the first jhana and thinking.

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Alex123
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by Alex123 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:30 pm

ToVincent wrote:
Alex123 wrote: In the above case, since it talks about avitakka/avicāro it implies second Jhāna.
Sure, but what is vitakka/vicara?
All sutta and pali evidence suggests that it is thinking in general (train of thought). In the context of Jhāna, of course, it is only wholesome, andwithin bounds of the meditation subject(s).

Above 1st Jhāna, while train of thought doesn't occur, there may be very few thoughts here and there dealing with decision to go to higher level or not.
ToVincent wrote: What is interesting, is your pericope "cetayamānassa me pāpiyo, acetayamānassa me seyyo" in the dimension(sphere) of nothingness.
The fact that there is thinking (what we usually call thinking",) at that level goes against the "no thinking" after the first jhana.
Here we need to be precise about the degree and amount. While there can be train of thought in 1st Jhana, it doesn't need to mean that very few thoughts cannot occur in higher jhanas.
ToVincent wrote: Now, when the monk is percipient of himself here, then from there to there, step by step, he touches the peak of perception. As he remains at the peak of perception,
Here is important thing, "Peak of perception". Beyond which is almost unconsciousness where one of course, cannot form any conscious thought, not even a single one.

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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:45 pm

Alex123 wrote: In the place of 1st Jhāna there is instruction for satipatthana.
Yes, that's interesting, but does it really mean that satipatthana = first jhana?
Alex123 wrote: For 2nd jhāna it says to avoid "thinking".
That's in all the second Jhana pericopes, isn't it?
MN 125 wrote: https://suttacentral.net/pi/mn125/-1
So vitak­ka­vicārā­naṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ sampasādanaṃ cetaso ekodibhāvaṃ avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ samādhijaṃ pītisukhaṃ dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ …
MN 26 wrote: https://suttacentral.net/pi/mn26/-1
Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, bhikkhu vitak­ka­vicārā­naṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ sampasādanaṃ cetaso ekodibhāvaṃ avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ samādhijaṃ pītisukhaṃ dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati. …
MN 26 wrote: https://suttacentral.net/en/mn26/60
“Again, with the stilling of applied and sustained thought, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the second jhāna, which has self-confidence and singleness of mind without applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of concentration. ...
:anjali:
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by Alex123 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 9:51 pm

mikenz66 wrote: Yes, that's interesting, but does it really mean that satipatthana = first jhana?
Mike
Satipaṭṭhāna without unwholesome qualities, but with vitakka,vicāra, pīti & sukha= is 1st Jhāna.
Without vitakka & vicāra but with pīti, sukha born of samādhi = 2nd Jhāna. Etc.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by Zom » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:48 pm

Yes, that's interesting, but does it really mean that satipatthana = first jhana?
Just a textual mistake, as it seems.

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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by ToVincent » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:02 am

Alex123 wrote: it is thinking in general (train of thought).
Ah, ok!
So I see that you consider vitakka/vicara as a process (thinking) emanating from mano (intellect).
-------
On the side, this might interest you. It is a summary on jhana.
It is a collection from the different suttas. for instance, the second jhana gives the following:
For one who has attained the first jhana, speech has ceased.

Furthermore, Ānanda, the monk, with the stilling of initial (applied) thought and sustained thought, by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind (self-confidence and singleness of mind), enters and remains in the second jhana, free from initial thought and sustained thought, accompanied by profound delight and pleasure born of concentration. [This is called noble silence ... Establish your mind in noble silence. Make your mind unified in noble silence. Concentrate your mind in noble silence. SN 21.1]. [His consciousness does not follow the drift of the profound delight & pleasure born of composure, is not tied to... chained... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of composure. MN 138]. [That, I tell you, comes under the perturbable. And what comes under the perturbable there? The profound delight-pleasure that hasn't ceased there: that's what comes under the perturbable there. MN 66]. [His earlier perception of a refined truth of profound delight & pleasure born of seclusion ceases, and on that occasion there is a perception of a refined truth of profound delight & pleasure born of concentration. On that occasion he is one who is percipient of a refined truth of profound delight & pleasure born of concentration. And thus it is that with training one perception arises and with training another perception ceases. DN9]. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the profound delight and happiness born of concentration. [viz. He makes the profound delight and pleasure born of concentration drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body unpervaded by the profound delight and pleasure born of concentration.] Just as though there were a lake whose waters welled up from below and it had no inflow from east, west, north, or south and would not be replenished from time to time by showers of rain, then the cool fount of water welling up in the lake would make the cool water drench, steep, fill, and pervade the lake, so that there would be no part of the whole lake unpervaded by cool water; so too, a bhikkhu makes the profound delight and pleasure born of concentration drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body unpervaded by the profound delight and pleasure born of concentration. [At that time he does not intend his own affliction, the affliction of others, or the affliction of both. He feels a feeling totally unafflicted. The unafflicted, I tell you, is the highest allure of feelings. MN 13]

For one who has attained the second jhana, thought and examination have ceased.
The all thing is here:
https://justpaste.it/zh6i

Metta.
In this world with its ..., Māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
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https://justpaste.it/j5o4

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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by Kumara » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:07 am

The basis of the issue here is what the Suttas mean by “vitakka” and “vicāra”. If we get this right, the rest will settle quite easily.

Based on my research, “vitakka” and “vicāra” refers to mentally verbalised cogitation. This can be concluded with the help of understanding another concept: "noble silence".

From my draft book (minus the footnotes):
  • Have you seen such signs at Buddhist centres: “(Keep) Noble Silence”? It’s normally intended and interpreted as a simple request to keep quiet, but “noble silence” comes from the Suttas where it’s more than that. In Kolita Sutta (SN21.1), Āyasmā MahāMoggallāna asks himself, “Noble silence, noble silence. What is noble silence (ariyo tuṇhībhāvo)?” It occurred to him it’s the second jhāna. So, taken literally, those signs are telling you to be in the second jhāna!

    Now why is the second jhāna “noble silence”, but not the first? The sutta doesn’t explain, probably because it’s plain to the original audience. Fortunately for us though, putting a few suttas together reveals a convincing answer.

    In Rahogata Sutta (SN36.11), we find “When one has attained the first jhāna, speech has ceased.” So for the first jhāna, there’s verbal silence, yet it doesn’t count as noble silence. What then counts as noble silence?

    In Dutiyakāmabhu Sutta (SN41.6) and Cūḷavedalla Sutta (MN44.14-15), vitakka and vicāra are provided as the definition for verbal fabrication (vacīsaṅkhāra). Both elaborate thus: “First having thought, having considered (vitakketvā vicāretvā), one then breaks into speech; therefore thinking and consideration (vitakkavicārā) are verbal fabrication.” Hope you notice the connection between the verb and noun forms, which also occur in Bhikkhunupassaya Sutta quoted earlier. From here, we see that vitakka and vicāra (in the Suttas) are not the subtle mental activities as taught in orthodox Theravāda.

    Another piece of evidence is in Saṅgārava Sutta (AN3.60), where the Buddha explains about mind reading. In one of the ways, the mind reader
    • hears the sound of the diffusion of thought (vitakkavipphārasaddaṁ) as one is thinking and examining (vitakkayato vicārayato) [some matter] and then declares: ‘Your thought is thus, such is what you are thinking, your mind is in such and such a state. And even if he makes many declarations, they are exactly so and not otherwise. (From Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation in NDB, p264.) [Parentheses and emphases are mine.]
    Now, we can answer the question emphasised above: For the first jhāna, though one is externally silent (not speaking), one is not so internally. As the description goes, it is “accompanied by thinking and consideration (savitakkaṁ savicāraṁ)”, i.e. verbal fabrication. Saṅgārava Sutta makes it clear that this activity creates mental sound; thus the silence does not yet qualify as “noble”. In the second jhāna however thinking and considerations have subsided (vitakkavicārānaṁ vūpasamā), thus qualifying it as “noble silence”.

    This is further supported by this stanza in Theragāthā 14.1:
    • Attaining no-thinking (avitakka),
      the disciple of the Rightly
      Self-awakened One
      is endowed with noble silence (ariyena tuṇhībhāvena)
      straightaway.
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by Kumara » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:24 am

Alex123 wrote:
"And then, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [thinking,] 'There is nothing,' enters & remains in the dimension of nothingness. ...
"Now, when the monk is percipient of himself here, then from there to there, step by step, he touches the peak of perception. As he remains at the peak of perception, the thought occurs to him, 'Thinking is bad for me. Not thinking is better for me. [Tassa saññagge ṭhitassa evaṃ hoti: ‘cetayamānassa me pāpiyo, acetayamānassa me seyyo. ] If I were to think and will, this perception of mine would cease, and a grosser perception would appear. What if I were neither to think nor to will?' [3] So he neither thinks nor wills, and as he is neither thinking nor willing, that perception ceases [4] and another, grosser perception does not appear. He touches cessation.
DN9
Even in the base of nothingness... there is cetayamānassa.
Indeed. (Caveat: I'm speaking of the jhānas of the Suttas, not as in orthodox Theravada.)

Alex123, you've just given me the long missing piece of a puzzle in my mind! :D

Although it is said that from the 2nd jhāna (meditation) onwards, we see the description "avitakkaṁ avicāraṁ", it's speaking not of the mano (cogitating mind), but the jhāna (meditation) itself. (Unconvinced? Read the descriptions again!) The meditation itself is silent, but that does not mean complete absence of cogitation. Subtle cogitation still occurs, up to the base of nothingness!
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by pegembara » Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:15 am

Just this description by a non Buddhist "sound" like noble silence or entering into jhana?
It was eighteen years ago, when I was thirty-three, that I made the discovery. Though it certainly came out of the blue, it did so in response to an urgent enquiry; I had for several months been absorbed in the question: what am I? The fact that I happened to be walking in the Himalayas at the time probably had little to do with it; though in that country unusual states of mind are said to come more easily. However that may be, a very still clear day, and a view from the ridge where I stood, over misty blue valleys to the highest mountain range in the world, with Kangchenjunga and Everest unprominent among its snow-peaks, made a setting worthy of the grandest vision.

What actually happened was something absurdly simple and unspectacular: I stopped thinking. A peculiar quiet, an odd kind of alert limpness or numbness, came over me. Reason and imagination and all mental chatter died down. For once, words really failed me. Past and future dropped away. I forgot who and what I was, my name, manhood, animalhood, all that could be called mine. It was as if I had been born that instant, brand new, mindless, innocent of all memories.

http://www.headless.org/on-having-no-head.htm
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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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by Kumara » Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:45 am

Alex123 wrote:
"And then, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [thinking,] 'There is nothing,' enters & remains in the dimension of nothingness. ...
"Now, when the monk is percipient of himself here, then from there to there, step by step, he touches the peak of perception. As he remains at the peak of perception, the thought occurs to him, 'Thinking is bad for me. Not thinking is better for me. [Tassa saññagge ṭhitassa evaṃ hoti: ‘cetayamānassa me pāpiyo, acetayamānassa me seyyo. ] If I were to think and will, this perception of mine would cease, and a grosser perception would appear. What if I were neither to think nor to will?' [3] So he neither thinks nor wills, and as he is neither thinking nor willing, that perception ceases [4] and another, grosser perception does not appear. He touches cessation.
DN9
Footnote [3] above says "See MN 140." The ajahn could have been more specific. Any idea what exactly he wants us to see?
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by Kumara » Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:25 am

Alex123 wrote:Even in the base of nothingness... there is cetayamānassa.
Cetayamāna can be seen in Tapussa Sutta (AN9.41).
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by Alex123 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 3:47 pm

Kumara wrote:Footnote [3] above says "See MN 140." The ajahn could have been more specific. Any idea what exactly he wants us to see?

I think that Venerable refers to "One neither fabricates nor mentally fashions for the sake of becoming or un-becoming."
"One discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure & bright as this towards the dimension of the infinitude of space and to develop the mind along those lines, that would be fabricated. One discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure and bright as this towards the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception and to develop the mind along those lines, that would be fabricated.' One neither fabricates nor mentally fashions for the sake of becoming or un-becoming. This being the case, one is not sustained by anything in the world (does not cling to anything in the world). Unsustained, one is not agitated. Unagitated, one is totally unbound right within. One discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by Kumara » Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:18 am

Kumara wrote:The basis of the issue here is what the Suttas mean by “vitakka” and “vicāra”. If we get this right, the rest will settle quite easily.

Based on my research, “vitakka” and “vicāra” refers to mentally verbalised cogitation. This can be concluded with the help of understanding another concept: "noble silence".

From my draft book (minus the footnotes) ....
Also from my book:
  • In Food for the Heart, Ajahn Chah was asked about vitakka and vicāra, and he answered:
    • You’re sitting and suddenly the thought of someone pops into your head—that’s vitakka, the initial thought. Then you take that idea of the person and start thinking about them in detail. Vitakka picks up the idea, vicāra investigates it.[Emphases is mine.]
    Later in the same discussion, he explains further:
    • If it’s a line of thinking that’s skilful and wholesome, it leads to ease of mind and happiness, and there is rapture with its attendant experiences. This rapture came from the initial and discursive thinking that took place in a state of calmness. We don’t have to give it names such as first jhāna, second jhāna and so forth. We just call it tranquillity.
    It’s obvious the translator has used English translations common then. If the terms were left in Pāli, the passage would look something like this:
    • If it’s a line of thinking that’s skilful and wholesome, it leads to sukha, and there is pīti with its attendant experiences. This pīti came from the vitakkavicārā that took place in a state of passaddhi (or santi). We don’t have to give it names such as first jhāna, second jhāna and so forth. We just call it samādhi.
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by SarathW » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:48 am

vitakka” and “vicāra” refers to mentally verbalised cogitation.
I think vitakka and vicara refers to both mental and physical aspect (speaking).
Generally a person in a empty hut will not talk to himself so the physical aspect is ignored.
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by Akasha » Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:48 am

alan... wrote:"enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation."

many teachers teach that the first jhana is full absorption with one pointedness of mind and no thought. but this quote as well as specific talks by the buddha on someone thinking while in the first jhana make it seem otherwise.

anyone know about the original pali? is there a debate about translation here? because if not then the suttas directly say there is thinking in the first jhana and that further that thought is pointed to by the notation that there is no more thought in the second jhana:

"With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation "

-"Magga-vibhanga Sutta: An Analysis of the Path" (SN 45.8), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 1 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; . Retrieved on 2 February 2013.

so i understand the second jhana better than the first if you think in the first! non thought and just absorption in bliss and mind makes sense but how are we also thinking in this state? help?
Hello,

No it's impossible to think while first jhana is arising.Thoughts are too heavy and gross.Never mind first jhana,even when approaching first jhana,the mind is very still and getting more deeply absorbed that You "Really" feel the "weariness/burden" of trying to form a thought.You can feel how heavy it is when the mind moves to try to form a thought,at that gross level it interrupts the stillness.When Jhana arise there are no thoughts because even if you wanted to think you won't be able to.You have no such control.Certain functions stop operating.(momentarily).

Vitakka and Vicara i personally believe is a misleading translation.Instead of Directed thought and sustained thought i think they should change it to directed attention and sustained attention.This Vitakka and Vicara is a "tug" and "pull" of the mind.Pick up an object and tug and pull on it without thinking but intending to.This is what is still operating.There's a very subtle mental movement and ability to direct the mind or sustain the attention which i think involves intention/will (in the first jhana) but there's no thought.You cannot be hearing mental voices in first jhana.You can not generate a thought,think outloud to yourself or have thoughts pop in and out.

The problem is we process everything with thoughts we forget that there is a different layer underneath thoughts that we can operate in.Which is a movement based on intention but doesn't get translated into thought.This i think is what still operates in First Jhana.In second Jhana you will feel how weary/burden it is to direct and sustain attention/or use the will.So vicara and vitakka gets let go as well.

Metta

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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by LuminousBliss » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:30 pm

Akasha wrote:
alan... wrote:"enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation."

many teachers teach that the first jhana is full absorption with one pointedness of mind and no thought. but this quote as well as specific talks by the buddha on someone thinking while in the first jhana make it seem otherwise.

anyone know about the original pali? is there a debate about translation here? because if not then the suttas directly say there is thinking in the first jhana and that further that thought is pointed to by the notation that there is no more thought in the second jhana:

"With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation "

-"Magga-vibhanga Sutta: An Analysis of the Path" (SN 45.8), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 1 July 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; . Retrieved on 2 February 2013.

so i understand the second jhana better than the first if you think in the first! non thought and just absorption in bliss and mind makes sense but how are we also thinking in this state? help?
Hello,

No it's impossible to think while first jhana is arising.Thoughts are too heavy and gross.Never mind first jhana,even when approaching first jhana,the mind is very still and getting more deeply absorbed that You "Really" feel the "weariness/burden" of trying to form a thought.You can feel how heavy it is when the mind moves to try to form a thought,at that gross level it interrupts the stillness.When Jhana arise there are no thoughts because even if you wanted to think you won't be able to.You have no such control.Certain functions stop operating.(momentarily).

Vitakka and Vicara i personally believe is a misleading translation.Instead of Directed thought and sustained thought i think they should change it to directed attention and sustained attention.This Vitakka and Vicara is a "tug" and "pull" of the mind.Pick up an object and tug and pull on it without thinking but intending to.This is what is still operating.There's a very subtle mental movement and ability to direct the mind or sustain the attention which i think involves intention/will (in the first jhana) but there's no thought.You cannot be hearing mental voices in first jhana.You can not generate a thought,think outloud to yourself or have thoughts pop in and out.

The problem is we process everything with thoughts we forget that there is a different layer underneath thoughts that we can operate in.Which is a movement based on intention but doesn't get translated into thought.This i think is what still operates in First Jhana.In second Jhana you will feel how weary/burden it is to direct and sustain attention/or use the will.So vicara and vitakka gets let go as well.

Metta
Pretty much what he said.

You can't be in jhana and think "is this jhana?"

The sense of "trying" is totally gone.
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by manas » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:41 pm

It would be burdensome for me to provide quotes, as with the current state of my eyesight even this is somewhat straining.

First jhana is 'born of seclusion' so, one takes the mind from the ordinary state of being pulled this way and that, to a different state where one is not only secluded from external sense objects (or at least, not entranced or distracted by them?), nor any longer in the thrall of the five hindrances (for the duration), so perhaps one needs to use *skillful* thinking to obtain and sustain this, the need growing less and less as the factor of concentration gradually increases (over the course of time, as with daily practise we learn to stablize the first jhana, not 'leaping ahead' before it's solid asnd reliable), to the point where the factor of concentration is solid enough that vitakka-vicara is no longer needed (to sustain the jhana) and in fact appears as a disturbance, upon which the meditator can safely drop it and enter into the second jhana, pitisukham 'born of composure / concentration'. My own words and current understanding, I do not claim to know for sure, but since there are so many differing views anyway, I hope any errors in what I have prposed can be forgiven.
"To these too I teach the Dhamma which is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle and lovely in its ending, in spirit and in letter, I display to them the holy life, perfectly fulfilled and purified."
- from the Desanaa Sutta

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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Post by LuminousBliss » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:11 am

What I find funny is that every one tries to argue this debate because of what the suttas say about Jhana...

But who cares what it says? the fact that such an absorption state where one is cut off from the 5 senses exist is what matters. and anyway can go meditate and experience that as long as they follow the correct instructions from someone who knows what he is talking about and most importantly uses the nimitta (bright light) to enter jhana.

It's amazing how many people keep shooing this nimitta away because they don't experience it in their meditation and even pass that bad advice to other people who meditate and saying stuff like there is no need for the light nimitta, you can just use the bliss energy.

There is a reason why ajahn brahm and pa auk have these amazing jhana states, it's because both of them are using the nimitta in the first place!
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