Brightness of meditation

  1. Brightness of meditation

Q: Is there brightness in your meditation? (Rephrased question as the original question was lost)

A: First of all, Samādhi in the form realm does not necessarily have brightness. At present, it is only the Pa-Auk Jhāna system that makes a special requirement for meditation. The so-called “you must see the brightness before you can enter the meditation.” the reason is that the so-called “Must be a form realm, is the meditation of the form realm”, which seems to be very reasonable, but this is not necessarily the case. For example, if you practice the Contemplation of mercy, you can go to the Third Jhāna, and the reason is compassion. Another example is the separate view of the four realms, which can reach the First Jhāna. The separate views of the four realms are the reason for cultivating the wind of water and fire, which is dynamic, rigid, wet and hot, and there is no brightness.

Furthermore, in Northern Buddhism, those who practice meditation according to meditation only do silent contemplation, and can also stop breath and get into the fourth Jhāna, but not necessarily see any brightness.

Therefore, I am opposed to the Pa-Auk’s emphasis that “there must be a brightness Jhāna phase” in order to enter the initial Jhāna. Because it was too absolute.

Of course, it is also good to have light in meditation, and it is relatively good to have light. But the brightness must be the direct cognition, not imagined. If you practice meditation and fantasize about the brightness, you will enter a solitary state and become a daydream.

Q: Eight touches and ten merits are the phenomenon of entering the First Jhāna. The merits of the ten merits means that there will be brightness. Do you dare to claim attaining Jhāna without seeing any brightness? (Rephrased question as the original question was lost)

A: Eight touches: moving, itching, light, heavy, cold, warm, astringent, slippery; ten virtues: empty, bright, concentrated, intelligent, kind, soft, joyful, happy, liberated, corresponding to the realm. There is no brightness here. “Bright” of ten virtues refers to the meaning of being mentally clear and sober. It is clear that in the realm of sobriety, there is not necessarily any light/brightness aspect. For example, when you rest your eyes and rest, you are sober about your physical feelings. The state of physical sensation is form, but there was no brightness at the time. In the same way, the same is true of the First to Fourth Jhāna.

As far as I know, many people can observe the feelings of the body into meditation, breathing can stop, but the brightness does not necessarily rise. If it is said that breathing can be stopped for a long time (for example, 1 hour), and if there is no light then there is no Fourth Jhāna, then what kind of Jhāna can stop breathing?

In order to avoid clinging to one’s own opinions and not making meaningless disputes, the topic will stop and no longer discuss.

  1. Meditation and psychic power

Q: I would like to ask the OP that you have attained all the eight stages of Jhāna and Nirodha-Samapatti, and you must have gained great freedom and psychic powers. I hope you can give me some advice. What is Buddhism?

A: Jhāna practice and the practice for psychic power are two different things. The psychic power is the function of meditation. If you only practice meditation and do not practice psychic power, you do not necessarily have psychic power.

The Great freedom in Buddhism specifically refers to liberation. Buddhism is to teach people to practice and get out of the suffering of reincarnation.

Q: Your understanding of the Eight touches and Ten merits is incorrect… (Content containing disputes and defamation of a certain bhikkhu, etc. (Rephrased question as the original question was lost)

A: I have made myself clear. Since ancient times, everyone has had different understandings and views on Buddhist sutras because of their different levels of wisdom, so there has been a split of the Buddhist ministry. Scholars should not take part in this kind of struggle in which they each boast themselves as the right one. They should take what they need and help them move towards liberation. Whether it is correct or not, we can only choose by ourselves and take practice as the verification. Buddhist sutras are written by people, and it is not impossible for writers or translators to add their own understanding.

When the Buddha passed away, he said: to abide by the Dharma, not any person; to abide by the sutras of ultimate truth, not the sutras of incomplete truth; to abide by the meaning, not the wording; to abide by the wisdom, not the consciousness.

Another ancient sage once said that the interpretation of righteousness according to only the literal text will lead to the misunderstanding of the Buddha of all times (in the past, in the present and in the future). It can be seen that it is not feasible to learn the Dharma only on the surface. It has to be empirically verified.

Master Kwang Chow is a master of many schools, an inheritor of Chan, Theravada Buddhism and the Vajrayana Buddhism, and a guru of DZOGCHEN. I am respectful and convinced of him. If you do not have practical practice, it is recommended that you do not easily deny any practitioner. True knowledge comes from practice.

Besides, I’m not interested in arguing with you. What you said here is not convincing, the point of view is very confusing, and the Buddhist sutra evidence is not listed. It is recommended that you start another thread, list evidences, and systematically demonstrate your point of view.

Q: Since it is the wisdom that ceases the afflictions, why not practice wisdom directly? Why do you practice concentration first? (Rephrased question as the original question was lost)

A: Master Tsongkhapa said: Just practicing wisdom without meditation is like a candle in the wind. The yogi cannot hold on to the chaos of the environment and does not give birth to wisdom and light, so practitioners should practice both.

What do you think? What I have quoted from Tsongkhapa refers to practicing both concentration and wisdom.

Q: The master (referring to the OP) has great insights in practice. I think that you are willing to share so selflessly, it is really amazing.

Can you share the operational guidelines with me: How to effectively distinguish between the Asamjna-Samapatti (non-conceptual concentration) and Nirodha-Samapatti?

A: Asamjna-Samapatti enters a state of no-thinking. It is called the cessation of the ‘sixth consciousness’ in the Yogācāra School. After entering Asamjna-Samapatti, knowing nothing is like falling asleep. The feeling of the body can be restored immediately after exiting it without any discomfort.

Nirodha-Samapatti is the annihilation of Ego-grasping. It is called the cessation of the ‘seventh consciousness’ in the Yogācāra School. When you enter Nirodha-Samapatti, you also don’t know anything. After you exit from it, you know that your body functions are stopped (heartbeat, blood flow), and you know intuitively that this is death. In this case, there are two choices, one of which is to abandon this physical body, that is, the so-called stand-off and perish. Another choice is to reactivate the physical body. The body will be cold if stay in Nirodha-Samapatti for a long time (such as an hour). When you activate the body thereafter, you will feel uncomfortable. So if you go into Nirodha-Samapatti for too long, this physical body will not be suitable for use.

The difference between the two is very different in the cause of entering the Jhānas. Asamjna-Samapatti enters through no-thinking. Nirodha-Samapatti enters through extinction of attachment. Distinguishing them in practice depends on your own wisdom. Those who enter Nirodha-Samapatti must have the experience of four Jhānas and four formless Jhānas, and can clearly recognize the mark of self-attachment and be able to judge on their own. But Asamjna-Samapatti only need the experience of the Fourth Jhāna.

Q: Brother, does this Nirodha-Samapatti have anything to do with the Eighth consciousness, the ālaya-vijñāna?

A: There is no connection. I was just borrowing some terminology from the Yogācāra School to explain the above.

  1. Nirodha-Samapatti and attaining fruition stages

Q: The saints who have attained the Non-Returner stage. Non-Returners have got rid of the defilement of anger. I would like to ask if you still get angry.

A: There will always be advances and retreats in spiritual practice. Non-Returners are not completely liberated, it only temporarily relieved of the afflictions. When it comes to adverse karma, it may be lost. (It is also said that Arhat may also be lost. Therefore, there is the saying of Arhat who backslides in the Dharma) if lost, the afflictions will rise again.

Q: Well, I judge from your description of the experience of “Nirodha-Samapatti”. Your so-called proof of “Nirodha-Samapatti” is not in line with the description of Nirodha-Samapatti in the Sutras. I have been practicing hard on meditation since 2007, and I have rich experiences in all kinds of realms, and I am well aware of the details. In recent years, I occasionally teach meditation and wisdom to the public in some monasteries. I also answer questions to some Dharma brothers. I often meet fellow practitioners who are similar to you, that is, they have gained some experiences. Some of these experiences are very delicate, some are wonderful, and some are incredible. However, the experience is only experience, and the accurate judgment of experience is another kind of wisdom. Take your “Nirodha-Samapatti” as an example. In the Sutras, it is said that only those who must have become Non-Returne or above can enter it.

A: Where does it not match? I checked a lot of information, Buddhist Sutras, legends, lectures from sages, and many other materials, and I found out that this is exactly what happened. You just said that if one want to get into Nirodha-Samapatti, he needs to cultivate wisdom and get rid of self-view first. This is the understanding that you have added to the “antecedent”. My understanding is different. I think that when you reach neither-thought-nor-no-thought concentration, before entering Nirodha-Samapatti, because of one has the determination of detachment, even the consciousness of “I” has be destroyed, at this time, he has equal concentration and wisdom. Based on this determination of detachment, once can break the subtle ignorance at the top of the Three Realms, and then enter Nirodha-Samapatti. (The self-view were destroyed at the twinkling of an eye before entering Nirodha-Samapatti) In the Shurangama Sutra, Twenty-five Holy Figures talked about the method of spiritual practice, Kashyapa practiced Nirodha-Samapatti and thus attained the Perfect Penetration.

Q: I’m a little narrow-minded. Could you tell me how to do it? And how to be a sunny person?

A: Accumulate merit, giving and dedicate the merit to others. Animal releases and offering to Buddha and monks, and providing for the poor. All kinds of good deeds nourish good roots. The righteousness is stable, and the brightness is born by itself.

Q: Brother, when I do walk and sit meditations, I observe myself, I feel that it is not me, but when I finish meditation, it is me again. I would like to ask you how to get rid of “Sakkayaditti”, the view that there is an “I” in my body. Thank you.

A: This is the difference between view delusion and deliberation. When view delusion is fixed, you know that everything is due to dependent origination, and there is no one who can make the decision. But it cannot be done in real life, the habitual Ego-grasping is still so strong, as greedy, angry and delusion.

To get rid of the view of attachment to self is to get rid of self-view. The method is to cultivate wisdom. Mainly based on the observation of cause and effect. From the present quantity, see that dependent origination gives birth and death after cause and effect, and realize that there is no such “I, who can decide” and that removes self-view.

The second step is to break the affliction from deliberation. Change the attachment in behavior habits. Stay away from greed, anger and delusion.

For specific practice methods, you can search for “Path of Samadhi and Wisdom” in search engines.

Q: Accordingly rejoice! How do you know you have finished it? Are there any signs?

A: Do you mean stages of Jhāna? The success of reaching Jhāna stages can be compared with the descriptions in the Sutras. Just compare the descriptions yourself. Of course, you may misunderstand and speculate that some of your hallucinations are such-and-such Jhāna. But there are two most obvious phenomena that cannot be misunderstood, that is, in the Fourth Jhāna the breath stops and in Nirodha-Samapatti the heartbeat stops. Verifying with these signs are more reliable.

(Editor’s note: After reading my answer, someone persisted in breaking the heartbeat in an attempt to control the cardiac arrest in meditation to achieve Nirodha-Samapatti. This is a psychological act of taking shortcuts, just like not practicing meditation, but hoping to achieve the Fourth Jhāna by holding your breath, and it is an act of ignorance without wisdom! By controlling the heart in this way, it is possible to interfere with the normal operation of the viscera and cause heart disease. It is hereby declared that the reason for the stopping of heartbeat in the Fourth Jhāna is “the cessation of distractions and false thoughts”, the reason for the Nirodha-Samapatti is “total cessation of the attachment of consciousness”. Taking result as the cause is a terrible stupidity!)

Q: Do you have any suggestions for beginners? In hearing/reflecting/cultivation, thank you!

A: Think of taking refuge in the Three Jewels and the Four Noble Truths. Be sincere and uphold precepts. Recite the Heart Sutra. Read the Diamond Sutra many times. Meditate often. Try to see the truth in the scriptures (to see it via the text). Always be clear about yourself, don’t indolent.

Q: May I ask how to deal with delusions which occur during the when meditation of watching the breath (I am not aware of those delusions when they arise, but I tend to follow them by habit) and lack of concentration? Whether to watch the breath or watch the delusion?

A: If you don’t have enough concentration, you have to meditate more. Cultivate concentration. After all, it is a habit. The habit of concentrate.

If you have delusions during meditation, you can observe delusions, as long as you only watch the birth and death of the delusions, see clearly, and do not fall into it (that is, it is wrong to think along the line of the delusions). In this way, if you look at delusions for a long time without participating in them, the power of delusions will soon be exhausted (the so-called power is habits, delusional habits), and the power of mindfulness will be established. It won’t take long for delusions to stop appearing (when delusions are naturally absent, you are pretty much in Samadhi). You can try.

If you do not master this method well, it is recommended to start from counting the breath. Count once every time you exhale and inhale, counting from 1 to 600 or above. If you count wrong or forget to count, you must restart the count from the zero.

In this way, you will gradually find the way to practice meditation.

  1. Meditation posture and Breath counting meditation

Q: I meditate occasionally. I may meditate every two or three days, not for a long time, about half an hour. I sit flat on the ground, according to the Seven-point Meditation Posture, but after finished, there will be discomfort on the side of the coccyx. Is a cushion necessary?

I tried to use the cushion before, but I couldn’t seem to sit still.

A: For Seven-point Meditation Posture, after sitting down, put your body forward and push the sacrum back. Then straight up your body again, use your hands to support the base of your legs, straighten your spine as much as possible, put your hands back, and gently relax and meditate. Have a try.

The cushion should be flat, medium for softness. Not too hard. Soft is better for sitting firmly.

Q: In the treatise, it is suggested to count from 1 to 6-10. Is there any special reason why you say that you count to more than 600? May I ask whether the breath watching that you are talking about here is a kind of Samatha or Vipassana?

A: Of course it’s OK if you can enter Samadhi by counting from 1 to 10, from 10 to 1. But modern people have a fast pace of life and are accustomed to the state of delusions. It is only a short time to count 1-10, because the time is too short, it is difficult to make the mind really calm down. So it takes about 45 minutes to count from 1-600, which is a relatively long period of time. On the one hand, it helps to cultivate the habit of doing it for an extended period of time. On the other hand, miscounting and re-counting is a relatively difficult precept. Having precepts is good for Samatha. From this two aspects, for those beginners who can’t stop their delusions, I think the counting from 1-600 is more appropriate.

Q: What do you think of Mantra Recitation and Feeding the Hungry Ghosts?

A: It is of course good to recite mantras from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. All kinds of benefits are mentioned in the Buddhist Sutras. I don’t have much personal experiences. But personally, I feel that reciting some mantras, such as the The Six-syllable Brilliant Mantra and the Cundi Mantra, do have an obvious effect on purifying the body and mind.

Feed the Hungry Ghosts should be done in the same way as the Contemplation on Compassion. Practice feeding with compassion. Sentient beings will naturally benefit. Individuals should not intend to get blessings when feeding. It’s better this way.

Q: What do you need to practice after these? How to practice?

A: Do you mean the completion of the Four Jhāna and the Four formless Jhāna stages? When you finish these, you have to liberate from the afflictions. Further, we should also practice in the Bodhisattva Path and the Path to Buddhahood. That is a deeper and broader subject. For beginners, liberation is the first step. The Bodhisattva Path also needs to reach liberation. It is important to know that there is no Bodhisattva who does not have access to liberation.

Q: Hello, brother. I looked up some introductions about “false enlightenment” and “true enlightenment” yesterday. I don’t know what you thinks of it. I studied by myself at home, and I haven’t got a master yet. I wonder if you can introduce some convenient methods and sutras that can be practiced after enlightenment. Thank you!

A: The true enlightenment is realization. False enlightenment is understanding the enlightenment.

False enlightenment is not self-realization, but you thought you have realized the truth.

Realization is nothing to be realized. The realization is just removing the delusions. There is nothing to gain.

Do you want to practice it after you realize it? After enlightenment, there is nothing to practice, the only practice is not get into delusions. How not to get into delusions? It is still diligently removing the defilements, practice the Sīla, Samādhi and Paññā.

(Editor’s note: understanding the enlightenment can be counted as the wisdom gained from hearing and reflection. It need verification from Samadhi practice, so that it can become the wisdom gained from practice. The wisdom gained through practice is the actual experience. Personal experience is the real taste of the Dharma!)

Q: Brother, how do you practice Contemplation of Cause and Effect? How can I see the thought before I move my mind? Thank you.

A: It’s the best to base the practice of this Contemplation on the Fourth Jhāna. The pure equanimity and mindfulness in the Fourth Jhāna is the best quality of mindfulness, and it is easy to produce results by cultivating mindfulness with this quality. The thought before moving is a defilement. All thoughts are defilement driven. The defilement is simply Ego-grasping. Just defilement of ignorance. There are many ways to observe Ego-grasping. You can watch the thought and trace it back to its source. (Entering through Vipassana) You can also enter it through meditation. The realm of Neither-perception-nor-non-perception Concentration is pure Ego-grasping, and there is nothing else. So once abandon it in the Neither-perception-nor-non-perception realm, we can cut off the Ego-grasping (Entering through Samadhi).

The root cause of Ego-grasping is the opposition between the subject and object. So, that is Innately Possessed Wisdom (Tathāgatagarbha) which let go of the difference between subject and object. The principle has been explained, how to practice, you can think of your way. All in all, go towards removing the attachments and discriminations.

Q: Ask you a question, what do you see when you are in Samadhi? What is the Four Jhāna and Four formless Jhāna?

A: I can see the mind, thoughts, feelings, pretentiousness, etc. Everything can be observed. But it must be in its own eighteen realms, and there is nothing strange about it.

The Four Jhāna and Four formless Jhāna are the First Jhāna, 2nd Jhāna, 3rd Jhāna, and the concentration of boundless space, the concentration of boundless consciousness, the concentration of nothingness, the concentration of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. Please refer to the Buddhist dictionary for details.

Q: Brother, I have been learning to meditate for almost a year. Under normal circumstances, I meditate twice a day. I used to sit for 40 to 50 minutes, but now I can do meditation for more than an hour, but I just haven’t been able to enter Samadhi for a second. Is my method wrong? Or is there any other problem?

A: If so, uphold the precepts first. Choose the one most difficult precept and uphold that single precept thoroughly.

Those who practice Samadhi are also a kind of keeping precepts. Be on your guard of the mind, focus on taking the marks (of meditation).

Therefore, in your case, it is recommended that you first keep the precepts in your life and accumulate blessings and precepts. It helps to enter Samadhi.

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