Nimittas

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Nimittas

Postby Motova » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:03 am

May nimittas be experienced outside of a meditative state?
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Re: Nimittas

Postby polarbuddha101 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:23 am

That depends entirely on what you think the word nimitta means.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Nimittas

Postby Motova » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:33 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:That depends entirely on what you think the word nimitta means.


"For most meditators, this disembodied joyful beauty is perceived as a profoundly beautiful light. But
it is not a light, as the eyes are closed, and the eye-consciousness has shut down. It is the mind-consciousness that is freed for the first time from the world of the five senses. It is like the full moon in a clear
cloudless sky. The radiant mind is perceived as a light because this imperfect description is the best that
perception can offer...Some meditators may feel a physical sensation, such as an
intense tranquility or ecstasy. But the body consciousness—which experiences pleasure and pain, etc—
has long since shut down. So it is not a physical feeling, but a mental experience. As such, whether we are
experiencing a bright light or an intense bliss, we are talking about the same thing, the same pure mental
object, the nimitta."

http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... a-piya.pdf

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Re: Nimittas

Postby polarbuddha101 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:47 am

It sounds like the definition of nimitta that you're using is a specific narrow definition achieved through a specific kind of meditative state. Anyway, here are some sources on the word nimitta:

http://www.arrowriver.ca/dhamma/nimitta.html

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2770

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

http://measurelessmind.ca/nimitta.html

I would read all of these to get a good idea of what the word nimitta means.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Nimittas

Postby Motova » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:20 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:It sounds like the definition of nimitta that you're using is a specific narrow definition achieved through a specific kind of meditative state. Anyway, here are some sources on the word nimitta:

http://www.arrowriver.ca/dhamma/nimitta.html

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2770

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

http://measurelessmind.ca/nimitta.html

I would read all of these to get a good idea of what the word nimitta means.

:anjali:


"To the yogin who attends to the incoming breath with mind that is cleansed of the nine lesser defilements the image arises with a pleasant feeling similar to that which is produced in the action of spinning cotton or silk cotton. Also, it is likened to the pleasant feeling produced by a breeze. Thus in breathing in and out, air touches the nose or the lip and causes the setting-up of air perception mindfulness. This does not depend on colour or form. This is called the image. If the yogin develops the image [sign] and increases it at the nose-tip, between the eyebrows, on the forehead or establishes it in several places, he feels as if his head were filled with air. Through increasing in this way his whole body is charged with bliss. This is called perfection.

And again, there is a yogin: he sees several images from the beginning. He sees various forms such as smoke, mist, dust, sand of gold, or he experiences something similar to the pricking of a needle or to an ant's bite. If his mind does not become clear regarding these different images, he will be confused [!]. Thus he fulfils overturning and does not gain the perception of respiration. If his mind becomes clear, the yogin does not experience confusion. He attends to respiration and he does not cause the arising of other perceptions [underlining mine]. Meditating thus he is able to end confusion and acquire the subtle image [sign]. And he attends to respiration with mind that is free. That image [sign] is free. Because that image [sign] is free, desire arises. Desire being free, that yogin attends respiration with equipoise. Equipoise, desire and joy being free, he attends to respiration, and his mind is not disturbed. If his mind is not disturbed, he will destroy the hindrances, and arouse the meditation (jhana) factors. Thus this yogin will reach the calm and sublime fourth meditation, jhana. This is as was fully taught above."

http://www.arrowriver.ca/dhamma/nimitta.html

From what I get from this is that there are nimittas of unskillful and skillful means?

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2770

"In the same way, a monk intent on heightened mind should attend periodically to three themes: he should attend periodically to the theme of concentration; he should attend periodically to the theme of uplifted energy; he should attend periodically to the theme of equanimity. If the monk intent on heightened mind were to attend solely to the theme of concentration, it is possible that his mind would tend to laziness. If he were to attend solely to the theme of uplifted energy, it is possible that his mind would tend to restlessness. If he were to attend solely to the theme of equanimity, it is possible that his mind would not be rightly centered for the stopping of the fermentations. But when he attends periodically to the theme of concentration, attends periodically to the theme of uplifted energy, attends periodically to the theme of equanimity, his mind is pliant, malleable, luminous, and not brittle. It is rightly centered for the stopping of the fermentations."

I find this to be very accurate.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Not much to say about this one...

http://measurelessmind.ca/nimitta.html

From my experience and from reading about the topic, I would state that nimittas are simply reflections of the mind. So are nimittas acquired through unskillful nimittas that are experienced outside of meditation? Am I just getting hung up on labels? I was just wondering why someone might experience nimittas outside of meditation..

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Re: Nimittas

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:01 pm

I think you probably consider nimitta to be phosphenes, which seems to be the commentarial understanding of that term. But nimitta is used much more generally in the suttas, referring to 'theme' or 'sign' generally, and not lights in the mind.

It's related to the skillful chef who can pick up the theme of his master; so too, a skilled meditator should pick up the theme of their mind, and tune it neither too tight nor too slack.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Nimittas

Postby Motova » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:27 pm

daverupa wrote:I think you probably consider nimitta to be phosphenes, which seems to be the commentarial understanding of that term. But nimitta is used much more generally in the suttas, referring to 'theme' or 'sign' generally, and not lights in the mind.

It's related to the skillful chef who can pick up the theme of his master; so too, a skilled meditator should pick up the theme of their mind, and tune it neither too tight nor too slack.


From experience I have found that nimittas are simply classified either under "visual" or "tactile".

How would you know you've experienced a 'theme' or 'sign'?

It would be much appreciated if someone posted anymore links. :reading:

:namaste:
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Re: Nimittas

Postby santa100 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:00 pm

This link refers to the various meanings of Nimitta..

http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... a-piya.pdf
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Re: Nimittas

Postby kmath » Sat May 04, 2013 1:43 am

Motova wrote:
daverupa wrote:I think you probably consider nimitta to be phosphenes, which seems to be the commentarial understanding of that term. But nimitta is used much more generally in the suttas, referring to 'theme' or 'sign' generally, and not lights in the mind.

It's related to the skillful chef who can pick up the theme of his master; so too, a skilled meditator should pick up the theme of their mind, and tune it neither too tight nor too slack.


From experience I have found that nimittas are simply classified either under "visual" or "tactile".

How would you know you've experienced a 'theme' or 'sign'?

It would be much appreciated if someone posted anymore links. :reading:

:namaste:


Is there something specifically you've been experiencing that you want to learn more about? Or are you just curious about nimittas in general?

Experiences of a peaceful mind in and out of mediation can vary widely between persons. I know someone you sees blue light in mediation as well as before falling asleep. So is that a nimitta? It just is what it is in my opinion.
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Re: Nimittas

Postby Motova » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:48 pm

kmath wrote:
Motova wrote:
daverupa wrote:I think you probably consider nimitta to be phosphenes, which seems to be the commentarial understanding of that term. But nimitta is used much more generally in the suttas, referring to 'theme' or 'sign' generally, and not lights in the mind.

It's related to the skillful chef who can pick up the theme of his master; so too, a skilled meditator should pick up the theme of their mind, and tune it neither too tight nor too slack.


From experience I have found that nimittas are simply classified either under "visual" or "tactile".

How would you know you've experienced a 'theme' or 'sign'?

It would be much appreciated if someone posted anymore links. :reading:

:namaste:


Is there something specifically you've been experiencing that you want to learn more about? Or are you just curious about nimittas in general?

Experiences of a peaceful mind in and out of mediation can vary widely between persons. I know someone you sees blue light in mediation as well as before falling asleep. So is that a nimitta? It just is what it is in my opinion.


Well I see lights appearing and disappearing all the time. Mostly blue, white, and red. But sometimes green and yellow. They can be circles, semi circles, pin points, moving columns, or moving in general. As well as a golden/silvery fluidly moving mist/web that is always overlapping my vision. I see this (eyes open or closed) 24/7.

I have read Ajahn Brahm's Meditation, mindfulness, bliss and beyond, but he doesn't go into that much detail. He describes what I see, but fails to explain it all.

I've also noticed I can use the light to highlight objects/areas and essentially use them to "see" in the dark, or find things.

I have had my eyes checked and their isn't anything wrong with them, in total I have seen three doctors and they all say they simply have no idea what it is. I have scheduled an EEG for march, and a nervous system test using electrodes. But I seriously doubt they will find anything.

Would these be considered nimitta?
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Re: Nimittas

Postby Babadhari » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:20 pm

just curious if you've ever experimented with hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, DMT or psiloscobin mushrooms.... there is a disorder called HPPD, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallucinogen_persisting_perception_disorder
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Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: Nimittas

Postby pilgrim » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:56 am

See in the dark? You could be a candidate for Stan Lee's "Superhumans".
Of interest:
"Practitioners of Buddhist meditation have reported seeing globes, jewels and little stars during meditation-induced light experiences. The neurobiological explanation for these visions was the subject of a recent study"
http://www.browndailyherald.com/2014/02 ... y-science/
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Re: Nimittas

Postby SarathW » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:52 am

santa100 wrote:This link refers to the various meanings of Nimitta..

http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... a-piya.pdf


Thanks Santa
Great article!
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Re: Nimittas

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:43 am

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