In this topic I don’t want to talk about my personal practice but only about the practice recommended by Visuddhimagga and Pa Auk Sayadaw.
I have two questions about Pa Auk (Visuddhimagga) loving-kindness meditation:
1/ is the nimitta produced by this meditation similar to the nimitta produced by anapanasati (i.e. cotton, light, gemstone, wooden wheel, etc.) ;
2/ for anapanasati, Pa Auk explains that the mind automatically ends up focusing on nimitta. Is it the same for nimitta produced by loving-kindness, does the mind automatically focus on it after a while?
Also, here is a summary of what I read in the Visuddhimagga:
Loving-kindness is the fact of wishing happiness, calm, serenity, security, satisfaction, to a being.
To do this, here are the successive steps :
- practice loving-kindness towards oneself
- practicing loving-kindness towards an instructor whom you remember (while helping yourself by recalling his affectionate words, his erudition, etc.). This allows the absorption concentration.
But if you want to go further than the previous steps, here are some other steps:
- practicing loving-kindness towards a very dear companion
- practicing loving-kindness towards a neutral person
- practicing loving-kindness towards an enemy (unless you have no enemy). If you can’t do it, you have to repeat the previous steps. Seeing the good sides of an enemy (remembering his good words, good deeds, good thoughts, and avoiding remembering his bad words, bad deeds, bad thoughts) helps to direct loving-kindness towards this enemy. Feeling pity for this person (telling yourself that he/she will be reborn in hell) also helps to direct loving-kindness. Remembering the negative karma that the enemy has created for himself through his bad actions also helps. Remembering that the enemy was, in a previous life, our own caring mother, also helps. There are other helpful techniques as well.
We should not consider that one being deserves less loving-kindness than another. We, the loved one, the neutral being and the enemy all deserve loving-kindness equally. For example, we should not consider that we ourselves deserve less happiness than someone else. This equanimity brings forth nimitta and access concentration. From this point on, we must devote ourselves to the sign, cultivate it, and it follows that we obtain the absorption concentration, and thus we obtain the first jhâna of loving-kindness.
Thanks in advance