Gladdening the mind

In Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of the Anapansati Sutta para 20 goes …

  1. “He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the mind.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in gladdening the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out gladdening the mind.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in concentrating the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out concentrating the mind.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in liberating the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out liberating the mind.’1120

Q’s re same

  1. What does ‘gladdening’ (the mind) mean to you?
  2. What is the Pali word for gladdening?
  3. What other words/emotions could be used for this Pali word?

If meditation (and possibly all the teachings) are about creating the conditions to give rise to the sought after effect then I know I need another term or deeper understanding of the state that gladdening the mind should give rise to.

Thank you


The way I understand all these refers to the steps of Jhana. ie. Vitakka, Vicara, Pithy, Sukha and Ekagata.
So the way I understand gladdening the mind refers to Pithy or non-remorse.
I may be wrong.

Have a look at chapter 8 of Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization, by Analayo.

Anapanasati, which is what you’re asking about, builds on this basis.

“Gladdening” seems to me to be a catch-all term for those things which we’ve learned set up calming, nonsensual happiness. Tenderheartedness, lack of regret, whatever thing(s) can support a wholesome, calming happiness, a pleasant and quiescent mental mood. This leads right into the next step.

None of this is jhana yet; anapanasati is the way to transition from seated satipatthana to jhana.

abhi-p-pamodayam cittam, gladdening the mind:

in the EBT you frequently see pamojja (gladness) with Piiti (joy) as a compound in the 7sb (awakening factor) sequences.

And Piti awakening factor, the Buddha goes out of his way to emphasize the mental aspect of it.

the third of the 4bv (brahma viharas), mudita (often translated as sympathetic joy), is a conjugated version of the mojja in pa-mojja.

So between piti in the jhanas, in 7sb, and pamojja in 7sb and 4bv, you can get a good sense of the range of “gladdening the mind”.


Hi daverupa
My understanding re the Anapanasati Sutta… the Buddha’s instructions (Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of the MN) in the second tetrad outline the conditions necessary to enter the 4 jhanas… all to be attained in this tetrad; the mindfulness domain of feeling. The instructions in the 3rd tetrad, which include gladdening the mind (being after the jhana experiences) - and which you shed helpful light on - are, I suspect, taking mind to insight with liberation as goal. Any other ideas re gladdening the mind out there…especially re how this gladdening might set up concentrating the mind…the next condition of the 3rd tetrad

My understanding of APS may be off and I have nothing but conjecture to base this on, but I’ve thought that the 4 tetrads might roughly map onto the 4 jhana in some way. The kaya/body tetrad revolving around bodily motions (kayasankhara) like the permeating/suffusing of the first jhana, the vedana tetrad dealing with mental motions (cittasankhara) or feelings/emotions of piti-sukha dominant in the second jhana, then third tetrad the mind freed of the coarser mental motions/emotions experiencing a “pleasant abiding” (the sukha of the third not moving as much as the piitisukha of the second, thus subtler). So that would be my interpretation of gladdening the mind, experiencing and reinforcing the sukha of mind after the fading away of rapturous feelings. Of course, then the fourth tetrad in the equanimity of fourth jhana, which I think the Buddha states as being ideal for investigation. I could be totally off-base though lol

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Ven. A seems to imply step 10 automatically happens:

Awareness of the mind itself then leads naturally to the arising of gladness, because such turning back or inward of awareness results in a much more subtle and calm type of experience. The type of gladness that arises at this stage of practice is one that easily leads to concentration, to the mind becoming collected and unified (step 11). In this way, the mind comes to be increasingly freer from any obstruction or mental hindrance. Having become naturally concentrated, at the present juncture, the mind is also free from any interference on the side of the meditator, however subtle it may be. Instead of interfering, the mind is simply allowed to rest in calm

I disagree. That can happen for one whose practice is already well developed, but I believe the instruction itself calls for one to actually practice, try to gladden to mind, not just stumble into a gladdened mind as a result of practicing the previous step of “experiencing the mind” (citta pati-samvedi)

You can find plenty of meditators who practice dry insight, have strong samadhi, but are physically tense and mentally tense. This is perhaps the reason the buddha has the instruction here, to remind the importance of practicing to see and realize the joy in the practice and the lifestyle in accordance to dhamma.