Smaller ones may look like a star in the sky. Large spheres may be as big as the sun or the moon. This is the sphere of Pathama-magga, the preliminary sign of concentration. It is the first step towards the Path (Magga), the Fruit (Phala), and Nibbฑna. This is also known as the Dhamma Sphere, which makes the human body possible.
When this luminous and clear sphere appears, do not be overjoyed or overreact. If you do, the concentration (samadhi) could loosen and the sphere might disappear. Keep your mind evenly calm in equanimity (upekkha). Hold the mind still, without repeating the words “Samma Arahang”. Once the sphere of Pathama-magga is perceived, there is no need to continue this mental recitation.
Concentrate the mind at the small, luminous, clear center of the Pathama-magga sphere. Five smaller spheres will appear within this sphere. One is concentric at the center. The others are in front, at the right, left, and behind, respectively.
These small spheres are the refined centers of the basic elements. In front is the Water Element, controlling fluids in bodily functions. To the right is the Earth Element, controlling solid parts. To the back lies the Fire Element dealing with the body’s temperature and heat. To the left is the Wind Element, controlling internal movements of gases. At the center is the Space Element, controlling the various gaps within the body. In the center of the Space Element is the Cognitive Element which controls consciousness. Four thin bright, clear lines connect each of the circumferential spheres to the central sphere.
The Pathama-magga Sphere will appear as reflecting the physical, verbal and mental purification of the meditator. When the mind is at rest, concentrated at the seventh position, it allows all six refined elements to come into unison at this seventh position, the center, where the original Dhatu-dhamma was generated.
Spheres of Sila (Morality)
Once this Pathama-magga sphere can be observed, concentrate further at the center of the clear, luminous sphere. When the mind is still and in the right mode, the center will expand, giving rise in its place to a new, more luminous, clear and refined sphere of moral conduct (Sila). Through this sphere, we can refine physical, verbal and mental deeds more efficiently and on a deeper level than through common morality. This is the pure Sila of meditation and can be regarded as Adhisila or higher (purer) morality. When the mind can remain permanently in the center of this Sila Sphere, the physical, verbal and mental activities and their intentions will always be clean and pure. Higher Morality goes together with Higher Mind, and can lead to Higher Wisdom, Emancipation (Vimutti), and Insight or the vision of truth from Emancipation.
Spheres of Samadhi (Concentration)
As the mind stays at rest, still and concentrated further into the center of the sphere of Sila, and in the right mode, the center of the sphere will keep on expanding and in its place will appear a new, more luminous, clear and refined sphere of Samadhi. This further refines physical, verbal and mental activities. When the mind rests still and deep in Samadhi at this stage, it will overcome the Five Hindrances to clear comprehension: (1) sleepiness or laziness (Thina-middha), (2) doubt or anxiety about the practice (Vicikiccha), (3) ill will or malice (Byapada), (4) restlessness of mind, day dreaming or distraction (Uddhacca-kukkucca), and (5) sensual desire, enchantment or lust for life (Kamachanda). This is the commencement of the first state of absorption or the first Jhana. The mind is now gentle enough for insight practice (Vipassana) to develop the wisdom to know correctly and clearly the Truth of Dhamma (Reality). Hence, it is called the Adhicitta or higher mind.
Spheres of Pañña (Wisdom)
Concentrate further and rest still at the center of the center of the Sphere of Samadhi (Concentration). With the mind at rest, still, and in the right mode, the previous center will expand and a new, more luminous, clear Sphere of Pañña (Wisdom) will appear in its place.
Spheres of Vimutti (Emancipation)
Similarly, with the mind resting still and concentrated at the center of the Panna Sphere, the Sphere of Vimutti (Transcendence or Emancipation) emerges. Let the mind adhere to the center of the Vimutti Sphere, keeping it always luminous and clear. This will destroy the crude desires belonging to human beings such as greed, vengeance and wrong point-of-view.
Spheres of Vimutti-ñanadassana (Insight)
Hold your mind at rest in the center of the center of the Vimutti Sphere. When the mind is in the right mode, the Sphere of Vimutti-nanadassana (the view from transcendence or “Insight”) will appear.