or one-pointedness, is another cetasika among the seven 'universals' which
arises with every citta with kusala citta, akusala citta, vipakacitta and
kiriyacitta. It arises with all cittas of all planes of consciousness,
but, as we will see, its quality is different as it arises with different
The characteristic of citta is cognizing an object and thus, every citta
which arises must have an object. There is no citta without an object and
each citta can know only one object at a time. Ekaggata is the cetasika
which has as function to focus on that one object. Seeing-consciousness,
for example, can only know visible object, it cannot know any other object
and ekaggata focuses on visible object. Hearing-consciousness can only
know sound it cannot know visible object or any other object and ekaggata
focuses on sound.
The word 'object' ( arammana) as it is used in the Abhidhamma does not
have the same meaning as the word 'object' or 'thing' we use in common
language. in common language we may call a thing such as a vase an object.
We may think that we can see a vase, touch it and know that it is a vase
all at the same time. In reality there are different cittas which know
different 'ofject' (arammanas) through their appropriate doorways. These
cittas rise one at a time and know only one object at a time. The citta
which sees knows only visible object, it cannot know tactile object or
a concept. Visible object is that which is experienced through the eyes.
What is seen cannot be touched. We may understand this in theory, but the
truth should be verified by being mindful of different objects which appear
one at a time.
When we speak about an arammana, an object, we have to specify which
kind of arammana. There is visible object which is known through
the eye-door. There is sound which is known through the ear-door.
tasteand tactile object are known through their appropriate
sense-doors. Through the mind-door all these objects can be known as well.
which is real and also concepts and ideas, which are not real in the absolute
sense, can be known through the mind-door. Thus we see that the word 'object'
in the Abhidhamma has a very precise meaning.
Ekaggata which has as function to focus on an object is translated as 'one-pointedness'
or concentration. when we hear the word concentration we may believe that
ekaggata only occur in samatha, tranquil meditation, but this is not so.
It is true that when calm is developed ekaggata also develops, but ekaggata
does not only occur in samatha. Ekaggata accompanies every citta,
although its quality is different as it arises with different cittas. Even
when we are, as we call it in common language, 'distracted', there is ekaggata
arising with the akusala citta since it arises with every citta. It focuses
on the object which is cognized at that moment. For example, when there
is moha-mula-citta (citta rooted in ignorance) accompanied by uddhacca
(restlessness), there is also ekaggata cetasika accompanying that citta.
There is ekaggata arising with all types of akusala citta. when we enjoy
a beautiful sight or pleasant music there is ekaggata cetasika with the
lobha-mula-citta. At that moment we are absorbed in the pleasant object
and enslaved to it. There is concentration when one performs ill deeds.
Ekaggata which accompanies akusala ciata is also called 'miccha-samadhi',
wrong concentration. Ekaggata which accompanies kusala citta is also called
'samma-samadhi', right concentration. Samadhi is another word for
ekaggata cetasika. Although wrong concentration and right concentration
are both ekaggata cetasika their qualities are different. Samma-samadhi
focuses on the object in the right way, the wholesome way. There are many
levels of right concentration.
The Atthasalini (1, Part IV, Chapter1. 118, 119) states about ekaggata,
and here it deals actually with samma-samadhi (1 see also Dhammasangani
known as one-pointedness of mind, has non scattering (of itself) or non-distraction
(of associated states) as characteristic, the welding together of the coexistent
states as function, as water kneads bath-powder into a paste, and peace
of mind or knowledge as manifestation. For it has been said: 'He who is
concentrated knows, sees according to the truth.' ltis distinguished by
having ease (sukha) (usually) as proximate cause (2 Pleasant feeling, is
a jhana-factor aising only in four stages of rupa-jhana. It supports samadhi
focusing on the meditation subject. In the highest stage of rupa-jhana
pleasant feeling is abandoned and indifferent feeling accompanies the jhana-citta
instead.) Like the steadiness of a lamp in the absence of wind, so should
steadfastness of mind be understood.
(XIV, 139) gives a similar definition, except that it mentions only peace
of mind as manifestation, not knowledge.
Samma-samdhi is one of the jhana-factor which are developed in samatha
in order to suppress the hindrances and attain jhaha (1 see Abhidhamma
in Daily Life chapter 22.). The jhana factors of applied thought (vitakka),
sustained thought (vicara), enthusiasm (piti), happy feeling (sukha) and
samadhi have to be developed together in order to attain jhana. All the
jhana-factors assist the citta to attain tranquillity by means of a
Some people take wrong concentration for right concentration of samatha.
They want to try to concentrate on one point with the desire to become
relaxed. Then there is akusala citta with clinging to relaxation. The aim
of samatha is not what we mean by the word 'relaxation' in common language,
but it it the temporary elimination of defilements. In order to develop
samatha in the right way, right understanding of its development is indispensable.
Right understanding should know precisely when the citta is kusala citta
and when akusala citta and it should know the characteristic of calm so
that it can be developed. There are different stages of calm and as calm
becomes stronger, samadhi also develops (2 In the beginning stage af calm
there is still preparatory concentration (parikamma-samadhi) (Vis. IV,
31-33). When calm has reached the degree that it is approaching jhana there
is access-concencration (upacara-samadhi). When jhana has been attained
there is at that moment samadhi which is attainment-concentration (appana-samadhi).
Ekaggata cetasika which accompanies rupavacara citta (rupa-jhanacitta)
is altogether different from ekaggata arising with kamavacara citta, citta
of the sense-sphere. In each of the higher stages of jhana there is a higher
degree of calm and thus ekaggata becomes more refined. Ekaggata which accompanies
arupavacara citta is different again: it is more tranquil and more refined
than ekaggata arising with rupavacara citta.
There is also samma-samadhi of vipassana. As we have seen, the second manifestation
of ekaggata cetasika or samadhi mentioned by the Atthasalini is knowledge
or wisdom. When panna knows a nama or a rupa as it is, there is at that
moment also right concentration performing its function. Samma-samadhi
is one of the factors of the eightfold Path. When panna knows, for example,
the visible object which presents itself as only a rupa appearing through
the eyes or the seeing which presents itself as only a nama which experiences
visible object, there is also right concentration at that moment: samma
samadhi focuses on the object in the right way. When samma-samadhi accompanies
lokuttara citta, samma-samadhi is also lokuttara and it focuses on nibbana.
Then samma-samadhi is a factor of the supramundane eightfold Path (lokuttara
Some people believe that in the development of vipassana they should try
to focus on particular namas and rupas in order to know them as they are.
If concentration accompanies a citta with desire for result it is wrong
concentration. So long as one has not become a sotapanna (the person who
has attained the first stage of enlightenment) the inclination to wrong
practice has not been eradicated. We may still be led by desire and then
we are on the wrong way. When a nama or rupa appears through one of the
six doors there can be mindfulness of it and then, at that moment, right
understanding of that reality can be developed. Right understanding is
accompanied by right concentration which has arisen because of the appropriate
conditions and which performs its function without the need to think of
focusing on a particular object. Minifulness, right understanding and right
concentration are realities which arise because of their own conditions,
they are anatta. There is no self who can direct the arising of any citta
or who can regulate the experiencing of a particular object. But the conditions
for right mindfulness and right understanding can be cultivated; they are:
studying the tealities the Buddha taught and considering them when they
appear in daily life.
In the Gradual Sayings (Book of the Fours, Chapter V, 1, Concentration)
we read about four ways of developing concentration. As to the first way,
the Buddha explained that this is the development of the four stages of
jhana which leads to 'happy living' in this life. As to the second kind,
this is the concentration on 'consciousness of light' which is a meditation
subject of samatha. This leads to 'knowledge and insight which means in
this context, according to the commentary (Manorathapurani), clairvoyance.
As regards the third way of developing concentration, this leads, if developed
and made much of, to 'mindfuIness and well-awareness'. We read:
the feelings which arise in a monk are evident to him, the feelings which
abide with him are evident to him, the feelings which come to an end in
him are evident to him. The perceptions which arise in him... the trains
of thought which arise in him, which abide with him, which come to an end
in him are evident to him. This monks, is called 'the making-concentration-to-become
which conduces to mindfulness and well-awareness'.
As regard the fourth way
of developing concentration, this leads to the destruction of the 'asavas'
(defilements). We read:
And what sort
of making-concentration-to-become, if developed and made much of conduces
to the destruction of the asavas? Herein a monk dwells observing the rise
and fall in the five khandhas of grasping, thus: Such is rupa, such is
the arising of rupa, such its vanishing... Such is feeling...such is perception...such
are the activities...Such is consciousness, such is the arising of consciousness,
such the vanishing of consciousness. This, monks, is called 'the making-concentration-to-become
which conduces to the destruction of the asavas'. There are the four forms
of it. Moreover, in this connection I thus spoke in 'The Chapter on the
Goal' in (the sutta called) 'The Questions of Punnaka'.
When there is right mindfulness
of a nama or rupa which appears, without trying to focus on a particular
object, there is also right concentration which arises at that moment because
of the appropriate conditions and performs its function. When right understanding
develops it penetrates the arising and ceasing of the five khandhas and
eventually there will be the destruction of the asavas at the attainment
By searching in the
world things high and low,
He who has naught
to stir him in the world,
Calm and unclouded,
cheerful, freed of longing.
He has crossed over
birth and old age, I say.