thang wrote: ↑Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:40 am
Highly regarded venerable Nyanavimla
advices not to develop nimittas as the Visuddhimagga says. But some traditions like Pa auk advice to do.
Everything is affliction and one has to learn to delight in nothing. But in the beginning one has to delight in one’s meditation, being wary of attachment to it. Unless nekkhamma, renunciation of kāmārammaṇa (sensual objects), is developed, one will not be able to give up this loka (world). 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
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.
“…the rapture and pleasure provided by jhana give discernment the
support it needs to overcome sensuality entirely.
“Even though a disciple of the noble ones has clearly seen as it has come
to be with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much
despair, & greater drawbacks, still—if he has not attained a rapture &
pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful qualities, or
something more peaceful than that—he can be tempted by sensuality. But
when he has clearly seen as it has come to be with right discernment that
sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and he
has attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from
unskillful qualities, or something more peaceful than that, he cannot be
tempted by sensuality.” — MN 14
—-“Right Mindfulness”, Thanissaro.
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’ :
“…they are not imperfections or defilements in themselves, but may become a basis for them through the arising of pride or delight or by a wrong conclusion that one of the Noble paths has been attained. He, however, who is watchful and experienced in insight practice, will know that these states of mind do not indicate attainment of the true path, but are only symptoms or concomitants of insight meditation.”—-“Buddhist Dictionary”, Nyanatiloka.