Hi Friend Han and other SD Friends,-
I hope this conclusion will leave a similar impression on your mind
like a loud, colorful and bright firework of a New Year celebration.
As a summary of Part II, vitakka in the sense of thinking (either
kusala or akusala dhamma) or general thought conception (i.e.
introducing the citta and its concomitants to a mind object) appears
in the suttas less often than the meaning associated with
concentration in the first jhana (i.e. lifting and fixing the mind to
an object of mindfulness during a meditation -- samatha & vipassana).
The thinking imbued with sensuality or ill-will for example can arise
anytime, anywhere, while we are walking in a shopping mall, talking to
a friend, or even while we are sitting on a cushion meditating. But
lifting and fixing the citta on a meditation object (e.g. 'body in the
body'; 'feeling in the feeling', 'citta in the citta', 'dhamma in the
dhamma') is not 'thinking' in the general sense.
I'd like to conclude that the mental action (see also, MN 61) that
does not tolerate an arisen akusala-vitakka (i.e. by trying to abandon
it, destroy it, dispel it, & wipe it out of existence) is vitakka in
the jhana sense. Why do I think so? Simply because when you lift your
mind and fix it on an akusala dhamma with 'pahaana sanna'[the
perception of abandoning; see AN 10.60 Girimananda Sutta] this mental
action leads to elimination of hindrances. The sutta quote below
supports this finding. It is essentially the same as samma-sankappa,
the second factor of the Noble Eightfold Path.
"Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that
becomes the inclination of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing
thinking imbued with renunciation, abandoning thinking imbued with
sensuality, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with
renunciation. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with non-ill
will, abandoning thinking imbued with ill will, his mind is bent by
that thinking imbued with non-ill will. If a monk keeps pursuing
thinking imbued with harmlessness, abandoning thinking imbued with
harmfulness, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with harmlessness.
"Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have
been gathered into the village, a cowherd would look after his cows:
While resting under the shade of a tree or out in the open, he simply
keeps himself mindful of 'those cows.' In the same way, I simply kept
myself mindful of 'those mental qualities.'
"Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness
established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated &
single. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful
mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture &
pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought &
evaluation. [MN 19: Dvedhavitakka Sutta]
Part III, the last one on vitakka & vicara will follow shortly after this.
Your friend tep
--- In SariputtaDhamma@yahoogroups.com
, "Tep Sastri" <indriyabala@...>
> Dear Han (and all SD Friends), -
> I would like to make a note that the common translation of 'vitaka &
> vicara' is 'thinking & pondering' e.g. by both Thanissaro Bhikkhu and
> Bhikkhu Bodhi. Bhikkhu Nanamoli's translation is "directed thought &
> evaluation", which sounds better to me. Yet, I prefer the meanings we
> have seen in "Samma Samadhi -- Detachment within Activity" (that
> article was introduced in the Part I of this thread). Here is my
> Vitakka is the lifting the mind (in term of attention) to fix it at
> and vicara is the reflecting on (or "mingling with") the "various
> happenings" or mental sensations after the fixing.
> In short, 'vicara' is the contemplation of a mind object after
> lifted the mind to it. Unfortunately, I cannot shorten it further
to just one
> word for vitakka and one word for vicara.
> I have reviewed some suttas on vitakka & vicara; my findings are now
> given below.
> 1. The Buddha classified vitakka into two sorts :" 'Why don't I keep
> dividing my thinking into two sorts?' So I made thinking imbued with
> sensuality(kama-vitaka), thinking imbued with ill
> thinking imbued with harmfulness(vihimsa-vitaka) one sort, and thinking
> imbued with renunciation, thinking imbued with non-ill will, & thinking
> imbued with harmlessness another sort." [MN 19: Dvedhavitakka Sutta;
> Two Sorts of Thinking. Thanissaro Bhikkhu]
> 2. Unwholesome thoughts in general are 'akusala vitakkas': the "evil,
> unskillful thoughts -- connected with desire, aversion, or delusion"
> [MN 2: Vitakkasanthana Sutta]. Whenever these akusala vitakkas are
> replaced by their opposites the mind is steadied within, settled down,
> unified and concentrated.
> "When, indeed, bhikkhus, evil unskillful thoughts due to reflection
> adventitious object are eliminated, when they disappear, and the mind
> stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated just within
> (his subject of meditation), through his reflection on an object
> connected with skill, through his pondering on the disadvantages of
> unskillful thoughts, his endeavoring to be without attentiveness and
> reflection as regards those thoughts or through his restraining,
> subduing, and beating down of the evil mind by the good mind with
> clenched teeth and tongue pressing on the palate, that bhikkhu is
> called a master of the paths along which thoughts travel. The thought
> he wants to think, that, he thinks; the thought he does not want to
> that, he does not think. He has cut down craving, removed the fetter,
> rightly mastered pride, and made an end of suffering." [Translated by
> Bhikkhu Bodhi. The words in the parentheses are also his.]
> 3. Abandoning 'akusala vitakkas' whenever they arise is a duty of
> noble disciples who develop wholesome thoughts into perception
> through practicing 'pahaana saññaa'.
> "And what is the perception of abandoning? There is the case where a
> monk does not tolerate an arisen thought of sensuality. He abandons it,
> destroys it, dispels it, & wipes it out of existence. He does not
> an arisen thought of ill-will. He abandons it, destroys it, dispels
> wipes it out of existence. He does not tolerate an arisen thought of
> harmfulness. He abandons it, destroys it, dispels it, & wipes it out of
> existence. He does not tolerate arisen evil, unskillful mental
> He abandons them, destroys them, dispels them, & wipes them out of
> existence. This is called the perception of abandoning.
> [AN 10.60: Girimananda Sutta]
> 4. Closely related to 'vitaka' is 'mano-kamma' (that is translated
> as "mental action") in the sense of 'kamma cetana' or karmical
> volitions. MN 61 tells us that kamma cetana is accompanied by
> vitakka -- but they are different.
> "Whenever you want to perform a mental act, and while you are
> performing a mental act, you should reflect on it: 'This mental act
> to perform -- would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of
others, or to
> both? Is it an unskillful mental act, with painful consequences,
> results?' [MN 61 : Instructions to Rahula]
> 5. Vitaka & vicara are found in many suttas about jhanas and samma-
> samadhi, e.g. DN 22 and the following Maha Kaccana's excellent
> discourse on meditation.
> "And how is the mind said to be internally positioned? There is the
> case where a monk, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from
> unskillful (mental) qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana:
> pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought &
> evaluation. His consciousness follows the drift of the rapture &
> pleasure born of withdrawal, is tied to... chained... fettered, &
> the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal. Or
> with the stilling of directed thought & evaluation, he enters &
> the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification
> of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation internal
> assurance." [MN 138:]
> 6. The closest translation for vitakka & vicara (as compared to my
> favorite in the Part I article) is "initial thought & discursive
> in the following translation of MN 125 (by a non-monk author).
> "The Tathagata then disciplines him further, saying: 'Come you, monk,
> fare along contemplating the body in the body, but do not apply
> yourself to a train of thought connected with the body; fare along
> contemplating the feelings in the feelings... the mind in the mind...
> mental states in mental states, but do not apply yourself to a train of
> thought connected with mental states.'
> "He by allaying initial thought and discursive thought, with the mind
> subjectively tranquilized and fixed on one point, enters on and abides
> in the second meditation which is devoid of initial and discursive
> thought, is born of concentration and is rapturous and joyful."
> [MN 125: Dantabhumi Sutta]
> In the next post I will present a summary from my review of a few
> sources other than the suttas.
> Please feel free to give me your feedback anytime. Also, please be
> encouraged to expand upon the above reviews so that I will learn
> something new too !
> Best wishes,
> your friend