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Re: vitakka and vicára

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  • societe_bouddhiste_gotama
    In the recent French translation of the Visuddhimagga (which, in fact, is the best one, surpassing a lot the English translation of Nanamoli), Christian Maës
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 1, 2004
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      In the recent French translation of the Visuddhimagga (which, in
      fact, is the best one, surpassing a lot the English translation of
      Nanamoli), Christian Maës transaltes vittakka and vicaara as "prise-
      ferme" (firm-grip) and "application-soutenue" (sustained-
      application) and thus does not make any reference to the thinking-
      process.

      Hope this helps,
      with metta,
      Ivan



      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, macdocaz1@a... wrote:
      > A critic of the translation of the Pali terms 'vitakka'
      and 'vicára'
      >
      > I have been studying the Pali canon in English translation as a
      means of
      > providing canonical support for my subjective contemplative
      experiences. Through
      > this study I have come across a few key areas that seem like
      errors in
      > translation. The Pali terms 'vitakka' and 'vicára' are two of
      those words that seem
      > to be incorrectly translated. I have appended to this post a copy
      of a
      > definition for the Pali words 'vitakka' and 'vicára' from
      NYANATILOKA's, Manual of
      > Buddhist Terms and Doctrines.
      >
      > There you will find NYANATILOKA translates 'vitakka' and 'vicára'
      as
      > "thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
      sustained thought')."
      > I do not believe the historic Buddha was intending that one arrive
      at jhana
      > through an intellectual activity, but one of subjective
      investigation through
      > meditation, therefore not as a process of thinking and reasoning.
      >
      > I believe it must be an erroneous translation of the Pali words
      > "vitakka-vicára" to say that through an intellectual pursuit, such
      as "applied and
      > sustained thought" the Buddha said one can arrive at jhana. On
      the Jhana Support
      > Group, we have found no evidence to support a belief
      that "intellectual
      > investigation," or "applied and sustained thought," or "thought-
      conception and
      > discursive thinking" will ever lead anywhere other than ignorance
      delusion and doubt
      > (dukkha).
      >
      > I believe vitakka and vicára, if they lead to jhana, must be
      better
      > translated as 'concentration' in which one "turns and returns
      one's mind," or "applies
      > and reapplies" one's attention to one's meditation object. It is
      however
      > possible that the Pali language might be inadequate to make the
      distinction
      > between concentration and discursive thinking.
      >
      > Thank-you very much for your time. If you care to discuss this
      further,
      > then please respond to me either here, or directly off-list, or on
      the Jhana
      > Support Group.
      >
      > Kindest regards,
      >
      > Jeff Brooks
      >
      > Jhana Support Group
      > A support group for ecstatic contemplatives
      > website http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jhanas/
      > Subscribe: Jhanas-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
      >
      > From the Buddhist Dictionary
      > Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
      > by NYANATILOKA
      > http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/u_v/vitakka_vicaara.htm
      >
      > vitakka-vicára
      >
      > 'thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
      sustained
      > thought') are verbal functions (vací-sankhára: s. sankhára) of the
      mind, the
      > so-called 'inner speech ('parole interieure'). They are
      constituents of the 1st
      > absorption (s. jhána), but absent in the higher absorptions.
      >
      > (1) "Thought-conception (vitakka) is the laying hold of a thought,
      giving it
      > attention. Its characteristic consists in fixing the consciousness
      to the
      > object.
      >
      > (2) "Discursive thinking (vicára) is the roaming about and moving
      to and fro
      > of the mind.... It manifests itself as continued activity of mind"
      (Vis.M. IV).
      >
      > (1) is compared with the striking against a bell, (2) with its
      resounding;
      > (1) with the seizing of a pot, (2) with wiping it. (Cf. Vis . IV.).
    • abhishek
      vittakka means a cross wit and vicaara is a problem rendering for quiet long societe_bouddhiste_gotama wrote:In the recent
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 2, 2004
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        vittakka means a cross wit and vicaara is a problem rendering for quiet long

        societe_bouddhiste_gotama <societe_bouddhiste_gotama@...> wrote:In the recent French translation of the Visuddhimagga (which, in
        fact, is the best one, surpassing a lot the English translation of
        Nanamoli), Christian Maës transaltes vittakka and vicaara as "prise-
        ferme" (firm-grip) and "application-soutenue" (sustained-
        application) and thus does not make any reference to the thinking-
        process.

        Hope this helps,
        with metta,
        Ivan



        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, macdocaz1@a... wrote:
        > A critic of the translation of the Pali terms 'vitakka'
        and 'vicára'
        >
        > I have been studying the Pali canon in English translation as a
        means of
        > providing canonical support for my subjective contemplative
        experiences. Through
        > this study I have come across a few key areas that seem like
        errors in
        > translation. The Pali terms 'vitakka' and 'vicára' are two of
        those words that seem
        > to be incorrectly translated. I have appended to this post a copy
        of a
        > definition for the Pali words 'vitakka' and 'vicára' from
        NYANATILOKA's, Manual of
        > Buddhist Terms and Doctrines.
        >
        > There you will find NYANATILOKA translates 'vitakka' and 'vicára'
        as
        > "thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
        sustained thought')."
        > I do not believe the historic Buddha was intending that one arrive
        at jhana
        > through an intellectual activity, but one of subjective
        investigation through
        > meditation, therefore not as a process of thinking and reasoning.
        >
        > I believe it must be an erroneous translation of the Pali words
        > "vitakka-vicára" to say that through an intellectual pursuit, such
        as "applied and
        > sustained thought" the Buddha said one can arrive at jhana. On
        the Jhana Support
        > Group, we have found no evidence to support a belief
        that "intellectual
        > investigation," or "applied and sustained thought," or "thought-
        conception and
        > discursive thinking" will ever lead anywhere other than ignorance
        delusion and doubt
        > (dukkha).
        >
        > I believe vitakka and vicára, if they lead to jhana, must be
        better
        > translated as 'concentration' in which one "turns and returns
        one's mind," or "applies
        > and reapplies" one's attention to one's meditation object. It is
        however
        > possible that the Pali language might be inadequate to make the
        distinction
        > between concentration and discursive thinking.
        >
        > Thank-you very much for your time. If you care to discuss this
        further,
        > then please respond to me either here, or directly off-list, or on
        the Jhana
        > Support Group.
        >
        > Kindest regards,
        >
        > Jeff Brooks
        >
        > Jhana Support Group
        > A support group for ecstatic contemplatives
        > website http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jhanas/
        > Subscribe: Jhanas-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        > From the Buddhist Dictionary
        > Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
        > by NYANATILOKA
        > http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/u_v/vitakka_vicaara.htm
        >
        > vitakka-vicára
        >
        > 'thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
        sustained
        > thought') are verbal functions (vací-sankhára: s. sankhára) of the
        mind, the
        > so-called 'inner speech ('parole interieure'). They are
        constituents of the 1st
        > absorption (s. jhána), but absent in the higher absorptions.
        >
        > (1) "Thought-conception (vitakka) is the laying hold of a thought,
        giving it
        > attention. Its characteristic consists in fixing the consciousness
        to the
        > object.
        >
        > (2) "Discursive thinking (vicára) is the roaming about and moving
        to and fro
        > of the mind.... It manifests itself as continued activity of mind"
        (Vis.M. IV).
        >
        > (1) is compared with the striking against a bell, (2) with its
        resounding;
        > (1) with the seizing of a pot, (2) with wiping it. (Cf. Vis . IV.).




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      • Jeffrey S. Brooks
        Hello Cheang, and thank-you for kindly posting the beautiful quote from Ajahn Brahmavamso. I do not debate that the first jhana is not accompanied by a small
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 3, 2004
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          Hello Cheang, and thank-you for kindly posting the beautiful quote
          from Ajahn Brahmavamso. I do not debate that the first jhana is not
          accompanied by a small amount of discursive thinking and other
          cognitive processes, however certainly the discursive thinking would
          not be either applied, nor sustained thought, or otherwise jhana would
          not arise. I know this because jhana is a regular feature of my
          contemplative practice, and I have numerous students who have given
          rise to jhana, and they do not experience either applied, nor
          sustained thought. In fact I have found jhana typically does not rise
          until after shamata, calm abiding has arisen. Therefore if calm
          abiding is a necessary precondition to even the first jhana, then
          where is there an opportunity of either applied or sustained thought?

          Also, in the canon there is a definite indication that Vitakka and
          Vicaara is spoken of as an access factor or condition of jhana, not as
          a hindrance to the first jhana, but a property of it. And, since I
          have found that applied and sustained concentration leads to the first
          jhana, and I also recognize that very few Theravadans, teachers,
          Bhikkhus or layman experience jhana, because most of them are 'dry'
          practitioners, then I assume the reason for the difficulty in their
          dry practice is in not realizing that Vitakka and Vicaara are access
          factors, and that the access factor for the first jhana is not applied
          and sustained thought, but applied and sustained concentration.

          Kindest regards,

          Jeff Brooks

          --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "cheangoo" <cheangoo@h...> wrote:
          > Hi Jeff,
          >
          > Jhaana is one of the most difficult experiences to describe without
          > actually having gone through it oneself. I haven't. However, Ajahn
          > Brahmavamso in his upcoming book on "The Beautiful Breath" gives a
          > very beautiful, easy to follow and understand account on what Vitakka
          > and Vicaara means in the contaxt of the First Jhaana which I quote :
          > The "Wobble" (Vitakka and Vicaara). All jhaanas are states of
          > unmoving bliss, almost. However in the Fisrt Jhaana, there is some
          > movement discernible. I call this movement the "wobble" of First
          > Jhaana. One is aware of great bliss, so powerful it has subdued
          > completely the part of the ego that wills and does. In Jhaana, one
          > is on automatic pilot, as it were, with no sense of being in
          > control. However the bliss is so delicious that it can generate a
          > small residue of attachment.. The mind, not the doer, instinctively
          > grasps at the bliss. Because of First Jhaana is fuelled by letting
          > go, such involuntary grasping weakens the bliss. Seeing the bliss
          > weaken, the mind automatically lets go of its grasping and the bliss
          > increases in power again. The mind then grasps again, then lets go
          > again. Such subtle involuntary movement gives rise to the wobble of
          > First Jhaana.
          > This process can be perceived in another way. As the bliss
          > weakens because of the involuntary grasping, it seems as if
          > mindfulness moves a small distance away from the bliss. Then the
          > mindfulness gets pulled back into the bliss as the mind automatically
          > lets go. This back and forth movement closs to the bliss, is a
          > second way of describing the same First Jhaana wobble.
          > This wobble is, in fact, the pair of First Jhaana factors
          > called Vitakka and Vicaara. Vicaara is the involuntary grasping of
          > the bliss. Vitaqkka is the automatic movement back inot bliss. Somne
          > commentators expain the pair, Vitakka and Vicaara, as "initial
          > thought" and "sustained thought". While in other contexts this pair
          > can refer to thought, in Jhaanas they certainly mean something else.
          > It is impossible that such a gross activity as thinking can exist in
          > such a refined state as Jhaana. In fact, thinking ceases a long
          > time prior to Jhaana. In Jhaana, Vitakka and Vicaara are both sub-
          > verbal and so don't qualify as thought. Vitakka is the sub-verbal
          > movement of mind back into bliss. Vicaara is the sub-verbal movement
          > of mind that holds on to the bliss. Outside of Jhaana, such movement
          > will often generate thought, and sometimes even speech. But in
          > Jhaana, Vitakka and Vicaara are too subtle to create any thought.
          > All they are capable of doing is moving mindfulness back onto the
          > bliss, and holding mindfulness there. This movement is the wobble of
          > First Jhaana, represented as the pair of First Jhaana factors,
          > Vitakka and Vicaara."
          >
          > Hope this helps.
          > mettacittena
          > Cheang Oo
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, macdocaz1@a... wrote:
          > > A critic of the translation of the Pali terms 'vitakka' and 'vicára'
          > >
          > > I have been studying the Pali canon in English translation as a
          > means of
          > > providing canonical support for my subjective contemplative
          > experiences. Through
          > > this study I have come across a few key areas that seem like errors
          > in
          > > translation. The Pali terms 'vitakka' and 'vicára' are two of
          > those words that seem
          > > to be incorrectly translated. I have appended to this post a copy
          > of a
          > > definition for the Pali words 'vitakka' and 'vicára' from
          > NYANATILOKA's, Manual of
          > > Buddhist Terms and Doctrines.
          > >
          > > There you will find NYANATILOKA translates 'vitakka' and 'vicára'
          > as
          > > "thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
          > sustained thought')."
          > > I do not believe the historic Buddha was intending that one arrive
          > at jhana
          > > through an intellectual activity, but one of subjective
          > investigation through
          > > meditation, therefore not as a process of thinking and reasoning.
          > >
          > > I believe it must be an erroneous translation of the Pali words
          > > "vitakka-vicára" to say that through an intellectual pursuit, such
          > as "applied and
          > > sustained thought" the Buddha said one can arrive at jhana. On the
          > Jhana Support
          > > Group, we have found no evidence to support a belief
          > that "intellectual
          > > investigation," or "applied and sustained thought," or "thought-
          > conception and
          > > discursive thinking" will ever lead anywhere other than ignorance
          > delusion and doubt
          > > (dukkha).
          > >
          > > I believe vitakka and vicára, if they lead to jhana, must be better
          > > translated as 'concentration' in which one "turns and returns one's
          > mind," or "applies
          > > and reapplies" one's attention to one's meditation object. It is
          > however
          > > possible that the Pali language might be inadequate to make the
          > distinction
          > > between concentration and discursive thinking.
          > >
          > > Thank-you very much for your time. If you care to discuss this
          > further,
          > > then please respond to me either here, or directly off-list, or on
          > the Jhana
          > > Support Group.
          > >
          > > Kindest regards,
          > >
          > > Jeff Brooks
          > >
          > > Jhana Support Group
          > > A support group for ecstatic contemplatives
          > > website http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jhanas/
          > > Subscribe: Jhanas-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
          > >
          > > From the Buddhist Dictionary
          > > Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
          > > by NYANATILOKA
          > > http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/u_v/vitakka_vicaara.htm
          > >
          > > vitakka-vicára
          > >
          > > 'thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
          > sustained
          > > thought') are verbal functions (vací-sankhára: s. sankhára) of the
          > mind, the
          > > so-called 'inner speech ('parole interieure'). They are
          > constituents of the 1st
          > > absorption (s. jhána), but absent in the higher absorptions.
          > >
          > > (1) "Thought-conception (vitakka) is the laying hold of a thought,
          > giving it
          > > attention. Its characteristic consists in fixing the consciousness
          > to the
          > > object.
          > >
          > > (2) "Discursive thinking (vicára) is the roaming about and moving
          > to and fro
          > > of the mind.... It manifests itself as continued activity of mind"
          > (Vis.M. IV).
          > >
          > > (1) is compared with the striking against a bell, (2) with its
          > resounding;
          > > (1) with the seizing of a pot, (2) with wiping it. (Cf. Vis . IV.).
        • Jeffrey S. Brooks
          Hello Ivan, and thank-you for your very interesting contribution to this dialog. It seems that firm-grip and sustained-grip might indicate concentration. I
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 3, 2004
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            Hello Ivan, and thank-you for your very interesting contribution to
            this dialog. It seems that firm-grip and sustained-grip might
            indicate concentration. I do not know what else it would.

            Best regards,

            Jeff Brooks

            --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "societe_bouddhiste_gotama"
            <societe_bouddhiste_gotama@y...> wrote:
            > In the recent French translation of the Visuddhimagga (which, in
            > fact, is the best one, surpassing a lot the English translation of
            > Nanamoli), Christian Maës transaltes vittakka and vicaara as "prise-
            > ferme" (firm-grip) and "application-soutenue" (sustained-
            > application) and thus does not make any reference to the thinking-
            > process.
            >
            > Hope this helps,
            > with metta,
            > Ivan
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, macdocaz1@a... wrote:
            > > A critic of the translation of the Pali terms 'vitakka'
            > and 'vicára'
            > >
            > > I have been studying the Pali canon in English translation as a
            > means of
            > > providing canonical support for my subjective contemplative
            > experiences. Through
            > > this study I have come across a few key areas that seem like
            > errors in
            > > translation. The Pali terms 'vitakka' and 'vicára' are two of
            > those words that seem
            > > to be incorrectly translated. I have appended to this post a copy
            > of a
            > > definition for the Pali words 'vitakka' and 'vicára' from
            > NYANATILOKA's, Manual of
            > > Buddhist Terms and Doctrines.
            > >
            > > There you will find NYANATILOKA translates 'vitakka' and 'vicára'
            > as
            > > "thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
            > sustained thought')."
            > > I do not believe the historic Buddha was intending that one arrive
            > at jhana
            > > through an intellectual activity, but one of subjective
            > investigation through
            > > meditation, therefore not as a process of thinking and reasoning.
            > >
            > > I believe it must be an erroneous translation of the Pali words
            > > "vitakka-vicára" to say that through an intellectual pursuit, such
            > as "applied and
            > > sustained thought" the Buddha said one can arrive at jhana. On
            > the Jhana Support
            > > Group, we have found no evidence to support a belief
            > that "intellectual
            > > investigation," or "applied and sustained thought," or "thought-
            > conception and
            > > discursive thinking" will ever lead anywhere other than ignorance
            > delusion and doubt
            > > (dukkha).
            > >
            > > I believe vitakka and vicára, if they lead to jhana, must be
            > better
            > > translated as 'concentration' in which one "turns and returns
            > one's mind," or "applies
            > > and reapplies" one's attention to one's meditation object. It is
            > however
            > > possible that the Pali language might be inadequate to make the
            > distinction
            > > between concentration and discursive thinking.
            > >
            > > Thank-you very much for your time. If you care to discuss this
            > further,
            > > then please respond to me either here, or directly off-list, or on
            > the Jhana
            > > Support Group.
            > >
            > > Kindest regards,
            > >
            > > Jeff Brooks
            > >
            > > Jhana Support Group
            > > A support group for ecstatic contemplatives
            > > website http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jhanas/
            > > Subscribe: Jhanas-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
            > >
            > > From the Buddhist Dictionary
            > > Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
            > > by NYANATILOKA
            > > http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/u_v/vitakka_vicaara.htm
            > >
            > > vitakka-vicára
            > >
            > > 'thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
            > sustained
            > > thought') are verbal functions (vací-sankhára: s. sankhára) of the
            > mind, the
            > > so-called 'inner speech ('parole interieure'). They are
            > constituents of the 1st
            > > absorption (s. jhána), but absent in the higher absorptions.
            > >
            > > (1) "Thought-conception (vitakka) is the laying hold of a thought,
            > giving it
            > > attention. Its characteristic consists in fixing the consciousness
            > to the
            > > object.
            > >
            > > (2) "Discursive thinking (vicára) is the roaming about and moving
            > to and fro
            > > of the mind.... It manifests itself as continued activity of mind"
            > (Vis.M. IV).
            > >
            > > (1) is compared with the striking against a bell, (2) with its
            > resounding;
            > > (1) with the seizing of a pot, (2) with wiping it. (Cf. Vis . IV.).
          • John Kelly
            Jeff, Thanks for raising such an interesting topic. These are indeed difficult words to translate accurately in English. Concerning their application in the
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 4, 2004
            • 0 Attachment
              Jeff,
              Thanks for raising such an interesting topic. These are indeed
              difficult words to translate accurately in English. Concerning
              their application in the jhanas, I think you're right on in
              interpreting them as applied and sustained concentration.

              I learned from Sister Dipankara (a Burmese bhikkhuni from the Pau
              Auk monastery) that vitakka means turning the mind strongly to the
              object of concentration, and vicara is the holding of one's
              attention firmly on that object. Knowing a little French as I do,
              it appears that the translations Ivan gave us capture this well too.

              metta,
              John
              --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Jeffrey S. Brooks" <macdocaz1@a...>
              wrote:
              > Hello Ivan, and thank-you for your very interesting contribution to
              > this dialog. It seems that firm-grip and sustained-grip might
              > indicate concentration. I do not know what else it would.
              >
              > Best regards,
              >
              > Jeff Brooks
              >
              > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "societe_bouddhiste_gotama"
              > <societe_bouddhiste_gotama@y...> wrote:
              > > In the recent French translation of the Visuddhimagga (which, in
              > > fact, is the best one, surpassing a lot the English translation
              of
              > > Nanamoli), Christian Maës transaltes vittakka and vicaara
              as "prise-
              > > ferme" (firm-grip) and "application-soutenue" (sustained-
              > > application) and thus does not make any reference to the
              thinking-
              > > process.
              > >
              > > Hope this helps,
              > > with metta,
              > > Ivan
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, macdocaz1@a... wrote:
              > > > A critic of the translation of the Pali terms 'vitakka'
              > > and 'vicára'
              > > >
              > > > I have been studying the Pali canon in English translation as
              a
              > > means of
              > > > providing canonical support for my subjective contemplative
              > > experiences. Through
              > > > this study I have come across a few key areas that seem like
              > > errors in
              > > > translation. The Pali terms 'vitakka' and 'vicára' are two of
              > > those words that seem
              > > > to be incorrectly translated. I have appended to this post a
              copy
              > > of a
              > > > definition for the Pali words 'vitakka' and 'vicára' from
              > > NYANATILOKA's, Manual of
              > > > Buddhist Terms and Doctrines.
              > > >
              > > > There you will find NYANATILOKA translates 'vitakka'
              and 'vicára'
              > > as
              > > > "thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
              > > sustained thought')."
              > > > I do not believe the historic Buddha was intending that one
              arrive
              > > at jhana
              > > > through an intellectual activity, but one of subjective
              > > investigation through
              > > > meditation, therefore not as a process of thinking and
              reasoning.
              > > >
              > > > I believe it must be an erroneous translation of the Pali
              words
              > > > "vitakka-vicára" to say that through an intellectual pursuit,
              such
              > > as "applied and
              > > > sustained thought" the Buddha said one can arrive at jhana.
              On
              > > the Jhana Support
              > > > Group, we have found no evidence to support a belief
              > > that "intellectual
              > > > investigation," or "applied and sustained thought,"
              or "thought-
              > > conception and
              > > > discursive thinking" will ever lead anywhere other than
              ignorance
              > > delusion and doubt
              > > > (dukkha).
              > > >
              > > > I believe vitakka and vicára, if they lead to jhana, must be
              > > better
              > > > translated as 'concentration' in which one "turns and returns
              > > one's mind," or "applies
              > > > and reapplies" one's attention to one's meditation object. It
              is
              > > however
              > > > possible that the Pali language might be inadequate to make
              the
              > > distinction
              > > > between concentration and discursive thinking.
              > > >
              > > > Thank-you very much for your time. If you care to discuss
              this
              > > further,
              > > > then please respond to me either here, or directly off-list,
              or on
              > > the Jhana
              > > > Support Group.
              > > >
              > > > Kindest regards,
              > > >
              > > > Jeff Brooks
              > > >
              > > > Jhana Support Group
              > > > A support group for ecstatic contemplatives
              > > > website http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jhanas/
              > > > Subscribe: Jhanas-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
              > > >
              > > > From the Buddhist Dictionary
              > > > Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
              > > > by NYANATILOKA
              > > > http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/u_v/vitakka_vicaara.htm
              > > >
              > > > vitakka-vicára
              > > >
              > > > 'thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
              > > sustained
              > > > thought') are verbal functions (vací-sankhára: s. sankhára) of
              the
              > > mind, the
              > > > so-called 'inner speech ('parole interieure'). They are
              > > constituents of the 1st
              > > > absorption (s. jhána), but absent in the higher absorptions.
              > > >
              > > > (1) "Thought-conception (vitakka) is the laying hold of a
              thought,
              > > giving it
              > > > attention. Its characteristic consists in fixing the
              consciousness
              > > to the
              > > > object.
              > > >
              > > > (2) "Discursive thinking (vicára) is the roaming about and
              moving
              > > to and fro
              > > > of the mind.... It manifests itself as continued activity of
              mind"
              > > (Vis.M. IV).
              > > >
              > > > (1) is compared with the striking against a bell, (2) with its
              > > resounding;
              > > > (1) with the seizing of a pot, (2) with wiping it. (Cf. Vis .
              IV.).
            • Jeffrey S. Brooks
              Thank-you John, for your kind support on this interesting, and somewhat troublesome translation. Kindest regards, Jeff Brooks
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 8, 2004
              • 0 Attachment
                Thank-you John, for your kind support on this interesting, and
                somewhat troublesome translation.

                Kindest regards,

                Jeff Brooks

                --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "John Kelly" <palistudent@y...> wrote:
                > Jeff,
                > Thanks for raising such an interesting topic. These are indeed
                > difficult words to translate accurately in English. Concerning
                > their application in the jhanas, I think you're right on in
                > interpreting them as applied and sustained concentration.
                >
                > I learned from Sister Dipankara (a Burmese bhikkhuni from the Pau
                > Auk monastery) that vitakka means turning the mind strongly to the
                > object of concentration, and vicara is the holding of one's
                > attention firmly on that object. Knowing a little French as I do,
                > it appears that the translations Ivan gave us capture this well too.
                >
                > metta,
                > John
                > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Jeffrey S. Brooks" <macdocaz1@a...>
                > wrote:
                > > Hello Ivan, and thank-you for your very interesting contribution to
                > > this dialog. It seems that firm-grip and sustained-grip might
                > > indicate concentration. I do not know what else it would.
                > >
                > > Best regards,
                > >
                > > Jeff Brooks
                > >
                > > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "societe_bouddhiste_gotama"
                > > <societe_bouddhiste_gotama@y...> wrote:
                > > > In the recent French translation of the Visuddhimagga (which, in
                > > > fact, is the best one, surpassing a lot the English translation
                > of
                > > > Nanamoli), Christian Maës transaltes vittakka and vicaara
                > as "prise-
                > > > ferme" (firm-grip) and "application-soutenue" (sustained-
                > > > application) and thus does not make any reference to the
                > thinking-
                > > > process.
                > > >
                > > > Hope this helps,
                > > > with metta,
                > > > Ivan
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, macdocaz1@a... wrote:
                > > > > A critic of the translation of the Pali terms 'vitakka'
                > > > and 'vicára'
                > > > >
                > > > > I have been studying the Pali canon in English translation as
                > a
                > > > means of
                > > > > providing canonical support for my subjective contemplative
                > > > experiences. Through
                > > > > this study I have come across a few key areas that seem like
                > > > errors in
                > > > > translation. The Pali terms 'vitakka' and 'vicára' are two of
                > > > those words that seem
                > > > > to be incorrectly translated. I have appended to this post a
                > copy
                > > > of a
                > > > > definition for the Pali words 'vitakka' and 'vicára' from
                > > > NYANATILOKA's, Manual of
                > > > > Buddhist Terms and Doctrines.
                > > > >
                > > > > There you will find NYANATILOKA translates 'vitakka'
                > and 'vicára'
                > > > as
                > > > > "thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
                > > > sustained thought')."
                > > > > I do not believe the historic Buddha was intending that one
                > arrive
                > > > at jhana
                > > > > through an intellectual activity, but one of subjective
                > > > investigation through
                > > > > meditation, therefore not as a process of thinking and
                > reasoning.
                > > > >
                > > > > I believe it must be an erroneous translation of the Pali
                > words
                > > > > "vitakka-vicára" to say that through an intellectual pursuit,
                > such
                > > > as "applied and
                > > > > sustained thought" the Buddha said one can arrive at jhana.
                > On
                > > > the Jhana Support
                > > > > Group, we have found no evidence to support a belief
                > > > that "intellectual
                > > > > investigation," or "applied and sustained thought,"
                > or "thought-
                > > > conception and
                > > > > discursive thinking" will ever lead anywhere other than
                > ignorance
                > > > delusion and doubt
                > > > > (dukkha).
                > > > >
                > > > > I believe vitakka and vicára, if they lead to jhana, must be
                > > > better
                > > > > translated as 'concentration' in which one "turns and returns
                > > > one's mind," or "applies
                > > > > and reapplies" one's attention to one's meditation object. It
                > is
                > > > however
                > > > > possible that the Pali language might be inadequate to make
                > the
                > > > distinction
                > > > > between concentration and discursive thinking.
                > > > >
                > > > > Thank-you very much for your time. If you care to discuss
                > this
                > > > further,
                > > > > then please respond to me either here, or directly off-list,
                > or on
                > > > the Jhana
                > > > > Support Group.
                > > > >
                > > > > Kindest regards,
                > > > >
                > > > > Jeff Brooks
                > > > >
                > > > > Jhana Support Group
                > > > > A support group for ecstatic contemplatives
                > > > > website http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jhanas/
                > > > > Subscribe: Jhanas-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > > > >
                > > > > From the Buddhist Dictionary
                > > > > Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
                > > > > by NYANATILOKA
                > > > > http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/u_v/vitakka_vicaara.htm
                > > > >
                > > > > vitakka-vicára
                > > > >
                > > > > 'thought-conception and discursive thinking', (or 'applied and
                > > > sustained
                > > > > thought') are verbal functions (vací-sankhára: s. sankhára) of
                > the
                > > > mind, the
                > > > > so-called 'inner speech ('parole interieure'). They are
                > > > constituents of the 1st
                > > > > absorption (s. jhána), but absent in the higher absorptions.
                > > > >
                > > > > (1) "Thought-conception (vitakka) is the laying hold of a
                > thought,
                > > > giving it
                > > > > attention. Its characteristic consists in fixing the
                > consciousness
                > > > to the
                > > > > object.
                > > > >
                > > > > (2) "Discursive thinking (vicára) is the roaming about and
                > moving
                > > > to and fro
                > > > > of the mind.... It manifests itself as continued activity of
                > mind"
                > > > (Vis.M. IV).
                > > > >
                > > > > (1) is compared with the striking against a bell, (2) with its
                > > > resounding;
                > > > > (1) with the seizing of a pot, (2) with wiping it. (Cf. Vis .
                > IV.).
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