Okasa Dear Bhante, Visuddhimagga doesn’t consider the mentioned light as “light of wisdom” which is mentioned in the Suttas. It is mentioned as just a light which is a defilement for Vipassana.
According to the classical interpretation of Visuddhimagga, “discern” means “understand” (discern by wisdom). It doesn’t necessitate a “seeing by a light of mind”, but to see by wisdom. Mind and wisdom are two different Paramatthas which have two different functions.
Yes, elements become clear in terms of their function and characteristics. (aka “understanding elements”)
Any kind of mental energy like samadhi/light etc (if they are not hallucinations) can be a support for wisdom to understand elements, but mind or other Cetasikas can’t do the function of Wisdom.
Bhante, it was about whether many of the Paauk yogis’ attainments are real or not.
We and many other scholars and Theros have met and seen many of Paauk and Nauyana accepted Kammatthanacariyas and senior yogis who claim attainments, but still taking medicine for mental instabilities and disorders. They believe that it is not an indicator of invalidity of many of their superhuman attainments.
And many bad guys and the monks whom we know well, could become accepted attainers of Paauk and Nauyana.
One is ex-soldier of special forces who can sit many hours forcefully due to his SF training. One decade back, he was regarded as one of the best yogis of Paauk. Even he himself has later said that he doesn’t believe his attainments.
Another one is a famous blackmagic-monk who maintained a monastery for blackmagic services in Galle area. Later he was captured by the police with the accusations of female-abuse, after his behavior was revealed by a famous FM radio channel. He was believed to be an Abhinna attained monk by pauk and nauyana including even Venerable Ariyananda, the head monk of Nauyana. Just some months before he was captured by the police, Ven. Ariyannanda said in his public speech at the Late Mahathero’s funeral that “one of the Abhinna attained monk told him that the Mahathero was reborn in Tusita heaven”. This monk is that notorious monk.
One decade back, the Nauyana Kammattana-acariya for lay people was a lunatic monk who was sending to mental-hospital time to time. Whenever he was returning from the mental hospital Ven. Ariyananda repeatedly appoints him again to the position of Kammatthana-acariya.
During the last decade, the main two Nauyana Kammatthana-acariyas (for the monks) were said to be Taking medicine for mental instabilities like depression while continuing giving Kammatthana. They don’t believe it is an obstacle to attainments and say those disseases are the attacks of Mara.
There are many other paauk attainers that we know as well. They are either mentally unstable or directly lunatic or at least childish. But many of them are good monks in terms of behaviour.
The Nauyana nuns (as well as pauk nuns I guess) always have more superhuman attainments than male monks. The critics say the more one is mentally weak (not morally) the more he will be attained modern attainments. This criticism is not only about paauk. The reason they say is that the mentally-weak people are vulnerable to see what they believe as happenning real in meditation.
Some monks said that his friend monks (of nauyana and paauk) can’t see the body-parts that they have not previously seen by physical eye, when they are doing 32parts meditation using the samadhi-light they believe. Yet they could see the body-parts that they have seen previously atleast in pictures. So the critics say it is a mental imagination.
One of the Abhidhamma scholar thero (ordained in Nauyana) once said, I believe the Paauk attainments are conceptual.
Because of such observations, many paauk and nauyana monks who initially had faith in Visuddhimagga have gone to Non-Classical teachers (like EBT), thinking that Visuddhimagga is wrong. But they don’t know the classical scholars’ approach to Visuddhimagga is different.
But many of us still respect Paauk because of their classical bent, methodical meditation, monk life and respect for sila-samadhi-panna.