when we’re working with something at a lower level than V&V, there are other terms the Buddha uses. The most basic sense of V&V, is you hear a teaching, memorize it, then “think” about it. That’s the most frequent context for V&V.
vitakka = thinking, vicara = pondering (the topic established by vitakka). It’s the same in jhana as it is in non-jhana. study this carefully, from a search for anu-vitakka and anu-vicara in the pali suttas:
mn23 sujato - thinking and considering all day all night
Thinking and considering all night about what you did during the day—Yaṃ kho, bhikkhu, divā kammante ārabbha rattiṃ anuvitakketi anuvicāreti— this is the fuming at night. ayaṃ rattiṃ dhūmāyanā. The work you apply yourself to during the day by body, speech, and mind after thinking about it all night—Yaṃ kho, bhikkhu, rattiṃ anuvitakketvā anuvicāretvā divā kammante payojeti kāyena vācāya ‘manasā’— this is the flaming by day. ayaṃ divā pajjalanā. (2–3.)
mn 105 sujato - there’s already words for placing the mind!
Such an individual engages in pertinent conversation, thinking and considering in line with that. They associate with that kind of person, and they find it satisfying.
Lokāmisādhimuttassa kho, sunakkhatta, purisapuggalassa tappatirūpī ceva kathā saṇṭhāti, tadanudhammañca anuvitakketi, anuvicāreti, tañca purisaṃ bhajati, tena ca vittiṃ āpajjati;
But when talk connected with the imperturbable is going on they don’t want to listen. They don’t lend an ear or apply their minds to understand it. They don’t associate with that kind of person, and they don’t find it satisfying.
āneñjapaṭisaṃyuttāya ca pana kathāya kacchamānāya na sussūsati, na sotaṃ odahati, na aññā cittaṃ upaṭṭhāpeti, na ca taṃ purisaṃ bhajati, na ca tena vittiṃ āpajjati.
an 3.112 sujato
And how does desire come up for things that stimulate desire and greed in the past, future, or present? Kathañca, bhikkhave, atīte chandarāgaṭṭhāniye dhamme ārabbha chando jāyati? In your heart you think about and consider things that stimulate desire and greed in the past, future, or present. Atīte, bhikkhave, chandarāgaṭṭhāniye dhamme ārabbha cetasā anuvitakketi anuvicāreti. When you do this, desire comes up, Tassa atīte chandarāgaṭṭhāniye dhamme ārabbha cetasā anuvitakkayato anuvicārayato chando jāyati.
an 5.26 sujato accidentally translates V&V correctly here
But the mendicant thinks about and considers the teaching in their heart, examining it with the mind as they learned and memorized it. api ca kho yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ cetasā anuvitakketi anuvicāreti manasānupekkhati. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how they think about and consider it in their heart, examining it with the mind as they learned and memorized it. Yathā yathā, bhikkhave, bhikkhu yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ cetasā anuvitakketi anuvicāreti manasānupekkhati tathā tathā so tasmiṃ dhamme atthapaṭisaṃvedī ca hoti dhammapaṭisaṃvedī ca. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Tassa atthapaṭisaṃvedino dhammapaṭisaṃvedino pāmojjaṃ jāyati. Being joyful, rapture springs up. Pamuditassa pīti jāyati. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. Pītimanassa kāyo passambhati. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. Passaddhakāyo sukhaṃ vedeti. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. Sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati.
AN 5.73, 74 oral tradition
Furthermore, a mendicant thinks about and considers the teaching in their heart, examining it with the mind as they learned and memorized it.
Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhu, bhikkhu yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ cetasā anuvitakketi anuvicāreti manasānupekkhati.
an 5.155 oral tradition
Furthermore, the mendicants don’t think about and consider the teaching in their hearts, examining it with their minds as they learned and memorized it. Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, bhikkhū yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ na cetasā anuvitakkenti anuvicārenti manasānupekkhanti. This is the fifth thing that leads to the decline and disappearance of the true teaching. Ayaṃ, bhikkhave, pañcamo dhammo saddhammassa sammosāya antaradhānāya saṃvattati.
an 6.51 oral
“Reverend Sāriputta, take a mendicant who memorizes the teaching—“Idhāvuso sāriputta, bhikkhu dhammaṃ pariyāpuṇāti— statements, songs, discussions, verses, inspired sayings, legends, stories of past lives, amazing stories, and analyses. suttaṃ geyyaṃ veyyākaraṇaṃ gāthaṃ udānaṃ itivuttakaṃ jātakaṃ abbhutadhammaṃ vedallaṃ. Then, just as they learned and memorized it, they teach others in detail, make them recite in detail, practice reciting in detail, and think about and consider the teaching in their heart, examining it with the mind. So yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ vitthārena paresaṃ deseti, yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ vitthārena paresaṃ vāceti, yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ vitthārena sajjhāyaṃ karoti, yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ cetasā anuvitakketi anuvicāreti manasānupekkhati.
6.56 VVU phagguna uses V&V to attain arahantship
At the time of death they don’t get to see the Realized One, or to see a Realized One’s disciple. So tamhi samaye maraṇakāle na heva kho labhati tathāgataṃ dassanāya, napi tathāgatasāvakaṃ labhati dassanāya; But they think about and consider the teaching in their heart, examining it with the mind as they learned and memorized it. api ca kho yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ cetasā anuvitakketi anuvicāreti manasānupekkhati. As they do so their mind is freed from the five lower fetters. Tassa yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ cetasā anuvitakkayato anuvicārayato manasānupekkhato pañcahi orambhāgiyehi saṃyojanehi cittaṃ vimuccati.
7.61 VVU moggallana drowsy strategy
But what if that doesn’t work? Then think about and consider the teaching as you’ve learned and memorized it, examining it with your mind. No ce te evaṃ viharato taṃ middhaṃ pahīyetha, tato tvaṃ, moggallāna, yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ cetasā anuvitakkeyyāsi anuvicāreyyāsi, manasā anupekkheyyāsi.
DN 33, 34
yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ cetasā anuvitakketi anuvicāreti manasānupekkhati