Mindfulness of breathing: an evolving approach to translation (MN118)

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Hi frankk,

Please do, thanks. I’m trying to understand why it is that pamojja arises at this stage (and not piti sukha).

With metta



DPR search for pītimanassa kāyo passambhati.
These were my notes to search for sutta references to the pamojja to samadhi pericope. If you look at the different suttas that use that, some have pamojja arising right after abandoning 5 hidnrances, some from doing brahmavihara, some from listening to a dhamma talk, some from recollection of buddha, dhamma, sangha, etc.

Keep in mind sutta SN 54.2, that’s an important one for an overarching structure. It says that any of the 16 steps of 16 APS (anapana) can be combined with any of the 7 bojjhanga. So you have infinite flexibility here to find a causal sequence into samadhi. No need to try to compartmentalize whether its piti or pamojja. IMO.

DN 34 33 10, 9, 2

pāmojjaṃ jāyati,
pa-muditassa pīti jāyati,
pīti-manassa kāyo passambhati,
passaddha-kāyo sukhaṃ vedeti,
sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati.
bodhi sn 35.80
…gladness is born.
When one is gladdened, rapture is born.
When the mind is uplifted by rapture, the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body experiences happiness.
The mind of one who is happy becomes concentrated.
gladness (is) born,
gladdened, rapture (is) born,
(with) en-raptured mind, body becomes-tranquil,
(with) tranquil-body, happiness (is) experienced,
(with one who is) happy, mind becomes-concentrated

walshe d34

(1) ‘Which nine things greatly help? Nine conditions rooted in wise consideration (yoniso-manasikāra-mūlakā dhammā): When a monk practises wise consideration, (a) joy (pāmojja) arises in him, and (b) from his being joyful, delight (pīti) arises, and © from his feeling delight, his senses1155 “” are calmed; (d) as a result of this calming he feels happiness (sukha), and (e) from his feeling happy, his mind becomes concentrated; (f) with his mind thus concentrated, he knows and sees things as they really are; (g) with his thus knowing and seeing things as they really are, he becomes disenchanted (nibbindati); (h) with disenchantment he becomes dispassionate (virajjati), and (i) by dispassion he is liberated.

uses kayo as “senses”, c.f. note 641

walshe in D2 goes with body

‘And when he knows that these five hindrances have left him, gladness arises in him, from gladness comes delight, from the delight in his mind his body is tranquillised, with a tranquil body he feels joy,

:diamonds: 413. “kā ca sikkhā”ti? bhagavā avoca — “idha, poṭṭhapāda, tathāgato loke uppajjati arahaṃ, sammāsambuddho … pe … (yathā 190-212 anucchedesu, evaṃ vitthāretabbaṃ). evaṃ kho, poṭṭhapāda, bhikkhu sīlasampanno hoti … pe … tassime pañcanīvaraṇe pahīne attani samanupassato

pāmojjaṃ jāyati,
pamuditassa pīti jāyati,
pītimanassa kāyo passambhati,
passaddhakāyo sukhaṃ vedeti,
sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati.
so vivicceva kāmehi, vivicca akusalehi dhammehi, savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.
tassa yā purimā kāma-saññā, sā nirujjhati.
ta-smiṃ samaye hoti,
ta-smiṃ samaye hoti.
evampi sikkhā ekā saññā uppajjati,
sikkhā ekā saññā nirujjhati.
ayaṃ sikkhā”ti bhagavā avoca.

what ever previous sensuality-perceptions, those cease.
at-that time are [present].
at-that time is [present].
Thus training some perceptions arise,
[thus] training some perceptions cease.
this (is the) training." the-blessed-one said.

Having reached the first jhāna, he remains in it.
And whatever sensations of lust that he previously had disappear. At that time there is present a true but subtle perception of delight and happiness, born of detachment, and he becomes one who is conscious of this delight and happiness.
In this way some perceptions arise through training,
and some pass away through training.

nyanaponika MN 7

When he is gladdened, joy is born in him;
being joyous in mind, his body becomes tranquil;
his body being tranquil, he feels happiness;
and the mind of him who is happy becomes concentrated.

bodhi MN 7, 40

When he sees this, gladness is born in him.
When he is glad, rapture is born in him;
in one who is rapturous, the body becomes tranquil;
one whose body is tranquil feels pleasure;
in one who feels pleasure, the mind becomes concentrated.

bodhi sn 35.80 heedless

“And how, bhikkhus, does one dwell diligently? If one dwells with restraint over the eye faculty, the mind is not soiled among forms cognizable by the eye. If the mind is not soiled, gladness is born. When one is gladdened, rapture is born. When the mind is uplifted by rapture, the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body experiences happiness. The mind of one who is happy becomes concentrated. When the mind is concentrated, [79] phenomena become manifest. Because phenomena become manifest, one is reckoned as ‘one who dwells diligently.’

tassa abyāsittacittassa pāmojjaṃ jāyati. pamuditassa pīti jāyati. pītimanassa kāyo passambhati. passaddhakāyo sukhaṃ viharati. sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati. samāhite citte dhammā pātubhavanti. dhammānaṃ pātubhāvā appamādavihārī tveva saṅkhaṃ gacchati. evaṃ kho, bhikkhave, appamādavihārī hotī”ti.

bodhi sn 42.13

[As he reflects thus] gladness is born. When one is gladdened, rapture is born. When the mind is elated by rapture the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body experiences happiness. The mind of one who is happy becomes concentrated.

andrew olendzski SN 47.10
Then the monk should direct his mind to some satisfactory image. When the mind is directed to some satisfactory image, happiness is born. From this happiness, joy is then born. With a joyful mind, the body relaxes. A relaxed body feels content, and the mind of one content becomes concentrated.

thanissaro SN 55.40
For him, living thus heedfully, joy arises. In one who has joy, rapture arises. In one who has rapture, the body becomes serene. When the body is serene, one feels pleasure. Feeling pleasure, the mind becomes centered. When the mind is centered, phenomena become manifest. When phenomena are manifest, he is reckoned as one who dwells heedfully.

bodhi AN 3.96 assemblies
“Just as, when it is raining and the rain pours down in thick droplets on a mountain top, the water flows down along the slope and fills the clefts, gullies, and creeks; these, becoming full, fill up the pools; these, becoming full, fill up the lakes; these, becoming full, fill up the streams; these, becoming full, fill up the rivers; and these, becoming full, fill up the ocean; so too, when the bhikkhus dwell in concord, harmoniously, without disputes, blending like milk and water, viewing each other [244] with eyes of affection, on that occasion they generate much merit. On that occasion the bhikkhus dwell in a divine abode, that is, in the liberation of mind through altruistic joy. When one is joyful, rapture arises. For one with a rapturous mind, the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body feels pleasure. For one feeling pleasure, the mind becomes concentrated.

bodhi an 5.26 range of vitakka and vicara in samadhi
1(5) “Again, neither the Teacher nor a fellow monk in the position of a teacher teaches the Dhamma to a bhikkhu, nor does he teach the Dhamma to others in detail as he has heard it and learned it, nor does he recite the Dhamma in detail as he has heard it and learned it, nor does he ponder, examine, and mentally inspect the Dhamma as he has heard it and learned it, but he has grasped well a certain object of concentration, attended to it well, sustained it well, and penetrated it well with wisdom. In whatever way the bhikkhu has grasped well a certain object of concentration, attended to it well, sustained it well, and penetrated it well with wisdom, in just that way, in relation to that Dhamma, he experiences inspiration in the meaning and inspiration in the Dhamma. As he does so, joy arises in him. When he is joyful, rapture arises. For one with a rapturous mind, the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body feels pleasure. For one feeling pleasure, the mind becomes concentrated. This is the fifth basis of liberation, by means of which, if a bhikkhu dwells heedful, ardent, and resolute, [24] his unliberated mind is liberated, his undestroyed taints are utterly destroyed, and he reaches the as-yet-unreached unsurpassed security from bondage.

an 6.10 recollection of triple gem, generosity, virtue, devas

an 10.2, 11.2
an 11.11, 11.12 same as manahama suttas in an 6.10


Hi Suci1,

I think you just posted EBT (sutta) evidence of the Seven Purifications, though here called parisuddhi, and only four (good material for another thread).

The 12th step of Anapanasati (vimocayaṃ cittaṃ) corresponds to purification of mind ( Citta parisuddhi), and not vimuttipārisuddhi. In the Buddha’s dhamma release of the mind into jhana is not considered full release. Further release from that state is considered essential:

"In this way did Uddaka Ramaputta, my companion in the holy life, place me in the position of teacher and pay me great honor. But the thought occurred to me, ‘This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding, but only to reappearance in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception (8th jhana).’ So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left. (MN26)

With metta



Hi @Mat .

O, I see.

Sorry - I meant that liberation of mind seemed to be:

  • stopping one’s citta from being enamoured with the things that cause attachment (defilement). &
  • liberating one’s citta by means of things that bring liberation*.

*These are not specified though. I guess Buddha meant things we don’t get attached to, (or things that don’t defile). Or see below about kindling the fire of pamoda.

This definition might be, as far as I am concerned, (& to my limited knowledge), the only real explicit definition in the EBT about cetovimutti, that I have come across.
“Stopping one’s citta from being enamoured with the things that cause attachment (defilement)”; so as to liberate the citta, is pretty straightforward.

I’ll take any explicit reference you have on liberation of the citta, if you may.
Thanks in advance.

By the way, I was formerly asking “why would someone gladden (abhippamodaya) and converge (samādaha) that mind to arrive to liberation?”

It is this samāda thing that bothers me.
I was wondering if it could mean “kindle” as in the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa. Kindle the pamoda. Stir it to the point of liberation; like a fire that burns it all down (at least lobha & dosa).
That would not preclude converging the citta towards that goal; nor would it prevent a profound absorption.
O, and I love the meaning of Samādhāna as “reconciliation” in the Mahābhārata.



Hi frankk,

Thanks, that was very useful (especially the sutta on Anapanasati-bijjhanga fusion). Pamojja or gladness is distinct in that the meditator must see something to be glad about (unlike say the body becoming calmed). I think it is that seeing the five hindrances have been abandoned, when in the previous step the meditator is mindful of the mind. I think this abandoning of the five hindrances start from when the breath becomes long, and goes until the 8th step. In the beginning, to calm the body (and/or the breath) the agitation (udacca) hindrance must be calmed. Sensual desire must be calmed for non-sensual rapture (_piti-) and bliss (sukha) to arise.

I think sensual desire and aversion are ‘twinned’ in when they are temporarily abandoned, in terms of timing.

Agitation probably goes first, compared to sloth and torpor, which would explain meditators falling asleep at the beginning of the meditation.

The hindrance of Doubt (vicikicca) is probably gone when gladness (Abhipamodha) arises. There would be confidence that the jhana is moments away.

I think of this stage as the few seconds before star ship Enterprise (Star Trek) jumps into warp speed. It is when the entire field has turned fully white (as streaks of stars merge into each other), but just before the ship is sucked into hyperspace (of the first jhana). :alien:

With metta



Hi Suci,

The mind believes that we are souls that can cling to wonderful things, which then lasts forever. This forms the underlying belief which causes people to cling/ desire. When someone goes into a jhana these beliefs don’t change. After coming out of the jhana they will still have these beliefs, though desire was temporarily suppressed within the jhana. Therefore the Buddha believed a further step was necessary to attain Nibbana. This is why steps 13-16 exist in the Anapanasati training. The former training came to be called Samatha. The later training came to be called vipassana.

Abhipamoda and Samadaha are are way to calm to mind to a great degree to reach the first jhana (see below quote)

With metta



Dear Venerable,

isn’t it a bit of a “double standard” to translate ‘long and short’ idiomatically while not translating kaya idiomatically? :wink:

M to the E to the double T A,

(and again thanks for doing this project)



Well, the translator’s job is full of such thankless decisions. In a case where the idiom is clear and unproblematic, it is an easy decision. But when the nature of the idiom is less than clear, it is hard to avoid falling back to a more “literal” rendering, the last refuge of the incompetent translator. If it makes you feel better, I am undecided on how to translate this point.


If it makes you feel better, I am undecided on how to translate this point.

May I ask what are the options that you’re considering?


Hi @Mat

Again, I was just wondering if samādahati would not have the prime meaning of kindling, or more precisely stirring mud (pamoda) to its climax; instead of the indiscriminate meaning of converging the citta.
Converging to what?
The meaning of samādhā, in the geographically relevant, and quite contemporary Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa is: to kindle, or to add, or put on (like fuel on the fire).
Converging would then be the act of adding fuel to the “mudy” citta; until it liberates itself.
A citta that liberates itself by an utmost joy; a lovingful joy that destroys the defilements (particularly lobha & dosa).
A citta that is satisfied and pleased (mudita), and liberated at last; because this abhippamoda, taken to its full expression, has destroyed the defilements and the nefarious effects of these defilements [e.g. keeping the “villainus maximuses” at bay :slight_smile: ].

You are quoting Frankk’s pericope:

pamuditassa pīti jāyati - pītimanassa kāyo passambhati - passaddhakāyo sukhaṃ vedeti - sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati.
When he is joyful, rapture arises - For one with a rapturous mano, the body becomes tranquil - One tranquil in body feels pleasure. - For one feeling pleasure, the citta becomes concentrated.
so vivicceva kāmehi, vivicca akusalehi dhammehi, savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.

Pītimanassa kāyo passambhati involves mano, though. (A mano that is closely related to kāya).

This rapture (pitimanassa) is found principally when the meditator recollects the Buddha, Dhamma & Sangha. (AN 6.10 - AN 11.11 - AN 11.12 - SN 35.97 (with the same idea of an unsoiled mind in SA 277).
Or when there is confidence in the nature of the Buddha (SN 55.40).
Or, more curiously, when he directs his citta towards some inspiring sign (attribute-nimitta). (SN 47.10).

Mud (pamoda/abhippamoda) has quite a large range. There are small-joys and abhi-joys, so to speak.
There are small-joys that enrapture the mano, so as to tranquilize the body (as seen in Frankk’s pericope). And there are abhi-joys that liberate the citta.
There are small-joys that allows to concentrate, so as to experience rapture (pitīpaṭisaṃvedī) - to further experience pleasantness (sukhapaṭisaṃvedī), etc. These small-joys arise when the meditator recollects the Buddha, etc. (as seen above).

Then there are abhi-joys taken to their climax, which, when the meditator willingly gladdens the citta (abhippamodayaṃ cittaṃ), and stir (?) that joy, bring the citta to the point of liberation.

Metta … and Mud-ita :wink:

(It’s Shusi, not Sushi)


Well, the whole “body vs. body of breath” thing. I think I have a sense for what the passage is about, but it is not really certain, and finding a neat way of expressing it is not easy.


Dear Ajhan Sujato,

Kaya can mean body or breath. Therefore if you use the term that would fit best in terms of the context the meaning will be clear.

I would use 3) aware/sensitive? to the body of the breath (to also reflect the ‘breath is yet another body’).

  1. ceasing the breath (kaya-sankhara).

However I’m sure it will be impossible to satisfy everyone on this, whatever route you take!

I think priority should be given to an interpretation that is line with gradual progress in the meditation and faithfull to Pali terms (as far as possible).

With metta



I see.


[PTS Pali dictionary]
to put together SN.i.169. jotiṃ s. to kindle a fire Vin.iv.115; cittaṃ s. to compose the mind, concentrate MN.i.116; pres. samādheti Thig.50; pr. part. samādahaṃ SN.v.312; ppr. med. samādahāna SN.i.169; aor 3rd pl. samādahaṃsu DN.ii.254. Pass samādhiyati to be stayed, composed DN.i.73; MN.i.37; Mil.289; Caus. ii. samādahāpeti Vin.iv.115
pp samāhita.

Yes I suppose it could mean kindling. However abhipamodha etc came before it. So what will it use to kindle?

In animitta samadhi, samadhi can converge without the need for an object to converge upon. However in the case of Anapanasati the breath is present and it can serve as the focus of mindfulness.

With metta


Hi Mat,

Again, the Sanskrit meaning of samadhā, (particularly in the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa), has the meaning of kindling; but also the extended meaning of: put to - add - put on (especially fuel on the fire). In other words, in our context, elicit (abhippamodaya) and uphold/put on (samādahāti). M.W.
I doubt that the Kshatriya Gautama had been kept away from Veda in his young age. He certainly did know about adding fuel (samadhā) to the sacred fire. And the sanskrit notion of samadhā must have crossed and impregnated his mind. Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa was part of the rescension that was practiced in his area. He could not have missed that notion; and consequently, words like samādahati must have had this connotation of upholding/putting on, or whatever similar meaning, in His mind.

I am not saying that converging is not the right translation. Converging means the act of coming closer to liberation.
However, that convergence does convey that the abhi-mud must be carried on to its climax; namely liberation.
Converging wraps the notion of upholding the abhippamoda; stirring it, up to the cetovimutti.
And there is much concentration and stillness into that also, I suppose. (And I don’t see why I say “I suppose”).

I don’t quite see it that way.

Rago is a maker of signs (nimittakarana - maker of attributes). Doso is a maker of signs (attributes). Moho is a maker of signs. In a monk whose fermentations (āsava) are ended, these have been abandoned, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.
Says MN 43

There is one DN to backs this up. DN even extends the signs of rago, etc. to the signs of forms, etc., and the signs of permanence, etc."


There are two conditions for the attainment of the sign-less cetovimutti:

  • Not building* with the mano from the signs [attributes-nimitta] (sabbanimittānañca amanasikāro),
  • Building with the mano from the sign-less property [manifestation-dhatu] (animittāya ca dhātuyā manasikāromanasikāra).
  • Here building means: imagining, creating, producing a phenomena with the mano (~intellect,) from the attributes (nimitta,) that one can interpret in a thing (rūpa).

That’s for animittā-cetovimutti.
As you can see with these two above pericopes, animitta means that the meditator has for object either:

  1. the non-building with mano, from rago, doso, and moho.
  2. building with mano, from the manifestation of the non-existence of these attributes (aka nimitta-less property).
    The meditator has an object.

What about the animittā-cetosamādhī?
SN 40.9 (SA 502,) shows the same process than #1 above.

Buddha tells Moggāllana to “steady, unify, and concentrate his mind in the signless concentration of mind” (Bodhi & Piya Tan).
(Animittaṃ cetosamādhiṃ pamādo,) animitte cetosamādhismiṃ cittaṃ saṇṭhapehi, animitte cetosamādhismiṃ cittaṃ ekodiṃ karohi, animitte cetosamādhismiṃ cittaṃ samādahā’ti.

Note that firstly, Buddha tells Moggāllana not to be negligent (pamādo) - Pramad in Sanskrit, means both to be negligent, and to enjoy oneself’s (Ṛg Veda).
It looks like joy (mad/mud,) is not of the party anymore; once the meditator has gotten into the signless concentration of mind.

In this particular case, it seems that, when one is in the animittā-cetosamādhī, the concentration (samadhā) is of another nature than in ānāpānasati. The meditator saṁ+ādahati (puts on,) with a citta that has already been liberated. And saṁ here means together with emptiness (the non-existence of the soiling attributes/nimitta - rago, doso, moho).

I am not going to debate on mindfulness; that I just consider to be the recollection of the Teaching.
And that does generally involve presentness, calling up, gearing up, attention, etc. Namely the all awareness shebang.

But yes. Breath is definitely the guiding thread of the process. And more than that - the kāya part of it - until the liberation of the citta takes place. A citta that recovers its initial state. The original state it had, before being sullied by the world (saḷayatāna & c°) - SN 35.82.
A citta that takes back the control - not of the world SN 1.62 - but of the higher jhanic dimensions.

In other words, ānāpanāsati is some sort of a knitting of a phenomena, with kāya (and mano); leading to the liberation of the citta from the defilements of the world; so as to reach the “insight, from knowledge according to what have become” (yathābhūtañāṇadassana) - in other words, how this phenomena has become (būtha).
This is the exit from the senses; and defilements for its most part. This is anulomam (forward) paṭiccasamupāda; the human way (the Ka-way - no joke intended).

Then comes the unknitting of the word (vācā), of thought and reflection/concretism (vitakka/vicāra), of in-breathing and out-breathing , of rapture, of forms, of space, of consciousness etc. Until your last feeling and last breath. SN 36.11
This is patilomam (reverse) paṭiccasamupāda; the transcendental way (the Prajāpati-way,) so to speak.

Isn’t that simple?





Hi Bhante @Sujato

I’m considering on after gladdening, the mind reach a state of clarity, thus able to identify and choose. I find ‘singling out’ pretty nice as when we are able to single out on an object, that the mind later can be set free.


Hi atipattoh,

The object of meditation is the breath and there is no mention of it being changed. It is of course possible to do this while meditating to a skin sensation or nimitta. However in my experience while those methods are quick and certainly helpful for beginners this meditation method is for more advanced practitioners as it is a slow and steady/controllable climb into jhanas.


Hi @Mat
Just a quick reply.
Need some clarification. Do you mean that converging a ‘cloud’ of mind ‘strands’ into one is more advance; and that clarity on identification of a single strand of mind from the ‘cloud’ of mind strands and able to just stay with it, and that when one is able to sort of ‘skipping’ the 1st and 2nd tetrad, is for beginner?
I hope i mis-understood you. :slight_smile:


Atipattoh it is difficult to know if we mean the same things. Rarely quite advanced practitioners can automatically go deeply into these tetrads - that is as soon as they start observing the breath they may start in step 9 (or so), especially in retreat settings when they have been practicing in a sustained way. Some even go directly into the first (or higher) jhana as soon as they start. This type of practice should not be assumed in beginners (though there is a quite a strange ‘beginners mind’ phenomenon).

With metta