To practice vipassana, you first have to get out of jhâna?


I understand that one must first practice the jhânas before practicing vipassana (because concentration allows one to better understand the compound nature of phenomena), but that one cannot practice vipassana while being in a jhâna because jhana is a concentration of absorption where one can no longer perceive the compound nature of phenomena (and therefore, to practice vipassana, one must first leave the jhâna, and thus practice vipassana not with a concentration of absorption, but with an access concentration).

Have I understood correctly?

Thank you in advance.

May all beings put an end to afflictions.

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most of what you wrote is not right - although often put about these days.
One thing that is correct is that vipassana cannot be developed while in jhana. Jhana takes the same object repeatedly - it is very different from normal mind processes.

For the one who is truly skilled in jhana they can enter and exit very rapidly, and for them the factors of jhana have to understood (immediatelyafter exiting jhana) so that they are seen as anatta. Otherwise the jhana will be clung to.

Thus someone like Sariputta could be fanning the Buddha while listening to a Dhamma talk and enter and exit jhana, and have vipassana during the moments he had exited the jhana.

There are also those types who do not attain jhana at all, and who have insight into whatever reality arises in daily life- the sukkhavipassaka, the dry insight worker.


Thank you very much. Yes, apparently jhânas are not mandatory but highly recommended (at least, Pa Auk very much recommends practicing jhânas).
And am I wrong in saying that vipassana can only be practiced in access concentration?

Thanks in advance

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that is indeed wrong.

** Visuddhimagga,**

“In some instances this path of purification is taught exactly by insight alone

The tika explains:

The term “exactly by insight alone” rejects serenity by the emphasis [of “eva”] because
serenity, not morality etc., is the counterpart of insight. By the word “only” (matta) which
conveys the sense of distinction, it rejects distinctive concentration, which consists of access
> and absorption. Being an instruction for an insight-vehicle practitioner it does not reject
simple concentration, for no insight comes about without momentary concentration
V ism-mhṭ I 11CS: Vipassanāmattavasenevāti avadhāraṇena samathaṃ nivatteti. So hi tassā paṭiyogī, na sīlādi.
Matta-saddena ca visesanivatti-atthena savisesaṃ samādhiṃ nivatteti. So upacārappanābhedo vipassanāyānikassa
desanāti katvā na samādhimattaṃ. Na hi khaṇikasamādhiṃ vinā vipassanā sambhavati.

Still, when satipatthana is developed to the stage of vipassana naturally the moments of vipassana have a great deal of concentration just for those moments. It comes about with the other cetasikas including panna. It is completely anatta, uncontrollable.


Of course, thank you, I know what you mean: access concentration is not absolutely the only concentration for practising vipassana.
But most people, to be able to reach nibbana, have to practice vipassana with access concentration, don’t they?

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Again not right.
Right view has to come first.
There are really only elements arising and passing. So there is no one practicing.
Sure we can use conventional terms like people and I, but we have to be clear that these are simply designations.

If right view increases then there are opportunities for sati to directly know any reality of the present moment. And sati and panna are associated with concentration of the right kind.
This can happen any place. No time to wait for access concentration.

The texts suggest that there were more sukkhavipassaka than the jhanalabhi because the jhanalabhi are the really best of the best. They are the elite and only the few with great accumulations can be those ones.
But the sukkhavipassaka have still done what needs to be done.

Coming back to access concentration. As I wrote earlier the moments of actual vipassana come with very strong concentration- momentarily.

The mind door shows itself and the difference between nama and rupa is understood. But it is not that first one concentrates on an object and then wisdom arises. It is the reverse: the wisdom is the condition( the main one) for the right concentration to arise along with sati.


Thank you again, you’re clearing up a lot of confusion in me, and you’re helping me along the way. And you help many others with these messages, thank you.

Just so I understand better, do you think one can reach nibbana without ever having reached access concentration? Or do you think that access concentration is necessary, but that it’s possible to reach nibbana only by practicing vipassana because vipassana itself allows access concentration?

I’d also like to know what is the easiest way for an ordinary person to reach nibanna. Of course, all the paths leading to nibanna are very difficult to reach. But for example, I suppose the path of the jhanas is more difficult than the dry practice of vipassana. For example, to reach nibbana, do you think it’s easier to “practice samatha (to have access concentration), then vipassana”, or do you think it’s easier to “practice only vipassana to have wisdom and access concentration”?

Thank you very much for your help.

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It is clear that nibbana can be reached without every having reached access concentration of the type associated with the mundane jhanas. However, it should be noted that even for those who never attain mundane jhana, at the moment of attaining the concentration is so strong that it is considered equivalent to jhana:

In the Atthasalini -The Expositor PTS
P58. Triplets in the Matika

The Discourse on LOKUTTARA (transcendental).

He cultivates the Jhana means that he evolves, produces the ecstatic jhana of one momentary flash of consciousness. because it goes forth from the world, from the round of rebirths, this is jhana called going out…This is not like that which is known as ‘leading to accumulation’ which heaps up and increases rebirths by the moral(kusala) consciousness of the three planes
[includes kusala such as giving as well as all levels of “mundane” jhana]

None of this should be seen as dismissing the wonder of jhana. For the one who can attain genuine jhana it is a great advantage in their life. They must be living a life of deep renunciation of sense pleasures.
But even so they still have to follow the way of vipassana - insighting whatever elements arise in daily life.


Thank you very much !!!

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Friend, what you are saying is not correct.

The level of Upacāra Samādhi is required to practice Vipassanā.

The first stage of Vipassanā, first Vipassanā Ñāna, is Nāma Rūpa Pariccheda.
But for the yogi who does not attain Jhāna he has one single option: Rūpa.

"suddhavipassanāyāniko pana ayameva vā samathayāniko catudhātuvavatthāne vuttānaṃ tesaṃ tesaṃ dhātupariggahamukhānaṃ aññataramukhavasena saṅkhepato vā vitthārato vā catasso dhātuyo pariggaṇhāti. "

" for The pure Insight Vehicule practioner or even some Tranquility Vehicule Practione, the definition of the four elements is told( given) among the different entries (methods) to discern the elements, any method the brief or detailed he discern the four elements. "

It should be understood as a base to practice Imsight.
Without discerning the four elements there is no discernment of the materiality derived from the four elements. It means no discernment of the Rūpa Khanda.
If the yogi has not completed the Nāma Rūpa Pariccheda, and the yogi try to practice the Ti Lakkhana on concepts, he can not reach deep Vipassanā Knowledges. Because a concept has no arising and passing away.

He should discern the four elements before to be able to discern all materiality (Rūpa Khanda).
Based on the Rūpa he can discern Nāma, by discerning the cittas arising on dependance on Vatthus. (Cakkhu and so on).
That is why he has to complete the meditation on four elements, attain Upacāra Samādhi, then following that discern all materiality and mentality (Nāma Rūpa Pariccheda Ñāna ).

This is the entry for Vipassanā. Please read the chapter of Ditthī Visuddhi of Visuddhimagga, it is clearly explained.
Not only that, it is clearly mentioned that Sīla visuddhi and Citta Visuddhi are the root for Vipassanā, and Citta Visuddhi is defined as from Upacāra Samādhi up to Attha Samāpatti.
Therefore one should not misrepresent what says the Visuddhimagga by Khanika Samādhi.

Khanika Samādhi means the Samādhi while doing Vipassanā. Both Vipassanāyanika and Samathayanika have it.
The fact that there is a kind of Samādhi specific to Vipassanā developed while doing vipassanā, wich is the level of Upacāraand called khanika, does not imply that you can straightly do Vipassanā without having properly discerned Nāma Rūpa starting by Upacāra Samādhi on the four elements.

Even Samatha Yanika discern the Hadayavatthu to discern the arising of Citta and Cetasikas. Please you can read.

So clearly explained in Visuddhimagga. Dhamma, not personal idea.


All Lokuttara Citta are Jhāna : not equivalent, by definition, Magga is a Jhāna, Phala is a Jhāna.
This is explained by the Vīthi (process) of the mind during Phala Samāpatti (Fruition Attainment ): there is no falling into Bhavanga like the Kāmavacara Citta. Therefore by definition it is Appanā (Absorption)


This is in reference to the Supramundane Path wich happens during a short moment.
But even that is like the first Jhāna attained for the first time. It can be read on the description of the first Jhāna in Visuddhimagga.
And it is not like the Kāmavacara vīthi, Sensual sphere process, wich always produces 7 javanas. Here two javanas are produced, followed by Fruition Consciousness then Bhavanga.

The Supramundane Fruit, Lokuttara Phala may stay very long according to the five masteries (Pañca vasi ) developed by the yogi.
He may stay in this absorption up to one week if he likes and is able to do so.


@Moneyya-Bhante The pa-auk method does not require upacara samadhi. It does 4 elements. I’m quoting without looking up the original but it is something like …
It is actually called near to access concentration. That is why they called it neighborhood concentration. You can find it in the 4 Elements book and correct it. But it is something like that.

Be nice to @RobertK . He is very knowledgeable … kindly send him a private message if you feel he is misrepresenting something. Surely not intentional and he does give pali quotes. If it is out of context, then maybe you can add the context with the quote citation.


Yes Bhante :pray::blush:
The reason is 4 elements is not a Kammatthāna with wich one is able to attain Absorption, as you know, because of the profundity of each Element wich is Paramattha.
So it is not called “access” in the sense of being near the Jhāna like in Ānapānassati, but they choose to use “neighborhood” as being closed to a Jhāna Access level in the sense of temporary free from hindrances.

Sorry to Robert and also to others good persons in this forum. :slightly_smiling_face:
Sometimes my answers are too sharp and should be smoother, as Subhūti Bhante kindly reminded, therefore i ask please forgiveness to Robert and to On the Way, they have a lot of Knowledge and Faith and Merit, and i respect and like their qualities… and also to others good people who take part on this forum, who are trying to understand and to practice well the Buddha’ s Teaching :grinning:


Dear Matthias and all,
Thanks for all the posts.

I’m in Germany on holiday with my family till Monday.
I will try to add something once I get home.


Thank you for your messages. I love it when there are these high-level debates, because it gives me a deeper understanding of Dhamma conceptions.

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7 posts were split to a new topic: I want to be sotapanna in this life

Thanks for the correction. .
My point was that this type of jhana is different from the mundane jhanas
So the passage I cited says

He cultivates the Jhana means that he evolves, produces the ecstatic jhana of one momentary flash of consciousness . because it goes forth from the world, from the round of rebirths, this is jhana called going out.This is not like that which is known as 'leading to accumulation ’ which heaps up and increases rebirths by the moral(kusala) consciousness of the three planes

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As I said earlier in this thread at the level of vipassana the momentary concentration is very strong – indeed I think it must be at the level of upacara samadhi during those moments. Very vivid and unforgetable it seems.

Now some general remarks.

Even the first vipassanā-ñāṇa is starting to dismantle the idea of a self. There is direct knowledge, at a tender level, that what was thought to be a world of people and things is only nama and rupa. What an awesome perception that must be.

Yet I have met and read people who claim to have even advanced levels of vipassana – if not sotapanna and higher – who still seem to believe that realities can last for some period of time, like seconds ,minutes or even longer. They believe that mentality is under their control. They can’t see that there are only conditioned elements performing their function:

In the Book of Causation (Nidaanavagga) VII The Great Subchapter 61
(1) Uninstructed (1) p. 595 Samyutta Nikaya Vol 1 (translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi)

But that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘mentality’ and consciousness’
arises as one thing and ceases as another by day and by night. Just
as a monkey roaming through a forest grabs hold of one branch, lets
that go and grabs another, then lets that go and grabs still
another, so too that which is called ‘mind’ and ‘mentality’
and ‘consciousness’ arises as one thing and ceases as another by day
and by night. [note 157]
[note 157: Spk: 'By day and by night (rattiyaa ca divasassa ca):
This is a genitive in the locative sense, i.e., during the night and
during the day. Arises as one thing and ceases as another (annadeva
uppajjati, anna.m nirujjhati): The meaning is that (the mind) that
arises and ceases during the day is other than (the mind) that
arises and ceases during the night. The statement should not be
taken to mean that one thing arises and some thing altogether
different, which had not arisen, ceases. “Day and night” is said by
way of continuity, taking a continuity of lesser duration than the
previous one (i.e. the one stated for the body). But one citta is
not able to endure for a whole day or a whole night. Even in the
> time of a fingersnap many hundred thousand kotis of cittas arise and
> cease (1 koti=10 million).

Visuddhimagga XX84 "> there is removal of false view in one who sees

thus: “If formations were self it would be right to take them as
self; but being not-self they are taken as self. **Therefore they are
not self in the sense of no power being exercisable over them; they
are impermanent in the sense of non-existence after having come to
be; they are painful in the sense of oppression by rise and fall”

Thus there are misunderstandings about what sati of the level of satipatthana is these days. People concentrate on various objects for long periods and think they are doing satipatthana.But satipatthana, if it is the real one, is intimately connected with the perception of anatta.

So it is not : “first I get strong concentration and then pañña comes”. It is rather that pañña associated with sati, firstly at the level of pariyatti, and then directly, starts to discern the nature of the elements of the present moment. And concentration arises in association with those factors.

Can satisampajañña at the level of satipatthana arise before vipassanā-ñāṇas ?
Obviously the satisampajañña must be weak in the beginning and so the concentration may also be comparatively weak. But it is still the right type of concentration as it arises in association with panna.
Thus the Satipatthana sutta:

And how, O bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu live contemplating consciousness in consciousness?
"Here, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu understands the consciousness with lust, as with lust; the consciousness without lust, as without lust; the consciousness with hate, as with hate; the consciousness without hate, as without hate

and from the Commentary:

Here the mindfulness which lays hold of the hindrances is the Truth of Suffering. Thus the portal of deliverance of the bhikkhu who lays hold of the hindrances should be understood

Thus whatever reality arises - even lust or hate, or the hindrances is a suitable object for satipatthana.
Also visible object or another of the derived rupas can be object, and of course hardness, heat and the other rupas do appear and must be understood as they appear.
Thus certainly the 4 elements and derived rupas may be apparent. But there is no manager who can make sati take an object.

In the “Dispeller of Delusion”(PTS) p 137 paragraph 564 it says

…in respect of the classification of the Foundations of Mindfulness. And this also takes place in multiple consciousness in the prior stage [prior to supramundane]. For it lays hold of the body with one consciousness and with others feeling etc.

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