unification of mind
|Glossary of Buddhism|
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Ekaggatā (Pali; Sanskrit ekāgratā, एकाग्रता) is a Buddhist term translated as "one-pointedness" or "concentration". Ekaggatā is defined as a mental factor that has the function to focus on an object. 
Ekaggatā is identified within the Buddhist teachings as:
- One of the seven universal mental factors within the Theravada abhidharma teachings.
- One of the mental factors that arises in the first of the five jhānas.
- A factor that counteracts the hindrance of sensory desire (kāmacchanda) within the five hindrances.
Bhikkhu Bodhi states:
- This is the unification of the mind on its object. Although this factor comes to prominence in the jhānas, where it functions as a jhāna factor, the Abhidhamma teaches that the germ of that capacity for mental unification is present in all types of consciousness, even the most rudimentary. It there functions as the factor which fixes the mind on its object. One-pointedness has non-wandering or non-distraction as its characteristic. Its function is to conglomerate or unite the associated states.
Bhikkhu Bodhi also explains that at the level of profound concentration (i.e. in the jhanas), it manifests as peace, and its proximate cause is happiness.
Nina van Gorkom explains:
- Ekaggatā 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 ekaggatā focuses on visible object. Hearing-consciousness can only know sound, it cannot know visible object or any other object and ekaggatā focuses on sound.
The Atthasālinī (1, Part IV, Chapter 1. 118, 119) states about ekaggatā (in the context of sammā-samādhi):
- This concentration, 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.' It is distinguished by having ease (sukha) (usually) as proximate cause2. Like the steadiness of a lamp in the absence of wind, so should steadfastness of mind be understood.
Ajahn Sucitto explains:
- This is the factor of absorption that arises dependent on bringing to mind, non-involvement and evaluation. It occurs inmeditation when the quality of ease has calmed rapture and the mental energy; the energy of focusing and the bodily energy are in harmony. The resultant merging of mind and body is experienced as a firmness in awareness, which is hence not penetrated by sense-impressions.
- Gorkom (2010), Definition of ekaggata
- All the elements one by one as they occur of all nine jhanas are listed in the Anuppada Sutta, MN#111
- Bhikkhu Bodhi 2012, Kindle Locations 2217-2221.
- Ajahn Sucitto (2011). Meditation, A Way of Awakening. Amaravati Publications. p. 267. (from the glossary)
- Bhikkhu Bodhi (2012), A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma: The Abhidhammattha Sangaha (Vipassana Meditation and the Buddha's Teachings), Independent Publishers Group Kindle Edition
- Nina van Gorkom (2010), Cetasikas, Zolag