My understanding of the term samadhi is that it is state (of concentration)...as such it is a noun...an uncountable noun...you can have little, or much, samadhi, but not many...
Freawaru wrote:The Visuddhimagga XII deals with the practice of multiple simultaneous samadhis.
I use this term as it is used in yoga. It is identical to how it is used in Tibetan Buddhism and so far I have seen no reason to assume that the Buddha made up another definition of it in the suttas. The term "yogi" appears in the suttas - why should he not have used them in the original meaning? In yoga samadhi describes an experience. The term used for concentration is dharana, dharana leads to samadhi. Either one is in samadhi or not, it refers to the experience not to a gradual development of concentration. To say "I have little samadhi or much samadhi" makes no sense in yoga.
In yoga Samadhi means lucid unification with the meditation object. This can be something like a candle fire or the base of space or a hand or whatever. The experience is described as being one with the object, taking it's perspective, taking that perspective as "I" (an important knowledge to understand the phrase "this is not me, this is not what I am", IMO). For example, when using a hand as an object of concentration (or the nostrils at that) samadhi is reached when one is absorbed into that object. This is meant literally, one penetrates that object until unification is reached. Our center of perspective is usually located somewhere in the head, behind the eyes I would say, but when samadhi with the object "hand" happens the center of perspective becomes the hand. One has excluded the perception of head and thus merged with another object. Jhana works in the same way, one concentrates on more and more subtle objects until unification with it by excluding more gross objects has been reached.
I have been playing this game since before I turned twelve years old. It is rather amusing to shift one's "I" in this way, to know the objects inside out. To fully change one's perspective, to detach from one's default personality and become someone or something else. Until I became more than one.
I have found this experience of multiple selves described in Tibetan Buddhism but not how to reach it. What are the conditions for a multiple "I" to arise? The Visuddhimagga XII finally gave the answer. It describes how to develop the iddhi-vidhā of construing multiple selves by handling multiple simultaneous lucid absorbtions - in this case the elements (that construe bodies) and jhanas.
IMO, the experience of multiple selves is useful for countering the idea of the wrong self. If I can be in identification with a physical body and a mind-made body simultaneously - how can I still consider the physical body as self? The experience of mind-made bodies (astral bodies) is common among people who practice concentration meditation, the impression that one's body is melting, or relocating like sinking into the floor, or flying, seeing or hearing what happens places far away - some people even have a kammic knack for it without any training.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:
Of particular interest here is the Buddha's treatment of the three "acquisitions of a self." The first — the gross self — refers to the ordinary, everyday sense of identifying with one's body. The latter two — the mind-made acquisition and the formless acquisition — refer to the sense of self that can be developed in meditation. The mind-made acquisition can result from an experience of the mind-made body — the "astral body" — that constitutes one of the powers that can be developed through concentration practice.http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
One particular pit-fall when starting with astral experiences is that one considers this new body as "I" and "mine", that it enters and leaves the physical body, a kind of soul. Especially wide-spread belief one finds in New Age. They think that they really leave the physical body, that they need to protect it for some malicious entity might take possession of it. But when one experiences both bodies simultaneously, four hands, two heads (with all the senses), two legs, one body moving around and the other sitting (or lying) - this fear just makes no sense.
Another reason to practice multiple samadhis is the development of sampajanna. To experience a feeling and simultaneously be lucidly aware of this experience requires multi-tasking. The mind has to do two things simultaneously, lucidly, aware - not just on an unconscious level.
And of course, multi-tasking is very useful in every-day life, too.
These are the reason I present this topic here, astral experiences have been described in the topics on this board, and I think people should know what is going on and how to deal with them. Some of the wrong ideas about self can be eliminated even before they arise by at least a sometimes experience of this specific iddhi.
And of course I still have questions regarding this topic myself.