Aloka Nimitta

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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thang
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Aloka Nimitta

Post by thang » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:07 am

I read an article about when-to-look-at-the-light recently.
Why some people doubt about nimitta developing saying that it is not mentioned in the suttas ? Is there any drawbacks ?
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, _ all that is just so and NOT otherwise."

thang
Posts: 241
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Re: Aloka Nimitta

Post by thang » Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:44 am

Developing Nimittas as in Visuddhimagga ?
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
paul wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:20 pm
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.
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’ :
Akashad wrote:
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.
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.
Assaji wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:58 pm
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.
LG2V wrote:
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.
budo wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:06 pm
What do you think of Bhikkhu Sona's article comparing Patisambhidamagga to the Vissudhimagga's nimittas?
Here is Bhikkhu Sona's article where he talks about the visual nimitta in the vissudhimagga.
https://www.arrowriver.ca/dhamma/nimitta.html
auto wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:46 pm
in Sutta, nimitta is a theme. I guess scenario and script would be also suitable.
pegembara wrote:
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
Assaji wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:00 pm
budo wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:06 pm
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
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, _ all that is just so and NOT otherwise."

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DooDoot
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Re: Aloka Nimitta

Post by DooDoot » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:01 am

thang wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:07 am
I read an article about when-to-look-at-the-light recently.
While this article says some 'logical' things (such as the breathing & image should align in the same place), this article still provides no evidence the writer is describing jhana. It seems soft white luminous comforting light can arise at many occasions when samatha (tranquility) is developing or developed to some degree however it may not yet be jhana. In the 1st jhana, the five factors of jhana arise together (MN 43). If there is a nimitta but no inherent stability and no all pervasive rapture then it seems it is obviously not jhana. In MN 79, it is taught the 1st jhana is a world of exclusively pleasant feelings.
thang wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:07 am
Why some people doubt about nimitta developing saying that it is not mentioned in the suttas ? Is there any drawbacks ?
It seems jhana nimitta is not mentioned in sutta. It seems "nimitta" is mainly mentioned in the suttas as a "theme" born of greed, hatred & delusion (MN 43). It seems probable the Buddha did not want to confuse people by teaching "jhana nimitta". Instead, the Buddha emphasised "ekkagatta". The real jhana nimitta appears to occur with ekkagatta. Ekkagatta sounds like when the primary stabilising function of the mind (aka, "willfulness") does not move anymore. Ajahn Brahm says all jhanas have inherent "unmoving" mind as their basis.
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thang
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Re: Aloka Nimitta

Post by thang » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:04 am

:anjali:
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, _ all that is just so and NOT otherwise."

budo
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Re: Aloka Nimitta

Post by budo » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:41 am

thang wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:07 am
I read an article about when-to-look-at-the-light recently.
Why some people doubt about nimitta developing saying that it is not mentioned in the suttas ? Is there any drawbacks ?
The purpose of first jhana is to attain pleasant abiding. Attaining pleasant abiding one is guarded from Mara temporarily (cravings), then one can sit the whole day and night in meditation if they wish.

When one can spend the whole day and night in meditation if they wish, they can develop themselves, they can choose to develop path (magga) or fruit (phala).

If they wish to develop path, they go to cessation, if they wish to attain fruit they develop the light (nimitta).

Therefore, as I always said since I returned to dhammawheel, first one focuses on attaining pleasant feelings by calming bodily fabrications so they can sit in meditation all day, then one if they wish can focus on the nimitta. This aligns with the suttas

Pulsar
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Re: Aloka Nimitta

Post by Pulsar » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:28 pm

Thanks Thag for "Aloka Nimitta" a very well thought out discussion on the path of release, word 'Nimitta' confused me, as I walked thru the commentaries, the very ones that you carefully outlined. I read each one of them. Briefly, an issue with VSM is that it is a commentary of commentaries, identified under one person. So when one reviles it, one throws the baby out with the bath water.
There is the insightful commentator there, as well as the not so insightful, go figure.
You wrote
Why some people doubt about nimitta developing saying that it is not mentioned in the suttas ?
Answer is found in what Pegembara wrote, the text in your comment above, why repeat?.

When I stopped focusing on 'nimitta' and studied the suttas on my own, understanding void (to me it seems like another word for cessation) as in MN 121 Culasunatta and grand Discourse on the Void. MN 122, things fell into place.
As for jhana, reading 'Early Buddhist meditation' by Arbel helped, and descriptions of jhana in Expositor p216-p239 worked like magic. It is found on the web.
As for cessation Dhammadina in MN 44 offers a very clear explanation.
Reading of your post, it helps solidify my thoughts. Of course different minds learn the Dharma, thru different means.

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