Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

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thang
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Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

Post by thang » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:40 am

Highly regarded venerable Nyanavimla advices not to develop nimittas as the Visuddhimagga says. But some traditions like Pa auk advice to do.
Confusing ...
Everything is affliction and one has to learn to delight in nothing. But in the beginning one has to delight in one’s meditation, being wary of attachment to it. Unless nekkhamma, renunciation of kāmārammaṇa (sensual objects), is developed, one will not be able to give up this loka (world). In meditation, don’t try to develop nimittas (signs) as the Visuddhimagga (the text, ‘Path of Purification’) says, but rather see that the mind is free from nīvaraṇa (hindrances). One can then delight in the purity of mind that comes from jhāna (absorption). Jhāna is that samādhi (concentration) that has no connection with this loka. Bhante's Advice
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, utters, or expounds
in the interval between
the night when he awakens to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment
and the night when he attains final nibbāna,
all that is just so and not otherwise"
;

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DooDoot
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Re: Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:48 am

You seem to be saying the meditator can "choose" to "create" a nimitta directly using their volition.

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Akashad
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Re: Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

Post by Akashad » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:20 pm

Buddhist seem to have two different interpretations of Jhana.

One which requires a nimitta and the other that doesn't.

Its really up to you to choose what to practice.They are quite different practices to each other so the instructions are very different.

In the Pa Auk Sayadaw tradition which i follow you can't get absorbed without a nimitta,because you get absorbed INTO the nimitta.

Another way of looking at it,my personal view,the nimitta are like "worlds" "consciousness" or "minds".Mind within mind.Basically it's like the light you see at the end of the tunnel when you die or the light you fall into before your born.Its the consciousness you take rebirth in.So your not a Brahma living in the jhanic realms.Your a human so to reach that realm you have to cultivate the necessary consciousness which forms a nimitta that YOUR HUMAN consciousness gets absorbed in.So you temporarily become like the Brahmas experiencing what they are experiencing in their natural habitat.When it breaks apart your everyday human consciousness forms back and your back on the mat. This is a non buddhist way of looking at it.

I think Buddhists see nimittas as a visual manifestation of the breath.In the Pa Auk Sayadaw tradition absorption can not happening without a nimitta because its the key that unlocks the Jhana states.I think he used the word passport.

I'm not sure about the Jhana practice that doesn't require a nimitta.I can't speak on that.But its important to know there are two different interpretations and it's up to you to decide which is more suitable for practice.

paul
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Re: Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

Post by paul » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:20 pm

thang wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:40 am
Highly regarded venerable Nyanavimla advices not to develop nimittas as the Visuddhimagga says. But some traditions like Pa auk advice to do.
Confusing ...
Everything is affliction and one has to learn to delight in nothing. But in the beginning one has to delight in one’s meditation, being wary of attachment to it. Unless nekkhamma, renunciation of kāmārammaṇa (sensual objects), is developed, one will not be able to give up this loka (world). In meditation, don’t try to develop nimittas (signs) as the Visuddhimagga (the text, ‘Path of Purification’) says, but rather see that the mind is free from nīvaraṇa (hindrances). One can then delight in the purity of mind that comes from jhāna (absorption). Jhāna is that samādhi (concentration) that has no connection with this loka. Bhante's Advice
What the venerable doesn't point out is that rapture also is prone to becoming an imperfection of insight.
In the beginning the practitioner has a choice either to take the path of visualization (nimitta) or the path of developing rapture.

“…the rapture and pleasure provided by jhana give discernment the
support it needs to overcome sensuality entirely.

“Even though a disciple of the noble ones has clearly seen as it has come
to be with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much
despair, & greater drawbacks, still—if he has not attained a rapture &
pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful qualities, or
something more peaceful than that—he can be tempted by sensuality. But
when he has clearly seen as it has come to be with right discernment that
sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and he
has attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from
unskillful qualities, or something more peaceful than that, he cannot be
tempted by sensuality.” — MN 14
—-“Right Mindfulness”, Thanissaro.

There are parts of the Theravada path where the skill of visualization (nimitta) is essential, such as the reflection on the thirty two parts of the body, some of which are interior, although the skill is implied only. Both visualization and rapture are equally liable to becoming an ‘imperfection of insight’ :

“…they are not imperfections or defilements in themselves, but may become a basis for them through the arising of pride or delight or by a wrong conclusion that one of the Noble paths has been attained. He, however, who is watchful and experienced in insight practice, will know that these states of mind do not indicate attainment of the true path, but are only symptoms or concomitants of insight meditation.”—-“Buddhist Dictionary”, Nyanatiloka.

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Dmytro
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Re: Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

Post by Dmytro » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:58 pm

thang wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:40 am
Highly regarded venerable Nyanavimla advices not to develop nimittas as the Visuddhimagga says.
It depends on how you interpret "nimitta". In our times it's often misinterpreted as some arbitrary hallucinative visual image, which spontaneously appears during meditation. This is not what Visuddhimagga says, though this is how Visuddhimagga instructions are mostly understood. I would also certainly not recommend developing such hallucinative so called "nimittas".

If one carefully reads Visuddhimagga, one finds that instructions start with removing the hindrances - exactly like Bhante Nyanavimala says.

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LG2V
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Re: Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

Post by LG2V » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:35 pm

Meditation is different for each individual, but from personal experience, I wouldn't recommend worrying too much about nimittas. They'll come if whatever you're doing is working, such as breath meditation, metta meditation, etc. If you see a nimitta, just treat it as a good indicator and do whatever you're doing. Jhana can come in a shorter period of time with practice, but one usually has to sit for at least an hour in the beginning to attain it, and the nimittas usually show up at least 10-20 minutes before, and sometimes earlier.
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Re: Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

Post by budo » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:06 pm

Dmytro wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:58 pm
thang wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:40 am
Highly regarded venerable Nyanavimla advices not to develop nimittas as the Visuddhimagga says.
It depends on how you interpret "nimitta". In our times it's often misinterpreted as some arbitrary hallucinative visual image, which spontaneously appears during meditation. This is not what Visuddhimagga says, though this is how Visuddhimagga instructions are mostly understood. I would also certainly not recommend developing such hallucinative so called "nimittas".

If one carefully reads Visuddhimagga, one finds that instructions start with removing the hindrances - exactly like Bhante Nyanavimala says.
Hey thanks for posting this. What do you think of Bhikkhu Sona's article comparing Patisambhidamagga to the Vissudhimagga's nimittas?

Also what kind of nimitta is the Vissudhimagga referring to? Feelings or something else?

Here is Bhikkhu Sona's article where he talks about the visual nimitta in the vissudhimagga.
https://www.arrowriver.ca/dhamma/nimitta.html

auto
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Re: Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

Post by auto » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:46 pm

in Sutta, nimitta is a theme. I guess scenario and script would be also suitable.

pegembara
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Re: Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

Post by pegembara » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:37 am

How about this?
‘It is said, “the signless concentration of mind, the signless concentration of mind.” What now is the signless concentration of mind?’

“Then, friends, it occurred to me: ‘Here, by nonattention to all signs, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the signless concentration of mind. This is called the signless concentration of mind.’
"Monks, there are these three types of unskillful thinking: thinking of sensuality, thinking of ill will, thinking of harm. These three types of unskillful thinking cease without remainder in one who dwells with his mind well established in the four frames of reference or who develops the signless concentration. This is reason enough, monks, to develop the signless concentration. The signless concentration, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, great benefit.
SN 22.80
And what, venerable sir, is the signless liberation of mind? Here, with nonattention to all signs, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the signless concentration of mind. This is called the signless liberation of mind.
SN 41.7
Meditate on the signless,
Throw out the underlying tendency to conceit,
And when you have a breakthrough in understanding conceit,
You will live at peace.”
Thag 21.1
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Dmytro
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Re: Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?

Post by Dmytro » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:00 pm

budo wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:06 pm
Hey thanks for posting this. What do you think of Bhikkhu Sona's article comparing Patisambhidamagga to the Vissudhimagga's nimittas?
It's been a pioneering work, which prompted many people, including myself, to explore this topic:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2770
budo wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:06 pm
Also what kind of nimitta is the Vissudhimagga referring to? Feelings or something else?
This question is essential for applying Visuddhimagga in practice. I have posted my reply at:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2770&p=488036#p488036

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