the breath, it's nice, it's peaceful" and that helps our purpose. Further more, you could strongly with the object and are in the process of refining the perception of it to be able to apprehend it in the mind with stability, all the while, it's extraordinarily beautiful so you allow and encourage the mind to indulge it and pay attention to it. That last one, could we not think "ah this is is peaceful, and gets the mind to settle down if we pay attention to it and allow it to soak in and spread all over our consciousness"? My argument is yes, but at that point, you're probably not going to because it's most likely going to be perceived as loud and a waste of energy.That reads more like abandoning a hindrance, which of course is prior to the actual meditation.
It shows that normal thinking tires the mental body. The vitakka-vicāra it then mentions in the Jhāna pericope are the intentions. The sutta supports the claim that normal discursive thought, which is harsh and disturbing, are incompatible with any Jhānā.
But you could. As long as those jhana factors are strong and thinking a verbal thought doesn't damage but rather helps it, then I see no reason not to. Again though, as you pointed out, in most situations, it's unnecessary and somewhat course. My argument is that there are definitely situations in which you can and should use a verbal thought to enact the bathman simile.
Again, please read what I actually said. Dhammavicaya, vitakka-vicara, and vipassana and not the same thing nor are they mutually exclusive.Dhammavicaya is insight into dhammas, which are beneficial and which are not and so on. You can't gain insight without discursive thinking, and you can't have discursive thinking without vicaya (outside of the Jhāna pericope). Even by the Jhāna-lite standard, insight is impossible from the 2nd Jhāna onwards since the very dhamma required for such discursive thought has gone. The bear constituents of nāmakāya on its own is not enough for insight. If it were there would be insight in nevasaññānāsaññāyatana, which would be rather odd don't you think?
What you're describing is true and you must have discursive thinking to set it up but once it's associated with the stable and pervasive pleasure of jhana, vitakka-vicara is no longer required to sustain it. This may be a little confusing, but the action of attending to the object and returning to it with vitakka-vicara is actually what's doing this, not necassarily thinking "I will set up the proper perceptions necessary to attain absorption", (although this can be of use). No it generally occurs more on a visceral level as the proper perceptions necessary for jhana become associated with pleasure, the calm and equanimity, then stillness. Those perceptions definitely have to happen in order to stay in jhana, but we don't have to split our attention with the object to be with them, rather it's staying with the object that actually sets up and perpetuates those perceptions. That's vipassana and it is aided by recollecting the three marks, etc. Am I making sense?
What you're talking about as willed dhammavicaya is a little bit different. If I were to place it, it would go best after the mind is concentrated but it also fits in with vitakka-vicara as discursive thought. It's better to do it with a very concentrated mind, and as you've pointed out, between partaking of distinction to apply insight into the jhana factors and set intention to abandon them. Or conversely, it can be used to settle a distracted mind or to further settle a mind that is partially settled. That's all willed though.
Please listen. Dhammavicaya is willed, vipassana is not necessarily so. Insight does not require discursive thought apart from setting up the conditions the first jhana. In the second, it's still happening but our job is not to "tend" to anything, much less that process. It's there whether we pay attention to it or not, and paying attention to the object is what strengthens it.You just had insight outside of Jhāna via dhamma-vicaya and now you want it inside too when there can literally be no dhamma-vicaya? You can't have your cake and eat it. To have any insight requires discursive thought. This is impossible in any Jhāna, or even from the 2nd Jhāna onwards for the Jhāna-lite crowd, because the dhammas which are necessary conditions for it do not exist in those states. The nāmakāya on it's own is not enough.
It's also of note, this discussion is also purely conceptual-mechanical and will have absolutely no bearing on how it's practiced. To practice, pay attention to the breath and if you mind wanders, bring it back to the breath. let go, relax. If you're doing that, then in a grossly oversimplified way, you have vipassana.