Developing Insight Meditation

The following transcript of a session with experienced meditators indicates how Samatha-Vipassana Meditation can be used for contemplation of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

Before we start meditating, let us make a wish that all our spiritual perfections accumulated from the past up to the present will help us in our concentration of our minds and aid us to attain the Path (Magga) and the Fruit (Phala) at this moment.

The ten spiritual perfections are:

The Perfection of…

  1. Dana Parami – charity, giving, generosity, self-sacrifice.
  2. Sila Parami– morality, good conduct.
  3. Nekkhamma  Parami – 
  4. Panna Parami – wisdom, insight, understanding.
  5. Viriya Parami – endeavor, energy, effort.
  6. Khanti Parami– endurance, tolerance, forbearance.
  7. Sacca Parami –
  8. Adhithana Parami – resolution, self-determination.
  9. Metta Parami– loving-kindness, friendliness.
  10. Upekkha Parami – equanimity, indifference to praise and blame.

May all our accumulated perfections, together with the virtues of our parents, teachers, preceptors, and the Triple Gem, help us to be mindful and remove the five hindrances, attain Dhamma and reach the enlightened Dhammakaya. When making this request, our mind will be happy and delighted by all the good meritorious deeds we have done in the past up to the present.

And now let us start our meditation.

Focus your attention to the center of the sphere at the center of the body. Whenever the real nucleus appears, rest your mind gently at its center until the center expands itself. Then fix your attention at the center of the newly refined sphere and when the four components of your mind are perfectly concentrated, the center will expand itself and another brighter and more refined sphere will appear. Go on with this procedure until your refined human body appears. It will be sitting in the same position as the crude body. Now focus all your attention at the center of the refined human body and forget completely about the crude one.

When the body and sphere are more refined, you may observe that there will appear a rounded seat under the refined human body. Just acknowledge it, don’t do anything. When your mind is perfectly concentrated at the center of the refined human body, the center will expand itself. Larger and larger bodies, more and more refined, will appear accordingly. Following the Refined Human Body you will see and become the Celestial Body and then the Refined Celestial Body, which are about double the size of the Refined Human Body. Then comes the Brahman Body and the Refined Brahman Body, which are about double the size of the Celestial Body. These are followed by the Formless Brahman Body and the Refined Formless Brahman Body, which again will be about double the size of the Brahman Body.

When you stop still at the center of the Refined Formless Brahman Body, the center will expand itself and Dhammakaya will appear. The standard size of the Dhammakaya is about nine meters in width and height, and it looks like a very brilliant and refined Buddha image. Now stop still at the center of the Dhammakaya and there will appear larger and larger, more refined and purer Dhammakaya. Each time, become that newly refined Dhammakaya and let your mind rest at its center. Continue purifying yourself in this way, always focusing mindfully at the center of the purest body and mind.

(15-20 minutes of silence.)

Now let us practice Vipassana or insight. [First, let us examine rebirth.] Stop still at the center of the sphere at the center of the Crude Human Body, in the Dhamma Sphere, also called the Pathama-magga sphere. At the center of the Dhamma-Sphere there exis ts the Sp here of Suffering. At its center you see the Sphere of Rebirth. It is bright, pure and transparent. We received this sphere when we were born.

At the center of the Rebirth-Sphere is the Sphere of Old Age. It looks black. The size depends upon your age. The older you are, the bigger the sphere. At the center of the Old-Age-Sphere, a sick person will have a sphere as black as charcoal, called the Sphere of Sickness. At the center of that sphere, a very brilliant, black sphere appears when a sick person is close to death. This is the Sphere of Death.

When a person dies, all of the refined bodies, starting with the refined human body, detach from the center of the dying crude human body and seek rebirth right away as a rebirth sphere. For example, if this rebirth sphere departs with a human beings level of merit (Dhamma), it will be reborn into the human world. The rebirth sphere will settle at the center of the future father and wait for up to seven days. When the future parents have intercourse, the three spheres of father, mother, and potential child will come close together. The sphere of the child-to-be leaves the father and enters the mother’s womb. A male rebirth sphere leaves the father through his right nostril and enters the mother through her right nostril. A female Rebirth Sphere leaves the father’s left nostril and enters the mother’s left nostril.

That’s enough about rebirth. Now, let us come back out to the sphere of suffering and begin Vipassana of the Four Noble Truths. At the center of the Sphere of Suffering, there exists the sphere of the Cause of Suffering. It is comprised of three black spheres of craving, each one inside the previous one. The first is the sphere of sensual passion. The second is the sphere of the Desire to Become. And, the third sphere is the Sphere of the Desire Not to become.

At the center of the Sphere of Suffering is a Sphere of the Cause of Suffering, comprised of three black spheres. The first is the Sphere of Sensual Feeling or Passion, the second is the Sphere of the Desire to Become, and the third is the Sphere of the Desire Not to Become. These three spheres of cravings are situated at the center of the center of each other.

When you stop still at the center of the Sphere of Cause of Suffering, the center expands itself and the Sphere of Extinction of Suffering will appear. It is very bright and refined. The size will be about a foot in diameter or possibly even larger. At the center of this sphere you will find the Sphere of Magga, the Eightfold Path. It is comprised of the Sphere of Sila (Morality), the Sphere of Samadhi (Concentration), and the Sphere of Panna (Wisdom), each located concentrically inside the previous sphere.

When you stop still at the center of the Sphere of Sila, three more refined spheres appear concentrically – the Spheres of Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood. Similarly, the sphere of Samadhi is comprised of three brighter spheres – the Spheres of Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. Finally, the Sphere of Panna (Wisdom) contains two concentric spheres, Right Thought and Right Intention. Thus, there are eight spheres in all, which collectively comprise the Noble Eightfold Path.

The spheres of the Four Noble Truths, which we have just examined, exist at the center of all worldly bodies from the Crude Human Body to the Refined Formless Brahman Body. One should contemplate them in each body. That is, in both the external (crude) and internal (refined) bodies at the Human, Celestial, Brahman and Formless Brahman levels.

The Dhammakaya body doesn’t have a Sphere of Suffering or Sphere of the Cause of Suffering. It has only the Sphere of Nirodha (Extinction of Suffering) and the Sphere of Magga or Path. The diameter of the Magga Sphere is equal to the height and width of the Dhammakaya.

Whenever the concentration of mind is at least up to the first level of jhana, Right Wisdom is present and the perfected Noble Eightfold Path can remove at least the first three fetters binding one to this world. These three “lower” fetters are:

  • 1. False self concept, attachment to aggregates, and wrong view of compounds;
  • 2. Doubt about Buddhist practices; and
  • 3. Reliance on false rules and rituals.

When these three bonds have been removed, Dhammakaya Sota-panna appears followed by more and more refined Dhammakayas. There will then be Enlightened Vision (Nanadassana) and the meditator becomes a Noble Person.

Sharing Merit

Let your mind stop still at the center of the sphere at the center of your body, and then let us make a wish before completing this meditation session. Let us request Lord Buddha to bless all of us to live a happy and prosperous life without problems and suffering. Let’s extend our loving-kindness and share our merit accumulated from the past up to the present with all world beings.

Nibbana paccayo hotu.

May these be the means whereby Nirvana or Nibbana is ultimately attained.