Jhana/nimitta/vimuttimagga v visuddimagga , etc

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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greenjuice
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by greenjuice »

I wouldn't go as far to say schismatic, but yes, Buddhaghosa's talk of nimittas is curiously different than previous such talk.

The Vimuttimagga (from 100 CE) says the following about the nimitta (sign) in the section Mindfulness of Breathing – Procedure:

"To the yogin who attends to the incoming breath with mind that is cleansed of the nine lesser defilements 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. Thus during breathing in and out, air touches the nose or the lip and causes the setting-up of air perception mindfulness. This does not depend on colour or form. This is called the nimitta. If the yogin develops the nimitta and increases it at the nose-tip, between the eyebrows, on the forehead or establishes it in several places, he feels as if his head were filled with air. Through increasing in this way his whole body is charged with bliss. This is called perfection.

And again, there is a yogin: he sees several nimittas from the beginning. He sees various forms such as smoke, mist, dust, sand of gold, or he experiences something similar to the pricking of a needle or to an ant's bite. If his mind does not become clear regarding these different nimittas, he will be confused. Thus he fulfils overturning and does not gain the perception of respiration. If his mind becomes clear, the yogin does not experience confusion. He attends to respiration and he does not cause the arising of other perceptions. ... If his mind is not disturbed, he will destroy the hindrances, and arouse the jhāna factors."

But in the Visuddhimagga 400 years later nimittas, and in particular the visual nimittas, become the object of focused attention that brings one to full absorption and thence to the jhānas. The change is not a slight one, it's the opposite thing. In Vimuttimagga visual nimittas are the visual signs of good concentration that should be ignored, whereas in Visuddhimagga visual sign becoming the heart of the method.
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Thanks for this observation. :goodpost:
It's worse than I thought.
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
Dīgha Nikāya 17
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

greenjuice wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:49 pm I wouldn't go as far to say schismatic, but yes, Buddhaghosa's talk of nimittas is curiously different than previous such talk.

The Vimuttimagga (from 100 CE) says the following about the nimitta (sign) in the section Mindfulness of Breathing – Procedure:

"To the yogin who attends to the incoming breath with mind that is cleansed of the nine lesser defilements 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. Thus during breathing in and out, air touches the nose or the lip and causes the setting-up of air perception mindfulness. This does not depend on colour or form. This is called the nimitta. If the yogin develops the nimitta and increases it at the nose-tip, between the eyebrows, on the forehead or establishes it in several places, he feels as if his head were filled with air. Through increasing in this way his whole body is charged with bliss. This is called perfection.

And again, there is a yogin: he sees several nimittas from the beginning. He sees various forms such as smoke, mist, dust, sand of gold, or he experiences something similar to the pricking of a needle or to an ant's bite. If his mind does not become clear regarding these different nimittas, he will be confused. Thus he fulfils overturning and does not gain the perception of respiration. If his mind becomes clear, the yogin does not experience confusion. He attends to respiration and he does not cause the arising of other perceptions. ... If his mind is not disturbed, he will destroy the hindrances, and arouse the jhāna factors."

But in the Visuddhimagga 400 years later nimittas, and in particular the visual nimittas, become the object of focused attention that brings one to full absorption and thence to the jhānas. The change is not a slight one, it's the opposite thing. In Vimuttimagga visual nimittas are the visual signs of good concentration that should be ignored, whereas in Visuddhimagga visual sign becoming the heart of the method.
:thanks:

I was worried about this "visual nimittas" ..

but this "pleasant feeling produced by a breeze" is easier to achieve.

:anjali:
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atipattoh
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by atipattoh »

greenjuice wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:49 pm I wouldn't go as far to say schismatic, but yes, Buddhaghosa's talk of nimittas is curiously different than previous such talk.

The Vimuttimagga (from 100 CE) says the following about the nimitta (sign) in the section Mindfulness of Breathing – Procedure:
.....
Try to read in this sequence, see if you can grasps the content in that passage.
there is a yogin: he sees several nimittas from the beginning. He sees various forms such as smoke, mist, dust, sand of gold, or he experiences something similar to the pricking of a needle or to an ant's bite. If his mind does not become clear regarding these different nimittas, he will be confused. Thus he fulfils overturning and does not gain the perception of respiration. If his mind becomes clear, the yogin does not experience confusion. He attends to respiration and he does not cause the arising of other perceptions. ... If his mind is not disturbed, he will destroy the hindrances, and arouse the jhāna factors.
Then only read this
To the yogin who attends to the incoming breath with mind that is cleansed of the nine lesser defilements the nimitta arises with a pleasant feeling similar to that which is produced in the action of spinning cotton or silk cotton (parikamma) . Also, it is likened to the pleasant feeling produced by a breeze. Thus during breathing in and out, air touches the nose or the lip and causes the setting-up of air perception mindfulness. This does not depend on colour or form (uggaha -> patibhaga). This is called the nimitta. If the yogin develops the nimitta and increases it at the nose-tip, between the eyebrows, on the forehead or establishes it in several places, he feels as if his head were filled with air. Through increasing in this way his whole body is charged with bliss (If original pali is sukha, then ok; if piti without mentioning sukha, problematic). This is called perfection.
Should be cautious with this description, "feels as if his head were filled with air", it can lead the meditator into a different direction, though it is still within the path; it falls into tactile, for a meditator that has very strong will power, the development leads to 5-fold first rupajhana; though it has transition process; can be a real danger, when the attainment of this rupajhana being regarded as eternal lasting "nibbāna".

Vimuttimagga does not clarify clearly "does not depend on colour or form"; Visuddhimagga expand that into uggaha and patibhaga, a development base on "through increasing in this way his whole body is charged with bliss", nimitta "evolves" into "purified" nature.

Edit: just had a glance at Vimuttimagga pg 77 (2009 pubn.) mentions about grasping sign and after-image, you should check it out if it has similarity to uggaha and patibhaga.
atipattoh
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by atipattoh »

greenjuice wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:49 pm I wouldn't go as far to say schismatic, but yes, Buddhaghosa's talk of nimittas is curiously different than previous such talk.
...

But in the Visuddhimagga 400 years later nimittas, and in particular the visual nimittas, become the object of focused attention that brings one to full absorption and thence to the jhānas. The change is not a slight one, it's the opposite thing. In Vimuttimagga visual nimittas are the visual signs of good concentration that should be ignored, whereas in Visuddhimagga visual sign becoming the heart of the method.
Found the page that you quoted (pg 159), right after that, in the very same page, there is a mentioning of COUNTING, CONNECTION, CONTACTING AND FIXING
And again, certain predecessors taught four ways of practising mindfulness of respiration. They are counting, connection, contacting and fixing.

Q. What is counting?
A. A new yogin counts the breaths from one to
ten, beginning with the outgoing breath and ending with the incoming breath.
He does not count beyond ten. Again, it is taught that he counts from one to five but does not count beyond five. He does not miss. At that time (i.e., when he misses) he should count (the next) or stop that count. Thus he dwells in mindfulness of respiration, attending to the object. Thus should counting be understood.

"Connection": Having counted, he follows respiration with mindfulness, continuously. This is called connection.

"Contacting": Having caused the arising of air perception, he dwells, attending to the contact of respiration at the nose-tip or on the lip. This is called contacting.

"Fixing": Having acquired facility in contacting, he should establish the image, and he should establish joy and bliss and other states which arise here. Thus should fixing be known.
It seems both vimuttimagga and visuddhimagga, the same.

And this "he follows respiration with mindfulness, continuously", should be referring to mindfulness of respiration. Since Fixing is the last of the 4, then Ānāpānasati should lead to development of image which has to be accompanied with joy and bliss.

Note, i notice the text mention "joy and bliss", that means bliss should be sukha. My note in previous post about bliss should be ignored.
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greenjuice
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by greenjuice »

In Vimuttimagga the nimitta one focuses on is a physical sensation, "like a pleasant feeling produced by a breeze".

The visual nimittas (various lights and forms) which appear are a sign that one is getting close to achieving concentration, but one ignores them - "He attends to respiration and he does not cause the arising of other perceptions". One is to clear the mind of these visual nimittas by ignoring them, and they are even called hindrances.

In Visuddhimagga the visual nimittas become the core of the practice, and the object of focus.

I know some people on this forum don't like Brasington and the tradition of interpreting the jhanas of which he is a part of, but his instructions for entering the jhanas, which are specific, simple, and consistently allow entrance into states of extraordinary rapture, bliss, joy, and contentment - follow Vimuttimagga exactly - ignore the lights and shapes which appear, and when you develop concentration then focus on a pleasant physical sensation.
atipattoh
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by atipattoh »

greenjuice wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:49 am
It has got nothing to do with Brasington. Do not go off track.
"He attends to respiration and he does not cause the arising of other perceptions"
but other perception, does not include arising of air perception if one is taking breath as object.

Your post is misleading, when there are informations, right on the next page, straight forward sentences, i shall quote again incase you miss it.
"Contacting": Having caused the arising of air perception
...
Fixing: Having acquired facility in contacting,
he should establish the image
The arising of air perception that leads to after-image; which part is that you do not understand?

Your statement of
Buddhaghosa's talk of nimittas is curiously different than previous such talk.
is completely wrong. If you want to progress, you should be careful in these thing. Don't get involve.
Last edited by atipattoh on Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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SDC
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by SDC »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:27 pm ...
Now we are in agreement! The suttas - even those translated by Ven. Thanissaro - do acknowledge things indicative of samadhi, but absolutely not what is being currently discussed in this thread.
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

atipattoh wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:08 pm
"Contacting": Having caused the arising of air perception
...
Fixing: Having acquired facility in contacting,
he should establish the image
what would be "establish the image" ?

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atipattoh
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by atipattoh »

Lucas Oliveira wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:41 pm
atipattoh wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:08 pm
"Contacting": Having caused the arising of air perception
...
Fixing: Having acquired facility in contacting,
he should establish the image
what would be "establish the image" ?

:anjali:
Don't jump the gun, step by step. It is better you don't know. If you want to practice in this direction, find a teacher is better that asking on this in internet.
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

atipattoh wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:49 pm
Lucas Oliveira wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:41 pm
atipattoh wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:08 pm
what would be "establish the image" ?

:anjali:
Don't jump the gun, step by step. It is better you don't know. If you want to practice in this direction, find a teacher is better that asking on this in internet.
but who spoke about stabilizing the image was you ..

would be the image of "nimitta"?

who's your teacher?

You know any teacher who can answer me this over the internet, by email?

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atipattoh
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by atipattoh »

Your response was this
Lucas Oliveira wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:14 pm I was worried about this "visual nimittas" ..

but this "pleasant feeling produced by a breeze" is easier to achieve.
To me, it implies that you reject Visuddhimagga, so it would be meaningless for me use VM content to explain, even though VM explain in much details than Vimuttimagga, so that meditator does not falsely claim parikamma as patibhaga.

Your claim that
but who spoke about stabilizing the image was you ..
I was just copy and paste the text on Vimuttimagga. The poster brought up content of Vimuttimagga as a support of his/her claims, without doing justice to the text, even if unintentionally, shows prejudice choices.

VM uses sign as the translation, Vimuttimagga clearly uses image, which means it is "visual".

Furthermore, in vimuttimagga
He attends to respiration and he does not cause the arising of other perceptions.
is preciously for you not to anticipated anything, so that you do not cause "the arising of other perceptions", by trying to make or expecting things to happen.

Communication is of primary important, your best choice is to find a teacher that speak your language, teaches you face to face, then hopefully you can experience it directly.

But i can tell you this, the light of patibhaga nimitta that is experienced, is at least double the intensity of day light that you see with open eyes, or it is like looking at sun light directly at noon, but very "comforting".
atipattoh
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by atipattoh »

If you reject Visuddhimagga, and prefer Vimuttimagga, copy and download this pdf link.

http://urbandharma.org/pdf1/Path_of_Fre ... imagga.pdf

Go to page 77 and page 159.
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

atipattoh wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:39 am ...
To me, it implies that you reject Visuddhimagga
I don't reject Visuddhimagga and I haven't read Visuddhimagga and Vimuttimagga yet.

I didn't claim anything either.
but this "pleasant feeling produced by a breeze" is easier to achieve.
most people when they finish a meditation session have a pleasant feeling of lightness like a sensation of a breeze. so I like that explanation, because that feeling is easier to achieve than to view images.

You said not to ask that on the internet..
Don't jump the gun, step by step. It is better you don't know. If you want to practice in this direction, find a teacher is better that asking on this in internet.
so i said
but who spoke about stabilizing the image was you ..
Communication is of primary important, your best choice is to find a teacher that speak your language, teaches you face to face, then hopefully you can experience it directly.
yes i will look for .. but i think that Ajahn Brahm has also explained a lot about nimittas and jhanas.
But i can tell you this, the light of patibhaga nimitta that is experienced, is at least double the intensity of day light that you see with open eyes, or it is like looking at sun light directly at noon, but very "comforting".
I think I read an explanation about the Light of the Spiritual World by Emanuel Swedenborg ..
he says that the light of the spirit world compared to our Sun, it is as if the Sun were a shadow.

and many people who have had a near-death experience also report seeing a very strong and very comforting light.
https://www.nderf.org/Archives/exceptional.html
Go to page 77 and page 159.
I read the pages .. 77 is really interesting.


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atipattoh
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by atipattoh »

I don't know this thing
...the Light of the Spiritual World by Emanuel Swedenborg ..
he says that the light of the spirit world compared to our Sun, it is as if the Sun were a shadow.
I've not experience that, but i did get fainted once when i was a boy, the light was blinking like shatering glass right at the moment of fainting.

Sutta did mention of rupa jhana does get one into higher realm (but i'm lazy to search for relevant sutta), perhaps those people are not affraid of death, having wholesome mind, may have the potential to get into lower celestial realm.

Anyway, have a nice read on Vimuttimagga. I've not read it yet, to tell you the truth! 😅
I just use word search for the part that i need to refer to.
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