Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Meditation: I saw the "light" (nimitta)!

Crystal Quintero, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Dynamic Lasers

Stay with the object, stay with it...
When Buddhist meditation goes deep, one approaches absorption or jhana. That is, one is absorbed like water into a sponge.

Here the sponge is the meditation object. While practicing loving kindness meditation using a well respected person, because my in-and-out breathing practice was waning and not interesting enough, it happened.
I got sucked in, so absorbed I was not paying attention to the outside world, which I was still aware of or could be in an instant as one goes in and out of the state.

The many benefits of Buddhist meditation
When my little brother plays video games, he stops paying attention to the outside world. But if I shout, it pulls him out right away.

If someone had shouted, I would have been pulled out. Far from scary, it was wonderful. I was filled with zest and blissful energy, an effervescent floating feeling based on feeling blameless (the result of sila practice).

When previously working on focusing on the breath, I saw the light. This light is literal, even if it is generated by the mind. It is called the nimitta, the mark or counterpart sign.

It may have been what that band [Ace of Base] that time was singing about, "I saw the sign and it opened up my mind I saw the sign."

What is "the light"?
Ven. Nyanatiloka (Buddhist Dictionary) edited by Wisdom Quarterly
NIMITTA: The sign, mark, image, target, object -- 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. 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 counterpart sign or image (patibhāga-nimitta).

As soon as this image arises, the stage of neighborhood- or access-concentration (upacāra-samādhi) is reached. For further details, see meditation disk (kasina), and superconscious-concentration (samādhi).

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