Stable Level of Samadhi

(48) M.N.V.

Dear dayika,

The Ven. Nayaka Thero is in receipt of your letter of the 10th. He was glad to know that your samadhi (concentration) has reached a stable level and that you are in control of it. By way of instruction, he said that you should by all means try to maintain that level of experience, if possible even outside meditation hours, or at least to maintain good ‘satf where ‘samadhi is not possible. He also recommends that you may read with profit the relevant sections on samadhi (four jhana) in the Samannaphala Sutta ( Sutta No.2) of the Digha Nikaya (Dialogues of the Buddha) where the Buddha gives scintillating similes to illustrate the actual experiences in jhana. May be it will strike a familiar note for you.

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Body filled with pleasant glow

(47)    10.2.86

Most Ven. and Honoured Sir,

In my last letter dated 6.2.86, I spoke of a rather alarming experience I had during meditation when my heart started beating rapidly and I broke out into a sweat and the electric current swept over my body. It is very interesting that after this experience, during meditation I seem now to have arrived at a stable level. In this new experience, and I have had it repeated three times, the heart seems to be the centre. From it radiates in all directions, a sort of vapour which floods the entire body. It has an electric power, but is within my control. The body is filled with a pleasant glow and this experience can last 30 minutes or more. I feel maybe the earlier current has stabilized itself and I seem capable of having the experience repeated during meditation. I feel well and strong physically and my ailments seem to have vanished almost entirely now. Earlier my troubles used to come and go.

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Concentration and Insight Pulled Together

(46) M.N.V    11.2.86

Dear dayika,

I translated your letter of the 6th instant to the Ven. Nayaka Thero who made the following comments:

(1) To reach the culmination of your present line of progress you need only a very short while, but in order to build up that spurt’ you will have to sec that both concentration and insight pull together like yoked bulls (yuganaddha). He infers that at present they are not well balanced in your case. He also advises that you set apart at least one week of strenuous effort keeping yourself totally free from other cares and activities.

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Nine Insight Knowledges

(45) 6.2.86 Most Ven. & Honoured Sir,

As instructed I have studied Chapter VI on the Nine Insight Knowledges and I think my experiences seem to cover rather closely all these Nine Knowledges. Chapter VII deals with a further development of purity, concentration and balance while letting go of the Ego and all claim to the conditioned existence, with the full understanding that everything which changes is charged with dukkha. In abandoning all these which should be abandoned and cultivating the qualities which should be developed, there has to be a ceaseless mindfulness and endeavour and a ceaseless endeavour towards the Eternal, the Changeless, the Unconditioned – nibbana. These are the principles I try always to keep in mind.

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Book on Seven Stages of Purification

(44) M.N.V.    2.2.86

The Ven. Nayaka Thero is in receipt of your letter of 29th Jan. He gave some deep thought to its contents when I translated them to him, and asked me to pass on the following instructions to you.

Please go through the sections on Insight Knowledges in his book on the Seven Stages of Purification and The Insight Knowledges and write back informing him how much of it is a matter of experience or ‘realisation’ to you now, after all your experiences mentioned in your letters. The Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw’s ‘Progress of Insight’ is also a book giving a detailed explanation of the stages of insight.

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Everything Vanishing During Meditation


Most Honoured &: Revered Sir,

Once again my grateful thanks for the kind instructions in the letter of 25.1.86. I shall now try to answer the questions placed before me regarding my experience of everything vanishing’ during meditation except awareness.

Question 1. Did I have this experience preceded by that state of a “balanced & stilled mind” that sometimes comes to you?

Answer 1. Yes, my mind was balanced and still after about two hours of meditation. Those swift intuitive visions only come to me after fairly long periods of meditation. I had got up for meditation at 2 a.m. and the vision flashed in shortly after 4 a.m. It is only when the mind is calm, yet alert and has ceased to function and register in any way whatsoever that the vision very clearly flashes in.

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Nature of Namarupa (Mentality-Corporeality)

M.N.V.    25.1.86 Dear Dayika,

The Ven. Nayaka Thero has received your letter of the 23rd., which I translated to him. He observed that your ability to fix the mind inwards without thought, balanced and stilled, is one that only a developed meditator possesses, and is therefore commendable. About those vibrations’, however, he says they are mere manifestations of the true nature of namarupa (mentality-corporeality), sankhara (conditioned formations), and as such you can resort to ‘mental noting to step up vipassana (insight).

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Uncontrolled vibrations of the body

(41) 23.1.86 Most Honoured & Respected Sir,

My sincere thanks for your kind letter with the assurance that my meditation is going fairly well. I am happy about this and shall endeavour to continue according to your instructions. There are some things I wonder about.

(1) About the vibrations that spread over my head and body, I do not seem to have any control over them. They come and go as they like. I have been studying them closely and I think now I should control them. I should fix the mind inwards without thought, balanced and stilled (sati). So while at work the mind is sent outwards. As soon as work is finished, the mind could be turned inwards and fixed (sati) on nothing whatsoever, but in a state of stillness, alertness, and balance, never agitated nor sleepy. I wonder if this is correct?

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Aspects of the Knowledge of Dissolution

(40) M.N.V.    14.1.86

The Ven. Nayaka Thero has received your letter of the 5th instant. He was much impressed by the experience recounted in your letter, particularly by your flashback to a previous experience (No3). He says that all these experiences are various aspects of the Knowledge of Dissolution (bhanganana). What you feel internally (strong itching sensation, electric waves etc.) is the result of that Insight ‘turned on’ one’s own body. The dissolution of one’s own body is the ‘net result’. The break-up of the plot of grass, sun’s rays, faces, blocks of houses, etc. into vibratory particles are the manifestation of that insight, switched on externally. The exposure of skeletons in people you see is also common to that same insight from which the other insights like those of Terror (adinava) and Disenchantment (nibbida) can ‘take off.
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Seeing the Three Signs

Most Ven. & Revered Sir,

My grateful thanks for the instructions received. I shall endeavour to follow them with care. Please forgive me for writing to you again so soon. I hope I am not being a nuisance, but various developments seem to be occurring almost simultaneously. I shall describe them below.

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Balance Between Viriya and Samadhi

Please forgive me for not having signed my last letter to you. There were many troubles and I must have been disturbed as I completed the letter. In any case it has shown my lack of sari which I shall keep in mind and try to remedy.

I thank you very much for the instructions which I shall follow as well as I am able.

Yesterday I had an experience during meditation. I had gathered together a fair level of viriya (energy) and sati (awareness). After this came samadhi (concentration). I realised a balance had to be kept between viriya and samadhi. Both body and mind were very still and when the necessary upekkha (equanimity) was established, a sort of electric rain spread over my head and chest and shoulders; while more pronounced electric waves ran all over the lower half of the body. These merged and lasted about an hour together with a perfect relaxation and peace. I feel now a confidence in attaining this samadhi which I did not earlier. Should I try to attain this regularly?

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Three Universal Characteristics

M.N.V.    9.12.85

Your letter, as we received it, contained only two written sheets, whereas there might have been a third sheet, as indicated by the absence of your signature on the second sheet. So the following instructions given by the Ven. Maha Thero are based upon that contained in those two sheets.

Your experiences show that you are well on the path, so you must intensify your practice regardless of external obstacles. Try to see everything in the light of the three universal characteristics, i.e. anicca (impermanence), dukkha (unsatisfactoriness) and anatta (soulnessness), in as many ways as possible, for it is the thorough understanding of these that will enable one to turn away from the deceptive nature of the body and mind, towards the real peaceful state – nibbana.

The ‘electric’ rain, ‘body melting up’,
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