Ekagga vs Ekodibhāva

Compare MN 138 with its Chinese parallel. It appears that the Pali version got its negation with respect to saṇṭhita in the wrong sequence. The Chinese reads more logically.

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So if I’ve got this right, the uddesa in the Chinese @ MA 164 includes a negated version, whereas the Pali does not.

And just to try and match it up, from the brief statements:

(1) 心出外灑散, (2) 心不住內, (3) 不受而恐怖。
(1) 心不出外不灑散,(2) 心住內,(3) 不受不恐怖。
(1) Bahiddhā viññāṇe avikkhitte avisaṭe sati, (2) ajjhattaṃ asaṇṭhite, (3) anupādāya aparitassato

And from the expositions:

Kathañcāvuso, bahiddhā viññāṇaṃ vikkhittaṃ visaṭanti vuccati?
Kathañcāvuso, bahiddhā viññāṇaṃ avikkhittaṃ avisaṭanti vuccati?

Kathañcāvuso, ajjhattaṃ saṇṭhitanti vuccati?
Kathañcāvuso, ajjhattaṃ asaṇṭhitanti vuccati?

Kathañcāvuso, anupādā paritassanā hoti?
Kathañcāvuso, anupādānā aparitassanā hoti?


The Chinese reads more logically, doesn’t it?

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So therefore:

is the same as

[MN 138]

na viveka­ja­pīti­su­khā­nu­sāri viññāṇaṃ hoti
na viveka­japīti­su­khas­sāda­gadhi­taṃ
na viveka­japīti­su­khas­sāda­vini­bandhaṃ
na viveka­japīti­su­khas­sāda­saṃ­yoja­na­saṃ­yuttaṃ

na samā­dhi­ja­pīti­su­khā­nusāri viññāṇaṃ hoti
na samā­dhi­ja­pīti­su­khas­sāda­gadhi­taṃ
na samā­dhi­ja­pīti­su­khas­sāda­vini­bandhaṃ
na samā­dhi­ja­pīti­su­khas­sāda­saṃ­yoja­na­saṃ­yuttaṃ

na upekkhānusāri viññāṇaṃ hoti
na upekkhā­su­khas­sāda­gadhi­taṃ
na upekkhā­su­khas­sāda­vini­bandhaṃ
na upekkhā­su­khas­sāda­saṃ­yoja­na­saṃ­yuttaṃ

na aduk­kha­masu­khā­nu­sāri viññāṇaṃ hoti
na aduk­kha­ma­su­khas­sāda­gadhi­taṃ
na aduk­kha­ma­su­khas­sāda­vini­bandhaṃ
na aduk­kha­ma­su­khas­sāda­saṃ­yoja­na­saṃ­yuttaṃ


Hi Chan

I think AN 3.101 is referring to a nice, well established jhana.

Those sections from MN 138, on the other hand, are said to be describing the meditator who is ajjhatta saṇṭhita. Owing to this weird situation, we have the Theravada tradition struggling to explain asaṇṭhita positively, and treating saṇṭhita negatively. Everywhere else in the suttas, saṇṭhita is a positive quality leading up to concentration.

However, in the Chinese, the negation is reversed. The poor meditation is said to be owing to the meditator being 不住內 (ajjhatta asaṇṭhita). This is in contrast to the Pali which attributes the poor meditation to the meditator being ajjhatta saṇṭhita.

It appears that the laudable quality of being ajjhatta saṇṭhita was accidentally negated into ajjhatta asaṇṭhita, most probably owing to its proximity to the laudable qualities avikkhitta avisaṭa, both of which are laudable in negative form.

If the Pali text is corrected, it should read as (using Ven T’s translation) -

"And how is the mind said to be internally unsettled? There is the case where a monk, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. His consciousness follows the drift of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal, is tied to… chained… fettered, & joined to the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal. …

And how is the mind said to be internally settled? There is the case where a monk, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. His consciousness does not follow the drift of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal, is not tied to… chained to… fettered, or joined to the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal.


In the effort of trying to relate ekodibhuto and ekodibhava, it lead to taking ‘di’ as in ‘dvi’. Looking on it again; i thought of another ‘di’ usage in Malay language.
It is a common word in Malay, usually used to state that something is being done or completed.

My guess is B @Sujato may look at the Malay use of the word ‘di’ as in ‘disatukan’ ie. consolidated; which is acceptable to say like ‘Semangat mereka disatukan’ that means ‘Spiritually, they are united’.
[Side track: In fact the word ‘mereka’ (meaning many people) seems to be derived from the word ‘eka’ which is original just one. I wonder the ‘mer’ part comes from ‘meru’?]

The Malay use ‘di’ in front of ‘eka’ (‘satu’ in Malay), not after. The question is if there is the possibility that the Malay has gone through 1500+ years development in their language; the placement of ‘di’ is reverted?

@SarathW1, In Sinhalese, is there such usage or development of ‘di’?

Sorry I cant help with this.

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:+1: :clap:
The translation with “internally unsettled” & “internally settled” appear to be better as it is more relevant to the rest of the text related to clinging and non-clinging. And it appears to distinguish the fruition jhana and non-fruition jhana.

So it seem that in fruition jhana; does it means that there is no ekaggata & which is probably why ekaggata is not specified in jhana phrase?

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Hi atipattoh

I suspect it is not really related to the non-fruition jhana. I take my cue from the other 2 qualities, ie avikkhitta and avisaṭa. In one context, these pop up as a pair in AN 5.51 in the context of the 5 Hindrances -

Evañhi so, bhikkhave, majjhe nadiyā soto avikkhitto avisaṭo abyādiṇṇo dūraṅgamo ceva assa sīghasoto ca hārahārī ca.

In such a case, the current in the middle of the river would not be dispersed, spread out, and divided, so that the river could travel a long distance, with a swift current, carrying along much flotsam.

On the other hand, you have Iti 94 which talks about the situation where if consciousness is not as such plus it is asaṇṭhita, then there is no rebirth. I don’t see any Agama parallel for Iti 94, so it seems to confirm the Pali reading of MN 138.

On balance, I think Iti 94 has also suffered a textual corruption like MN 138.

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Hi Sylvester,
After you put in the word ‘settled’ & ‘unsettled’, that there appears a different picture. I use to take BB translation as ‘stay in jhana for a period of time’ (stuck) compare to ‘hit and run’ (unstuck) which is pretty odd.
When i tally the ‘internally unsettled’ to passage on ‘agitation caused by clinging’ & ‘internally settled’ to passage on ‘non-agitation caused by lack of clinging’ that distinguishing self view; looks pointing to distinguishing ordinary man from ariyas whereas ariyas does not cling on to the aggregates as self view.


It looks quite alright as it directly follows with ‘not grasping anything’. That’s how i feel.

Could it be that this passage is condensing the whole part of internally settled and unsettled, and non-agitation as lack of clinging?

But related passages being harmonised is preferred.

I wish I could say something with confidence. But that’s the best guess I can offer.

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Hi Sylvester,
I am hoping to explore the following perspective on ajjhattaṃ and ekodi.

The translation of ajjhattaṃ as ‘internally’; in the Pali-English dictionary, we see that ajjhattaṃ being translated as:

  1. in Concise Pali-English Dictionary by A.P. Buddhadatta Mahathera
    ajjhattaṃ:[adv.] inwardly.

2. Pali-Dictionary Vipassana Research Institute
ajjhattaṃ:Relating to the individual,within the individual,internally,subjectively


It appears that in translations of both inwardly and internally; an imaginery line is drawn on salayatana perhaps; the process after that as outwardly/externally, prior to that as inwardly/internally? Internal appear to define a domain, and that is a good choice. I just curious if inwardly means not the same as internally?

When we look at the Jhana itself, the ‘domain’ it self is all that consciousness experience, there is no boundary; in other words, boundary is transparent, therefore can not be defined. Only when we look at our experience from external point of view that we define Jhana domain as internal, but for Jhana experience it self, there is no internal nor external.

Within Jhana experience domain, between the ‘self’ and the ‘object’, a describable experience is only in the relativity relation of outwards and inwards.

Imagine that there are 2 parallel lines drawn on a paper; the line on the left is drawn with an arrow symbol on top, the line on the right is drawn with an arrow symbol at the bottom. If the top arrow is taken as outward, thus for one that is not outwardly diffused and inwardly settled, he stands at the center between the lines.

Say that one is on a road of two way traffic, and a signboard is located at 50 feet’s away in front of him. He does not move towards (outwards) the signboard, and (inwardly settled) he stay without arises of interest on the signboard. It appears that there ‘exist’ an ‘experiense’ of a state of suspension (at the center between). (However, experience does not occur, can only be investigated later, and that is only by means of relativity of prior to and after suspension)

Looking at Jhana in this perspective, ajjhattaṃ=inwardly seems more appropriate.

Furthermore, in these scenario; it looks to me that ekodi may refer to a state of suspension by our conditioned understanding; ‘outwardly not diffused and inwardly settled’.
Thus the signboard is no longer in front, but a 3D surrounding.
So ekodi = outwardly not diffused and inwardly settled?

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Hi hi!

A quick thought before I shut down for CNY. Perhaps we need to check the context of the usage? Was it an adverbial use (ie qualifying a verb) in some cases and adnominal (functioning as an adjective) in others?

I like your analysis of ekodi.

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By relating back again to ekodibhūto & ekodibhāva, taking ‘di’ as in ‘dvi’, & looking into the passage on settled & unsettled; hoping to see if both has similarity that can be tallied.

Outwardly not diffused ) ekodi ( Inwardly settled

I choose to equate ekodi to a longer definition as i feel Suspend may sound negative, but finding myself begin to like this term; taking it as a process that define non-agitation in Jhana… i think i’ll keep it open for now and wait for you guys translation. :relieved:
You all doing translation really carry heavy burden! SADHU!

My CNY day off starts yesterday, 12 days! :grin:
Wish you have a happy CNY break too!

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I especially like @chansik_park 's analysis 14 days ago (Post 19/35), counting the instances of ekodi in several contexts. It does pop up in pre-samadhi contexts, besides the more familiar Second Jhana pericopes.

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I have make a mistake as attempting to take ekodi to the highest definition of non-agitation in Jhana, putting too much emphasis on ‘di’ and neglect ‘eko’.
Thanks for the reference :slight_smile:, i did the counting on the same day as Chan; luckily notice that he did it after i completed mine. Else i may turn up lazy to do it.
Prominent one MN 119 (7x), MN 122 (4x) & the most number of occurrence of ekodi is MN 20 (15x):

I have problem to see how by “crushes mind with mind” leads to singleness; unless there is something else within the bracket. We see that the approach is by means of
(i) give attention to some other sign connected with what is wholesome
(ii) examine the danger in those thoughts
(iii) try to forget those thoughts and should not give attention to them
(iv) give attention to stilling the thought-formation of those thoughts
(v) with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth, he should beat down, constrain, and crush mind with mind
So if (i) does not work goto (ii), else (iii) till (v). It only make sense to me that one has use tactic (v), would have to fall back by (iv), (iii), (ii) & (i); or at least (i) to come to end part.
So by giving the same treatment on tactic (ii) by insert (i) into the bracket ( )

If it is looked at in the sense of inserting the stack of tactic into the later passage, and then the accumulated tactic into the next passage, we can see stages of improvement in the practice.
So it seems that there are missing links & incompleteness in (ii) - (v). In that case, it appears in ‘Vitakkasaṇṭhāna Sutta’, i prefer to take “Tesaṃ pahānā ajjhattameva cittaṃ santiṭṭhati sannisīdati ekodi hoti samādhiyati” as just a bonus statement promising a profit on removal of distracting thought leads to at the end of the practice, ie. Jhana!
ekodi -> eko+odhi, ‘one within boundary’, that would refer to a state of absorption. If we define singleness as absorption, then it looks fine. But singleness could also mean as one facing the signboard undistracted but without absorption; and that undistracted is pretty much temporary. If non-distraction remain for longer time than only there is chance for absorption; that moves into outwardly not diffused, inwardly unsettled.

In MN 122, the term ‘samādahati’ & ‘samādahātabbaṃ’ is unique.
Usual take is ‘samādahati’=saṃ+ādahati. But if i were to take it easy by taking something else though is not in Pali dictionary, i find this to be very interesting and different in perspective, that is
In Malay language understanding: similar/as though + has + heart; in vedic hati may refer to ‘snow’, which may imply ‘pure’ consciousness.
–> as though having a pure heart (mind/consciousness). Interestingly, this rendering seems to fit into the context of the passage quite well that offer explanation of wrong view in taking consciousness as self.

According to my teachers, ekodi = ekaggata and i used to take it plainly as such. But i believe they are not exactly means the same as ekaggata would have easily takes ekodi’s place in the passage, there is no need for another term; being related-to would make more sense. It would be interesting from other perspective by taking ekaggata leads to ekodi; an absorption phenomena or a process as Chan mention.
In this ‘absorption’ that one may mistakenly presume that there is an eternal citta (my pov); as in the question of ‘who is experiencing?’.
In http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh087-u.html
Paragraph 29, the text discuss on the conceit of ‘I am’, a significant extend of the text in the explanation. Perhaps that is the significant aspect for the term ‘samādahati’ being in the suttas, that breaks down further the conceit of consciousness as self, and perhaps reserve non-agitation jhana of inwardly settled to suññata.

‘sama+ada+hati’ is just to open up another perspective, but looking from the Malay language may be un-reliable.

Hi guys,
I just posted a topic on the phrase samāhitaṃ cittaṃ ekaggaṃ and a discussion how how deep the concentration might be or not. It’s a new discussion but has connections to this one, so for anyone interested to discuss more on that:

Ven Zhiyi, writing in the 400s AD, includes it in the 1st. 1000 years earlier, a better substantiation. In turn Ven Zhiyi was educated mostly in Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma. So that’s, what, between 100 BC and 200 AD?

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