Can Pāḷi's "vā" be synchronously disjunctive but sequentially conjunctive?

Accompanied by the utterly generous attention of @Sylvester, I’ve tried deriving a translation of the Bhikkhunupassaya Sutta of the Satipaṭṭhāna Saṃyutta (SN 47.10)—a sutta discussed by @Gabriel in the discussion topic below—based on the text and translation into English that has been made so graciously available here on SuttaCentral.

However, there is a specific sentence in the sutta that I’m having particular difficulty with+ and I’ve since meandered rather recklessly into a devastatingly attractive speculation that taking the indeclinable “vā” there as synchronously disjunctive but sequentially conjunctive—perhaps to be rendered in English as ‘and’ of narrative sequence as opposed to one of synchronous conjunction—would accord with my own experiences.

Any confirmation, rejection, or even perhaps just some orientation on this matter would very much be appreciated.

+ [pi] [en]

Tassa kāye kāyānupassino viharato kāyārammaṇo vā uppajjati kāyasmiṃ pariḷāho, cetaso vā līnattaṃ, bahiddhā vā cittaṃ vikkhipati.

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.


Just for clarification, could you please add how your reading would change the meaning?

I considered clarifying further, but I do mean to address the question very specifically to grammarians, as per the original of this topic.

If you’d like, I can invite you to take a look at the private topic I’d been using to work on it.

Generally speaking, can be conjunctive, and indeed this is quite common. In breath meditation, for example, it says to contemplate when breathing in breathing out, which can hardly mean either the in or out breath!

As for the temporal implications, I would have to see more detail before commenting.


In breath meditation, it depends on what stage one is in. It is both disjunction and conjunction.

In practical sense, early stage of breath meditation, va applies as disjunction, conjunction is a rare case. Some people don’t even have breath to take, that requires many sessions for him to be able to find either one of it; mostly find the outbreath first.

So do we know that you are doing out-breath or in-breath or both? There is instance that one may experience the light ring appear coming from the back head to the front of your face, converging in close to the nose and disappear; and it repeats. That is not because you are converging the attention, that is because you are taking only outbreath as the object. This is one way nimitta mimic out-breath, a very unstable parikamma nimitta. One may experience as well the opposite, fusing out, from front small become large and disappear to the back; perceived only in-breath as object. When one experiences both, the parikamma nimitta resonance to the breath, then we can say that it is somewhat ‘conjunction’.

And the interesting part is it can be conjunction and disjunction at the same time. A more stable parikamma nimitta when beginning to transform to stable parikamma, it has both. Perception combine out+in into a rod type nimitta (conjunction) and yet maintain disjunction later by having a different tone of ring on the rod moving out &/ in on the rod. This spark the beginning of transformation of parikamma to uggaha.

My take is va in breath meditation, should be taken as both, disjunctive and conjunctive.

Note: This is one of the example on parikamma nimitta, others may vary, it is unstable, not to be put attention into; just stay with the breath, let it develop naturally!

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