Vitakka [vi+takka] reflection, thought, thinking; "initial application"
(Cpd. 282). -- Defd as "vitakkanaŋ vitakko, ūhanan ti vuttaŋ hoti" at Vism 142 (with simile on p. 143, comparing vitakka with vicāra: kumbhakārassa daṇḍa -- ppahārena cakkaŋ bhamayitvā, bhājanaŋ karontassa uppīḷana -- hattho viya vitakko (like the hand holding the wheel tight), ito c' ito sañcaraṇahattho viya vicāro: giving vitakka the characteristic of fixity & steadiness, vicāra that of movement & display). -- D ii.277 ("pre -- occupation" trsln: see note Dial. ii.311); iii.104, 222, 287 (eight Mahāpurisa˚); M i.114 (dvidhā -- kato v.), 377; S i.39, 126, 186, 203; ii.153; iv.69, 216; A ii.36; iii.87 (dhamma˚); iv.229 (Mahāpurisa˚), 353 (˚upaccheda); Sn 7, 270 sq., 970, 1109; J i.407 (Buddha˚, Sangha˚, Nibbāna˚); Nd1 386, 493, 501 (nine); Nd2 s. v. takka; Ps i.36, 136, 178; Pv iii.58; Pug 59, 68; Vbh 86, 104 (rūpa˚, sadda˚ etc.), 228 (sa˚), 362 (akusala˚); Dhs 7, 160, 1268; Tikp 61, 333, 353; Vism 291 (˚upaccheda); Miln 82, 309; DhsA 142; DhA iv.68; VbhA 490; PvA 226, 230. -- kāma˚, vihiŋsā˚, vyāpāda˚ (sensual, malign, cruel thought): D iii.226; S ii.151 sq.; iii.93; A i.148, 274 sq.; ii.16, 117, 252; iii.390, 428. Opp. nekkhamma˚, avyāpāda˚, avihiŋsā˚ A i.275; ii.76; iii.429. -- vitakka is often combd with vicāra or "initial & sustained application"
Mrs. Rh. D.; Cpd. 282; "reflection & investigation" Rh. D.; to denote the whole of the mental process of thinking
(viz. fixing one's attention and reasoning out, or as Cpd. 17 expls it "vitakka is the directing of concomitant properties towards the object; vicāra is the continued exercise of the mind on that object.
" See also above defn at Vism 142). Both are properties of the first jhāna (called sa -- vitakka sa -- vicāra) but are discarded in the second jhāna (called a˚). See e. g. D. i.37; S iv.360 sq.; A iv.300; Vin iii.4; Vism 85; and formula of jhāna. The same of pīti & samādhi at Vbh 228, of paññā at Vbh 323. The same combn (vitakka+vicāra) at foll. passages: D iii.219 (of samādhi which is either sa˚, or a˚, or avitakka vicāra -- matta); S iv.193; v.111; A iv.409 sq., 450; Nett 16; Miln 60, 62; Vism 453. Cp. rūpa -- (sadda -- etc.) vitakka+rūpa<-> (sadda -- etc.) vicāra A iv.147; v.360; Vbh 103. -- On term (also with vicāra) see further: Cpd. 40, 56, 98, 238 sq., 282 (on difference between v. & manasikāra); Expos. i.188n; Kvu trsln 2381. -- Cp. pa˚, pari˚.
Note. Looking at the combn vitakka+vicāra in earlier and later works one comes to the conclusion that they were once used to denote one & the same thing: just thought, thinking, only in an emphatic way (as they are also semantically synonymous), and that one has to take them as one expression, like jānāti passati, without being able to state their difference. With the advance in the Sangha of intensive study of terminology they became distinguished mutually. Vitakka became the inception of mind, or attending, and was no longer applied, as in the Suttas, to thinking in general
. The explns of Commentators are mostly of an edifying nature and based more on popular etymology than on natural psychological grounds.
Source: http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :1489.pali
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Still occurring in the first jhana, according to the boilerplate...
There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.
"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal...