Three kinds of concentration?

Dear Bhante,
Would you please explain what is “samadhikkhandha” and three kinds of concentration: emptiness concentration, conditionless & desireless concentration. We never heard of them till recently someone sent us an excerpt from the book “The Requisites of Enlightenment” by Ledi Sayadaw.

With respect & metta

Hi DV_Van,

I’m sorry if i’m not a Bhante but let me share some of my knowledge about this.

Samadhikhanda is a concentration group made up of 3 things

  • Right Effort [Samma-Vayama]
  • Right Mindfulness [Samma-Sati]
  • Right Concentration [Samma-Samadhi]

Right Effort = Practice. [Samma-Vayama]

  • Seeing Mind caught by an Unwholesome Thought / Feeling
  • Letting go of that Unwholesome Thought / Feeling
  • Redirecting this lighter mind back to a Wholesome Object
  • Keeping that Wholesome Object

Right Mindfulness = Observation. [Samma-Sati]

  • The ability to Observe when mind is light

Right Concentration = I usually called it as Collectedness. [Samma-Samadhi]

  • A Level of Collectedness or unified mind, as a result of keeping the practice light.
  • Mind becomes Alert, Calm and Composed which make it possible for us to be completely in the present moment without any Disturbances or Heaviness.

With Metta

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Dear Ardhika,

Thank you for response. I realized that I did not phrase the query properly. What I would like to know is how are the three kinds of concentration “Emptiness concentration, Conditionless & Desireless concentration” link to the “samadhikkhandha” (second division of the Eightfold path), or would these 3 concentrations equal to Samasamadhi? Also what are the Pali terms for these words? Are there any other definition for Samasamadhi than the 4 jhanas?

With metta

Since it looks like neither Bhante S nor Bhante B has had a chance to respond yet, I thought I’d answer at least part of your question. I don’t practice (or study) in the tradition of Ledi Sayadaw, so I’m really not qualified to speak about how he used the terms.

But I can tell you the Pali words are suññata samādhi (emptiness concentration), animitta samādhi (signless concentration) appaṇihita samādhi (desireless/undirected concentration). You can find many suttas (as well as later literature) speaking of one or another or all of these. They are basically spoken of as ways leading to liberation. For example, here’s just one reference for you AN 3.183–352.

The Visudhimagga talks about animitta, appaṇihita and suññata as the three gateways to liberation (vimokkha mukha). They are correlated, respectively, with liberative insight into the three characteristics: impermanence (anicca) suffering (dukkha) and non-self (anattā).


Out of respect I’ve addressed to “Bhante”, but help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
I don’t practice nor study in the tradition of Ledi Sayadaw either. But because a friend had sent me a short passage from LS to try to show that “jhanas” is not really necessary. I don’t have time, nor the knowledge or interest to engage in this “endless discussion”. That why i would like to know if there’re any other ways to “bypass” jhanas but still fulfill the Eightfold path? This is only to “make sure” and clear about the “map” for my own practice :relaxed :smile:
Again, thank you all of you for sharing your knowledge .
with metta,

Ven Analayo concludes that until the anagamin stage, for realization of noble levels jhanas aren’t indispensible

if this is true, we have a pretty long way ahead of us before having to start worrying about jhanas

Yeah …I know, but as for any journey a clear map is necessary. Just to be honest i’m still in kinder-garden of meditation practice :grin:

I’m soooooo sorry, this post should be under DV_Van, I was using my spouse account (Vann) by mistake :smile:


That why i would like to know if there’re any other ways to “bypass” jhanas but still fulfill the Eightfold path?

Have a look at Yuganaddha-sutta, AN 4.170 (preferably Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation which is unfortunatley not available on SC).

PS I just want to add that I’m not in any way suggesting that it’s possible to ‘bypass’ jhana and still fulfill the eightfold path (personally I would disagree with that). I just wanted to point out a sutta in which the Buddha teaches that both calm and insight are essential to the path.

Hey Guys,

I’m sorry if I can’t help much with theoretical knowledge but I would like to share my knowledge regarding this.

I’m a BrahmaVihara Practitioner and these are the thing that I’ve been going through.

While I sit in meditation, happiness arises in me. This is the 1st Jhana.
Here my mind become clear without any distraction and body feels light. This is the 2nd Jhana.
Here my body feeling starts to fade away [I Can’t feel my Hand and Legs]. This is the 3rd Jhana.
Here the feeling of loving kindness starts to moves up around my head. This is the 4th Jhana.

With loving kindness in equanimity, my head starts to feel light and the loving kindness starts to change a bit softer which is Compassion/Karuna. here, I went to the Infinite Space which is the 1st Arupa Jhana.

With Compassion , in here I saw bright light keeps on clicking, rise and gone. Here with Infinite consciousness I’m staying in the 2nd Arupa Jhana with the feeling of joy which is Mudita.

WIth equanimity/Uppekha in Nothingness, I stayed in the 3rd Arupa Jhana and lot of boring stuff coming up which is the link of dependent origination.

With the 7 Factors of Enlightenment and full of Equanimity / Uppekha, I stayed in the 4th Arupa Jhana which is Perception non Perception. The link of depended origination pops up really slow in here. There is no desire at all in here

Last thing is with the cessation of perception, feeling and mind. Everything Stops!!!

That was my first experience about cessation, only in a few sec.
The next Experience is quite longer and become longer and longer for the 3rd and the rest as I can start to meditate for more than 5-8 hours.

Hope this works for the answer about Emptiness, Signless and Desireless.

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may i ask whether you can hear sounds while in the 2nd jhana and whether they’re a distraction?

Yes, but dont pay attention to it.

OK :pray:

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Reading MN 148 Chachakka Sutta is Highly Recommended and Please don’t cling to the above statements as it’s going to be perception.

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This is a quite old topic, but I found three kinds of concentration are mentioned and explained in SA 80, although in there the third is nothingness (instead of desirelessness) but the definition is speaking about the abandoning of the sign of lust etc. Even though this has no parallel in Pali canon, this is a clear explanation for this three kinds of concentration.

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Dear LomX,

Wow! With all the letting go you’ve done to get into those states, I’m very surprised you haven’t shaved your hair and entered the saṅgha! No offense intended as what you wrote is really marvellous. Just wondering.

in mettā,


if my parents allow me then it won’t be a problem, but you can’t be ordain without parents approval. My teachers told me not to for now and i still have my responsibility to pay back my parents. :smile:

Smile :smile:


Well, if.

Where is the Ven. Analayo concluding that?

i had to intensely refresh my memory and it helped

Analayo “From Grasping to Emptiness - Excursions into the Thought-world of the suttas”, pp. 133-35

Theres also this by Bhikkhu Bodhi: The Jhānas and the Lay Disciples - According to the Pāli Suttas

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