How to translate "samadhi"?

I don’t think “concentration” captures the meaning, but what do you think works better? How about “stillness”?


I agree that ‘concentration’ can potentially be misleading since it is often accompanied by exertion and frequently leads to fatigue. It would be nice to know who first proposed this translation.

Your suggestion of ‘stillness’ certainly captures an important aspect of samādhi. However, it’s possible to have a mind that is relatively still but also very dull, which to me doesn’t qualify as samādhi.

For jhānic samādhi states, I quite like ‘absorption’ as a translation. I’m not sure this works so well in the case of, say, khanika samādhi though. Here again, we run up against the old problems of Sutta descriptions vs. abhidhamma descriptions of jhāna, samādhi vs sammā-samādhi etc.

Interested to hear the thoughts of others :slight_smile:


One of my tibetan teachers used to say “alert yet relaxed”. Does that help?


Bhante Sujato has immersion.


That sounds similar to absorption?


Bhante has “absorption” for Jhana.


What is the diffrence between Jhana and Samadhi?
We have to sort out above question before we look for a better translation.

Quoting a friend of mine…

“The Pali word “samādhi” is usually trañslated as “coñceñtratioñ”. This is well añd good—for as loñg as oñe kñows what oñe is desigñatiñg by this word “coñceñtratioñ”. The trouble is that the word “coñceñtratioñ” usually implies a kiñd of focusiñg or ñarrowiñg of atteñtioñ oñ to a fixed object. This is ñot what samādhi is. The word “samādhi” comes from saŋ (meañiñg “together”) + dhā or dahati (meañiñg “to put; to place”). This is because samādhi meañs somethiñg like puttiñg together, uñifyiñg, briñgiñg together as oñe. The Eñglish word “composure” captures this meañiñg rather effectively siñce it resembles the Pali by beiñg coñstituted by the Latiñ prefix com (meañiñg “together”) añd the verb ponere (meañiñg “to put; to place”),whose past participle is positus. Samādhi iñvolves composiñg the miñd, briñgiñg the miñd together iñto oñe place such that oñe discerñs the miñd as oñe thiñg, as a pheñomeñoñ.”


In Sinhalese “Sama” means balancing.
Perhaps it is the same as Upekkha.

The Sinhala word ‘samadhi’ has connotations of the Buddha meditating with mindfulness and serenely with a faint smile on his lips!

I think we need a recipe of:

  1. sati
  2. unification of mind ekaggata.
  3. bliss piti, sukha

I prefer Unification.


Please do not get bogged down with meanings of words. Meditate and experience SAMADHI. Language is like bones. But great majority assemble them into skeleton and give flesh and life, and the next moment the tiger will pounce on you and kill you. So please stop.

Me as well. While I can immerse myself more or less unification carries kind of an ultimate meaning, which I think would be good for the last part of the Path.


No it is important to know whether you are in Jhana or Samadh. They are two different things.

Jhana are of the following,

  1. First Jhana with thoughts, sustained thoughts, happy mind, bodily peace and attention.
  2. Second Jhana with happy mind, bodily peace and attention
  3. Third Jhana with Bodily peace and attention.
  4. Fourth Jhana with bodily peace and equanimity.

Then you have the other four Jhanas. But Samadhi or here it is Samma Samadhi is precursor to Vipassana. Please refer to Dhammapada stanza, 14. 183.

Could some one give me the text please?

To be of virtue, cultivate the skill of Samadhi, Realising the nature of mind and purifying it, that is the teaching of all Buddha.

Yes this is the definition in the suttas but it’s not specific enough to actually identify a jhana, especially if the idea of samadhi before jhana isn’t well known.


As Buddha told, “you yourself must strive, Enlightened Ones will only show the way. Those who come to right practise will be liberated from the bondage of Mara.”
So no purpose in writing and writing words. You have to experience it and is termed experiential wisdom.

My choice: composure or collectedness.

See explanation in my book (now available as public draft) What You Might Not Know about Jhāna & Samādhi (See page 32)


Looks a lot like your friend has read my book. :blush:

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