Concentration and mindfulness is a rare achievement. People can have wrong views , wrong intentions but it seems they are able to achieve high concentration and mindfulness.

My question is : Is it possible to achieve wrong mindfulness and wrong concentration?

  • 1
    I see wrong mindfulness and wrong concentration all the time with video games. :D
    – OyaMist
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 13:19

8 Answers 8


I think a lot of wrong mindfulness persists today utilised mainly in a non-Buddhist way. Many attempts were made to separate Mindfulness from Buddhist context. Example is mindfulness for mindfulness sake as in therapy; if people don't know the reason are they mindful, then the problem arises. As in, what is there to be found in the present moment, any why? They often don't know the why and what, and this is confusion.

All of the non-Buddhist approaches as MBSR might go extremely awry. Many charlatans make money by trying to make people to be mindful of the present moment as a "cure-all" therapy for everything. It has caused some cases of depression and people suffering from mental breakdown. Mindfulness like that has long history of creating examples of blind obedience in the East, such as creating Samurai culture in feudal Japan, as means of controlling people without questioning the orders.

In Buddhism however, the reasons are very clear, we want to apply wisdom of the teachings, releasing and transforming karmic seeds, breaking bad habits. It is much safer to do it this way, rather than apply it as a therapy for a specific case. Mindfulness should not be devoid of ethics, for performing good deeds ultimately lead us to a better life. Performing selfless acts destroys clinging and disease of "mine" and therapeutic mindfulness doesn't go that far.

Thus, mindfulness without practising other parts of the path in tandem is wrong mindfulness.

As for Right concentration, there has been a lot of issues recently about mixing Samatha, or mediation in general with psychedelics as it might be profound experience. Many magazines were involved in promoting such ideas. That I would call wrong concentration, the one that goes against composing the mind, but altering it.


Is it possible to achieve wrong mindfulness and wrong concentration?

Of course they all can be developed to a "zen" level of wrong practice if the intention is unwholesome. An expert sniper can stay mindful 100% on his enemy target for hours, ready for the right moment to pull the trigger. A master samurai can single-mindedly concentrate on a single spot of his target, ready to strike and kill with one single precision hit.

  • Very well said. Wrong mindfulness can not lead to Nirvana. Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 16:02

No, it is impossible. Because the uddhacca-cetasika (restlessness-mind-factor) arises with every unwholesome-mind, such as diṭṭhi-mind. This mind factor is the enemy of the main keyword of achievement, ekaggatā-cetasika (concentration-mind-factor). See the path of purification samādhiniddeso pathavīkasiṇaniddeso.

This is the reason that why in tipitaka the effects of unwholesome-minds have shorter period than the effects of wholesome-minds. And This is the reason that why the wholesome-minds have more mind factors than the unwholesome-minds.

  • I also want to believe that. But there are people with wrong view and not bad view can achieve higher concentration. For example adult movie director or actor... Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 6:01
  • Actually, while the achiever is in jhāna-state, except abhiññā, they can't use 5 senses because mind-senses are arising continuously. And if they can't achieve 6 abhiññā, special waching, etc., it means they have not achieved higher concentration, too. See the path of purification abhiññāniddeso & samādhiniddeso pathavīkasiṇaniddeso.
    – Bonn
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 6:30

Mindfulness can be wrong, according to venerable Yuttadhammo. He gave a short speech about this at the 10th Global Conference on Buddhism. You might want to watch it.

I don't remember him saying anything about wrong concentration. But, since concentration comes up together with mindfulness I would assume that with wrong mindfulness comes wrong concentration.


In the first sermon, the budha claims that the citta had samadhi and that there was headaches, tummyaches due to following the breath, but since the citta was in samadhi, the buddha was not troubled by those and he continued to follow the breath like that.

Of course, at the time, the goal of the buddha was not to be disturbed by tummyaches by putting the citta in samadhi, the goal was to stop dukkha so he acknowledges the failure of his actions with respect to his intentions and then with the citta still in samadhi, he turned the citta to know about karma and to know about rebirth.

The conclusion is that there are wrong meditation of following the breath. Even when the citta has all the samadhi that is possible, which prevents being upset by all the aching that humans can endure, it is still not the cessation of dukkha.

The good concentration when you deal with the breath is having the citta in samadhi and then following the breath with knowing annicca like in the Ānāpānasati sutta: getting the citta in samadhi and on this good basis, turning the citta to right view to achieve viapassana. That's for breath mediation.

Besides wrong concentration, there is the incomplete concentration, still about breath mediation, https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn54/sn54.006.than.html

here are chinese parallels about the proper breath meditation https://lapislazulitexts.com/tripitaka/samyukta-agama https://lapislazulitexts.com/articles/anapanasmrti-in-the-agamas



"They fall into what Ajaan Lee called delusion concentration: moha-samadhi. Things are quiet, pleasant, still, but you have no idea where you are."

"That’s what happens in delusion concentration: You hit that nice little source of ease, you just stick yourself in it, and then you let go of everything else, including the mindfulness, including the alertness. It feels good, but you don’t really gain anything from it. It is restful to some extent, but not nearly as energizing as if you were focused on the breath, staying mindful and alert. Because we’re not here just to bliss out. We’re here to learn how to use the bliss. This is part of our path."

"There were two exceptions to Ajaan Fuang's usual practice of not identifying the state you had attained in your practice, and both involved states of wrong concentration. The first was the state that comes when the breath gets so comfortable that your focus drifts from the breath to the sense of comfort itself, your mindfulness begins to blur, and your sense of the body and your surroundings gets lost in a pleasant haze. When you emerge, you find it hard to identify where exactly you were focused. Ajaan Fuang called this moha-samadhi, or delusion-concentration.

"The second state was one I happened to hit one night when my concentration was extremely one-pointed, and so refined that it refused settle on or label even the most fleeting mental objects. I dropped into a state in which I lost all sense of the body, of any internal/external sounds, or of any thoughts or perceptions at all — although there was just enough tiny awareness to let me know, when I emerged, that I hadn't been asleep. I found that I could stay there for many hours, and yet time would pass very quickly. Two hours would seem like two minutes. I could also "program" myself to come out at a particular time."

"In both these states of wrong concentration, the limited range of awareness was what made them wrong. If whole areas of your awareness are blocked off, how can you gain all-around insight? And as I've noticed in years since, people adept at blotting out large areas of awareness through powerful one-pointedness also tend to be psychologically adept at dissociation and denial."


Wrong concentration is mentioned in the sutta MN 117.

Any concentration that is not founded upon a letting go (vossagga) from Right View is not Right Concentration.

Again, refer to MN 117 and also SN 48.10 and the end part of MN 118.


With Samadhi the entire eight fold is accomplished in an instant; when others try to stump you in a stop and think moment... especially; when all internal thoughts have been put to an end? It's annoying.

You know crickets, squirrels and frogs/toads all can speak the same language right? Some call it "twilight language".

I don't like naming names... as I see life as life no matter the form encountered.

Enlightenment sucks to be honest; it's dragon swallowing the moon.. those people won't shut up until dead... and in that moment realizing death? They better get to their shrine or temple within three days and then practice practice practice... I walked to mine in that moment over forty miles away; Abbot and Mara attendant was more interested in hearing some damned Sila bird squawking about something so I walked back home. Took all three days of course seeing the most perfect thing rising out of my corpse from across the room was amazing some people jump right on that perfect all encompassing golden orb when they see it and they are entirely wrong to do so. Wish I practiced dying on the cushion 28 years ago instead I swallowed the stupid moon thinking I achieved something jibber jabbering like a loon.

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