means the way mind
The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...
Attention is the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience....
toward any object. It first referred to pre-Hindu yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...
, later in Buddhist meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....
. It has been translated as "consideration," "deliberation," "examination," and "investigation."
Vicara is a term of buddhist psychology. This term is mostly used to describe the internal feeling of the yogi
who practices samatha
Samatha , śamatha "calm abiding," comprises a suite, type or style of Buddhist meditation or concentration practices designed to enhance sustained voluntary attention, and culminates in an attention that can be sustained effortlessly for hours on end...
bhavana, that is the meditation technique consisting in focusing the mind to one single point.
Nevertheless, this term can be used to describe the practice of vipassana
Vipassanā or vipaśyanā in the Buddhist tradition means insight into the true nature of reality. A regular practitioner of Vipassana is known as a Vipassi . Vipassana is one of the world's most ancient techniques of meditation, the inception of which is attributed to Gautama Buddha...
or even, outside of any meditation context, the simple fact to maintain awareness on any object.
In the meditation practices, the mind catches a mental object (see: vitakka
Vitakka or vitarka , both in Hinduist yoga and Buddhist meditation, means the action of taking care of any object...
), which means the meditator tries to notice a feeling and to stay aware of it. He cultivates consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...
of this object - and the term object is understood as a psychological object, a perception.
Vicara is focusing on an object, and holding it in consciousness, to meditate on it - like meditating over a candle flame. You meditate on the flame, watch it move, so eventually you are no longer yourself, but you can "become" the flame. The meditator focuses all his attention on the object but not on the self image, or the distinction between himself and his environment.
Vicara eventually become one of the five factors of the first jhana.
- Apte, V.S. (1890; rev. ed. 1957-59), The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary. (Poona: Prasad Prakashan).
- Rhys Davids, T.W. & William Stede (eds.) (1921–25), The Pali Text Society’s Pali–English dictionary. (Chipstead: Pali Text Society).