Vitakka and Vicar come before the verbal (physical with a sound) speach.
… forgive me if this is silly, but … could mindfulness be thoughtless, without thought words concepts numbers, that suspended self less awareness of Being?
I think it might be easy, and a mistake, to confuse Mindfulness with an awareness full of thoughts concepts distinctions words, in english. To not know how many spoonfuls of oatmeal, nor what it weighs or pieces of oats nor anything except enough or not enough… It seems interesting to think, this is Mindful…
Just some musings.
A hug can be mindful without any thought. In fact, perhaps hugs are better without any thoughts. It just feels wrong to hug someone while thinking about turning on the TV. Right?
Or just clap your hands twice. Are thoughts really required?
I think it’s actually harder to be mindful with thought, because thoughts are lively little wiggly beasties that sparkle and distract. I have trouble with this every day trying to listen to DN33 while walking meditation. It is beastly difficult to just listen and be mindful, attending to every word and its meaning. My thoughts keep leaping all over. It’s much easier to just make oatmeal.
I have come to this conclusion myself… words and communication is approximate - always - and in my belief can never be any more than that. Note that communication between 2 people involves 2 x the process.
It never was precise, isn’t precise and never will be precise
We cannot even establish if we all see or understand the colour blue in the same way
IMHO this is why the Buddha always emphasised that he was ‘pointing’ in the direction of enlightenment, and why it can only truly be understood by personal experience. The very need for precise definitions and to know the answers is a form of grasping, of attachment to control and inability to let go… even of something as simple as the need for agreement regarding language
I suppose it is because of these beliefs, that I find the forest traditions so appealing, with a general emphasis on experience as opposed to scholarship
As with life, the suttas are what we make of them.
In this case, I had conducted a separate investigation into the whole blue, yellow, red thing of the suttas. Being obsessive, I thought, why not RGB like our screens? Why would the Buddha use colors that don’t add up to white? So I went to Google and looked up all the flowers mentioned in the suttas. And much to my amazement, the flowers are cyan, yellow and magenta. In other words, they correspond to the CMYK subtractive colors used for color printing (along with black). So they DO add up to a full color palette. The Buddha’s blue is not our blue.
Mindfulness is the Samma Sati whic is before or after Jhana (Samma Samadhi)
In Satipathana initial stages you have Vitakka and Vicara.
I have the idea that speech is based on thought, and that thought is based on feeling.
Meanwhile sanna ( perception ) appears to be “pre-thought”, ie we notice and recognise things but don’t consciously name them. I sometimes do consciously name things, which is an interesting exercise.
Talking ceases when attaining the first jhana.
Without gross Vitakka Vicara, but not the subtle ones- that’s a sign of the second jhana.
We might stop verbal thought when say, watching a film. This is not the same as the second jhana.
Stopping of subtle jhanic vitakka vicara can only happen after meditation.
lol I think I agree, and enjoy how you wrote this. However… I have realized harder is not always better… But that’s maybe a different topic!
Seriously, with or without thought are perhaps different beneficial practices. It was a possible language bias in english which caught my attention.
I agree. I imagine monastics are horrified at my listening to DN33 while “walking meditation”. Sort of like pouring gasoline onto a fire and then trying to put it out at the same time.
But it really is just a mindful exploration. The Buddha did not have earbuds so the argument is moot. I have learned many things from this experience: 1) it is possible to memorize the suttas this way, 2) my memory of the DN33 is now reinforced by physical activity (at this corner the Jain are arguing, etc.) and I have a palpable memory that the Threes are “this many blocks long”, 3) the words sink in even though I am thinking about something else, 4) the exercise is about relinquishing the delight of following trains of thought, etc.
Yes. I also understand that being speechless is a common experience that can be unrelated to jhana. Having attained first jhana, we are speechless, but being speechless does not imply first jhana. By sharing speechless experiences we might come to agreement about verbal processes so that we might understand jhana as it happens.
I agree. When watching a movie I regularly annoy my wife by talking about the movie to her. I can watch or talk effortlessly switching between the two. When I lost my verbal processes, I was helpless. I do not call this jhana. I call it speechless.
Agreed. I have also been speechless while being asked to talk to a group and that was unpleasant. Not jhana. However, that experience of speechlessness was also identical to climbing speechlessness in that I mis-placed my verbal processes. In both cases, stress was a factor. In meditation, there would be no stress.
I can and do talk about feelings. I can also talk about math, which is the study of forms. For example, I attribute no feeling to ¨3¨, but I know its form. That form did arise perhaps from a sight feeling or sound feeling or touch feeling, but now there is just a form. When I was speechless, I had the form but not the name. The names had evaporated. My hands were pointing at forms and making forms in the air but I had lost my verbal processes. From this experience, I associate the verbal processes with ¨naming, summoning a name, thinking a name, speaking a name¨ For me the use of the word ¨thought" has caused me problems in reading the suttas that distinguish between ¨sight¨ and ¨thought¨. For me a seeing a memory of a sight is a thought. Thinking about V&V using ¨naming¨ gives me less of a headache that using ẗhe word ¨thought¨. I.e., ¨naming and the consideration of the named¨is my internal understanding of V&V at this time. Having experienced speechlessness, I have faith that all the naming, all the babbling will eventually just cease as I walk with DN33.
Interesting. So there was recognition of the forms, but you couldn’t “access” the labels?
Just popping in to remind everyone that D&D is a forum to discuss Early Buddhist Texts. While a certain amount of flexibility in focus makes for interesting discussion, this is not the place to discuss individual practice issues.
Ah. So Watercooler is for EBT lay discussion and Discussion is for monastics discussion? I think I had miscategorized the post in DIscussions.
I shall henceforth avoid Discussions. The purpose of this thread is to arrive at a shared lay understanding of vacisankharo in the EBTś by comparing and agreeing on common experiences.
Yes. Not only recognition but active use of form.
To climb something, recognition of form is critical. One needs to understand a climbing hold as graspable. One must also understand one’s own form (e.g., left arm stretched out, right arm bent, weight thus, gaze there, danger there, etc.) and the form of the climb. So very much form was there but apparently no naming.
This applies also to making oatmeal, which I have just realized in the context of SarathW1’s post, also occupies a single breath without naming. The making of oatmeal is a form and it is a form that does not require naming. Saying the words “one two three” is naming parts of the form. The form can also be executed without the names, which is the just making oatmeal. In programming we would say “it has been compiled”, which is identical in meaning to “it now has a binary form” The source form (ie., the names) are not required. Note that names are also forms, they are the “handles for the forms”.
So when I was speechless I had the form but lost the name. I had tossed it away as irrelevant to the task. And the task required full dedication and focus, which meant that nonessentials had to be relinquished.
In this way I am finding that understanding v&v as “naming and contemplation of the named” yields a consistent personal understanding of the suttas as translated by Bhante Sujato. Naming requires the “placing of the mind and connecting it”. Now it is also quite possible that “placing the mind and connecting it” are in fact much more than just naming.
How does this use of naming align with your understanding?
The whole of the forum is dedicated to discussion of EBTs. There’s no separate catagories for lay or monastic. What distinguishes the Watercooler as a catagory is a focus on lighthearted exchanges. The Dhamma Doodles thread is a perfect example.
So that we don’t totally derail your topic, if you have any further questions about the forum and how it operates, feel free to start a topic in the meta catagory.
Ah ok. I was scratching my head on the Watercooler assignment, since discussing vacisankharo in the EBTs doesn’t seem quite suited to light-hearted. I had misunderstood that.
Thanks for the clarification. And Meta thread started as well.
That was probably a mistake on my part. I can move it back if you would like.
Let’s leave it here for now. The sheer number of categories overwhelms me. I’d rather have fewer. Anywhere is fine. I never search by Category, just by phrase. So Watercooler is fine as well.
This morning my wife and I discussed vacīsaṅkhāro. Well not exactly. We discussed speechlessness.
With her permission, I would share this as a new perspective.
She is also a climber but has never lost the “naming” while climbing. However, she did in fact lose the “naming” in the context of public speaking. Interestingly, her experience of speechlessness and cessation of verbal processes was stronger. Not only did she lose the naming, she lost the forms. She did not know what she wanted to say. She was able to move and breath. She was also able to perceive (many peers) and feel (much dread). But the verbal processes went completely blank.
From these experiences of speechlessness, I propose that one might conclude:
Nāmarūpaṃ (name and form) are both necessary for vacīsaṅkhāro (verbal processes). And that when name or form become inaccessible/lost, verbal processes cease and we become speechless. Without names, our forms cannot be shared. Without forms, there may be nothing to share.
It appears that naming can disappear with stress due to exertion or dread. It also appears that dread can blank out forms. What meditation can do is a different issue, yet we have here a basis of common experience that may inform our study and discussion.