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Vitakka-vicāra: 'thought-conception and discursive thinking', or 'applied and sustained thought' are verbal functions vacī-sankhāra see: sankhāra of the mind, the so-called 'inner speech parole interieure They are constituents of the 1st absorption see: Jhanas but absent in the higher absorptions.
1. Thought-conception vitakka is the laying hold of a thought, giving it attention. Its characteristic consists in fixing the consciousness to the object.
2. Discursive thinking vicara is the roaming about and moving to and fro of the mind. It manifests itself as continued activity of mind; Vis.M IV.
1 is compared with the striking against a bell, 2 with its resounding; 1 with the seizing of a pot, 2 with wiping it. Cf. Vis. IV..
Maha Thera Nyanatiloka. Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, Buddhist Publication Society, first edition 1952.