AN 9.34 V&V why foolish cow is doomed
if you don't have a proper understanding of V&V
In Vimt. (will pull up quotes later) and EBT, first jhana foolish cow (AN 9.34) and skillful cook (SN 47.8) works on purifying wrong thoughts, replacing them with right thoughts (renunciation, non-lust, good will, etc, dukkha), understanding why wrong thoughts happen, finding strategies to remove them, purifing right view and right thought to get into first jhana.
vism. is reduced to samatha kung fu. This is not to denigrate samatha kung fu, that is important and has its place, but for first jhana, the salient and main feature the EBT passages is going after is replacing unskillful wrong thoughts/intentions with right ones connected to the Dhamma, and then attenuating those right thoughts until the volume is turned down enough to satisfy kaya and citta passaddhi and slide you into first jhana. Very different approach.
I spent many years in a VIsm. Jhana training system monastery in asia, so this is a firsthand account, not a theory or hearsay. I’ve seen people spend years just trying to get into first jhana using the Vism. approach of samatha kung fu and protecting their breath nimitta as Vism. recommends for the activity of V&V. (AN 9.34) The foolish cow is not only foolish under the Vism. model, it’s doomed.
You can compare how Vism.'s use of V&V in first jhāna is quite different than Vimt. They’re both working on earth kasina, and the method is the same, but Vimt. still takes care to mention “separation from lust and hindrances”, the most prominent part of samma sankappo that is active as V&V (vitakka and vicara) in first jhana.
Vism. on the other hand, they segregate the normal “thinking” aspects of V&V to the access concentration portion, and under first jhāna, V&V only takes on the narrow “fixity”.
So this is how this affects the foolish cow. The EBT and vimt. pasture for first jhāna is completely different than the pasture for Vism.!
On the Vism. pasture, they’re trying to anxiously protect a mentally generated visual image of an earth kasina, a photographic memory of a brown/red disk. V&V is striking, threshing, at the disk, trying to “dive into it” to get the redefined Vism. Jhāna.
On the Vimt. pasture, they’re using the same meditation technique, but they still acknowledge that hindrances, thoughts of sensuality, ill will , etc, are part of the job of V&V in first jhana. (applied and sustained thought is translator’s choice of words).
In Vism., V&V becomes reduced to just a pure samatha kung fu training exercise. This is why they had to create “access concentration” , a term not in the EBT. To restore the important functionality of V&V and S&S (sati and sampajano) that they pulled out of EBT jhāna.