Samatha - Five jhana-factors III

Another jhāna-factor is sukha. This jhāna-factor is not bodily pleasant feeling (sukha vedana), but it is somanassa or mental happy feeling. Sukha which is developed in samatha is happy feeling about a meditation subject. However, as we know, happy feeling arises also with attachment. Paññā should know precisely when happy feeling is akusala and when it is kusala. The jhāna- factor which is wholesome sukha inhibits the hindrances which are restlessness and worry (uddhacca and kukkucca). When there is wholesome happy feeling about a meditation subject there is no restlessness and no worry.


Pīti and sukha are not the same. Sukha, which is translated as happiness,

bliss, ease or joy, is happy feeling. Piti, which is translated as joy, rapture,

zest, and sometimes also as happiness, is not feeling; it is not

vedanākkhandha, but sankhārakkhandha (the khandha which is all the

cetasikas, except vedanā and saññā). When reading the English translations,

we have to find out from the context which cetasika is referred to, pīti or



The 'Visuddhimagga' (IV, 100) states concerning the difference between

happiness (pīti) and bliss (sukha):


'And wherever the two are associated, happiness (piti) is the contentedness at

getting a desirable object, and bliss (sukha) is the actual experiencing of it

when got. Where there is happiness there is bliss (pleasure); but where there

is bliss there is not necessarily happiness. Happiness is included in the

sankhārakkhandha; bliss is included in the vedanākkhandha (feeling). If a

man exhausted in a desert saw or heard about a pond on the edge of a wood,

he would have happiness; if he went into the wood's shade and used the

water, he would have bliss...'


The jhāna-factor which is samādhi or concentration is the cetasika which is

ekaggata cetasika. This cetasika arises with every citta and its function

is to focus on an object. Each citta can have only one object and ekaggata

cetasika focuses on that one object. Ekaggata cetasika or samādhi can: be

kusala as well as akusala. Samādhi when it is developed. in samatha is

wholesome concentration on a meditation subject.) Together with samadhi t

here must be right understanding which knows precisely when the citta is

kusala citta and when akusala citta and which knows how to develop calm,

otherwise the right concentration of samatha will not grow. If one tries very

hard to concentrate without there being right understanding there may be

attachment to one's effort to become concentrated, or, if one cannot become

concentrated, aversion may arise. Then calm cannot grow. If there is right

understanding there are conditions for samādhi to develop. The

'Visuddhimagga' (XIV, 139) states concerning samādhi:


'It puts (ādhiyati) consciousness evenly (samam) on the object, or it puts it

rightly (sammā) on it, or it is just the mere collecting (samādhāna) of the

mind, thus it is concentration (samādhi). Its characteristic is non-wandering,

or its characteristic is non-distraction. Its function is to conglomerate

conascent states as water does bath powder. It is manifested as peace.

Usually its proximate cause is bliss. It should be regarded as steadiness of the

mind, like the steadiness of a lamp's flame when there is no draught.'


Samādhi inhibits kāmacchandha (sensuous desire). When there is right

concentration on a subject of meditation, one is at that moment not hindered

by kamacchandha.


Topic 194