continuing the discussion from here, on vitakka & vicara being straightforward thought & evaluation, with no controversy in northern EBT schools
Let me illustrate the point by means of the much disputed terms ‘vitakka’ and ‘vicāra’. Unlike with the interpretations in the Theravāda tradition, there seems to have been no major disagreement among the Northern Schools as to the meaning of those terms.
vitarkaḥ katamaḥ. paryeṣako manojalpaḥ cetanāprajñāviśeṣaḥ yā cittasyaudārikatā.
vicāraḥ katamaḥ. pratyavekṣako manojalpas tathaiva yā cittasya sūkṣmatā. anabhyūhāvasthāyāṃ cetanā abhyūhāvasthāyāṃ prajñeti vyavasthāpyate.
Sphuṭārthā Abhidharmakośavyākhyā 64-65
'What is ‘vitarka’? A mental murmur of enquiry (paryeṣako manojalpaḥ), which rests on the support of volition (cetanā) or speculative knowledge (prajñā), according as it does not or does include deduction (abhyūha), It is a gross state of mind.
What is ‘vicāra’ ? A mental murmur of judgment (pratyavekṣako manojalpas) which rests on the volition, etc. (as above). That is the subtleness of mind.’
(Translation by P.S. Jaini in the Introduction to his edition of the Abhidharmadīpa, p. 87).
P.S. Jaini remarks: ‘Here ‘vitarka’ refers to the state of enquiry of mind and ‘vicāra’ to the state of judgment.’
In the Sphuṭārthā passage cited above Yaśomitra quoted the view of the old masters (pūrvācārya). Almost identical explanations are found in various treatises of Asaṅga (e.g. Abhidharmasamuccayabhāṣyam 8-9) and Vasubandhu (e.g. Pañca-Skandhaka 64). A similar explanation is also found in Harivarman’s Satyasiddhiśāstra 215 -216.
I wonder if Bhantes @sujato and @brahmali can comment on this?
specifically, from the sanskrit and english translation of that above, it seems to confirm @criznaassertion that in northern EBT schools, there is no controversy for V&V (vitakka & vicara).
vitarka = thinking ( state of enquiry of mind)
vicāra = evaluation (A mental murmur of judgment (pratyavekṣako manojalpas) )
- do you agree with that? (in northern EBT schools there would be no way to translate V&V as "placing the mind & keeping it connected)
- as leaders of the EBT movement, how do you weigh the northern EBT schools vs. Theravada EBT and consider that in your English translations?
Ajahn @brahmali, could you please explain exactly what you mean by pre-verbal movements of the mind, and cite Theravada EBT passages where that occurs? I know you believe it occurs in standard first jhana formula, but surely if the Buddha is going to redefine V&V to have a completely different meaning than V&V outside of first jhana, then somewhere in the thousands of EBT pali suttas the Buddha would explain that? And if there is no Theravada EBT passage where the Buddha makes the V&V redefinition, then shouldn’t Bhante @sujato follow his cardinal rules of translation of “principle of least meaning” and “ockham’s razor is usually correct”?
Yes, the sanskrit passage quoted is not EBT, but that Abhidharma definition is the most commonly accepted one, representative of how the Northern EBT texts understand V&V. Just as Theravada’s KN Pe, is also not EBT, and neither are Vimt., Te Ab Vb (theravada abhidhamma commentary on first jhana), but they are all consistent with a straightforward ockham’s razor interpretation of V&V as “directed-thought & evaluation” inside and outside of first jhana. (see YARVII chronicles link below for detailed pali+english audits supporting the claim)
When EBT passages contradicts non-EBT, that should be taken into consideration. But when non-EBT commentary is agreeing with a straightforward EBT reading, that should also be taken into consideration and cast doubt on Bhante Sujato’s translation of V&V as “placing the mind & keeping it connected.”