nimittas

The Bringing into Being of Form-Frequenting Concentration: A translation of Ācariya Buddhadatta’s Entrance to Abhidhamma, Chapter 14

Ācariya Buddhadatta is accounted one of the three great commentators of the Theriya tradition, along with Buddhaghosa and Dhammapāla. He probably lived around the same time as Buddhaghosa, during the fourth or fifth century A.D. Indeed, an account from many centuries later claims that Buddhadatta left Ceylon just as Buddhaghosa was arriving. Their boats are said to have met halfway between Ceylon and India. Certainly, the writings of both are based upon the same ancient commentaries from the Great Monastery (Mahāvihāra) in Anurādha-pura, the then capital of Ceylon.

Fine work

In developing the practice, one of the ten 'skills in absorption' is being both resolute in concentration and in adapting the mind to situations. We can see these skills particularly in the work in settling. A series of similes are traditionally given to describe the subtle balance that is needed.

Your Letters

Dear Journal
I want to move on in my practice to a higher level but in the settling, the nimita won't settle! Like the moon in the rainy season, it comes and goes. Whenever I try to concentrate on it, it disappears. Please help!
A. C., Oxford

The 5-Branched Fig Tree

A group in Manchester has been studying some esoteric Cambodian texts. One of these, the Five Branched Fig Tree, relates how we are conceived and then develop five branches: head. arms and legs. It says that our bodies are a 5-branched embodiment of the abhidhamma, the "flesh of the dhamma"; as the Buddha said "in this fathom-long body is the arising and ceasing of the world." This is something to think about! We have in us constantly the 7 books of the abhidhamma, which is an amazing opportunity.

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