AN 6.10 buddha, dhamma, sangha recollection V&V -> 7sb -> 4 jhanas

V&V (vitakka & vicara) = directed-thought & evaluations.

V&V is implicit in this sutta. I’ve built a “no peyyāla” un-elided version of the sutta and clearly labeled the 7sb (awakening factors) so you can see how it leads to the 4j (jhanas), and how V&V from first jhana is not “placing the mind & keeping it connected”. It needs to “thinking” to have meaning.

The terms V&V are not explicitly stated in the sutta, but the fact that each of the recollections is a long series of thoughts in quotation marks, we can safely assume it’s vitakka (thinking).

The fact that pīti -sam-bojjhanga (rapture) arises, we can deduce that vicara (evaluation/pondering/consideration) must have happened. You don’t just recite words by rote and have an emotional reaction unless you’ve contemplated the meaning. The type of spiritual bliss engendered by each of the 6 recollections have nuances that differ from each other. Again, that must mean vicara (evaluation) was doing some thinking, not just “keeping the mind glued to a kasina”.


(1. Buddh-ānu-s-sati)

“Yo so, mahānāma, ariyasāvako āgataphalo viññātasāsano,
“Mahānāma, when a noble disciple has reached the fruit and understood the instructions
so iminā vihārena bahulaṃ viharati.
they frequently practice this kind of meditation.
Idha, mahānāma, ariyasāvako tathāgataṃ anussarati:
Firstly, a noble disciple recollects the Realized One:
‘iti-pi so bhagavā
'Thus-indeed, he, the-Blessed-one,
arahaṃ sammā-sambuddho
(an) Arahant, properly-awakened,
su-gato loka-vidū
well-gone, world-knower,
an-uttaro purisa-damma-sārathi
un-surpassed man-training-leader,
satthā deva-manussānaṃ
teacher (of) devas-(and)-humans,
buddho bhagavā’ti —
(the) awakened-one, the-blessed-one -

(7sb+ derived awakening factor sequence)

[b1] Yasmiṃ, mahānāma, samaye ariyasāvako tathāgataṃ anussarati
[b1] When a noble disciple recollects the Realized One
nevassa tasmiṃ samaye
at that time
rāga-pariyuṭṭhitaṃ cittaṃ hoti,
their mind is not full of greed,
na dosa-pariyuṭṭhitaṃ cittaṃ hoti,
their mind is not full of hate,
na moha-pariyuṭṭhitaṃ cittaṃ hoti;
their mind is not full of delusion;
ujugata-me-vassa tasmiṃ samaye cittaṃ hoti
At that time their mind is unswerving,
tathāgataṃ ārabbha.
based on the Realized One.
[b2] Ujugata-citto kho pana, mahānāma, ariya-sāvako
[b2] (of) unswerving-mind, ***, (a) noble-one’s-disciple
labhati attha-vedaṃ,
obtains {experience of inspiration, awe, and joy in} – meaning,
labhati dhamma-vedaṃ,
obtains {experience of inspiration, awe, and joy in} – Dhamma-[teachings],
labhati dhamm-ūpasaṃhitaṃ pā-mojjaṃ.
obtains Dhamma-connected profuse-merriment.
[b4] Pa-muditassa pīti jāyati,
[b4] (When they’re) profusely-merry, rapture springs up.
[b5] pīti-manassa kāyo passambhati,
[b5] (with) en-raptured-mind, body (becomes)-pacified.
passaddha-kāyo sukhaṃ vediyati,
(with) pacified-body, pleasurable-[sensations] (he) experiences.
[b6] sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati.
[b6] (with) pleasure, mind (becomes) undistractable-&-lucid.
Ayaṃ vuccati, mahānāma:
This is called
‘ariya-sāvako visamagatāya pajāya samap-patto viharati,
a noble disciple who lives in balance among people who are unbalanced,
Sa-byāpajjāya pajāya a-byāpajjo viharati,
and lives untroubled among people who are troubled.
Dhamma-sotaṃ samāpanno
They’ve entered the stream of the teaching
buddhā-nus-satiṃ bhāveti’. (1)
and develop the recollection of the Buddha.

Uhh. That brings to mind profuse merriment in taverns carousing with ale.
May we please choose something perhaps less unrestrained?
For example, “carefree” would be less … intoxicated.

In my life, merriment has been a trap of Mara. It took me many years to see and walk away from that trap of “endless” delight. Merriment to me is synonymous with relishing as Bhante Sujato has translated in MN1.

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There’s no perfect way to translate it. My directive is to pick translations that are consistent and easy to identify what pali word I was matching, at the cost of fluency and nuance in English.

For jhana, there are so many “happy” factors, and English translators use the same English words differenty from each other. You have no idea what pali word they’re referring to.

So here’s a partial glossary of what I use:
sukha = pleasure or pleasant
sāta = satisfaction (in AN 8.63, it would be functionally equivalent to sukha)
pīti = rapture (following bodhi and thanissaro)
rati = relish (both words start with “r” )
nanda = joy

variation on the verb modati (being-merry), b.bodhi usually translates as “gladness”
mudita (3rd brahma vihara) = merryment (both words start with “m”)
pa-mojja = (mojja same root as mudita) = profuse-merriment
abhip-pa-modaya, in 16 APS I had “mirth”, but I’m going to change it to be “merry” for consistency

‘abhip-pa-modayaṃ cittaṃ assasissāmī’ti sikkhati,
(10) ‘abundantly-producing-mirth (in the)-mind, (I) will-breathe-in.’ (Thus he) trains.

mirth and merry mean pretty close to the same thing. I go with “merry” because everyone knows that “merry christmas”, most people probably don’t know what “mirth” means.

“merry christmas” does have some of the flavor of metta and mudita in there, so it’s not just drunk hedonists that own that word.

Nanda (joy) in pali has positive and negative connotations as well.

another thing going for “merry” is that it is predominantly a mental/emotional aspect of happiness, just as pīti and pamojja the Buddha frequently stress the mental aspect “piti manassa, kayo pi passambhati” (with mind enraptured, body becomes pacified).

sāta and “satisfaction”

they might even have a common indo-euro root. how perfect is that?

I can’t get no, pīti sukha.
I can’t get no, sāta action,
but I try…

Unfortunately, “merry” is also used even more commonly throughout literature as “eat, drink and be merry”, which is the toast of gluttony. This is a dangerous translation. Even “mirth” is quite dangerous because it is often used in a malicious sense (“The bully’s mirth at my pain”) and infused with mocking. Please do consider Venerable Bodhi’s use of “gladness”, which has requisite gratitude built in.


I’ll keep that in mind. All of my translations are meant as a bridge to understanding the pali. But I’ve been thinking about translating a handful of suttas in fluent english, taking a lot more liberties than other translators (because my pali+english translation is there for comparison).

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It’s hard to really know how most people understand words. For me, “love” is just as tainted in the same way as “merry” is to you. And B. Sujato translates metta as “love”. So really it’s important when reading the suttas to try to understand it on its terms, and not impose our own baggages. So following that advice, I can tolerate “love” as a translation for metta because I understand what B. Sujato means by that, and I can put aside my ideas of how most English speakers abuse that concept of “love”.

I tell my friends that “love is what you give.” That always gives pause and clarifies further discussion. :joy:

Language is quite mutable. I’ve often seen a single word shift meanings several times in my life. I think we owe the world translations that have at least some permanence beyond a decade. To achieve this, I would rely on definitions used in English literature, which embody meanings that are taught between generations. The “meaning of the moment” is quite slippery and often perverted, twisted and tainted by marketing and advertising. At least in literature, we can understand words in the context of entire bodies of writing where the authors use words clearly and consistently. I would not rely on Shakespeare, since that language itself is so opaque that it eludes us today. However, there is much in English literature that we can use for the purpose of translation. Interestingly, the Bible itself has stabilized word meanings in this way. I am not Christian, yet I will quote the Bible:

Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. Acts14:17 (King James)