Concentration And Meditation

I’ve been having a tough time with my concentration and I was reading this article: How A Few Simple Things Helped Me Meditate Without Losing Concentration. I tried a few of the things mentioned on there and they seemed to helped, but as I was reading around more on other websites / blogs as well.

What some people were saying is that meditation is the opposite of concentration and if you’re concentrating then you’re not meditating. That meditation is expanding the mind while concentration is narrowing it and that the two are mutually exclusive.

Lots of confusing stuff for someone who’s relatively new to it. What do you guys think?


Yea, concentration is a pretty “bad” word to use in a meditation context imo. It has the connotation of straining, stressing, and overexerting in modern English usage:

If you spend enough time reading about meditation you might encounter terms like “one-pointedness”, this is kind of bad for the same reason — it’s very narrow. What’s perhaps more appropriate is talking about one theme, one subject, one place. You should be kind with yourself (your mind) and your meditation subject, this is more beneficial for development. A few meditation teachers have compared it to training a puppy, you don’t get mad at the puppy or yell at it or beat it; you just gently tell it to “stay” and when it inevitably wanders off you gently bring it back and again tell it to “stay”.


Meditation, like exercise, comes in a wide variety of forms. Pick the practice that correctly ‘exercises’ you with respect to the goals of the Dhamma.

This means that one will benefit by studying satipatthana before diving into more concerted contemplative efforts. For a ‘real meditation’ (sitting on the floor & all that jazz), seated satipatthana is a fulsome meditation and perfectly suitable, one which sets the stage for more rarefied efforts.

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The idea is wrong that meditation is ‘expanding the mind’ while ‘concentration is narrowing the mind’ and that the two are mutually exclusive.

The word ‘mindfulness’ (‘sati’) in Buddhism means to ‘remember to apply’ or ‘keep in mind’ the Buddhist path; which means to keep the mind in a clear & aware state that is free from unwholesome & unbeneficial mental states, such as craving & distracting thoughts.

The word for ‘concentration’ in Buddhism is ‘samadhi’. The word ‘samadhi’ means ‘collectedness’ & refers to when the mind gathers together its energy, power, awareness, wisdom & other wholesome qualities due to its practise of ‘mindfulness’. The Pali scriptures states:

Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort & right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions. MN 117

When the mind achieves the perfection of ‘samadhi’, this is called ‘one-pointedness’ or ‘jhana’. The mind here is completely exalted & expanded, i.e., ‘heavenly’. The term ‘one-pointedness’ does not refer to a ‘narrow’ awareness. Instead, it refers to a mind that is completely undistracted.

An analogy is a wheel that spins around an axle. The wheel is fixed to & revolves around the axle. This being fixed to the axle is 'one-pointedness’. However, the wheel itself, which is an analogy for the mind, is not ‘narrow’. Instead, the wheel/mind is both expanded & perfectly functional. If the wheel is not fixed to the wheel, the wheel cannot function properly.

In summary, the proper practise of ‘mindfulness’ causes ‘concentration’ to happen. In other words, ‘concentration’ is continuous unbroken ‘mindfulness’. The Buddhist scriptures state:

In one of right mindfulness, right concentration comes into being…

MN 117


The EBTs are very clear on what are the causes or supporting factors for stillness and convergence of mind and heart (aka concentration). In my case, it is of great help to constantly recollect the AN10.2:

(1)–(2) “Bhikkhus, for a virtuous person, one whose behavior is virtuous, no volition need be exerted: ‘Let non-regret arise in me.’ It is natural that *non-regret arises in a virtuous person", one whose behavior is virtuous.

(3) “For one without regret no volition need be exerted: ‘Let joy arise in me.’ It is natural that joy arises in one without regret.

(4) “For one who is joyful no volition need be exerted: ‘Let rapture arise in me.’ It is natural that rapture arises in one who is joyful.

(5) “For one with a rapturous mind no volition need be exerted: ‘Let my body be tranquil.’ It is natural that the body of one with a rapturous mind is tranquil.

(6) “For one tranquil in body no volition need be exerted: ‘Let me feel pleasure.’ It is natural that one tranquil in body feels pleasure.

(7) “For one feeling pleasure no volition need be exerted: ‘Let my mind be concentrated.’ It is natural that the mind of one feeling pleasure is concentrated.

(8) “For one who is concentrated no volition need be exerted: ‘Let me know and see things as they really are.’ It is natural that one who is concentrated knows and sees things as they really are.

Let me know what you think. :slight_smile: