Samatha and Vipassana as a Continuum

Ubiquitous Misuse of the Term “One-Pointed”

At noon I sat with Barry and we listened to some exquisitely detailed instructions on the Elephant Path, Stage 7 through 9. Something new I learned is that, apparently, almost everyone is misusing the term one-pointed with regard to concentration practice. It doesn’t mean to be absolutely fixed on a single narrow object; on the contrary it means one has crossed over into vipassana, for the breath becomes a gazillion bursts of mind moments, pixilated, vibratory. Concentration is on these gazillion single points, the flow of them. Once again, I’m fascinated by the fact that concentration (jhana) and insight practice (vipassana) are not separate practices at all. The Thai Forest guys know this; Ingram knows this; and the Elephant Path is this continuum, although the Tibetans refuse to explicitly call what is involved jhana or even vipassana. 

Those Obfuscating Super-Sophisticated Tibetans

The Tibetan Buddhists have the most sophisticated, intense, and thorough system of awakening, even though they also just love, love, love secrecy, intrigue, gossip (oops on one of the folds of the eightfold path!), and obfuscation. It can be so exasperating. Just reading a text and trying to sift the grain from the fools gold can try the patience of a saint. I read last night that the Togal visions are presented in the Book of Living and Dying–except they reversed the order of the four visions as a way of encrypting Togal against common use!

The Deeper Channel of Automaticity beneath Vibrations

The meditation Barry and I listened to was interesting for its guidance on “easing up” off the concentration intensity by tiny increments and finding that sweet spot where the meditation runs itself, is effortless, and is vibrant. This is second jhana and the Arising and Passing Away insight stage. How to blend and module out the Thai Forest masters, the Elephant Path, and the Burmese on all this will be a fun challenge toward writing my book. I especially appreciated today the guidance toward a deeper channel beneath the vibratory dissolution experience. This is interesting because it is calming and seems already to be pointing to the very subtle level of mind: rigpa.

King of Samadhi and the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination

I asked Barry why it was mentioned that King of Samadhi is key to Buddha training. He said because it is an entry to the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination. I’m very familiar with the Twelve Links because of my stream entry experience, and I have been practicing King of Samadhi, but I don’t know what Barry means. He mentioned atiyoga and the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which apparently it it time for me to reread.

My Old Friend Violet Nimitta

The practice was only 16 minutes (very hard to stop there). My characteristic violet nimitta arose, spread through the visual field, and stabilized. I became momentarily distracted by a thought, but as soon as I intensified a bit (the prescription when thought elaboration intrudes) a white nimitta arose. Nimitta was like an old friend. It was so wonderful that I suddenly felt I was going into the light – like actually, proprioceptively, into it. 

As there is Gandalf the Gray, so there is Nimitta the Violet.

As there is Gandalf the White, so there is Nimitta the White.

Science on Meditative Experiences of Light

Here is an interesting paper that Dr. Britton is coauthor of; it is on meditation-induced experiences of light:

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