The First Stage of Purification of The Mind (Right Samādhi and Right Insight)

[The practice cutting off samuccheda dosa and taṇhā from bodily painful feeling.]

There are six meditations (kammaṭṭhānas) in this stage as follows.

1. the basic ānāpāna kammaṭṭhāna
2. the basic vipassanā kammaṭṭhāna of the 32 parts of the body
3. the basic vipassanā kammaṭṭhāna of the great four elements
4. Bhavaṅga meditation (nāma-kammaṭṭhāna)
5. Half-lotus meditation (nāma-kammaṭṭhāna)
6. Mahā-pallinka (Mahāpallaṅka) meditation or full-lotus meditation or Diamond meditation (i.e., my translation) (this is nāma-kammaṭṭhāna)

Note: No. 5 and no. 6—half and full lotus meditations are similar to bhavaṅga meditation, but I don't know why U Candima called them half and full lotus meditations. These are the postures that represent the yogi. In Mahāyana tradition—especially Chinese Zen and Japanese Zen Buddhism—these postures are used as the standard for sitting.

U Candima's instruction: Meditations no. 1, no. 4, no. 5 and no. 6 have to be practised serially. No. 4 bhavaṅga meditation, all yogis must practise it. The sixth mahāpallaṅka meditation can only be practiced by yogis who are able to sit cross-legged (full-lotus).

Meditations—no. 2 and no. 3 are also basic meditations, like no. 1 here. For vipassanā yānika yogi he can choose no. 2 or no. 3, any one of them, instead of no. 1 as a basic kammaṭṭhāna. Basic meditation’s no. 1, no. 2 and no. 3 become one at the attainment of vipassanā knowledge level.

Note: In this essay, I will not mention meditations—no. 1, no. 4, no.5 and no. 6 again.

The reader can go back to my book on U Candima's life in “A Noble Search”. If you want a little more detail, you should check out his ebook "The Way to Stream Entry" on Amazon. I will only mention meditations: no. 2 and no. 3 here. Before I talk about these two meditations, I would like to mention that some yogis experience the following phenomena in the basic ānāpāna practice, which depend on the yogi's paramī (pāramitā). These are:

(1) mental signs of loathsomeness (asubha nimitta) and the mental signs of 32 parts of the body will arise (e.g., bone).
(2) arriving at upacāra samādhi of the first jhāna
(3) the mental sign of the air column appears.
(4) the mental sign of a Buddha (Buddha nimitta and other mental signs will appear.

A. Basic ānāpāna kammaṭṭhāna

  1. Asubha nimitta and 32 bodily parts of bone, etc

During the ānāpāna breathing one’s own body seems to become swollen, and it expands more and more. One's body in sitting or someone's body appears as asubha form deformed or putrid. Breathing is going on by itself with no fear. At the time, the mind is controlled by samādhi. Exercising this asubha nimitta until it becomes stable.

Some yogis with wrong attention (ayoniso) take them as unpleasant, fearful, etc. Humans don’t see the reality of asubha (foulness, loathsomeness) instead they only see the pleasantness, beauty (subha) that taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi arise. Not seeing the asubha, we have encountered dukkha in the long existences of saṃsāra. By seeing the asubha signs, we do not cling to our own body or to other bodies.

Some yogis only see the bone nimitta and they must exercise to stabilize the sign. The perception of subha is leased by seeing the bones. The concepts of combination and names (samūha and nāma paññatti) are ceased. From asubha and bone nimittas, the nature of the four great elements can be easily discerned.

Bone and asubha nimittas are the objects of samatha (ārammaṇa). It calms down kilesas. Based on these objects (ārammaṇa) yogis contemplate its nature for the cessation of taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi. From the foulness of the body (asubha), putrid blood and liquid are the characteristics of water element (āpa). The body looks black and dry, like a burnt object, which is the characteristic of the fire element (teja). The swollen nature is the characteristic of air element (vāya). The nature of stiffness is the characteristic of earth element (paṭhavī). So these asubha objects change into four elements and contemplate with the three universal characteristics as kāyanupassanā satipaṭṭhāna practice (mindfulness of the body).

The contemplative mind sees the four elements on the basis of asubha kammaṭṭhāna and skeleton kammaṭṭhāna , free from the obsession with the wrong view of human, man and woman. According to the Āsīvisopama sutta, this is free from the four vipers. Yogis who can contemplate the signs of asubha and 32 bodily parts have to continue with no. (4, 5, 6) meditations respectively (see the list of the first level of cittavisuddhi). This way of practice is The-inn Gu Sayadaw's method.

  1. Arriving at upacāra samādhi of the first jhāna

With ānāpānasati when the mind arrives at the level of upacāra samādhi the yogi will find out that the breathing is going on by itself without effort.

At the time, the mind frees from the oppression of the four elements, and it stays with the breath at the touching point happily. This is upacāra first jhāna. U Candima used the word jhāna instead of samādhi. The mind is protected by the one pointedness of samādhi (ekaggatā samādhi) that dosa, domanassa and taṇhā fire which arisen from the four disturbed elements (i.e., the four vipers) are ceased. Upacāra samādhi has the five jhanic factors. The yogi has to exercise the upacāra jhāna samādhi to become skilled. He can also continue to develop other jhāna levels by studying the texts of samatha yānika way.

  1. The mental sign of breath column appears

Before the mind becomes ekaggatā samādhi the sign of the breath column appears at the touching point of the nostril. It was like a white string of smoke, the sign of an air column going in and out at the entrance of the nostril. The mind is inclined toward the nimitta and staying there, and doesn't want to leave the place. The mind is completed with the five jhanic factors of ekaggatā samādhi.

The yogi, who wants to continue with ānāpānasati, has to rely on this sign, tries to stabilize it by five ways of mastery. (i.e., reflect on the jhanic factors; could enter this samādhi at any time; come out at any time; determine the time span; mastery in reviewing.)

When it becomes stable, there is no dukkha vedanā caused by the disturbed four great elements. After being freed from mental hindrances (nīvaraṇas), the yogi continues to practice, making samādhi stronger by exercising samādhi without time restrictions (i.e., sitting in samādhi as long as possible, as he did). When ekaggatā samadhi is stabilized on this nimitta (which may be at the stage of the first jhāna), one can come out of this samādhi to contemplate insight (Vipassanā) on the jhanic factors. If wanting to develop up to fourth jhanic Samādhi continue with the samatha yānika practice.

Note: Here U Candima makes an important point on upacāra samādhi. That is stabilizing the nimitta of upacāra samādhi which has never been mentioned by anyone before. It was only at the stage of 1st jhāna. Some systems use upacāra samādhi to develop insight (e.g., U Ba Khin's teaching). A teacher said that upacāra samādhi is not very stable. When someone is very close to the first jhāna in the upacāra samādhi stage, it is unwise not to go further into the jhanic state.

  1. Buddha nimitta and others

In ānāpāna practice when the breathing has good acceleration with samādhi the mind becomes clear, cool and happy. Based on this mental state and clinging (upādāna) the mental signs of Buddha image, ceti, cloud, deities, grassland, mountain, etc. appear. If the yogi wants to develop the Buddha nimitta he can continue it. The others are worldly sensual objects (lokiya kāma ārammaṇa) and it has to be abandoned and return to the ānāpāna object.

The yogi wants to continue with the Buddha nimitta, he has to exercise to become stable. When it becomes stable, the mind has intense reverence with rapture (pīti). Based on this pīti, it develops to sukha-ekaggatā samādhi (one-pointedness of mind with happiness). If the yogi wants to base on jhāna practice he can continue with the samatha yānika way (i.e., develop jhānas)

For vipassanā yānika yogi, he contemplates on the Buddha nimitta as form is unstable and has the nature of change. Contemplate on the nimitta as perishing, and then it changes into the object of dissolution. When the dissolution of the Buddha sign becomes more intense, give it up; concentrate on your own body, and you will see the body form dissolving. Based on this perishing form, continue the contemplation with the three universal characteristics (i.e., anicca, dukkha and anatta). After that, practice with the four element meditation (as mentioned at the first purification, no. 3). This yogi still needs to do all the others’ no. 4, no. 5 and no. 6 meditation [see “The first stage of purification of the mind (Cittavisuddhi)” above] for the first level of purification.

B. Basic vipassanā kammaṭṭhāna of the 32 body parts

This practice can be done without using other kinds of samādhi to develop it (e.g., ānāpāna samādhi). Yogi can use the 32 parts directly by itself. It can be practised in any postures (the four postures). The object of meditation that appears in the mind depends on the intensity of the yogi's saddha, chanda and viriya (faith, desire and effort).

“Not seeing rightly taṇhā enters; knowing wrongly caught up with diṭṭhi; taking not human as human being, saṃsāra becomes long with kilesa heat and complications.”

Not seeing the real correctly and clinging to the unreal gives rise to the defilement (kilesa) of diṭṭhi, taṇhā, and kamma. Wanting to extinguish these unwholesome dhammas have to discern rightly on the reality. The wrong dhammas (adhamma) of clinging to man, woman, father, mother, son, daughter, etc. fall away by knowing rightly. This is not the outcome of creation. Contemplate many times on the reality such as hair, nail, teeth, skin, etc. which are the group of matter (rūpa) by knowing rightly clinging to the unreal and wrong clinging will fall away. The group of 32 body parts are not man and woman, not soul and self. It's only the existence of real form groups. Yogis have to see them many times with knowledge (ñāṇa). This is the right view.

The Way of Practice

At the instruction of basic ānāpāna practice with the ānāpāna samādhi and the mahāpallaṅka samādhi (no. 6 practice), the yogis could contemplate any one of the 32 parts of the body (e.g., bone) or all of them. If the yogis don't want to base on these samādhis he takes one of the parts or all of them, e.g., the bone. The yogi views it with the mind eye and contemplates as “bone, bone”, etc. The reason for contemplating with the mind is that there is no basic samādhi (as in ānāpāna samādhi). Therefore, do not leave the mind in a state of distraction and develop it with perception.

If the mind is distracted, send the mind back to the object and continue the practice. After discerning one of the parts, continue with other parts. With a lot of contemplation, the perceptions of men, women, hands, feet, body, head, etc. cease and the bone, the skin, the flesh, etc., become clear in the mind eye.

When it becomes clear, there is no need to use mental perceptions such as “bone, bone”. Instead, using one's knowledge (ñāṇa) on the 32 body parts, contemplate many times as follows. These bones, skin, flesh, etc. are not the outcome of my creation. It is not me and not mine; not man and woman or person and living being; and not a soul; not created by father and mother. All these phenomena are arisen from the past of the result—avijjā, taṇhā, upādāna, kamma-bhava (avijjā..., kamma-bhava = causes and the five khandhas = result). These are the original nature of the group of matter (rūpa) as these 32 body parts are only rūpa dhamma (phenomena). Yogis have to contemplate and analyze it with wisdom many times.

To contemplate with samādhi and paññā, the yogi knows and sees the composite nature of the form group in the state of dissolution. The external objects of living beings and life-less objects (a tree, its leaves and fruits, etc.) are also in dissolution by looking at them.

Note: Some might think 32 body parts are only the objects of samatha and not the objects of insight (vipassanā). This view is held by most Burmese Buddhists (one of the reasons may be influenced by the Abhidhamma teaching). Thai forest monks don't see it that way. They use the 32 parts in both ways of practice (samatha and vipassanā). Insight knowledge (vipassanā ñāṇa) means contemplation of the intrinsic nature of phenomenon, which have no images or signs.

Therefore, some yogis take the 32 parts as having shapes and signs and not the vipassanā objects. So even nimittas arise, they destroy the themes of meditation (kammaṭṭhāna).

Intrinsic nature of phenomena are the province of knowledge (ñāṇa). The objects of ñāṇa are only existing as mind and form (nāma-rūpa). The worldlings are clinging to form (rūpa) with the concepts of ignorance, such as body, hand, feet, man, woman, dogs, chicken, etc. These clinging concepts are replaced with the 32 parts of concept. Being able to contemplate with bone concepts, the concepts of man and woman, etc. cease. If the yogi still knows it as bone, then it is the object of samatha.

It becomes insight by contemplating the intrinsic nature of skeleton (bones). The wrong view of man, woman, etc. falls away by discerning its intrinsic nature. Kāma, rāga, dosa are abandoned for some time (tadaṅga). If knowing the objects by itself with no contemplation of its intrinsic nature—then seeing form or mind also as samatha (not leads to insight). Because mind and form (nāma-rūpa) objects calm the mind from kilesa. Those who practice Dhamma should be aware of this.

C. Basic vipassanā meditation on the four great elements

The practice is direct contemplation of the element without having any basic samādhi first (the same as 32 body parts). Contemplate on the four element is kāyanupassanā satipaṭṭhāna. Contemplate the mind experiencing of the undesirable and desirable (aniṭṭha and iṭṭha) feelings when the elements are disturbed, afflicted, changed, it is vedananupassanā satipaṭṭhāna.

First, take the object of natural breathing. With sati, observe the breath coming in and going out by itself with natural causes. When the air is pushing in and out, there is a gap. It happens alternately. Investigate the process carefully? The original nature of this body is to bring in and take out the air element. Is it your body? (form, rūpa). Does this meet your desires? Is it a condition for you or this is not your condition? It operates by its own nature. You have to distinguish them. During the sleep, it also breathes in this way. Do you have to play a role for it? Or is it its own nature at play? Investigate and contemplate it. During the sleep you are not breathing for it, and you'll know its nature without any doubt. So it's not your function; because in sleep you don't know anything. Therefore, this is not your breathing in and out. This is not me and no-one instigates it. Contemplate as there is no person and being. This khandha house is conditioning itself by the power of kammic energy.

The yogis have to investigate and contemplate many times with knowledge (ñāṇa) until it becomes firmly.

In this way, while eating the meal, at bath, walking and talking, at any time and any place, the breathing is functioning without my own account. If these happen within my power, it can be controlled without aging, without pain and without death. Now, this body is alive and not my own creation. It does its own job and is according to its nature, not my body. You have to contemplate and investigate it, and also be mindful and aware all the time to the nature of the breathing (these are the factors for awakening—mindfulness and investigation).

In this way, investigate and contemplate the air element and become aware of other nature in the element. When the air comes in it is cool, when it goes out it is warm. This is characteristic of the heat element (teja). Pressure and distention is an air element (vāya). From outside, the air and heat elements support the nutriment (āhāra) to the body from outside. The body needs air, so it fills with air, it needs heat (cool and warm), so it fills and heat.

Contemplate and investigate this nature with knowledge. The yogi does not know where the air begins to enter and where it begins to exit. It doesn't have any stability and it’s changing all the time. All these processes mean the conditioning nature of form (rūpa) is a reality. There is no person, being and soul to condition it. With contemplation, one can use knowledge to discern. Try to stop the nature of the air element of form (rūpa) to come in and go out with one’s atta (the self). It can't be stopped, and one's atta will be in failure. Form saṅkhāra dhamma is no-one conditioning for it, and arisen by natural conditions; it ceases by its nature and no one can stop it. Contemplate it with investigation and knowledge.

It’s not my breathing. Becoming cool and warm air is not my own creation. The warmth and coolness, pressure and expansion of this air are changing in sequence. They are arising and ceasing by themselves. Be mindful and aware the in and out air all the time contemplate with knowledge on the inconstant anicca) and non-self (anatta) nature of conditioned form (rūpa saṅkhāra).

Continuing with the contemplation will see the khandha house (body). Like a robot with contemplative knowledge. Rapture (pīti) arises by discerning the dhamma nature (pīti Sambojjhaṅga—rapture factor for awakening). With rapture, the mind becomes tranquil (passaddhi sambojjhaṅga).

With continued contemplation, discernment becomes better. As the air enters, the abdomen is rising and as the air exits, the abdomen is falling. The yogi contemplates the impermanence (anicca) and non-self (anatta) nature of the saṅkhāra dhamma of the earth (paṭhavī) and the wind (vāya). As time goes on, the discrimination becomes stronger and clearer. When the contemplative mind becomes calmer, yogi doesn't know about the abdomen, only knowing the changing nature of them. This earth element (abdomen) is also saṅkhāra dhamma (conditioned phenomenon). It's not me and mine. It functions by its nature. There is no person, being and soul which nature will yogi know with ñāṇa.

With the breathing, the air comes in and goes out, there are warmness and coolness (heat element), distention and pressure (wind element), rising and falling of the stomach (earth element). Yogi seeing their characteristics (i.e., inconstant, non-self) becomes stronger and the strength of effort (viriya sambojjhaṅga) increase. The in and out air process slowly becomes refined. With this refinement, a realization becomes clear. Yogi knows the heart is beating like a machine which is going on and on. With one beat of the heart, the khandha house vibrates once. The heart beating is going on at regular intervals without stopping, and at the same time the khandha house also vibrates in a subtle way. When this appears to the yogi, he should abandon the attention on the objects of in and out air and rising and falling of the abdomen and contemplate the heart beat and the vibration of the khandha house. This lifeless lumpy body is functioning by the power of kammic air (kammaja-vāya). It does its own job according to its nature. The non-self nature of the four elements is becoming clearer to the yogi. This is not me and not my khandha; not my conditioning, not existing as a soul. All these become clear to him.

The yogi by observing its nature just knowingly with each beating of the heart and from the blood vessels come the sounds when the blood rushing through them. He knows more about the nature of the body, it is like a robot. Looking at the blood rushing out from the blood vessels, it was like water flowing out from a water pipe. It was like a bag filled with water. It's only water element (liquid); not a human being, a person or a soul. These bloods are pushing out by the air element. Yogi also knows the warm element (heat) arises by each rushing out blood from the vessel. These are the nature of distention and pressure (air element), the flowing nature of water element and the warmness nature of heart element. It appears in the knowledge as the combination of elements, and the body is like a lump of elements. When over-viewing of the whole body, there are distention and pressure, coolness and warmness, rising and falling, beating of the heart with blood moving around. For the yogi, the nature of the dhamma of non-self characteristics and impermanent characteristics becomes clearer and clearer.

While sitting, the lower part of the body is afflicted or disturbed to varying degrees; it becomes hot, numb, sore, painful, etc. Because of the form (rūpa) changes, yogi experiences the oppressive nature of the body with pain (dukkha). All these phenomena are the dukkha-lakkhaṇa of the body. We feed our bodies with good food; take very good care of them in many ways, such as sleeping, bathing, etc. Finally, what is their nature? It does not bring happiness, but rather supports the cruelty of the poisoned body to all beings. To get the khandha is attaining the cruel dukkha. Its task is cruelty. The yogi discerns the danger of the dukkha khandha. When observed tension, stiffness, numbness, soreness, pain, hardness, heaviness in nature, these are all in the process of changing from one to the other. These are the conditioning of the earth element (paṭhavī). Investigate them with knowledge as there is no person and being, man and woman or soul.

From the body flowing out with sticky sweat (when sitting with a hot and humid climate). So it was like a water bag. Therefore, this body is the combination of elements more that look like a lump of chemical elements than a human being. With investigation and contemplation of all these phenomena in a longer time, yogi discerns the nature of form/body with more seeing, he sees the body dukkha and becomes disenchanted. With discernment of the non-self nature of the body, khandha becomes weariness to the body as mine. Whichever part of the body to contemplate can’t find any stability within it.

Again, when contemplating the foods we eat, the nutrition in it is not related to the four elements. Depending on the nutrition of the four elements, the body continues to survive and develop. Therefore, this body is not a human being, man or woman, it’s only the combination of the four elements. Only the four elements exist. There is no I-ness exists, nothing exists as mine, no existence of a soul. In this way, yogi has to contemplate the non-existence as non-existence until one's view is purified.

Discernment of the four elements free from the concepts of body parts With the support of the four elements, this body khandha (the combination of the 32 parts) exists, develops and changes. In the four elements there is no shape and form of head hairs, body hairs, flesh, bone, etc. It's only existing as the changing nature of the four elements of matter (rūpa) phenomena. We are giving them the concepts of head hair, flesh, bone, etc. with languages by naming them. Only the four elements exist.

With knowledge (ñāṇa), contemplate and know these conceptual language of form and shape as not really exist. In the same way, yogi has to contemplate the external phenomena—such as, mountain tree, forest, earth, water, etc. Because of the naming of the conceptual knowledge or languages that different kinds of shape and form arise. If rūpa exists, it is only a change of the four elements. The conceptual form and shape are not real.

With the contemplation and discernment of the mind clinging to the body with the conceptual form and shape which do not exist as concepts are ceased, instead in the yogi's mind seeing the true nature (paramatā) of four elements as it's. Yogi continues to contemplate the real nature of the four elements a lot, then this khandha body becomes a big block of foam which appears to him.

(U Candima continues to write about the impermanent nature of the body. We can read the process in his autobiographical and Dhamma talk in the book—“A Noble Search”. Here is a little bit in more detail.)

With the contemplation of the impermanence of the body for sometimes the mind arrives at a samādhi state which mentioned as follows:

At that time, the mind stays put among the form particles without a sense of perception (saññā) and the mind states with the concept of object ceases.

The mind doesn't incline toward the external objects or one's physical body. That mind has no inclination or connection with them. The mind frees from the hindrances, and it becomes tranquil, peaceful and calm. This mind without any movement and the nature of wanting to contemplate any object come to cessation.

The mind with its original state can see and know the nature of form (rūpa) without the concepts of hot tense, numb or painful, etc. This tranquil mind also can contemplate the arising of the mind contact (mano-samphassa) which inclines toward the four elements (rūpa). From there it also sees the nature of feeling [i.e., the contemplative mind discerns mind and form (nāma and rūpa)]. It arrives at the stage of the knowledge of the discernment of mind and form (nāma-rūpa pariccheda ñāṇa). Now practice is contemplation of the four elements without any prior samādhi, with the discernment knowledge (ñāṇa) and the identity view to form (the body) will cease. But the contemplative mind doesn’t see the mind feeling and dejection (domanassa) will arise. For these domanassa minds to cease; yogis can do the meditation on mind (nāma-kammaṭṭhāna), i.e., no. 4 and no. 5 meditations (these are bhavaṅga meditations—refer to lying down and sitting postures. I had already mentioned them in the Noble Search).

Note: Meditations on the 32 body parts and the four elements here can be called wisdom develops samādhi which was mentioned by Luanta Maha-Bua in the book “Wisdom Develops Samādhi—A guide to the practice of the Buddha's meditation methods”. It was similar to the Ven. Ānanda's teaching in the Yuga-naddha Sutta—insight develops samādhi (see this book on These two meditations are very important for humans in today’s world. Their self view or selfishness (diṭṭhi) and craving or lust (taṇhā) are stronger than ever before, even no limits. There is another way of practice—samādhi develops wisdom which mostly used by the Thai forest tradition—i.e., develop samādhi first with ānāpānasati and with this samādhi power contemplate 32 body part and the four elements lead to wisdom (paññā).

F. Mahāpallaṅka meditation or Diamond meditation

(Nāma Kammaṭṭhāna)

(In my book—the Noble Search, I mentioned in general on this meditation with the title Diamond Meditation. Therefore, I will not mention it again. Here I will only write some important points from the book—“The way to Stream Entry”.)

This practice is cutting off (samuccheda) taṇhā from painful feeling (dukkha vedanā). The yogi can only do this practice after the no. 4 and no. 5 meditations. These practices do not totally abandon the cause of taṇhā to dukkha vedanā by cutting off (samuccheda).

Now this mahapallaṅka practice is exposed the vāna-taṇhā which creates the four woeful khandha existences (apāya khandhas) in the worldlings. It is based on the dukkha vedanā and vāna-taṇhā arise from the mahapallaṅka (full-lotus posture) meditation, and then pull out the root of this taṇhā and cut it off with the contemplation. From another point of view, as a vipassanā yānika, he is completely renouncing greed and affliction (abhijjhā and domanassa) based on dukkha vedanā. This is cutting off the coarse defilement of the worldling. It is impossible to cut off the latent defilement (anusaya) without first cutting off the coarser and finer defilement.

Someone can't sit full-lotus, no need to practise it. This posture and the practice are running away from the four vipers as mentioned in the Āsīvisopama Sutta and throwing out the frog (i.e., dosa) from the ant-hill (i.e., the body) in the Vammika S. The worldling is clinging to the body and mind as my body and my mind. At the time, of death, it will disturb the person, and he will become unbearable and uncontrollable. With this practice before death comes to expose and clear away this dosa mind from its root. From the worldling's point of view, the practice seemed to be quite frightening (i.e., too hard and tough). But if the yogis follow the teacher's instruction exactly and practice with the five strengths (saddha, viriya, sati, samādhi and paññā—i.e., the five spiritual faculties) it'll not be difficult.

[Note: According to U Candima's view, this is the only relatively quick and effective method for a vipassanā yānika yogi to completely eliminate the coarser and finer dosa and lobha kilesa arising from the latent irritation (paṭigha-ānusaya) and the identity view (sakkaya-diṭṭhi) from the sensation of physical pain. This is to directly kill (extinguish) kilesa with contemplation. Before him, many other teachers taught the method of indirectly killing kilesa—that is not allowing vedanā to connect taṇhā, see the 12 links of paṭiccasamuppāda. In Mogok Sayadaw's talks on Nandakovāda Sutta, he mentioned that it was better to cut taṇhā directly.

In his nine days retreat, U Candima gave some instructional talks to yogis. Some of them had discussions on yogis’ practice and experience. Some of the yogis had achievements to this stage.]

With normal faith (Saddha) and desire (chanda) it's impossible to extinguish sakkaya-diṭṭhi with kilesa dukkha which arise from bodily painful feeling of the afflicted elements. It can be only practised by yogis who have the strong four right effort (ātapi-sammappadhāna) and completed with faith and desire, not by ordinary man. If the approach is correct and there is strong belief, you will succeed. This is impossible for a yogi in his practice lacking with the five powers of faith, effort, mindfulness, samādhi and paññā.

This practice is a good method for totally extinguishing the pain of death. If someone wants to know how to die, to have a good rebirth, to be free from the four painful existences (apāyabhūmi), to exchange the pleasures of the senses for the peace of Nibbāna; then this goal can definitely be achieved through this practice.

Using diamond samādhi contemplate paramatā mind and form

Note: At the first stage of citta-visuddhi there are six meditations: (1) ānāpāna (2) 32 body parts (3) four great elements (4) bhavaṅga with lying posture (5) bhavaṅga with sitting posture and (6) diamond or mahāpallaṅka.

A yogi can choose any one of the first three meditations—ānāpāna, 32 parts or the four elements. And then he has to practise (4), (5) and (6) successively. After the yogi attains the first stage of samādhi continues this practice and also the next following one—kāyanupassanā satipaṭṭhāna.

After the yogi adjust his sitting posture rightly and properly with awareness (sati) do not enjoy the pleasant mind state at the bhavaṅga which is cool and clear.

During the contemplation, yogi should not make any sensual worldly concepts to the experiences. Instead, with only knowing and observing the arising phenomena on their intrinsic nature as it is. It’s like watching a play, only not like being a participant on stage. It is like in the no. 5 meditation (sitting in bhavaṅga practice) practice contemplate the arising minds, then it'll cease. And then other minds will arise again. All these minds also are watching with sati. Have to be contemplated in this way. When the four elements are disturbed or afflicted, the mind will incline toward it. This is without one's intention, but a cause that lets the mind incline toward the afflicted place (rūpa). Watch and observe this cause. If a hot sensation of form arises and one knows that it is as hotness, that is wrong seeing. The hotness is the perception of the mind (saññā) and does not belong to the form (rūpa). It's the mind with a worldly sensual concept. Form (rūpa) is not hotness. Form only exposes its afflicted nature. You have to contemplate its intrinsic nature of true existence.

When with sati just contemplate their intrinsic nature which expose to the yogi and the mind (ñāṇa) seeing its intrinsic nature that (i.e., kāyanupassanā satipaṭṭhāna) the naming of hotness which is not its true nature will cease. If you abandon its true nature, then the following mind will arise with the perception of hotness.

The form will change one by one and from one place to another. Keep away from concept and continue the contemplation. Don't follow one's desire for a place for contemplation. Also contemplate the inclined nature characteristic of the mind. Even though the four elements are disturbed, there is no suffering. Don’t limit the time of contemplation.

When contemplate for sometimes, yogi can contemplate the inclination nature which leads the mind to from one rūpa (form) to one rūpa and from one place to one place (cittanupassanā satipaṭṭhāna). This is mind contact (mano-samphassa) inclined toward the afflicted form (rūpa). It's a mental formation (saṅkhārakkhandha, the 4th aggregate of the five khandhas). Continue to contemplate, and observe with knowledge (ñāṇa) to the inclined mind, what it is doing. At that time, at the bhavaṅga place it experiences the nature of the object (i.e., feeling—vedanā) This is vedananupassanā satipaṭṭhāna. After the yogi can contemplate the nature of feeling as much as he likes and abandons the nature of feelings.

Then continue to meditate on the nature of vedanā as my feeling. If the following mind is with dukkha vedanā, domanassa mind (mind with dejection) arises. If the following mind has suffering (dukkha vedanā), domanassa mind (mind with frustration) arises. If there is pleasant feeling, then somanassa mind (mind with joy) arises (cittanupassanā satipaṭṭhāna). When contemplating the nature of vedanā (without adding any concepts), the mind states of somanassa and domanassa cease and exist as neutral feelings (upekkhā-vedanā).

[This point is good for reflection on the mind which is like a magician and deceives living being with diṭṭhi-taṇhā in the whole round of existences with immeasurable sufferings.]

Continue to develop the practice until the yogi easy to contemplate the nature of mind and form.

From here, the yogi can continue with the 2nd stage of purification of mind—citta-visuddhi. At the above stage if the yogi not able to contemplate and see the affliction (i.e., form); inclination of mind (mano-samphassa); feeling (vedanā) of mind and form, he will be sure able to contemplate and see them at the 2nd stage of purification.

From mahāpallaṅka to kāyanupassanā satipaṭṭhāna

Yogi continue practising with diamond meditation for 4–5 times after attaining diamond samādhi (mahāpallaṅka), there are no more desire to correct the body arise in the mind, instead mind with happiness only and no more pains appear. Yogi sits in normal posture or half-lotus posture. Don't enjoy the happiness of a clear mind. Take it as a contemplative object and contemplate it with equal sati for 15 or 20 minutes. At that time, this clear element, cool element, empty element becomes more distinct. It becomes distinct and discards the object (not paying attention to it), and then takes the object of bone at one's sitting body—for example, at the skull or chest bone, looking at it and not concentrating intensely and not contemplating with the perception of "bone, bone". It was like looking at the bones, on one's hand, the skeleton will appear. Yogi can discern the bone because from the mahapallaṅka practice the coarse defilement are extinguished and attain the purified mind. Some yogis discern all the bones.

This is not seeing with the eyes, but with the mind eye or knowledge eye (ñāṇa). If the seeing is becoming powerful and spreading the attention on flesh, intestine, liver, etc. and will see them distinctly. With this knowledge (ñāṇa) open one's eyes and looking at the external of human, dog, cat, etc. someone who develops the bones only seeing the skeleton, develop on the intestine only seeing the intestine. On the present object of a human being, not seeing as human being and not knowing as human being. Seeing a human being without being a human being, that is, without the existence of a man and a woman. There is no man and woman, i.e., there is not the existence of father, mother, son, daughter, etc. Also, one cannot cling to oneself as human, man, woman, etc. On the form (rūpa), the coarser wrong view (diṭṭhi) falls off, and thus taṇhā becomes less and less.

We can practise Dhamma with any method which is in accordance with the noble eightfold path. Any yogi who takes sensation (vedanā) as working-ground (kammaṭṭhāna); who has not reached the bhavaṅga samādhi, who has not analytically discerned the characteristics of the highest quality of form (paramatā rūpa), the inclination of the mind (mano-samphassa), and the sensations of the mind, has not yet reached the realm of insight (vipassanā). We have to take this point in mind. The meaning of this point is cutting off the painful bodily feeling of a worldling. The latent wrong view (diṭṭhi-ānusaya) has to be cut off with supramundane path.

Abandonment by knowledge at the first stage of purity of mind

  1. Different naming concepts (nāma-paññatti) of head, body, hand, feet, hotness, tenseness, stiffness, etc.
  2. Shapes and forms of human, man, woman, etc.
  3. On the inclination of the mind (mano-samphassa) to objects as I am looking at it (i.e., wrong view)
  4. On the experiences (i.e., vedanā) or feelings to the objects as I experience or feel it [i.e., wrong view (diṭṭhi)].
  5. Don't want to feel the disturbances of the four element (vipariṇāma), i.e., dosa.
  6. Want to condition the body when painful (i.e., lobha).

Objects able to contemplate at this stage

  1. 32 body parts, the four elements
  2. the afflicted paramatā form (rūpa) and the mind inclination (mano-samphassa) from the bhavaṅga to the afflicted form (i.e., discernment of mind and form)
  3. afflicted paramatā form and the experience of this form (i.e., discernment of mind and form).
  4. the sitting posture becomes stable, even sitting for a long period (e.g., 10 hours) with the disturbances of the four elements and wanting to change (cetanā) the body not arising by itself. Thus, the kilesa enemies of the coarser dosa do not arise in the ongoing practice. This is the great benefit (this is the very important point for all yogis).

Things not able to do or abandon at this stage

  1. If the yogi not contemplate the afflictions (form) as it's and let it at the bhavaṅga and take the object of the body house and looking at it, the 32 body parts of head, body, etc. with its shapes and signs of concepts and hotness, coolness, tenseness, etc. of conceptual signs are still there.
  2. Even with the first "bhavaṅga samādhi" and being able to contemplate the objects associated with it, sometimes the mind becomes bored and restless, not wanting to sit down again, impatience and other emotions remain.
  3. Not yet seeing the particles of rūpa.
  4. the six clear base elements (eye, ear, etc.), the six sense objects (sight, sound, etc.), the six consciousness (viññāṇa), the six contacts (phassa), etc. are still not discern yet (i.e., the six sets of six in the Chachakka Sutta, Majjhima Nikāya).

Note: At the first stage of practice, the mind falls into bhavaṅga, it will be called as first bhavaṅga samādhi.

The first stage of purity of mind will be called the first stage of purity.

(These are U Candima's designation)

revised on 2023-07-20

  • Content of "Right Samādhi and Right Insight" (by Sayadaw U Candima)
  • Content of "A Noble Search" (Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Candima)
  • Content of Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha and Sayadaw U Candima
  • Content of Publications of Bhikkhu Uttamo

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