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A metaphor for adhimoksha is a stone pillar, since it keeps the mind from moving from the object.

Adhimoksha (Skt. adhimokṣa; P. adhimokkha; T. mos pa; C. shengjie) is translated as "intensified interest," "decision," "firm conviction," etc. It is a mental factor that keeps the mind focused on an object without straying to another object.[1][2]

Within the Abhidharma teachings, adhimoksha is identified as:


Pali tradition

The Visuddhimagga ( XIV, 151) gives the following definition of adhimokkha:

The act of resolving is resolution. It has the characteristic of conviction. Its function is not to grope. It is manifested as decisiveness. Its proximate cause is a thing to be convinced about. It should be regarded as like a boundary-post owing to its immovableness with regard to the object.[3]

A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma states:

The word adhimokkha means literally the releasing of the mind onto the object. Hence it has been rendered decision or resolution. It has the characteristic of conviction, the function of not groping, and manifestation as decisiveness. Its proximate cause is a thing to be convinced about. It is compared to a stone pillar owing to its unshakable resolve regarding the object.[4]

Sanskrit tradition

The Abhidharma-samuccaya states:

What is intensified interest? It is to stick to the determined thing just as it has been determined, and the function of intensified interest is that it cannot be taken away.[2]

The Necklace of Clear Understanding states:

It is an awareness by which one stays with what the mind [yul-can] has logically established as this is so and not otherwise.[2]

The Khenjuk states:

  • Tib. མོས་པ་ནི་ངེས་པའི་དངོས་པོ་ལ་དེ་བཞིན་དུ་འཛིན་པ་མི་འཕྲོག་པའི་བྱེད་ལས་ཅན་ནོ།
  • Interest means holding on to the certain form of a determined object. Its function is to not lose the object.[5]

StudyBuddhism states:

Firm conviction (mos-pa) focuses on a fact that we have validly ascertained to be like this and not like that. Its function is to make our belief that a fact is true (dad-pa) so firm that others’ arguments or opinions will not dissuade us. For Vasubandhu, this mental factor means regard. It merely takes its object to have some level of good qualities – on the spectrum from no good qualities to all good qualities – and may be either accurate or distorted.[6]

Alternate English translations

  • interest (David Karma Choepel, Erik Pema Kunsang)
  • intenstified interest (Guenther)
  • resolve (Gyurme Dorje)
  • adherence (Tony Duff)
  • belief (LTWA: Thubten K. Rikey)
  • firm conviction (StudyBuddhism: Alexander Berzin)
  • determination, resolution or zeal (Princeton Encyclopedia of Buddhism: Buswell)
  • determination (Nina van Gorkom)
  • decision or resolution (Bhikkhu Bodhi)
  • appreciation (Rigpa Wiki)


  1. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. adhimokṣa.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Yeshe Gyeltsen 1975, s.v. Intensified interest which stays with its object [mos-pa].
  3. van Gorkom 1999, Cetasikas, adhimokkha and viriya
  4. Bhikkhu Bodhi 2000, s.v. Decision (adhimokkha).
  5. Mipham Rinpoche 2004, s.v. Interest.
  6. Berzin, s.v. Firm conviction (mos-pa).


External links

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