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Perception of light Pål 11/3/14 11:53 AM
RE: Perception of light Small Steps 11/3/14 12:11 PM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/4/14 2:36 AM
RE: Perception of light Chuck Kasmire 11/3/14 1:25 PM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/4/14 2:39 AM
RE: Perception of light Chuck Kasmire 11/5/14 12:48 PM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/5/14 1:03 PM
RE: Perception of light Not Tao 11/3/14 2:05 PM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/4/14 3:32 AM
RE: Perception of light Not Tao 11/4/14 1:32 PM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/4/14 3:21 PM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/4/14 5:02 PM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/5/14 4:43 AM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/5/14 6:28 AM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/5/14 12:55 PM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/5/14 4:30 PM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/6/14 5:52 AM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/6/14 8:01 AM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/6/14 3:31 PM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/11/14 8:15 PM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/11/14 8:22 PM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/12/14 6:21 AM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/13/14 9:36 AM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/19/14 10:00 AM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/19/14 9:52 PM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/20/14 1:27 AM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/20/14 5:25 AM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/20/14 6:21 AM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/20/14 10:10 AM
RE: Perception of light katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 11/6/14 9:36 AM
RE: Perception of light Nicky 11/20/14 1:39 AM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/20/14 2:01 AM
RE: Perception of light Nicky 11/20/14 2:18 AM
RE: Perception of light Change A. 11/19/14 11:14 PM
RE: Perception of light Nicky 11/20/14 1:12 AM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/20/14 1:21 AM
RE: Perception of light Nicky 11/20/14 1:41 AM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/20/14 1:53 AM
RE: Perception of light Nicky 11/20/14 2:22 AM
RE: Perception of light Pål 11/20/14 4:04 AM
Perception of light
Answer
11/3/14 11:53 AM
From the Samadhi sutta:

"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision? There is the case where a monk attends to the perception of light and is resolved on the perception of daytime [at any hour of the day]. Day [for him] is the same as night, night is the same as day. By means of an awareness open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision.

what does this mean? Does it imply one should meditate with eyes open so that one percieves light?

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/3/14 12:11 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:

what does this mean? Does it imply one should meditate with eyes open so that one percieves light?


If that was the case, what light would one see during the night time, or in a dark room? Perhaps this light written of here is not a physical one.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/3/14 1:25 PM as a reply to Pål.
Ajahn Brahm in his book Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond might be addressing this:

This sixth stage is achieved when one lets go of the body, thought, and the five senses (including the awareness of the breath) so completely that only a beautiful mental sign, a nimitta, remains.
This pure mental object is a real object in the landscape of the mind (citta),and when it appears for the first time, it is extremely strange. One simply has not experienced anything like it before. Nevertheless, the mental activity we call perception searches through its memory bank of
life experiences for something even a little bit similar. For most meditators, this disembodied beauty, this mental joy, is perceived as a beautiful light. Some see a white light, some a golden star, some a blue pearl, and so on. But it is not a light. The eyes are closed, and the sight consciousness has long been turned off. It is the mind consciousness freed for the
first time from the world of the five senses.

It is like the full moon- here standing for the radiant mind, coming out from behind the clouds - here standing for the world of the five senses. It is the mind manifesting—it is not a light, but for most it appears as a light. It is perceived as a light because this imperfect description is the best that perception can offer. For other meditators, perception chooses to describe this first appearance of mind in terms of a physical sensation such as intense tranquillity or ecstasy. Again, the body consciousness (that which experiences pleasure and pain, heat and cold, and so on) has long since closed down, so this is not a physical feeling. It is just perceived as being similar to pleasure. Although some meditators experience sensations while others see light, the important fact is that they are all describing the same phenomenon. They all experience the same pure mental object, and these different details are added by their different perception
.

first five chapters (that include this quote) here

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/3/14 2:05 PM as a reply to Pål.
This sutta is fascinating!  It seems to point to 4 different attainments, rather than just one.

EDIT: This might also be relevant. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.094.than.html

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/4/14 2:36 AM as a reply to Small Steps.
Yes, that seems likely.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/4/14 2:39 AM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
Which stage is Ajahn Brahm talking about? A jhana of some kind? I remember him describing jhana as "leaving the world of the five senses", but not even being aware of breathing seems a little bit too far away from how the Buddha described jhana, at least the material ones.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/4/14 3:32 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
These samadhi suttas kind of broke down my image of how the Buddha taught meditation. AN 4.41 seems to divide meditation into four kinds and AN 4.94 seems to talk about tranquility and insight both as diffirent attaiments but also as different ways of practice. I woud love to see a list of which exercises thaught by the Buddha applies to which category of samadhi. Unfortunately I think making one would take a LOT of work. I guess most techniques could be counted into more than one category. Anapanasati for example is supposed to lead to both jhana and the ending of mental fermentations so it must also include observing the arising and passing away of the skhandhas. 
Do you know about any other sutta than AN 4.94 that describes samatha and vipassana as results of different practices?

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/4/14 1:32 PM as a reply to Pål.
I don't.  I was actually suprised by it too. emoticon  I'm not sure it's saying there are two separate practices, though.  It seems to be about addressing an imbalance in practice.

What struck me is that these suttas seems to be saying there's a lot more than just "clear seeing" to attain release.  In that one I linked, the buddha says we need tranquility of awareness and heightened discernment together.  I think this points to stability of concentration, like a consistent and steady awareness on "the now," and heightened discernment - or the ability to see how we are fabricating our existance.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/4/14 3:21 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Yes I hope it's about balancing two aspects of one practice rather than balancing two practices because:
• that would fit in better with all other suttas I've read
•if it actually is about two kinds of practice then I might have to let go of my stubborn opinions about vipassana being a new, modern invention and not what the Buddha originally thaught although inspired by it. That would be painful for my ego haha

I can't see how one can have truly clear seeing without the equanimity of fourth jhana, but then I have not attained clear seeing nor fourth jhana.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/4/14 5:02 PM as a reply to Pål.
Hi Pål, 
Yes I hope it's about balancing two aspects of one practice rather than balancing two practices(...)

For me, it is. When the mind gets very calm and very unprovokable (and this is a unique, suffusive, deep calm (or it is for me) something I think would be testable in practioners with fMRI, like Ven. Ricard's startle testing with UW profs using UC labs in the early 2000s), the mind will somehow see its objects "flatly"-- stripped of the the rising-clinging-rejecting topography that personal affectation and personal history and personal knowledge normally creates around the objects of one's attention.

Here, mental objects that arise can be compared like a pitcher throwing balls, yet the opinionated and coaching catcher has gone on break so the balls just land and drop behind home plate quietly.

So the mind, like the automaticity of the heart generating pulses, is still generating ideas, but now some aspect of the mind is able to also track the production of mental effluents and to track them "flatly" without provocation-- like the catcher got replaced with a camera that's just seeing the ball, the type of ball (curve ball, speed ball, etc) and is not at all judging them. At this time, due to the lack of mental reaction to the stream of arising thoughts (balls from the pitcher) the stream of effluents the brain is automatically generating may stop or slow. An insight around this can be like knowing, "Oh, every single thought is gratifying because every single thought/effluent of mind support 'I am', 'I exist'." So it can be like a great bubble is burst, like the so-called stream entry, where, to keep useing baseball as analogy, one is just a little less possessive about the game and players, and suddenly more curious about the game. 

Anyway, in this deep calm (4th jhana) can launch the mind many places, particularly after one doesn't die from it, doesn't die from the sort of stunning creation&nothingness there. But even if nothing but nice, normal life happens, the game is differnt-- a change in the life-game investment in the game going forward, with more curiousity/awe and less defense/self-tribalism/own-teamism.

____________
Edit: about the brightness of mind, nimitta, some people will become aware that the mind is brightening as a person's thoughts calm. This brightening can become a tool that helps the mind stop throwing thought-balls (baseball analogy above) and help the mind move into concentrating around something physical (sense of light and pleasure) and away from the thought-shooting machine (like a baseball pitching machine). The mind can calm down from suffusive nimitta a lot like the body calms down from a cardio workout. It can be a very physical descent into calm and release, and is a useful tool in jhana. To me when the mind is suffused in nimitta and the body is alert and vibranting in lifted posture, there, that to me is becoming the jhana of piti, 2nd  jhana. It is very natural and physical, and naturally it crests like a workout and the mind sinks from there into sukkha and then equanimity, just like the body relaxes after a workout.

_______
For some people samatha and insight training may not happen simulaneously, so breaking them into separate parts is useful.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/5/14 4:43 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
So what kind of practice do you do?

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/5/14 6:28 AM as a reply to Pål.
For me, anapanasati was natural, zen "just sitting" shikantaza, and sense-based daily mindfulness and basic ethical discipline-- all work together. 


Best wishes with making your efforts.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/5/14 12:48 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
Which stage is Ajahn Brahm talking about? A jhana of some kind? I remember him describing jhana as "leaving the world of the five senses", but not even being aware of breathing seems a little bit too far away from how the Buddha described jhana, at least the material ones.


According to his definition this is prior to first jhana. I guess the one thing jhana teachers have in common is that they all have a unique definition of what constitutes jhana.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/5/14 12:55 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Ok, cool. Which kind of anapana? Visudhimagga style nostrils focus or sutta style entire physical or breath body?
thanks, the same to you unless you've gone beyond effort, then good luck with your none-effort!

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/5/14 1:03 PM as a reply to Chuck Kasmire.
So according to him, in the first jhana one can't feel ones breathing? I think that goes against the suttas since the anapanasati instructions say one should breath in and out sensitive to piti and sukha, the same terms that are used to describe the first jhana.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/5/14 4:30 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
Ok, cool. Which kind of anapana? Visudhimagga style nostrils focus or sutta style entire physical or breath body?


Hi Pål,

Both. Sometimes it's naturally body-wide, like after a body wide effort like yoga or hiking, and sometimes it's at the tip of nose-and-upper lip area. 

Kind regards,
Katy

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/6/14 5:52 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Do you see any difference in the results of    body-wide focused vs spot focused jhana? Sorry for me being this geeky about the practice haha

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/6/14 8:01 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
Do you see any difference in the results of    body-wide focused vs spot focused jhana? 


Hi Pål, 

Yes, I did notice differences. Today I would say both starting points for anapanasati cause basically the same mental-body events to be experience, but I'll try to recall here some differences.

Body-wide attentional breathing in the beginning for me:
1a. A "negative" aspect in the beginning in using the whole body as attentional breathing focus, at first for me, it was like I could not avoid focusing too much on the muscles of breathing and so my lungs and torso would feel uncomfortable or over-pressured. 

1b. A remedy for this discomfort was doing body-wide attention to breathing after some naturally calming/pleasing body-wide effort, like jogging, yoga, hiking, swimming. At those times, it seems the body was already calm and somewhat blissful from the endorphins and so it was natural to pay attention to the openness/energy around the body and the breath, the natural detection of the whooshing of blood flow to the head from the heart pulsing. Doing this on the crest of exercise endorphins seemed to naturally cause me to not over-effort and not to create discomfort while paying attention.

1c. A common result for me of starting with body-wide focus was wide-consciousness experiences starting first with body-wide sukkha and "boundaryessness"-- not knowing where hands-legs-torso were--- just being a blob of energy. Another experience of body-wide attentional breathing I had were sometime the apparent experience of out-of-body/major motion in consciousness perception (as if one is actually moving); the apparent experience of other consciousness perception (as if one is the cell on, say, a whale, EDIT: or experiencing a dualistic approach to God/wonderous suffusive light+welcoming pull-into sensation); the apparent experience of death/paralysis perception (one actually cannot move, one actually detects non-breathing, one actually has to let the body re-trigger itself into action). These experiences are also something people experience on brain-altering drugs, and I would add there's also a sense of out-of-controllness that one may have on drugs, but there are no physical aftereffects (like sore throat, hangover). But there can be motivational affects: Like becoming pre-occupied with re-creating some event that one thinks they apparently experienced in meditation.

1d. Now I speculate that body-wide attentional breathing is perhaps using more "diffuse" brain networks, similar to the effects of taking a nap. An insight here may naturally and suddenly arise in the diffuse experience: For example, if one thinks they actually experienced the consciousness or the life moment of another animal (say, the whale example above), then one "gets" suddenly on coming out of medidation direct empathy of a hungry sentient ocean life. One feels (not "rightly" or "wrongly", but truly without judgement) that they have experienced a deep diving species in a heavy shipping port and having a challenging moment of finding food. So coming back into me, I suddenly become interested in not buying seafood, for example. Or in the example of dying above, maybe the insight is now I have a sense of how the body triggers major agonal gasps when it is low on oxygen and that as a person I will likely also experience panic when the breathing is not happening, and then I may feel I've also come to know how, without being able to remedy paralysis in such an experience I also calm down, sink, and let the body decide-- this tells that "I" will likely have a moment of grasping and panic in death, that there is a part of mental activity and physical activity that will be automatically trying to re-start breathing, but that "I" as a personality have no real say. So after the panic, there's a natural "Que sera, sera" of witnessing the experience of dying. So those are some insights in breathing meditation I've had in the body-wide attentioanal anapanasati.

Nostril attentional breathing in the beginning for me:
2a. A "negative" aspect in the beginning for me in using the nostrils as attentional breathing focus was tightness in the forehead... again a natural over-efforting.  I speculate that we're using more of a focused set of brain networks here similar to paying close attention to music or reading outloud carefully or calculating an equation.

2b. A natural remedy for this tightness was to relax the jaw, relax the eyebrows and to do nostril-upper lip attentional breathing if I was feeling too ungrounded or too open, sort of how drifty-feeling one can get after sitting on a park bench watching waves on water.

2c. Watching breath at the nostril area, the mind at some point can feel sucked or pulled magnetically onto a track in the blackness of mind. Here it seems very easy to see the automaticity of mind just tossing thoughts out the way the heart generates regular electricity for making pulses. An insight here can easily be something like directly perceiving just that this is being alive, just raw being alive-- a funny process of ariing, arising, arising, arising, arising-- very basic. Very like what I guess would be space, cosmos. And like the initial baseball analogy, all those arising thoughts are just landing and disappearing into the same generating empty field. So then some kind of understanding of the creation&nothingness of being sentient may arise and this can make one's personality seem hollow and clothing-like afterwards.

When I say "insight" I mean generally something "snaps" and there's sort of an immediate "understanding". The risk in this insight is a person may want every understanding to be an easy, sudden insight, happening out of the blue.

Many, many times however meditation has been a practice (for me) with lots of boredom and lethargy and deliberately finding the remedies to avoid sleep and having a bored, effortless mind. Deliberately developing those remedies are useful cognitive, non-sudden insights, like any lesson developed through practice and deliberate effort-- maybe after weeks of practicing a piece of sheet music one just notices there is now flow and all the effort is allowing one to see what the music and sheet music are about.

So both sudden insight and developed understanding/earning happen. 

This is a long reply and just some samples from my experience. It should not be used as any sort of "You should experience this". The best thing is for a person to want sincerely to do something and to practice. EDIT: out of concern that this post will inspire big expectations, I will add that now, but for my impulses around work (mind being happily conditioned and not equanimous like video-gaming to grab at higher-value work or to compulsively time-trial each peice of work), the whole process of meditation seems to show all life growing like grass out of sidewalks cracks, miractualous and natural, and also bearing the struggle of being alive/naturally avoiding the living concept of dying.


Good luck and effort.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/6/14 9:36 AM as a reply to Pål.
One more thing, Pål, I had a friend who worked with a lot of focus in math.

What "worked" for him to find meditation skilful was a chanting/singing meditation practice. I think those practices may sort of toggle the mind between more diffuse brain networking (such as open awareness, body-wide attentional breathing meditation) and focused brain networking (such as upper lip-nostril localized attententional breathing meditation).  

But it may also be that all his previous efforts in other methods and traditions of meditation/contemplation prepared him to know what he personally enjoyed and also how to stop chasing after some perfect technique and perhaps also just wore him out to be ready to practice. I needed to argue discursively to wear out my mind enough to just say, "Hey, let's try something new. I know what it is to debate/form 'winning' arguments, now let me see what it is to just sit and breath. What happens...what am I in that activity?"

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/6/14 3:31 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Interesting, thanks for sharing. Body-wide sukha and suffusimg light, that sound very much like what the Buddha talked about in the Kayagatasati Sutta. What you describe about nostril anapana I don't recognize from any sutta that I've read, so I think I'll continue experimenting with body-wide concentration.
About tensions: I guess many people skip the very important relaxation step. By the way, does it happen to you often that your breathing stops? 
Sorry, I didn't really get what you meant in that last post or the last edit. Probably because I'm not a native english speaker.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/11/14 8:15 PM as a reply to Pål.
Hi Pål,

If you listen to the first few minutes of Bhikku Bodhi's 4/12/2005 (2nd) lecture on Anapanasati here: http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic-study-of-the-majjhima-nikaya.html, you will learn about the different methods and which Pali word triggered the different practice. I think at that time the speaker, Bhikkhu Bodhi, aslo notes that bodywide is the intention of the sutta. 
About tensions: I guess many people skip the very important relaxation step. By the way, does it happen to you often that your breathing stops? 

It has only happened twice that I recall with that sort of panicked awareness of paralysis coming up and interrupting suffusive equanimity. Otherwise, I really don't know other than breathing can get shallow and spaced when there's a lot of mental calm and affectlessness. Still, it would create a provocation of mind to crave for that condition (not that you are)

Okay, I'm winding down participation here for winter turpor ;] 

It was nice to meet you. Thanks for your notes.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/11/14 8:22 PM as a reply to Pål.
I think i just deleted my reply to you. Here goes again...

Pål: Interesting, thanks for sharing. Body-wide sukha and suffusimg light, that sound very much like what the Buddha talked about in the Kayagatasati Sutta. What you describe about nostril anapana I don't recognize from any sutta that I've read, so I think I'll continue experimenting with body-wide concentration

If you listen to the first few minutes of Bhikku Bodhi's 4/12/2005 (2nd) lecture on Anapanasati here: http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic-study-of-the-majjhima-nikaya.html, you will learn about the different methods and which Pali word triggered the different practice. I think it's helpful you already know in which technique you have some inclination. Like any study, this one seems to thrive with sincerity. 

Here is also a nice guided body-wide breathing meditation (designed for kiddies, but I love it) by Danial Goleman: Here is Daniel Goleman, MD, doing an lovely practice of the body-wide breathing: Breathing Buddies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scqFHGI_nZE

Pål: About tensions: I guess many people skip the very important relaxation step. By the way, does it happen to you often that your breathing stops? 

The panicky thing-- where I go from being just awareness to Holy-Yikes-Katy who is aware of air hunger and paralysis, that's happened about twice in 20 years. Breath typically slows down during meditation but if there's suffusive equanimity then I'm not so much aware of that. I can be aware of slow, soft, shallow breathing in non-suffusive beginning sukkha (called 3rd jhana here).

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/12/14 6:21 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Thanks! I'll check those links out. Wait, do you call beginning sukkha 3rd jhana?

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/13/14 9:36 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
(...)Wait, do you call beginning sukkha 3rd jhana?


Hi Pål, no. For me, what I sense are the precursors to suffisive comfort (a prevailing "third jhana" characteristic) when the body is getting boundaryless and deeply comfortable after calming down from the atheletic sort of vibratoryness and sometimes qsuper-bright mind of suffusive elation ("2nd jhana"). 

So I am saying "to me" often, because no one hold the absolute standard of what something is for someone else. There are guides and helpers that you choose. In Jack Kornfeld's book "Modern Buddhist Masters" it's very clear great teachers disagree with each other's experiences and names. 


So, to me, when the mind gets very bright (the mental perception of light, despite being in a dark room with eyes closed) and a physically upward "reaching"-- a natural reaching upwards of the spine-- and there is a very aggitated body-wide sort of lifting and elation, that for me is the start of 2nd jhana. The mind is elated. So when I see someone medidating and they are smiling and/or very lifted up in their posture, I relate that body language to my experience of second jhana.

And, to me, when the body and mind calm down from that and the body is just suffusively comfortablt (sukkha) and even there is the percption of being boundaryless, and the mind is calming down, "smoothly contented", maybe the face may have a small smile or none, then that is when I can see that suffusive sukkha is happening.

Finally, sitting in sukkha and making no decision whatsoever, from there equanimity can arise on its own. If I've had some regrettable conduct during the day, then I will probably not get past the first mental concentration (first jhana)-- and here is a benefit in good moral conduct; the mind can easily calm down without regrets for regrettable behavior and without the constant urge to re-prove/reproach oneself, without the urge to judge others. So from third jhana, sitting without expectation, letting thoughts arise and pass and sitting in sukkha, that sukka will deepen, deepen, deeeeeepen, and there experience of mind can be very clear like seeing bubbles come up from a very calm ocean floor.

This is your practice. If you feel you experience God, you may go with it. If you feel you experience sunyata, you may go with it, if you feel that you experience satcinananda, you may go with it. Having mental and physical health enough to just sit with one's own mind is a real treat if you enjoy the study of meditation and mental development.

Best wishes, Pål =]

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/19/14 10:00 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
I misser this last post, sorry! 
The spine thing ypu mentioned, that's the same as what they call kundalini, right? Does that ever happen to you at other times, in other jhanas or outside jhana? many people seem to experience it while doing vipassana.
You talked about God before too. What do you mean by God? I used to have a strobg faity in God but as I got to know more about buddhism my need for God decreased. I'm still not sure what it was I used to believe in.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/19/14 9:52 PM as a reply to Pål.
Hi Pål,

Pål: "The spine thing ypu mentioned, that's the same as what they call kundalini, right? Does that ever happen to you at other times, in other jhanas or outside jhana? many people seem to experience it while doing vipassana."

I don't know; I will never know if something I experienceis the same as what somewhat else experiences. I did study a long time ago with a kundalini teacher and I would say that when the spine is naturally becoming erect and seems to be "open" from tail to skull with no tension apparent in the spine and the mind is also feeling openness and brightness, then maybe, yes, that could be referred to perhaps as a kundalini thing, from my perspective on kundalini. (And, careful: for me, just checking the spine for "openness" and "lack of tension" would cause me tightening in the spine!)


Pål: You talked about God before too. What do you mean by God? I used to have a strobg faity in God but as I got to know more about buddhism my need for God decreased. I'm still not sure what it was I used to believe in.

I just mean here that it's your practice. Sometimes people come to a new practice and they read the instructions and the system manual, so to speak, and they take those guides as events they must also have exactly or that they must find in their own practice. So a person coming to buddhist from a theistic practice, for example, may try to find nothingness and no-creator-god because they've read a buddhist system manual or heard a buddhist system talk that professes such things. My point is: this is your practice; you sitting with you will show the nature of mind and phenomena. The system manuals are just things to sustain a person to get back on the cushion and sit with own-mind patiently without judgement. And to me buddhist meditation-- just sitting with attention and alertness and sincerity (e.g., shikantaza and anapansati) shows a tremendous amount about how any phenomena arise and pass.

I see in another thread you're interested in Anapanasati-- mindfulness of the inhale-exhale. I will try to finish up instructions I was copying to the DhO from the late monk Ananda Maitreya so at least there's another manual to consider. Meantime, perhaps see if the mind is more creative on the top or the inhale or bottom of the exhale and if the mind is quieter/quiet on the top of the inhale or the bottom of the exhale. Or just mind the breadth and sit patiently with everything that arises and let it go on its own; do not feed the stories =0)

Good luck.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/19/14 11:14 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
From the Samadhi sutta:

"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision? There is the case where a monk attends to the perception of light and is resolved on the perception of daytime [at any hour of the day]. Day [for him] is the same as night, night is the same as day. By means of an awareness open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision.

what does this mean? Does it imply one should meditate with eyes open so that one percieves light?


I think what this means is that mind has let go of its habitual tendency of categorising/differentiating things into different shapes, colours, and sizes, into this and that but can see how it is the mind itself that does the categorising/differentiating and can settle into just the awareness itself which doesn't differentiate between day and night. It could also be the stage where the mind has realized that form is emptiness and emptiness is form.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 1:12 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
From the Samadhi sutta:

"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision? There is the case where a monk attends to the perception of light and is resolved on the perception of daytime [at any hour of the day]. Day [for him] is the same as night, night is the same as day. By means of an awareness open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision.

what does this mean? Does it imply one should meditate with eyes open so that one percieves light?

The Pali here is 'ñāṇadassana', which generally is translated as 'knowledge & vision' but, in this context, should probably be translated as 'knowing & seeing'. This is probably refering to the development of psychic power, such as the divine eye.

Relevent related suttas probably include: emoticon

~~Iddhipada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of the Bases of Power

~~And how does a monk — by means of an awareness open & unhampered — develop a brightened mind? There is the case where a monk has the perception of light, the perception of daytime [at any hour of the day] well in hand & well-established. This is how a monk — by means of an awareness open & unhampered — develops a brightened mind.

~~When a monk has thus developed & pursued the four bases of power, he experiences manifold supranormal powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, & mountains as if through space. He dives in & out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting crosslegged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches & strokes even the sun & moon, so mighty & powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds.

~~He hears — by means of the divine ear-element, purified & surpassing the human — both kinds of sounds: divine & human, whether near or far.

~~He sees — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away and re-appearing, and he discerns how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, & mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, & mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — he sees beings passing away and re-appearing, and he discerns how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn51/sn51.020.than.html

~~Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha

~~And the Blessed One said: "Whosoever, Ananda, has developed, practiced, employed, strengthened, maintained, scrutinized, and brought to perfection the four constituents of psychic power could, if he so desired, remain throughout a world-period or until the end of it. [21] The Tathagata, Ananda, has done so. Therefore the Tathagata could, if he so desired, remain throughout a world-period or until the end of it

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.16.1-6.vaji.html

~~The four constituents of psychic power (iddhipada) are concentration due to zeal, energy, purity of mind, and investigation.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 1:21 AM as a reply to Nicky.
So I could get to the perception of light through mastering any strong concentration?

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 1:39 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
This sutta is fascinating!  It seems to point to 4 different attainments, rather than just one.

EDIT: This might also be relevant. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.094.than.html

Thanks. But this link is not particularly relevent to the development of the perception of light. This link is about the 1st and 4th developments but not about the 2nd development.

The fascinating Samadhi Sutta is about four developments of mind using the power of concentration, which are:

1. pleasant abiding in the here & now, namely, the four jhanas.

2. knowing & seeing or psychic power

3. mindfulness & clear comprehension, where sense control is established to stop unwholesome states of mind at sense contact

4. vipassana/observing arising & falling away of the five aggregates, which results in enlightenment (incuding anatta)  

From the Buddhist perspective, 3 & 4 are the true goal. 1 & 2 are just extras & can give rise to delusion (such as thinking & believing "I am God"). emoticon


 

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 1:27 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
"My point is: this is your practice; you sitting with you will show the nature of mind and phenomena."

Or, I'll practice incorrectly without knowing it and just sit around deluding myself or make no progress. This far my practice hasn't given me much insight as far as I am aware, only some weird experiences.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 1:41 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
So I could get to the perception of light through mastering any strong concentration?

I would try to follow the instruction in this sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn51/sn51.020.than.html


He keeps perceiving what is in front & behind so that what is in front is the same as what is behind, what is behind is the same as what is in front. What is below is the same as what is above, what is above is the same as what is below....By means of an awareness thus open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind.

The word 'samadhi' (concentration) in the Pali means 'collectedness'. So it does not necessarily refer to a one-pointed concentration but, instead, the gathering together of necessary path factors/qualities (for a particular goal).

emoticon

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 1:53 AM as a reply to Nicky.
I don't get anything in those instructions, they're over my level haha

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 2:01 AM as a reply to Nicky.
The jhanas are not extras. The four jhanas is the definition of samma samadhi.

"And what is right concentration? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called right concentration."
-SN 45.8
It's like saying for example that right speech is an extra.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 2:18 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
The jhanas are not extras. The four jhanas is the definition of samma samadhi.


Sure. But the jhanas are the path rather than the ultimate goal.

For example, right speech or morality is not the ultimate goal.

In the Samadhi Sutta, the jhanas are referred in the development of pleasure.

The ultimate goal of the path is not jhana pleasure but Nibbana (letting go) pleasure.

That said, jhana pleasure comes in very handy.  emoticon

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 2:22 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
I don't get anything in those instructions, they're over my level haha

Keeping reading them.

For example, when a person ordinarily (coarsely) focuses on breathing or focuses on the computer screen, the mind is focused in front.

Now, instead of focusing to the front, turn the mind to be aware or picture or imagine what is behind your head & back.

Then turn your mind to be aware or picture what is above. Then turn the mind to be aware or picture what is below.

Keep moving the mind to in front, behind, above & below until the awareness is open & unhampered; a spacious mind.

Regards emoticon

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 4:04 AM as a reply to Nicky.
So if I keep practicing this, I'll get superpowers? Cool.å

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 5:25 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
"My point is: this is your practice; you sitting with you will show the nature of mind and phenomena."

Or, I'll practice incorrectly without knowing it and just sit around deluding myself or make no progress. This far my practice hasn't given me much insight as far as I am aware, only some weird experiences.

So many feelings come up in the study/cultivation of mind (meditation, bhavana), keeping a healthy sense of "I am deluded" may be one of the more skillful feelings. 

So anapanasati is a system that cultivates pleasant mental-&-bodily conditions to prepare the mind to become deeply calm so that when the regular arising of thoughts come up from the brain (much like electricity regularly generated by the heart), the mind is unreactive or the reaction is delayed. This is very useful. The "wierd events" lose their luster when a person sees that these "weird states" offer some insight, but offer no reliable peace. When the mind is equanimous to every mental arising (and this equanimity is not a reasoned dispassion cognized in the practitioner, but this is an actual activity of brain and mind during mind-quietness to see the brain bubbling up thoughts and feelings) that becomes a reliable place to learn about being.

Along the way it can be very helpful to have teachers and guiding texts. Honest friends always help, too. Filling the mind with kindness for self and others can be very skillful for many people, too, if a person is dealing with negative judgements in any way. The brain is said currently to not work too well during negative thinking-feeling; the brain activity is said to be limited to brain stem and some small brain regions like the amygdala and activities like flight, fight, and freeze. So cultivating a friendly, safe-feeling mind is very helpful in the study of meditation. But that too is released once one is on the cushion and well into "sukkha" the third jhana of deep comfort. Sometimes the movement from what we delineate as sukkha to equanimity is jarring and causes some fear. That's totally okay; one just practices bhavana another day.

There are a lot of lists in the buddhist schools. I like the seven factors of enlightenment (even though "enlightenment" is a bit grandiose) and I like the five points of "who can teach the dharma?" (Anguttara Nikaya 5.159: one who speaks step-by-step, instructing in cause and effect, speaking with a mind of compassion, teaching not for material gains, disparaging no one-- not oneself nor others).


Good luck.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 6:21 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Thanks.
One interesting thing I've read is that in the Pali canon the word used for teachers other than the Buddha is the same as for good friend.

RE: Perception of light
Answer
11/20/14 10:10 AM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
Thanks.
One interesting thing I've read is that in the Pali canon the word used for teachers other than the Buddha is the same as for good friend.


Yes, and as you may know "metta" comes from "mitto", Pali for "friend", so metta is friendliness. This noble abiding for the mind is really immeasurable (as in the four immeasurables) and so to for some people who work best in a theistic framework, they anchor their mind completely to "All is God"***. So you/I find a system that helps you/me study you/me and reduce the building a and invitations of suffering within a system of vast causal relations.
____________
***EDIT: and "metta" works like this as a brahmavihara concentration practice: the intention to do and act in ways that do not impede friendliness (posting while I should be working is a real example of impeding good friendly rapport with my bosses, say, due to being late) from arising and having thoughts and actions that foster friendliness. This  metta practice, too, anchors the mind, is often not always a natural state of mind, and is thus called "taming the mind", like all of these mental development and insight practices. So one finds a practice/view they like, with outcomes they think they'd like, and try sincerely. And in buddhism one is cautioned that all views will be dropped in the end, that none stand on righteousness, not even on righteous evangelising of dependent origination. So there are a lot of ways to deeply tame the mind, while not punitively suppressing it, but by skillfully studying it, one way of which is anapanasati, another is shikantaza, another is actual theistic devotion, another is secular devotion to the "Golden Rule", and so on. Best wishes.