Mantra-less Visualization

Gentleness and contentment are the things we must cultivate alongside meditation no matter what our level of advancement.
——Luangpor Dhammajayo (Abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya)

Skills and Tips

By the time you come to this third method of Dhammakaya meditation you should find

that the number of thoughts remaining in your mind is much reduced. Hopefully, you should

also find that the mind is less distracted than it was before and should consequently wander less.

Even though we still use the visualized object as before, there should be no need to use the mantra any more. If we find that there are still thoughts arising in the mind, instead of trying to block them out with the mantra, we let them go by pretending that we have no interest in them–as if they were just unwanted guests that will go away if ignored.

The Method

Sit in the half-lotus position with your back and spine straight as described in the previous

chapter. Softly close your eyes and relax every part of your body, beginning with the muscles of your face, then relax your face, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, trunk and legs. Make sure there are no signs of tension on your forehead or across your shoulders.

Stop thinking about the things of the world.  Feel as if you are sitting alone in the world.  Create a feeling of happiness and spaciousness in your mind.  Feel that your body is an empty

space, without organs, muscles or tissues.  Gently and contentedly rest your attention at the

seventh base of the mind– the center of the body described in previous chapters.

Gently imagine a bright, clear object of meditation (like the shining sun, the full moon, a

star or a crystal ball–any one of these four) about the size of the tip of your little finger, located at a point inside the center of your body.  If you find that you’re not sure about the location of the center of the body, anywhere in the area of stomach will do. Rest the mind at the point which gives you gives the strongest feeling of well-being and certainty–the point where you feel contented to rest the mind continuously.

Imagine your bright object with a light and gentle attention as continuously as you can, for as long as you can, without letting your mind wander anywhere else. Imagine with a soft and gentle attention, an attention so soft that it is like a bird feather floating down to settle upon the surface of some water—floating down so lightly that it doesn’t even break the surface of the water.  Such is the gentleness of the attention we need to imagine our bright object continuously at the center of our body. As soon as you realize that your mind is wandering, always bring the mind back to the center and continue as before.

If you use too much effort you will find that it gives you tension in your forehead. If you are

too relaxed about your visualization you will daydream or fall asleep. Use your intuition to

keep the right balance of mind, and it will allow you to further your progress continually. See with your mind, not with your eyes, and relax.

If you find interrupting thoughts arising, notice the thoughts but don’t allow the first thought to elaborate into a second or third.  Like the saying goes: “a bird may land on your head, but there is no need to let it build a nest there.”

In the same way, if you pay no attention to thoughts which arise in the mind, just observe them, the ensuing train of thought will never get the chance to arrive.

Eventually the mind will become familiar with the center of the body and stay there more than wander.  The image in the mind will become clearer and brighter of its own accord. The feeling of well-being in the mind will become stronger.  The number of thoughts in the mind will dwindle to the point that there are no remaining thoughts in the mind. Eventually the mind will come to a standstill at the center of the body.  At this stage the shining object is connected firmly to the mind and is seated at the center of the body. You will experience happiness. With continuous observation at the center of this bright object, it will give way to a succession of increasingly refined experiences of purity, brightness and wisdom, all coming from within.

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