Seeing White Light in Meditation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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sgns
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Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by sgns » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:35 pm

Many spiritual traditions as well as new religious movements and teachers speak of a "white light". This light may also be accompanied by feelings of bliss, ecstasy, or characterized as one-ness, non-duality, ego loss, union, etc.

Are there any experiences described within the Canon, or any related commentaries, that also speak of "white light"?

I know there is some reference to colored disks as nimitta, in the Visuddhimagga, and I believe the white disc is "preferable". Obviously the nimitta is, in the commentaries, a prerequisite for jhana, and jhana would be blissful, etc, but is the actual appearance of the nimitta connected to any particular affective experience (bliss, rapture, etc.)?

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mikenz66
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:43 pm

Hi sgns,

Perhaps this thread will be helpful:
Suttas mentioning tranquility and concentration nimittas
viewtopic.php?t=15578

:heart:
Mike

Garrib
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by Garrib » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:59 pm

I have experienced something I would describe as "white light" during meditation (not always), and I would describe it as a blissful experience, although it is limited in extent, so I definitely wouldn't characterize it as jhana. It seems to happen when the mind stops identifying with thoughts, and manages to prevent more course thoughts from arising, by being acutely aware of the "place" where thoughts originate in the mind. The white light seems to be pouring forth, or bubbling up - it is dynamic/flowing. My awareness is centered on this activity - this happens naturally because it is pleasurable - but I am still aware of other things, though they are more on the periphery. That is a clumsy way of describing my experience - I've never talked to any meditation teacher about this but I'm interested in what they might say; Probably something like, "don't worry about it - go back to your meditation subject" etc...

Sorry for the self-indulgent detour. Looking forward to hearing what more knowledgeable persons have to say about this!

form
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by form » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:15 pm

In commentaries that is the countersign. Countersign is linked to luminosity, what is perceived by the consciousness when its state has been altered to a higher level. It may continue to increase in intensity and clarity if one is still progressing. It may change in form also. In Chinese context, many times they may call it the moon. The moon that appeared after the clouds went away.

In the pali canon, that is not explained in details but it should be linked to the colour kasina meditation. The clues can only be borrowed from other traditions or the commentaries. It should be also proceed to the whole body covered with a white cloth as stated by the Buddha in DN.

pride042
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by pride042 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:56 am

I stumbled here not by chance but because I was actually looking for answers regarding this white-light since it has happened to me a few years ago and it has stayed with me all this time most likely because of the impact it had on me. As I've said, I'm answering not because I have any explanation of what this phenomena exactly is or means, but because I thought sharing my experience would be something you would be interested in reading and also on the chance that someone reading it might have a few things to say about it.

So I was meditating one day and everything about that particular meditation experience was normal, nothing out of the ordinary was happening. I was even kind of "dazing off" into a sort of sleepy state and i had not been meditating for long, maybe around 40min. All of a sudden a soft white light begins to emerge in the darkness of having my eyes closed, in a very specific place, exactly on the upper limit of my field of vision. The light starts to become more intense and as it becomes more and more pronouncedly white, it simultaneously starts descending down and filling all of my field of vision. My eyes were completely closed, but it was as if I was being blinded by someone literaly holding a flashlight centimeters away from my eyes and pointing it directly at them.

Probably to your surprise, that was not the surprising and impactful aspect about this experience, what really was astonishing about this, is that accompanying all this process was what started as a very pleasant feeling and has the light did its thing that I described earlier, the feeling would get more and more intense. Now I'm not sure how to describe this, but at the moment the light completely filled my vision, the feeling was tremendously pleasant, my entire body was filled with, roughly speaking, can be described as heat, an incredible amount of heat that didn't burn but that was filled with a huge amount of energy that felt like pure bliss. Now this feeling of pure ecstasy was so intense that I literaly had to stop the experience right there due to not being able to contain all that pure pleasure. Just imagine a feeling so pleasant so good that it actually becomes too overwhelming to be able to contain and experience, as if I was going to explode from the inside from pure pleasure, bliss you could say. I find the most accurate description of that feeling specifically regarding only the pleasure I felt and not the heat and the light, it was as if you were having hundreds and hundreds of orgasms at the same time, in a very short span of time. This whole experience, since the appearance of the white light until the moment I had to stop, had the duration of about 6/7 secs.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by JamesTheGiant » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:14 am

pride042 wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:56 am
I stumbled here not by chance...
Have you researched "Nimitta"? That's what that light was. There's lots of information around about them on this website.

sgns
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by sgns » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:46 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:14 am
pride042 wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:56 am
I stumbled here not by chance...
Have you researched "Nimitta"? That's what that light was. There's lots of information around about them on this website.
Funny that this two year old thread is revived today. I spent the day researching the white light across various traditions and experiences.

I'm not too versed in nimittas, but I usually hear the nimitta talked about purely in terms of visual disc -- James, does the nimitta have an affective experience like the one described by pride? Can you link to any threads or info that?

pride042
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by pride042 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:50 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:14 am
pride042 wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:56 am
I stumbled here not by chance...
Have you researched "Nimitta"? That's what that light was. There's lots of information around about them on this website.
Can't say that I have, I'll go have a look at it, thank you very much for the reply.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by JamesTheGiant » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:54 am

sgns wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:46 am
... does the nimitta have an affective experience like the one described by pride? Can you link to any threads or info that?
Here's what my teacher, Ajahn Brahm, says about nimitta.
It also matches with my personal experiences, which are much the same as Pride042.
https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn ... m#PART_TWO

sgns
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by sgns » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:35 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:54 am
sgns wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:46 am
... does the nimitta have an affective experience like the one described by pride? Can you link to any threads or info that?
Here's what my teacher, Ajahn Brahm, says about nimitta.
It also matches with my personal experiences, which are much the same as Pride042.
https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn ... m#PART_TWO
This is a great read - thank you!

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Volo
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by Volo » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:53 am

Many people see different lights (including white) during meditation, but very few have real nimitta, which can lead to jhāna. The safest thing is to stick to the meditation object (i.e. breath or whatever), and not to pay attention to lights (nimitta, btw can be of any color, not necessarily white).

What concerns white kasina, this is light, which is visualized (mentally created) by a yogi "on purpose", i.e. it's not light, which appears "by itself" during, let's say ānāpānasati. If light appeared "by itself", then most probably it won't be suitable for white kasina (i.e. it will probably disappear when trying to focus on white color).

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Akashad
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by Akashad » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:50 pm

I found this video on a breath nimitta on youtube. It's not always white sometimes its blue (the blue pearl).


Spaciousness
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by Spaciousness » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:09 am

pride042 wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:56 am
I felt and not the heat and the light, it was as if you were having hundreds and hundreds of orgasms at the same time, in a very short span of time. This whole experience, since the appearance of the white light until the moment I had to stop, had the duration of about 6/7 secs.
Love your analogy on the organsm. LOl :lol:

Spaciousness
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Re: Seeing White Light in Meditation

Post by Spaciousness » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:25 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:54 am
sgns wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:46 am
... does the nimitta have an affective experience like the one described by pride? Can you link to any threads or info that?
Here's what my teacher, Ajahn Brahm, says about nimitta.
It also matches with my personal experiences, which are much the same as Pride042.
https://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn ... m#PART_TWO
Thank you James. I am reading it right now.

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