The Confessional Samadhi of the Lotus Sutra, page 23

 

B. The Signs of the Realization of Mental Concentration

How should one recognize the spiritual signs of purity in meditative concentration that are realized by the practitioner? Concerning these, there are also three grades.

1. The Signs of Pure Concentration in the Lower Grades of Practice

When one is in seated meditation, one suddenly awakens and the body and mind are clear and still, inspiring many meditations. This is dwelling in the realm of desire as well as the not yet reached stages of meditation1, with the body and mind experiencing emptiness and serenity. In the body a sequence of contacts are inspired and, with awakening and observation, each is illuminated. With joy, contentment, and a single mind2, one silently declares a serene stillness.

The mind of good is opened up, inspired, and one enters into Samadhi. There are various kinds of meditation like this. These are called The Signs of Pure Concentration in the Lower Grades of Practice.

2. Recognizing the Signs of Pure Concentration in the Medium Grades of Practice

There are many practitioners who have a body and mind of peace and contentment when in seated meditation. Awakened to the inhalation and exhalation of the breath5 and its being long or short, it is ever increasingly subtle. Everywhere on the body the pores breathe in and out without interference, causing one to see the 36 parts of the body6 and thoroughly discern them. Inspiring much joy and contentment, one enters into various kinds of meditative concentration. Some see the inner and outer impurities of the body. Some see dismembered remains whereas some see white bones that have been stripped clean7. These observations cause the inspiration of many meditations and the development of a distaste for and disinterest in worldly things. The body and mind are at peace and content8, serenely declaring the proper perception of Samadhi.

Like this, there are various kinds of meditative concentration that are opened up. This is called The Marks of Pure Concentration in the Medium Grades of Practice.

3. The Signs of Pure Concentration in the Higher Grades of Practice

When in seated meditation, one's body and mind are peaceful and still. The mind is connected to the world and the aggregates of the self, the senses, & the realms of consciousness10, and it is awakened to impermanence, suffering, and emptiness, the sensory feelings of the body and the various states of the mind. All of them are completely unreal. The twelve-fold causality11 is false, temporary, and without an owner. None of the states of mind are born or extinguished, and the body and mind are serenely declared like empty space. In accordance with emptiness, it is without aspects and one is without any cares or worries. One produces various kinds of deep meditative concentration. With subtle happiness and contentment, one is serene, still, and unconditioned12. With a distaste for and disinterest in worldliness and all of its anxiety, one thinks of all without again falling into the smothering shrouds13 or any other evil phenomena. This is called The Signs of Pure Concentration in the Higher Grades of Practice.

 

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Footnotes:

1. The fours basic levels of meditation are in the realm of form, pure of the distractions of sensory desire, in which one sequentially sublimates the senses.

2. With awakening and observation…joy, contentment, and a single mind: Describing the first two basic meditations

3. Kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity: The four limitless states of mind

4. The (32) Major and (80) Minor Signs of the Buddha: The ideal physical characteristics of the Buddha that one visually contemplates and emulates

5. Inhalation and exhalation of the breath: One of the five meditations for settling the mind, which are:
A. Counting of the breaths: Increases the settling and mindfulness of the body and eliminates restlessness
B. Kindness & compassion: The four limitless states of mind help one relate to others & eliminate anger & hate
C. Impurity: The nine ruminations on death & decay eliminate greedy desire for things of this world
D. Causality: Contemplation of the twelve-fold cycle of causality & conditions eliminates ignorance
E. Distinguishing the elements of reality: Contemplating the five aggregates of self, the eighteen realms of consciousness and the twelve portals of the senses help to eliminate the illusion of the false self.

6. The 36 unclean parts of the body: 12 external parts (nails, hair, etc.), 12 internal parts (blood, bones, etc.) and 12 organs (lungs, heart, etc.)

7. Some see dismembered remains whereas some see bones that have been picked clean: This is a reference to the meditation on impurity and the Nine Ruminations on Death & Decay. In order to observe impurity, monks visited cemeteries and charnel grounds (where the dead were burned and left to decompose) in order to give them an appreciation of impermanence and the impurity of the body - the Nine Thoughts on Death & Decay.: The dead body’s: #1 swelling, #2 having a blue and mottled color, #3 breaking apart, #4 bloody mess, #5 discharging & rotting flesh, #6 being devoured by birds and beasts, #7 dismemberment, #8 white bones stripped clean, #9 ashes and returning to dust

8. At peace and content: Describing the second and third meditations

9. Subtle wisdom & unique virtues of the Buddha: Such as the eighteen distinctive qualities of the Buddha, which are: Flawlessness of the #1 body #2 mouth #3 memory #4 impartiality #5 serenity #6 self-sacrifice #7 unceasing desire to save #8 unflagging zeal to save #9 unfailing thought to save #10 wisdom in saving #11 powers of deliverance #12 principles in it #13 wisdom in deed #14 wisdom in word #15 wisdom in thought #16 knowledge of past #17 knowledge of present #18 knowledge of future

10. The aggregates of the self, the senses, and the realms of consciousness: The components of self-existence
A.
The Five Aggregates of the Self: (Skandhas) #1 Physical Form #2 Sensory Feelings #3 Conceptualization #4 Acts of will #5 Consciousness
B.
The Eighteen Realms: (Dhatus) The Six Sense Faculties, the Six Sensations, & The Six Sensory Perceptions
C.
The Twelve Entries: (Ayatanas) The Six Sense Faculties and the Six Sensations

11. Twelve-fold causality: The Twelvefold Wheel of Causality & Conditions, the origin of suffering:
A. The Causes of the Past: #1 Ignorance #2 The Acts of Will
B. The Effects of the Present: #3 Consciousness #4 Name-Form (Mind/Matter) Duality #5 The Six Senses #6 Contact #7 Sensory Feelings
C. The Causes of the Future: #8 Craving #9 Attachment #10 Attainment of Existence
D. The Effects of the Future: #11 Birth #12 Old Age & Death

12. With subtle happiness and contentment, one is serene, still, and unconditioned: One reaches the third and fourth basic meditation

13. Smothering shrouds: Greedy desire, Hateful Anger, Sleepiness, Restlessness, & Doubt

 

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