meditating in the dark

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

meditating in the dark

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:07 am

I did this a couple times by necessity (vacation, wife already asleep in only available space), and had very intense, but (it felt like anyway) productive experiences. I know this is ultimately a question for the people I study with, but I am wondering whether this is acceptable as general practice in Tibetan traditions, does anyone ever just do Vipaysana or Shamatha in the dark? I have since found out of course that there are some "advanced" practices involving this..and i'm wondering if I unintentionally did something that's best left alone for now.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: meditating in the dark

Postby conebeckham » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:46 am

Back when I lived at a dharma center, someone would always dim the lights during the mantra recitation and silent meditation parts of nightly Chenrezig puja. I think it's effective. Total dark can be hard for some, but it can be effective too. But be careful of depending on darkness...you need to be able to meditate in daylight too!!
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Re: meditating in the dark

Postby Ayu » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:35 am

When i started with practicing Shamata it turned out very agitative for my nervous system in the beginning. When i looked at my visualized meditation-object, this made me awake like if somebody had turned on my inner lights. In the effect i could not sleep after this meditation in the night.
Somebody gave me the advice to visualize only darkness and one point in the body before sleeping. This is very effectiv and the mind calmes down.
For to have a better imagination i meditate in the dark before sleepng time.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: meditating in the dark

Postby White Lotus » Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:44 pm

if you seek to enter samadhis, then eyes closed and darkness are fine, but from a zen perspective to meditate with eyes closed is entering the dark demon cave and is fruitless. zazen and shikantaza are what you see right in front of you right now. within and without. that is enlightenment.

do you see this post?

you see!

do you know that you are reading this post?

you know!

do you understand these words?

you understand!


am i enlightened?

i am Tom.


the best piece of advice i can give for meditation is just to see what you see. and thats it. no need to focus on the breath. this is meditation all the time, whether mindful or not. formless meditation.

entering samadhi by focusing on the hara is all well and good, but direct ordinary seeing is better. all becomes zazen, no need to sit on a cushion. eating is zazen, talking is zazen, seeing is zazen, seeping the leaves is zazen. just ordinary awareness is zazen. when you see this you just see it. its ordinary seeing and ordinary mind seeing it. this is like learning to appreciate water, without flavour you just see.

some people are too bussy to formally sit during the day then all becomes ones zazen. to meditate at night can be fine, but owing to tiredness its best to set aside a slot in the early evening. i would advise that you meditate without meditating, ... sit zazen whether reclining or lying down with eyes open. you are already a master of zazen. everyone is. just see, smell, hear, feel. ordinary mind is zazen. ordinary mind sees in an ordinary way ordinary things.

zazen is enlightenment. ordinary mind. just like that!

what are we looking for? its right infront of us. thats zazen, thats shikantaza.

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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