Throughout canonical discourses (Sutta Pitaka) the Buddha teaches that there are 3 modes of Vedana.

Where in Pali canon do we find 6 classes of Vedana?

How is Vedana related to Nibbana?

4 Answers 4


Vēdanā is conventionally translated as “feelings”, but it is much more than just feelings. The Buddha said that vēdanā can be analyzed in many ways, with simple or deeper meanings. Though you have been told that there are six types of Vēdanā there are actually 9 types of vēdanā.

A vēdanā can be a dukha vēdanā (due to a past bad kamma), a sukha vēdanā (due to a past good kamma), or a neutral sensation — like feeling the wind on the body — called an upekkha vēdanā. However, normal humans go far beyond that and generate three additional types of their own mind-made “samphassa ja vēdanā”.

A normal human being will mentally generate three more type of vēdanā due to those sukha, dukha, and neutral vēdanā that initially arise due to kamma vipāka via all five physical senses. If it is dukha vēdanā (due to a headache, getting injured, etc. ), one is likely to start worrying about it and add more suffering. Those are dōmanassa vēdanā or āmisa dukha vēdanā.

If it is sukha vēdanā (getting a massage, lying in a luxurious bed, etc. ), one is likely to start generating thoughts about how good it is and how one can enjoy similar sukha vēdanā in the future. Those are sōmanassa vēdanā or āmisa sukha vēdanā ; one could also be generating them by remembering past such sukha vēdanā. These are also added in by the mind. Sōmanassa means “mind-made joyful”. Dōmanassa means “mind-made misery”, which is basically a depressed mindset.

When one stays away from generating too many “samphassa jā vēdanā” of both kinds, one will start feeling three more types of vēdanā. These are called nirāmisa vēdanā, because they arise due to staying away from cravings (and repulsion) to worldly objects. When one prevents the mind from heating up by comprehending the adverse effects of “san” and staying away from them, one’s mind starts “cooling down”. This is the nirāmisa sukha vēdanā. This is what is emphasized by “ätäpi sampajäno” in the Mahā Satipatthāna Sutta; it means “remove the fire or heat from one’s mind by being aware of the ‘san‘ or “immoral tendencies”.

Then there are vēdanā that one experiences when proceeding on the Noble Eightfold Path. Sometimes, one gets a bit discouraged by not advancing “fast enough” on the Path. Those are not dōmanassa vēdanā (because they are devoid of patigha anusaya); they are nirāmisa dukha vēdanā.

The Sutta references are many, and I will refer you to one – the Ananda Sutta: Leading to Awakening (SAMYUTTA NIKAYA 12:10).

How vēdanā is related to Nibbana will call for a lengthy explanation, and you will not understand it if explained it in a paragraph or two. One day you will get to understand it proper, if you try to make sense of the following: “Sukha and dukha vedana arise due to kamma vipaka. Somanassa and domanassa vedana arise due to sankhara, which in turn arise due to our gathi and asavas. The more sankhara we do, the stronger a given gathi (habit) becomes, which in turn become asavas (cravings) and fuel the sansaric journey (rebirth process). This vicious cycle can be broken only through comprehending the anicca nature of this world.”

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – ChrisW
    Dec 17, 2017 at 9:04

The Wisdom Library has provided an excellent reply to your first question. See https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/vedana. For a definition of Nibbana, see https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/nibbana.

When I visited Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, India, to see the late 16th Karmapa some 30 years ago, a Tibetan friend told me that, according to Tibetan Buddhism, infants (including his own, who had just been born) are born Enlightened. This observation is neither affirmed nor denied in the Theravadin teachings. The feelings of a newborn infant are truly extraordinary, in my experience.


There are three basic vedana (feelings), namely:

(i) pleasant;

(ii) unpleasant; &

(iii) neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant;

as follows:

And why, bhikkhus, do you call it feeling? ‘It feels,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called feeling. And what does it feel? It feels pleasure, it feels pain, it feels neither-pain-nor-pleasure. ‘It feels,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called feeling. SN 22.79

However, often these three feelings are discussed in different ways, such as:

And what, bhikkhus, is feeling? There are these six classes of feeling: feeling born of eye-contact, feeling born of ear-contact, feeling born of nose-contact, feeling born of tongue-contact, feeling born of body-contact, feeling born of mind-contact. This is called feeling. SN 12.2

I have spoken of two kinds of feelings by one method of exposition; I have spoken of three kinds of feelings by another method of exposition; I have spoken of five kinds of feelings … six kinds of feelings … eighteen kinds of feelings … thirty-six kinds of feelings by another method of exposition; and I have spoken of one hundred and eight kinds of feelings by still another method of exposition. AN 36.22

Vedana is not related to Nibbana because Nibbana (the unconditioned element) is not a feeling (a conditioned element). Nibbana is non-attachment towards feelings (MN 37).

Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbāna-element. Iti 44

Here, ruler of gods, a bhikkhu has heard that nothing is worth adhering to. When a bhikkhu has heard that nothing is worth adhering to, he directly knows everything; having directly known everything, he fully understands everything; having directly known everything, he fully understood everything, whatever feeling he feels, whether pleasant or painful or neither pleasant or painful, he abides contemplating (observing) impermanence in those feelings, contemplating (observing) fading away, contemplating (observing) cessation, contemplating (observing) relinquishment (letting go). Contemplating (observing) thus, he does not cling to anything in the world. When he does not cling, he is not agitated, he personally attains Nibbana. He understands: ‘Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, there is no more coming to any state of being.’ Briefly, it is in this way, ruler of gods, that a bhikkhu is liberated in the destruction of craving, one who has reached the ultimate end, the ultimate security from bondage, the ultimate holy life, the ultimate goal, one who is foremost among gods and humans. MN 37


Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta:

Dwelling at Savatthi... "Monks, I will describe & analyze dependent co-arising for you.

"And what is dependent co-arising? From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.

"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.

"And what is becoming? These three are becomings: sensual becoming [5 aggregates], form becoming [5 aggregates], & formless becoming [4 aggregates]. This is called becoming.

"And what is clinging/sustenance? These four are clingings: sensuality clinging, view clinging, precept & practice clinging, and doctrine of self clinging. This is called clinging.

"And what is craving? These six are classes of craving: craving for forms, craving for sounds, craving for smells, craving for tastes, craving for tactile sensations, craving for ideas. This is called craving. [see samudayasacca and nirodhasacca in saccapabba of mahāsatipaṭṭhānasutta]

"And what is feeling? These six are classes of feeling: feeling born from eye-contact, feeling born from ear-contact, feeling born from nose-contact, feeling born from tongue-contact, feeling born from body-contact, feeling born from intellect-contact. This is called feeling.

"And what is contact? These six are classes of contact: eye-contact, ear-contact, nose-contact, tongue-contact, body-contact, intellect-contact. This is called contact.

"And what are the six sense media? These six are sense media: the eye-medium, the ear-medium, the nose-medium, the tongue-medium, the body-medium, the intellect-medium. These are called the six sense media.

"And what is name-&-form? Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called name. The four great elements, and the form dependent on the four great elements: This is called form. This name & this form are called name-&-form.

"And what is consciousness? These six are classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness. This is called consciousness.

"And what are fabrications? These three are fabrications: bodily fabrications, verbal fabrications, mental fabrications. These are called fabrications.

"And what is ignorance? Not knowing stress, not knowing the origination of stress, not knowing the cessation of stress, not knowing the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called ignorance.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving [saupādisesa-nibbāna]. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming [anupādisesa-nibbāna=no clinging aggregates anymore]. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.