While meditating, it is not always clear whether you mind is clear of thoughts or not. Some seems to be more emotions or visions. But if all emotions and visions are accompanied with thoughts which are the toughest to recognize that they are there in your mind?

2 Answers 2


While BonnWarapol's five higher fetters would be the most difficult to eradicate for all non-arahants, for a beginner in meditation, the hardest to eradicate would be the five hindrances (pañca nīvaraṇāni):

  • Sensual desire (kāmacchanda)
  • Ill-will (vyāpāda)
  • Sloth and torpor (thīna-middha)
  • Restlessness and remorse (uddhacca-kukkucca)
  • Sceptical doubt (vicikicchā)

The commentaries by Ven. Nyanaponika Thera here or by Ven. Ajahn Brahm here, would provide more information on these. This video by Ven. Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu would also be helpful.


The toughest to catch, in pāli, are the 5 uddhambhāgiya-saṃyojana of anāgāmi: rūparāga, arūparāga, māna, uddhacca, and avijjā (in English. the five "higher fetters" which are listed here).

However, by practice, general practitioners who have never enlightened before, should focus on 5 precepts and catch immoral physical actions, first. Then he should catch 5 kāmaguna-attachment (for jhāna meditation). Then he should catch diṭṭhi vicikicchā and silabataparāmāsa (for access to insight meditation).

  • In the second paragraph, is "kāmaguna-attachment" one fetter (i.e. "sensual desire"), and especially a fetter for jhana meditation? And are the other three "diṭṭhi vicikicchā and silabataparāmāsa" especially fetters for insight meditation? And you didn't mention the fifth lower fetter, i.e. "ill will"?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 13:13
  • 1
    More English translation would be strongly preferred.
    – ruben2020
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 13:16
  • @ChrisW All vipassana-practitioner must completely overcoming 5 hindrances before he start the insight meditation, both samatha-first-person (samatha-yānika) and vipassanā-first-person (vipassanā-yānika). So 10 saṃyojana must never arise between all meditations. But for vipassanā-meditation, 1st level is sotapanna. So, 3 lowest saṃyojana are the most basic for the newbie practitioner, who completely overcoming 5 hindrances.
    – Bonn
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 15:01
  • @ruben2020 I have the open mind, so you can copy to make new answer/modify my answer to 2 form/etc. However, I maybe comment if the new one has something wrong, so the deriver has to have an open mind, too. Another, I agree with your complain. But my english still terrible and there are many editions of pali word's definitions in english, so I still have not enough english skill to translate whole dhamma to english, for now.
    – Bonn
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 15:11

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