Tag Archives: Buddhism

Breathing Nimitta

The Third Eye - Page 5 - Dharma WheelTHE MYSTERY OF THE BREATH NIMITTA
OR THE CASE OF THE MISSING SIMILE

By Bhikkhu Sona.

INTRODUCTION

As the title suggests, there is a significant puzzle to be solved by any meditator or scholar who tries to clearly understand the qualities of experience, which accompany the transition from mere attention to respiration to full immersion in jhanic consciousness. I will attempt to show that there are good grounds for confusion on this matter as one traces the historical progression of the commentarial accounts from the Patisambhidamagga through the Vimuttimagga to the (later) Visuddhimagga.

Since the Visuddhimagga is so influential and so widely quoted by modern teachers, it would seem critical that it is reliable and, if in certain aspects it is not, then, with supporting evidence, to show clearly why it is not.

The body of this essay will show that a description of the mind of the jhanic meditator found in the Canon itself and quoted in the Patisambhidamagga as a simile involving a comparison of mind with a full clear moon, degenerates to a mistaken literalization of these images as internally produced visual data. Since the contents of mind are not easy to point to, the Buddha frequently used similes comparing visual and other sense objects with mental contents in order for meditators to clearly understand what they should be seeking and experiencing.

In religious traditions of all kinds we often find a naive tendency to take literally what is meant as a simile. It seems this process has occurred somewhere along the line and has become enshrined in the Continue reading

Animate Nimitta

... Black Fashion Magazine Black Models Black Contemporary Artists ArtNimitta

By Nynatiloka, Buddhist Dictionary

Nimitta: mark, sign; image; target, object; cause, condition. These meanings are used in, and adapted to, many contexts of which only the doctrinal ones are mentioned here.

  1. ‘Mental (reflex-) image’, obtained in meditation. In full clarity, it will appear in the mind by successful practice of certain concentration-exercises and will then appear as vividly as if seen by the eye. The object perceived at the very beginning of concentration is called the preparatory image (parikamma-nimitta). The still unsteady and unclear image, which arises when the mind has reached a weak degree of concentration, is called the acquired image (uggaha-nimitta). An entirely clear and immovable image arising at a higher degree of concentration is the counter-image (paṭ””’ibhāga-nimitta”). As soon as this image arises, the stage of neighbourhood (or access) concentration (upacāra-samādhi) is reached.
  2. ‘Sign of (previous) kamma’ (kamma-nimitta) and ‘sign of (the future) destiny’ (gati-nimitta); these arise as mental objects of the last karmic consciousness before death (maraṇ””’āsanna””’ kamma.

Usages (1) and (2) are commentarial (s. App.). In Sutta usage, the term occurs, e.g. as: Continue reading

Touch of Nimitta

100 day meditation challenge 010Day 10 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge
Bodhipaksa, 2013

Yesterday I wrote about samapattis, which are slightly strange, and often a bit disturbing, experiences that can arise in meditation. They’re often a bit hallucinatory, and it’s not a good idea to pay much attention to them.

Nimittas are another kind of unusual experience we can have in meditation, but they’re more useful. The word “nimitta” literally means a “sign” or a “hint.” These are experiences we can have that let us know we’re making progress in meditation.

Nimittas, like samapattis, come in different forms. They can be visual, or kinesthetic, or even auditory.

In one classic meditation text, the Vimuttimagga, the arising of nimittas is described like this:

“the nimitta arises with a pleasant feeling similar to that which is produced in the action of spinning cotton or silk cotton. Also it is likened to the pleasant feeling produced by a breeze.”

These are kinesthetic nimittas. They can be auditory, like a subtle sound accompanying the breathing that’s not heard through the ears. Visual nimittas might take the form of a stable image, or just a stable perception of light. Continue reading

Samapathy

100 day meditation challenge 009Day 9 of Wildmind’s 100 Day Meditation Challenge
Bodhipaksa, 2013

During my sit I saw a bright white/yellow circle shape flash of light in between my eyebrows (closed eye meditation). The light came rushing at me and filled my vision then vanished. While very interesting, it actually freaked me out a bit. Is there a name for this experience?

I replied, “It’s what we call a samapatti. There are various kinds of these, and some of them involve light, although they can be tactile, proprioceptive, auditory, etc. They usually arise as the mind is starting to settle, and they’re more common in people who are relatively new to meditation. They’re nothing to worry about (they’re common) nor are they something to get very excited about (they’re just “noise” in the system).”

I see samapattis as arising in a few ways: They’re very similar to experiences that people have when they’re exposed to sensory deprivation, which makes me think there’s an element of that going on; the mind is getting quieter, but we’ve not fully tapped into the richness of our experience — especially of the body — and so the mind starts trying to make sense of random neuronal “noise.” One of the most common samapattis is the perception of “swirling lights.” Continue reading

Vajrayana Buddhism

Vajrasattva holds the vajra in his right hand and a bell in his left hand.Vajrayana

Vajrayana Buddhism (Devanagari: बज्रयान) is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayana, Mantranaya, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle. These terms are not regarded as equivalent.

Vajrayana is as an extension of Mahayana Buddhism since it differs in its practices, rather than its philosophy. The Mahayana has two practice paths: the Sutrayana method of perfecting good qualities and the Vajrayāna method of taking the intended outcome of Buddhahood as the path. The Vajrayana requires mystical experience in order to experience Buddha-nature prior to full enlightenment. In order to transmit these experiences, a body of esoteric knowledge has been accumulated by Buddhist tantric yogis and is passed via lineages of transmission. In order to access this knowledge, the practitioner requires initiation from a skilled spiritual teacher or guru.

The Vajrayana is often viewed as the third major Yana (or “vehicle”) of Buddhism, alongside the Theravada and Mahayana. According to this view, there were three “turnings of the wheel of dharma”. Continue reading

Tantra

TANTRA

Tantra (Sanskrit: तन्त्र) is the esoteric tradition of Hinduism and Buddhism that co-developed most likely about the middle of 1st millennium CE. The term tantra, in the Indian traditions, also means any systematic broadly applicable “text, theory, system, method, instrument, technique or practice”.

In Hinduism, the tantra tradition is associated with its goddess tradition called Shaktism, followed by Shaivism and Vaishnavism. In Buddhism, the Vajrayana tradition is known for its extensive tantra ideas and practices. Tantric Hindu and Buddhist traditions have influenced other religious traditions such as Jainism, Sikhism, the Tibetan Bön tradition, Daoism, and the Japanese Shintō tradition.

The Hindu texts that describe these topics are called Tantras, Āgamas or Samhitās.

Etymology

Tantra (Sanskrit: तन्त्र) literally means “loom, warp, weave”. The connotation of the word tantra to mean an esoteric practice or religious ritualism is a colonial era European invention. The term is based on the Continue reading

Monkey King

Monkey King

“Monkey King”, also known as “Journey to West” written by Wu Ch’eng-en (1500?-1582) a scholar-official, is one of the renowned classical Chinese novels about an allegorical rendition of the journey, mingled with Chinese fables, fairy tables, legends ,superstitions, popular beliefs, monster stories, and whatever the author could find in the Taoist and Buddhist religions.

It was based on a true story of a famous Chinese monk, Xuan Zang (602-664). After years of trials and tribulations, he travelled on foot, budgeting what resources he could to make it to what is today India, the birthplace of Buddhism, to seek for the Tripitaka, the Buddhist holy teachings. This was before the time of unlimited conference calls, so a great physical journey was necessary and travel to the source of knowledge. When he returned to China, or the Great Tang as was called that time, he started to translate the sutras into Chinese, thus making a great contribution to the development of Buddhism in China.

Monkey King is a rebellious extraordinary being, born out of a rock, fertilized by the grace of Heaven, Being extremely smart and capable, he learned all the magic tricks and gongfu from a master Taoist, Continue reading

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