What is Goenkaji's standpoint about the light?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

What is Goenkaji's standpoint about the light?

Postby Sekha » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:08 pm

I am wondering what is Goenkaji's standpoint about the light.

As far as I know, he recommends not to give it any importance. Is this correct? (I am addressing here those who have taken long courses in his tradition).

And what is the reason for this choice? I remember having heard it is because it leads to the arising of iddhis, that may turn out to be a hindrance for the meditator, as it may drive him away from dissecting the reality. Is this correct?
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: What is Goenkaji's standpoint about the light?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:21 pm

Are you referring to a nimatta? Or does "the light" refer to something else? I don't know much about the U Ba Khin system and its terminology, but I remember clearly at the one course I took that the general emphasis was on ignoring any countersigns that arose, or at least not investing too much worth into them. That might change as someone goes deeper, you might want to ask Ben!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: What is Goenkaji's standpoint about the light?

Postby Sekha » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:38 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Are you referring to a nimatta? Or does "the light" refer to something else?

I refer to alokasañña
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: What is Goenkaji's standpoint about the light?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:45 pm

Hi Sekha,

As in these sorts of quotations?
4.2 The Removal of Sloth-and-torpor
A prominent antidote to sloth-and-torpor, mentioned on frequent
occasions in the Pali discourses, is the development of
"perception of light", alokasañña, together with mindfulness
and clear comprehension (e.g. DN I 71). Some discourses associate
the expression "perception of light" with a mind that is
"open", viva.a, and "uncovered", apariyonaddha, by day and
by night, and indicate that such "perception of light" will lead
to knowledge and vision (DN III 223). This suggests the expression
"perception of light" to refer to the development of
mental clarity.

Analayo's "From Craving to Liberation – Excursions into the Thought-world of the Pali Discourses"
viewtopic.php?f=31&t=3860&start=40


See also:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14716#p213561
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:anjali:
Mike
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Re: What is Goenkaji's standpoint about the light?

Postby Sekha » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:48 pm

yes, the suttas mention the perception of light in the two contexts referred to by B. Analayo. In the hindrance removal formula, it seems to appear as an antidote to 'dullness & drowsiness', just as loving-kindness is mentioned for ill-will, inner tranquilisiation of the mind for excitement and worry, and unperplexity about wholesome states in the case of doubt.

However, elsewhere the Buddha rather mentions 'ārambhadhātu nikkamadhātu parakkamadhātu' which according to PTSD are synonyms for viriya. The reason for this might be that in the beginning it is not possible to focus on the light as one generally does not perceive it, but one can surely make an effort!

The Patisambhida magga recommends alokasañña to fight out dullness and drowsiness. And at AN 4.41 for example, the perception of light, together with divasañña (a rather obscure term ThanB translates as 'perception of daytime [at any hour of the day]', the Atthakatha says it refers to the previously mentioned alokasañña and the Tika says it refers to the sunlight and the moonlight! [if I am not mistaken]) is said to lead to 'knowledge and vision'.

So I want to know what Goenkaji has to say about it. I know that in one ten-day course's discourse he says that during is own first course he saw the light, but that his teacher had told him not to pay any attention to it. And on the other hand, those practicing according to the visuddhimagga use it a lot. So I am trying to understand where the contradiction lies.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59
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Re: What is Goenkaji's standpoint about the light?

Postby James the Giant » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:36 pm

In the 10-day discourses, the light Goenkaji talks about is a nimitta, which is different from what you are talking about, alokasañña.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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