The second jhanic factor, vicara, the mate to vitakka, is the capacity of mind to sustain the attention on the object to which it has been directed.
Vicara is the quality of attention that stays with and penetrates the object of perception.
When vicara is strong, you can remain aware of the full length of the breath from the beginning, middle, and through to the end of each one.
Vicara sinks into its object and gets to know it with penetrative clarity.
Because vicara is an explorative aspect of thought, the term has been translated variously into English as “examination,” “sustained thought,” “pondering, contemplation,” and “investigation.”
In the context of jhana practice, the specific function of vicara is to sustain the attention on the chosen object.
Sustained connection stabilizes and smoothes consciousness.
Vicara has been likened to the resounding of a bell.
Vitakka directs the attention to the object (or strikes the bell) then vicara sustains the attention (like the lingering resounding of a bell).
Repeatedly directing attention to the breath brings a sustained knowledge of the breath.
Vicara holds the attention on a mental object, permitting concentration to deepen.”

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jennifer on August 21, 2015 at 2:13 am

    This is really deep. Dissecting to the scientific extreme, in which you excel! 🙂

  2. Well, let me try and simplify it

    We start out with the breathing track, we focus on one breath, one cycle.

    Then we try to add sequncial breathes.

    We are building focus, we are trying to sustain more and more breathes with the mind empty.

    Thus the second phase, sustained attention.

    Next, we focus empty Long enough that an expansive, rapture feeling is felt.

    When we extend and deepen our practice more and more another stage of depth emerges

    The more you sit, the deeper and more powerful your practice becomes.

    Be aware, notice,,observe the depth of your practice.

  3. Posted by Jennifer on August 21, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Beautifully explained. Thank you.

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