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Can I get a practice thread please
SigmaTropic posted a topic in Newcomer CornerHi, I would like to start a practice thread or a cultivation thread is what you call it. Thanks!
I started as a Buddhist practicioner cause I read on a reddit forum how Jhanas could increase human intelligence. For some reason as young as I could remember I always felt humans could be better and we were not using our full mental power. At some point I came across Daoism. I found their extremely datailed and logical approach quite fascinating. And in studying daoism I came across Bill Bodri who seemed to equate the 2 different traditions. It almost seems like they are doing the same thing through different approaches. Someone said the buddhism achieves freedom from karma or enlightenment by making ones consciousness egoless while daoism seems to make ones consciousness so powerful that its karma cant pull it back to earth what they would call the yang shen. Furthermore the jhanas and the transformation of the three treasures were seen as the same thing were first jhana body is full of jing hence the pleasure or what they call piti and sukkha. In second Jhana the jing transforms into chi. Hence the feeling of joy and loss of body awareness, By third jhana the chi turns to shen. Hence the contentment. By fourth jhana you reach emptiness. Hence the equanmity. Then the immaterial jhanas where one breaks the emptiness. And finally enlightenment where one unites with the Dao. What do you giys think?
Meditation Experience l Intro Post :)
Nianda posted a topic in WelcomeHello ! Few things about me, I currently reside in LV, Nevada, originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Background is Brazilian/Argentine.. nor sure what else to write here so I thought I would go ahead and share an experience with you all. Excited to hear what everyone else here has experienced! A few years ago and a few months then into my spiritual/meditational journey, I had an encounter that changed existence itself for me. Only a few people know, and recently I decided that I would share it with anyone out there so that they may see what the depths of your Self holds at all times, and anyone who has had a transformational experience themselves. If you read it, thank you for the time Here it is: At the time of my transformation a few years ago I was doing my regular meditation at around 2 A.M. The living room was virtually pitch black. 20 minutes into the meditation I decide to simply let go of my 'internal clock' that determines when I have meditated for the usual 30-40 minutes and I curiously go into seeing how long I can stay in that thoughtless meditative state. I would have to say about 45 minutes into it that I start hearing a very loud high pitched ringing/noise in both my ears.. as it got louder and louder so this bright light in my mind's eye would become brighter and brighter. This was a pure white light that looked as if someone had turned on their headlights to my face at point-blank range; my eyes are still closed this entire time and never open. This goes on for about 15-30 seconds and then the sounds and light are now accompanied by what seemed to be hundreds and thousands of voices giving me praise, so many voices that it was hard to figure them all out at once but I did not need or try to because I was receiving the core of the message intuitionally, I knew, I felt. It was like being in the middle of a fully filled coliseum, with everyone there cheering for you and loving you unconditionally with Love that reached deep into the past, present, and future all at once. These were immense feelings of achievement and how proud they are of me to come this far into myself, and that they have always been here and always will be here for us all. That they have loved me and all of us since the beginning of it all and continue to do so indefinitely. I was filled with incredible emotions of pure agape, pure love, and interconnectedness that took over my entire being. I smile with Love and Gratefulness and all I can struggle to say is " Thank you " as my eyes begin to form tears. As the loud ringing noise dies down and things begin to get darker, so do the voices dissipate. But it didn't feel as if I was going back down in consciousness, I went higher. Higher into a dark expanse that felt infinite, eternal, empty, vast and yet also containing the entirety of existence itself, all that has been, all that is, and all that will be. Which is plainly also, just all that is. There I could not identify with the part of myself that says 'I' or 'me' anymore. I could not understand it, it was so abnormal and really, non-existent to me. Not only was I in that Void, but I knew and felt my Self AS that Void itself. I was Everything and Nothing all at the same time. It was quieter than quiet.. no sound beyond the sound. Empty. Yet also filled with ALL of existence itself. Pure Oneness. What came, later on, was light, it looked like stars in the distance and stardust but also water, a different type of water/fluid. It filled my view with hues of purple, blue, indigo and a whole array of lights among this void. I stay in observe in a balanced awe. I open my eyes and break down in an utter joy that is beyond any comprehension. About 10 minutes later I comfy myself on the couch in which I usually would sleep on. As I close my eyes, I am in awe of that same sight of stars in this Void still there even after my meditation. It was pure bliss to shut my eyes and head off into sleep, gazing out into the star-filled space in front of me. I was whole, and one with All That Is. This feeling later went on to stay with me for months after, I was born again. Glad to be here with you all, and I'm looking forward to bouncing off of each other with anything that can help us grow -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Later on, I plan to host dark room meditations/retreats for periods of 12 - 21 days. Thanks for reading and Love to you all :)🙏✨❤️ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Words can never convey the beauty of a tree; to understand it, you must see it with your own eyes. Language cannot capture the melody of a song; to understand it, you must hear it with your own ears. So it is with the Tao: the only way to understand it is to directly experience it. The subtle truth of the universe is unsayable and unthinkable. Therefore the highest teachings are wordless. My own words are not the medicine, but a prescription; not the destination, but a map to help you reach it. When you get there, quiet your mind and close your mouth. Don’t analyze the Tao. Strive instead to live it: silently, undividedly, with your whole harmonious being." - Lao Tzu (Hua Hu Ching, chapter 31)
Breath Meditation Experience
Tibetan_Ice posted a topic in Buddhist DiscussionHi, This is a recount of today's meditation experiences. I was sitting in my lazy boy, listening to the 29'th podcast from Allan Wallace's Dzogchen retreat. The instructions in the meditation were concerning sending un-pointed awareness to various locations surrounding the body (like up, to the right, to the left, down and then center). It was much the same practice that is found in his book called "Mind in a Balance". At one point, I decided to just flex a little kundalini. I quickly focused on the lower tan tien, the little orange red ball just below the navel, then lightly flexed the lower locks and directed the energy to go down to the perineum, then to the tail bone, and then up the sushumna to the third eye. This was performed on an in-breath. This resulted in a gush of ecstasy and some minor heat and electric vibrations in the head, arms and up the central channel. I then became somewhat orgasmic and spent the next two hours in a state of low orgasmic bliss. I mention this because I feel it may have had some relevance to the events that transpired in the second meditation of the day. During the second meditation of the day, I decided to do 1/2 hour of breath meditation and 1/2 an hour of "watching thoughts dissolve". I performed the necessary preamble, set my Insight Timer for 1 hour with an interval bell at 30 minutes, did my dedication of merit to all sentient beings and proceeded to focus on the breath, specifically at the region in front of my nose, but not forcing any exact location. No sambhavi, no tongue on palette or any mudras or bhandas.. I was going to focus on just "Knowing" the breath. My goal was to achieve at least one minute of consecutive awareness on the breath. There are many ways of watching the breath. Some teachers recommend fixating on the sensations at the nostrils. Some recommend just keeping the attention just above the upper lip. Others, like Ajahn Brahm, suggest not locating the breath anywhere. What I have learned is that by "knowing" the breath, the mind forms a mental representation of the breathing. This mental representation is known as a nimitta (mental sign). For me, it looks like a white cotton ball kind of light, which goes up on the in-breath and down on the out-breath. It is thick and is very helpful in establishing where the breath is in the up-down cycle. I watched my breath. I also noticed the other little white light that resembles a small star. I have always wondered about that because often times I would see that other little white light appear when performing mantra repetition. I've also seen it when performing breath meditation by focusing on the navel area. That little white star seems to appear next to any location at which I am concentrating attention. For this meditation, I was putting allot of emphasis on the out-breath, the downward motion of the breath and the very bottom of the breath where it stops just slightly, before turning back upwards. The emphasis on the out-breath is to help release thoughts from the mind. You can see it work. It is the body's natural function. Whenever we want to release bad or frightening thoughts, the body always takes a deep breath and then 'sighs' it out. That is the understanding that I have. So, I was focusing on the out-breath more-so than the in breath and watching the cotton ball of the pale light of knowing the breath go up and down. For some reason, it was easier to maintain a constant stream of attention on the breath this time. I was succeeding now whereas in previous meditations, I was perhaps obtaining a minute of unbroken attention. As well, I could see the little star in the same region as cotton ball light. As I watched the breath go up and down, putting emphasis on releasing thoughts (but not willfully interfering with the natural motion of the breath), I noticed that the surrounding mental landscape started to brighten up. The background looked like there was a white cloud behind the scene. I just kept focusing on the cotton-ball-mental-representation-of-the-breath moving upwards and downwards, putting emphasis on the out-breath, releasing a bit on the bottom of the exhale. It was actually kind of easy to mantain unwavering attention on the breath, going up and down. Then, all of a sudden, I dissociated from my body. I could feel my locus of physical location start floating about. Then, the cotton ball light of knowing of the breath started to drift closer and closer to my witnessing consciousness. It got bigger and kind of floated about. I thought that I must have been at the point where the body drops away. This is a typical experience, sometimes my arms come right out of the physical arms and the feel like they are wrapped around my abdomen, but when I look, the arms are still on the upper thighs.. The 30 minute bell went off and I was going to watch my thoughts for a while, but I decided to stick with the breath meditation, because it was going so well. I don't often succeed at maintaining a steady stream of awareness on the breath as I have only been doing serious breath meditation for about 3 months. I heard it takes about 6 weeks of practising 8 hours a day before you can watch the breath without willfully controlling it! As the visual image of knowing the breath at a specific location (cotton ball of light) came closer, the center of the little star opened up and I could see visions of scenes, faces and colors in it. I ignored the display and kept focusing on the breath. The visions of scenes and faces got more intense, and numerous. They started whizzing by rapidly. I ignored them once again and went back to watching the breath go up and down. Gradually, my breathing was becoming slower and slower. The in and out breaths were maybe moving 1/2 an inch up and down, whereas before it may have been moving 2 inches up and down (relatively speaking). The breathing became very shallow and almost nonexistent, but I kept focusing on it. Next, the top of my head opened up and I saw the black descending from above, had the fear of death and thought I was going to melt downwards. However, I was so sick of bowing to this fear that I just ignored it and went back to focusing on the breath. Empty threats! I went back to watching the center of the little star. Then it happened. All of a sudden, I found myself in this wide open luminous space. Very vivid! Nothing much in there, like hanging out in open space. It felt like normal consciousness, like I was just sitting there, doing nothing in particular, but looking out into this dark self-luminous space. The monkey mind, the incessant commentary that the mind does was gone. Not totally realizing what had happened, I thought I should go back to watching the breath, so I looked at the same location where the cotton ball light and the little star had been. Instead of a white cloud-like substance moving up and down or the litlle star, there was a black crack that sort of looked like a spider's web or series of connected straight lines, with a bit of light coming through the crack. I was confused, but I sort of knew that I had succeeded in penetrating through to somewhere else. I was confused because I expected to see some kind of white light. There only remained this wide open space, and a kind of fracture in it where the breath focus had been. It looked like a crack in space was closing, and the lights were on the other side. Now, I have been in that wide open space probably as many times as I have fingers and toes, but it was by restricting the breath, slowing the breath through pranayama. I had no idea that this space is waiting for you on the other side of sustained focus on the breath/nimitta. I sat in this space for about five minutes, trying to perceive as much as I could. Although the monkey mind was silent, I still had some thoughts coming up, like "this is boring", "this is beautiful to look at", "not much to see", "did I wake up?", "I thought I was meditating", "where did all the thoughts, visions and light go?". The thoughts were few and far in between, but there were still thoughts. It never occured to me to just stay there for a while. My timer went off and then I got up. There was not much difference between the type of consciousness that I feel in normal life and the type of consciousness that I felt in that experience, just the scenery changed. I wonder what that space is. Is it the fifth jhana, the Dimension of Infinite Space? Sort of sounds like it. Continuation: The late afternoon meditation was quite strange. When I sat down and started the meditation, the first thing I noticed was this vacuous space in the center of my attention, where the normal mind is usually located. Next, I noticed that there were very few thoughts. My awareness was so intense, it felt like I had drunk about 10 cups of coffee and was downright wired, but very clear. I tried to focus on the breath, but I could not manifest any kind of cotton ball light from knowing the breath. I tried various locations, watching the breath at the navel, directly at the tip of the nose, but nothing would appear. I was back in the huge space. Next, I turned my attention to the third eye, that is, I focused on the place where the third eye usually is. I did see some light and some scenes, but they were so clear, bright and colorful that it kind of shocked me. I thought, "I don't need any more stimulation right now", and simply receeded back into the vacuous hole in my head. I remained there for about 50 minutes watching the luminosity, just 'being' and then got up and continued on with my day. Later tonight, I finished the 30'th podcast of Alan Wallace's Dzogchen retreat. Coincidence or what? The last two questions from the retreatants were concerning the nimittas. According to Alan, and this is the first time I hear of this (and I've always wanted to know about it), the mental representation of the breath is called the nimitta. It is how the mind percieves the breath. I've read in other books that the air nimitta is white light. So this is making more sense to me all of the time. The second light, (my little star) is called the counterpart sign. Alan described it exactly like I have described it above. It is a little bright light that appears as the mind becomes more stable. And, Alan says that once it appears you switch your attention to it and remain on that light until you achieve shamatha. Buhdagosa (sp?) said that. Other masters have said that. And that is exactly what I did. The question I've always had is this: "is the cotton ball light (mental knowing of the breath) called the nimitta or is the star called the nimitta? The answer is, the mental knowing of the breath is called the nimitta (technically it is called the air nimitta) and the little star is called the counterpart sign. This was very important for me to know because I didn't quite know the difference and neither Shaila Catherine nor Ajahn Brahm explain the difference between the two, or if they did (which I doubt), it was just not that clear. So, I do believe I have achieved shamatha!!! The next goal is to remain in that state, on demand, for three hours, as recommended by Shaila Catherine. Then, I can proceed to practice more advanced techniques, with the power of a stable and pliant mind, realized though shamatha. I am so thankful that Anamatva posted the link to Alan Wallace's Dzogchen 10-day retreat. I feel that had I not found that posting, I would not have realized shamatha. (and the 5'th jhana), and gained a better understanding of the whole process. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Anamatva. Best Christmas Present ever! http://thetaobums.co...b-alan-wallace/ TI