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Is there such a thing ? My guess is things like OCD etc. are extremes of concentration. Yuttadhammo Bhikku, for example, alludes to this excess concentration in some of his videos (I couldn't find specific mentions at the moment, I will cite the next time I find one).

What are your insights on what is it? what are the pros/cons of it and what a person afflicted with it must do to overcome it?

Thanks

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  • There is a term named "'access' concentration" -- e.g. Monk Radio: Nimitta, Access Concentration, Kasina -- so perhaps you might reword this question to be more specific -- i.e. are you asking about access or excess or both or what?
    – ChrisW
    Feb 23 at 7:27
  • Hi @ChrisW, thanks. Well tbh I am not sure because I heard it without subs ,and both those words sound similar. However the 'excess concentration' or too much concentration is something I am experientially familiar with. I was assuming that's what yuttadhammo meant, but now I think it was prolly the other one. Anyhow, I just wanted to know more about it, given that I am more or less certain that phenomena like OCD (and of course milder, more "normal" versions of it) are caused by something related to excessive concentration. I'm gonna watch the link and modify accordingly Feb 23 at 19:31
  • @ChrisW I checked out the video and yuttadhammo seemed to be barely intererested in the concept of "access concentration", which leads me to believe he was talking about having excessive concentration previously. Even ignoring him, I believe the topic deserves some discussion - there isn't even one question on it on stack exchange. It would be good to know others' insights on it and good as a resource for other people to read later. I hope you can open the question for discussion. Feb 23 at 19:44
  • There are 5 topics on this site where Ven. Yuttadhammo described "access": buddhism.stackexchange.com/search?q=user%3A18+access
    – ChrisW
    Feb 23 at 21:05
  • Don't know whether this fits, with the focus at "excess". In my diploma in 1985, when there has been a certain hype on programming and "hacking" in the psychology, I collected some articles on "super-programmers": people which could phenomenomally concentrate on their programmer problem and sometimes reported themselves to mentally "be in the program" just like the electronical processor would be. Either very long sessions with this "concentration" or deep and/or direct insight into the solution, without written notes and so on. I had also done two/three interviews - (cntd...) Feb 27 at 9:13

2 Answers 2

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The Pali Suttas (e.g. MN 117) refer to wrong concentration & Right Concentration.

The term "wrong concentration" is not a moral judgement but simply refers to any type of concentration that does not lead to Nibbana. For example, the ethical & loving concentration used by a mother to take care of her baby/child is "wrong concentration" because it does not lead to Nibbana; even though this motherly concentration is life affirming.

Some Buddhist commentators have referred to "excessive concentration" however this simply appears to refer wrong concentration, namely, any type of concentration not based in the abandoning of craving, per the instructions of the Noble Truths/Path.

One thing must be noticed, however: the intensity of concentration that comes about naturally is usually sufficient and appropriate for introspection and insight, whereas the concentration resulting from organized training is usually excessive, more than can be made use of.

INSlGHT, BY THE NATURE METHOD by Buddhadasa

Therefore OCD would be a type of non-Nibbana concentration.

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  • Thanks, great answer! The quoted para says that we don't need to develop concentration/samadhi since the natural one that we have is sufficient for insight? Or am I misunderstanding ? Mar 28 at 3:06
  • Thank you. This essay by Buddhadasa has always been vague to most. I think/guess what Buddhadasa was saying is it is a natural concentration (without any premeditated effort & ambition) that serves as the basis for samadhi development . Mar 28 at 3:11
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MN 128 has some candidates for what you might mean 'excessive concentration' https://lucid24.org/mn/main/mn128/index.html#128

of the 11 kinds of hindrances to good samādhi described,

  • MN 128.3.0 - (11 hindrances instead of usual 5)
  • MN 128.3.1 – (uk1: vicikicchā: doubt, same as 5niv#5)
  • MN 128.3.2 – (uk2: a-manasi-kāro: lack of attention, loss of focus)
  • MN 128.3.3 – (uk3: thina-middhaṃ: sloth & torpor, same as 5niv#3)
  • MN 128.3.4 – (uk4: chambhitattaṃ: terror ↔ simile travel on highway, robbers jump you)
  • MN 128.3.5 – (uk5: uppilaṃ: excitement ↔ simile like finding 5 treasures)
  • MN 128.3.6 – (uk6: duṭṭhullaṃ: discomfort/heaviness)
  • MN 128.3.7 – (uk7: acc-āraddha-vīriyaṃ: excessively aroused vigor ↔ simile of gripping quail too tightly it dies)
  • MN 128.3.8 – (uk8: ati-līna-vīriyaṃ: excessively lax vigor ↔ simile of gripping quail too softly it escapes)
  • MN 128.3.9 – (uk9: abhijappā: longing)
  • MN 128.3.10 – (uk10: nānatta-saññā: diversity of perceptions [that arise through 6 sense doors] )
  • MN 128.3.11 – (uk11: ati-nij-jhāyitattaṃ: excessive jhāna focus)

number #5, #7, #11 are candidates

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  • Thank you. Do you know what #11 means? Mar 28 at 3:05
  • the suttas talk about two kinds of nijjhāna. The more rare exalted kind, dhamma-nijjhāna, has to to with direct realizing and experiencing awakening and Dharmic insghts. The other kind, involves thinking and pondering views, which is what this sutta must be referring to, echoing MN 19 which says that too much vitakka and vicāra (verbal thought) makes the body tired, which prevents bodily pacification and four jhānas.
    – frankk
    Mar 28 at 16:06

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