Nyana wrote:legolas wrote:Not really. Nimitta, Nimitta - so important they mentioned it once?
Indeed, if you're referring to a sign of light (obhāsanimitta) and a sign of form (rūpanimitta) mentioned in MN 128 Upakkilesa Sutta. Some contemporary teachers and commentators have suggested that the sign of light (obhāsanimitta) and/or the sign of form (rūpanimitta) mentioned in MN 128 Upakkilesa Sutta are canonical references to what later came to be designated as the counterpart sign (paṭibhāganimitta) in the commentaries, and thus establishes that these nimittas were considered an essential aspect of the development of jhāna even in the early tradition.
There are a couple of points worth mentioning in this regard. Firstly, MN 128 is the only discourse where the term nimitta is used in this context. None of the other canonical occurrences of nimitta as either samādhinimitta, samatha nimitta, or cittanimitta refer to any of these nimittas being an obhāsanimitta or rūpanimitta as explained in the Upakkilesa Sutta.
Secondly, nowhere in the Upakkilesa Sutta does it state that either the obhāsanimitta or the rūpanimitta are essential prerequisites for attaining the first jhāna. Nor does this sutta maintain that the complete elimination of any experience of the five sensory spheres is essential for the arising of either of these two cognitive signs. Therefore, while these apperceptions of light and visions of form can occur during the course of meditational development, there is no explicit statement here, or elsewhere in the suttas, that such apperceptions must arise for one to enter jhāna. Indeed, even the commentarial tradition doesn’t maintain that either of these types of nimittas are essential for the first jhāna.
For example, the Vimuttimagga takes the instructions offered in the Upakkilesa Sutta to refer to the development of the divine eye. This is understandable, as Anuruddhā, the main interlocutor in this discourse with the Buddha, was later designated as the foremost disciple endowed with the divine eye.
And not even the Visuddhimagga limits counterpart signs to apperceptions of light or forms. According to the Visuddhimagga analysis, of the thirty meditations which lead to jhāna, twenty-two have counterpart signs as object. And of these, only nineteen require any sort of counterpart sign which is apprehended based solely on sight, and can therefore give rise to a mental image resulting from that nimitta (the ten stages of corpse decomposition and nine kasiṇas, excluding the air kasiṇa which can be apprehended by way of either sight or tactile sensation).
And so taking all of the above into consideration, according to the early Pāḷi dhamma there is no need to establish a jhāna nimitta (or samathanimitta or cittanimitta) apart from the jhāna factors. And even according to the Vimuttimagga and Visuddhimagga — where the presentation of the method using a counterpart sign is explicitly developed — there is no suggestion that a counterpart sign necessarily must be a sign of light (obhāsanimitta) and/or a sign of form (rūpanimitta). Indeed, according to the Vimuttimagga, when employing mindfulness of breathing in order to attain jhāna, the counterpart sign should be concomitant with the pleasant feeling which arises as one attends to the breath at the nostril area or the area of the upper lip, which is likened to the pleasant feeling produced by a breeze. The text says that this counterpart sign doesn’t depend on color or form, and any adventitious mental images which arise in the course of practice should not be attended to.
All the best,
starter wrote:Greetings, and Happy Chinese New year to all Chinese friends!
The Buddha used Anapanasati to reach the 4th jhana, and gain the supernormal power. I believe that Anapanasati alone can lead us to the "mastery over the elements, walking in space, diving in rocks, etc...", though kasina meditation can also lead to that.
By the way, Anapanasati taught in MN 118 is for practicing four mindfulness (the 7th path factor), not really for entering deep jhana, as I understand. From the suttas I've gotten a sense that the Buddha probably used simple breath meditation (watching in & out breathing, like the first tetrad of MN 118) for entering jhana. The jhana experience he obtained when he was a child certainly had nothing to do with more than watching the breath, I suppose.
Metta to all!
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