Testimonial from Online Retreaters
Monthly online retreats are offered and supported by Bhante Vimalaramsi and his senior students at the Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center. These are a few of the more interesting comments that were actually written in daily reports to the teacher. This really is a powerful practice!
Nov 1, 2023
From a survey we send out:
What can we do to improve your online retreat? Take a moment to reflect on your experience.
My main motivation to attend this online retreat was to learn to balance meditation practise and other aspects of life. I've made some progress in physical retreats, but I've struggled with progress when practising at home. I hoped to get to lower jhanas and see how it affects my daily life at home and at work. I was blown away with the result, I made progress to higher jhanas, the affect it had on my work and life at home was incredible and the joy and happiness I felt was astounding. Felt like a proper vacation :) Thank you this online retreat program.
This is a perfect example of how the online retreater goes through the "Aware" Jhanas. This is process that goes from first to 6th or 7th jhana.
Tell me about your Best sitting since your last report. What did you experience, how long on the object, anything new appear? If nothing new just tell me the quality of the feeling and what happened in your best sitting.
This morning's sit: Settled well, established that warm feeling in the chest and watched it grown in waves. Joy arose quite strongly within 10 minutes of commencing, but quickly settled into a warm and balanced contented feeling that stayed for around five minutes before a more intense expression of joyfulness arose that took much longer to settle into a feeling of calmness and quite strong contentedness. At this point, mind was stable and balanced. I recall that I 6R'rd one disturbance that arose, and it subsided very quickly. At some point, I noticed that the feeling of joy had gone completely and that I was going deeper. I became aware that no sensations were being given off by my legs, arms and abdomen although I knew those body parts were still there!. At some point, my head -- or at least the sense of that part of the body, started tingling and I noted that my chest area had become "cooler." From this point I sent Metta to my spiritual friend from my head. Everything felt "just right", relaxed, balanced and unshakeable. This state got deeper, mind became quieter and sort of "opened up" to reveal a "night sky" display. At this point, I think I mismanaged the energy, because the mind got pretty busy - movement, lights and swirling coloured objects. I 6R'd these and things settled down and the mind became again settled and quiet. But I felt I was lost. Not afraid or upset - just lost. Like "where am I?, should I be here?" ML Australia -- Note from DSMC- that thought simply then is to be 6Red and let go and then the state would go deeper.
Comment on experiencing the Aware Jhanas vs. the Absorption Jhanas he used to experience:
"I also noticed at the beginning of the first mediation of the day, when I started briefly by sending metta to my spiritual friend, I could see the first three jhanas arise and pass away in succession and I was amazed to see that they are indeed the same jhanas that I am familiar with; but by staying with the object of meditation, rather than getting absorbed into the jhanas, the whole experience is completely different!"
"In my second sitting with the six directions I had an amazing experience. During the first sitting I was having trouble keeping my Metta up, but in the second sitting it seemed to be spontaneously arising after I got it started. When I started to direct the Metta downward, it was like igniting a rocket. All of a sudden I had this extraordinary sense of lightness as if I was about to levitate. My arms felt like they were about to lift off my thighs. I tried the Relax Step to make sure that it was not an experience of wanting such and such to happen, but this was simply occurring on its own. When I switched to radiating the Metta above it was like I got blasted into space with my whole body, light as a feather and when I switched to all directions I was simply radiating serenity to everywhere with no thought of doing so, no doing at all." L.W. NY
"Of all the things I learned this week, maybe the most valuable is not to get too serious and force things. D.S. New York
"I felt a lot of relief during this meditation. There was a moment where everything became a little bit lighter... It felt very healing and I thought I was going to breakthrough if that word makes sense... At that point I started to tear up, but not out of sadness, maybe more out of relief or joy." J. G. Michigan
"I actually had a few of the things in the list above come up. At the start of the sit it was more of a calm, quiet happiness and it progressed to an overflowing, very strong joy towards the middle of the sit (probably about 20 minutes in, I would guess). This was when I was already partially into the portion where I was wishing happiness towards my spiritual friend. I could feel the joy suffused throughout my whole body, not just in my heart. My visual field also turned into a vibrant neon violet color, with rainbow patterns. By this point it seemed like my smile was basically floating in middair, without much sense of the rest of my body. Lots of fun! This is potent stuff. :)" S. S. Indianapolis, IN
"After the infinite space dissipated I relaxed again and I began to see objects like lights street across my view. I relaxed again and bubble of pure joy enveloped me. Inside this bubble was dark featureless. The joy was the most complete and intense I have experienced. Then it faded and I came out of the meditative state." M.R. Japan
Tell me more if you picked something from the list above.
"Today I woke up with this incredible lovingkindness feeling in my heart. During the morning meditation this feeling was very intense, even though I had difficulties sending lovingkindness to my spiritual friend at times, (I picked Jackie Chan because I could not find anybody else), so I just sent lovingkindness to every being that crossed my mind.
Anyway, the feeling was with me almost all day, and I was deeply happy. I was able to 6r almost every unwholesome thing that showed up and even though I am very tired now, because I had to drive almost all day long, this feeling is still with me. It was specially strong during my last meditation and during Bhante's talk."
" I was able to generate loving-kindness and radiate the feeling to my spiritual friend. Within a few seconds I felt an overwhelming wave of joy. It was like my spiritual friend was radiating metta back to me; I cried out of joy..... Again I returned to my meditation object (spiritual friend) but again I felt the wave of joy, this time I just felt and tremendously grateful." E.M. California
"Other times I am immersed in the equanimity and I lose spatial awareness of vastness -- spatial perception becomes minimized" D.L. Michigan
"Until now, I practiced with breath meditation and Vipassana, and though I was feeling significant changes in my life with it, suffering was still there in myself. In this retreat , with "metta" meditation I became aware of a "smiling attitude", I have noticed that the cessation of suffering, the cessation of feeling guilty, is possible... in the daily life." Pilar, Belgium
After Doing a Forgiveness Retreat:
"Dear David, I started today to do Metta. It was nice actually.I felt joy and feeling of bliss very high in my heart. I was so surprised...I have felt joy in my heart this week. First time I think. Before I was feeling joy in the mind.But bliss state, never felt before in my heart and so high.Walking meditation was good. Nice to send love to people and feeling the heart with the feeling of loving kindness.Thanks a lot of for that improvement.Your guidance and advice have been very good.Thanks David.Have a good time.See you soon." F. L. Italy