Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

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flemish
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Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by flemish » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:31 am

Hello everyone, I am pursuing concentration based on the first eight kasinas, namely: earth, water, fire, air, blue, yellow, red, and white. The Visuddhimagga is quite specific as to the construction of the learning disks, but some of the instructions are not practical for me. There are some things I am perfectly confident in breaking with Buddhaghosa with, but I thought I'd bring the other things up with this forum.

I plan to make the color kasinas out of paper. I have no qualms about this except for the size of the disks I can make. Buddhaghosa says to make them about a span and four fingers across, but because of the size of the sheets of paper I have handy, I can only make them a bit more than a span. (I might also just have big hands. :tongue: ) I assume this will not be a problem, but I decided to mention it anyway.

As for earth, I plan to use some clay that would normally be purchased for modelling or pottery. I'm pretty sure this in itself is okay, as I believe the kind of clay called "Terra Cotta" is made up of actual earth rather than being plastic, but the fact that most of these are a reddish brown concerns me. The Visuddhimagga says to avoid having the colors blue, yellow, red, or white in your kasina, and it is the 'red' in the 'reddish brown' that I am bothered about. I don't think I have any clay the color of the dawn or the river Ganges's!

Water I am not concerned about. :toilet:

Fire is one that is confusing to me. Buddhaghosa recommends lighting a bit of a bonfire, and then viewing this fire through a hole around the size of the other kasina disks (a span and four fingers, as mentioned before). Unfortunately, I do not have a location in which to light a big fire, and I don't have the firewood for it either! I plan to use a candle instead, but worry that it might not be the same sort of kasina that I would be developing with the bonfire method. Thoughts? :candle:

The air kasina is one kasina that might be more convenient in the modern age. I plan to buy a small electric fan. The whirring might be annoying at first, but because it will be constant, it should disappear into background noise.

So, these were my thoughts. I know kasina practice is best overseen by a qualified teacher, but I do not have practical access to one right now, and so wanted to voice my concerns to you guys here instead. Some of what I am worried about might seem silly, but because doubt is one of the Five Hindrances, I wanted to eliminate these before beginning. Thank you for listening, and please tell me what you think.

Edit: It seems I may have been mistaken in only targeting the first eight kasinas. See below.
Last edited by flemish on Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Bakmoon
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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by Bakmoon » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:40 am

Why are you going to use all 8? Wouldn't it be better just to practice with one?

I don't think there is anything wrong with using a kasina made out of terra cotta or colored paper as long as the surface is very smooth and the color is uniform. Most of the details about kasinas (how to make them, not having other colors in clay, etc...) are all about producing a uniform surface, so I don't see what the problem would be, although I'd be very careful with the colored paper. If it gets creased or tears I think it would be very hard to keep getting use out of it, so if I were you I would just make a terra cotta earth kasina or something similar.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

flemish
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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by flemish » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:40 am

Bakmoon wrote:Why are you going to use all 8? Wouldn't it be better just to practice with one?
While I do plan to gain proficiency in all of them, I will only be practicing one at a time until I master it, starting with the earth kasina. The reason I wish to get good at all of these objects of meditation is that the Visuddhimagga says that these eight kasinas, when mastered along with the jhanas based on them, become a good basis for supranormal powers, which in turn helps to develop insight. Many people will roll their eyes at this, :roll: but I figure if I'm going to practice Right Concentration to develop insight, why not practice a flavor that lends itself to supranormal powers as well?

(I am aware of most of the reasons you might tell a meditator not to pursue the supranormal powers, and will call off my pursuit if I believe that I cannot handle these reasons on my own.)

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Opanayiko
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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by Opanayiko » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:49 am

flemish wrote:Hello everyone, I am pursuing concentration based on the first eight kasinas, namely: earth, water, fire, air, blue, yellow, red, and white. The Visuddhimagga is quite specific as to the construction of the learning disks, but some of the instructions are not practical for me. There are some things I am perfectly confident in breaking with Buddhaghosa with, but I thought I'd bring the other things up with this forum.

I plan to make the color kasinas out of paper. I have no qualms about this except for the size of the disks I can make. Buddhaghosa says to make them about a span and four fingers across, but because of the size of the sheets of paper I have handy, I can only make them a bit more than a span. (I might also just have big hands. :tongue: ) I assume this will not be a problem, but I decided to mention it anyway.

As for earth, I plan to use some clay that would normally be purchased for modelling or pottery. I'm pretty sure this in itself is okay, as I believe the kind of clay called "Terra Cotta" is made up of actual earth rather than being plastic, but the fact that most of these are a reddish brown concerns me. The Visuddhimagga says to avoid having the colors blue, yellow, red, or white in your kasina, and it is the 'red' in the 'reddish brown' that I am bothered about. I don't think I have any clay the color of the dawn or the river Ganges's!

Water I am not concerned about. :toilet:

Fire is one that is confusing to me. Buddhaghosa recommends lighting a bit of a bonfire, and then viewing this fire through a hole around the size of the other kasina disks (a span and four fingers, as mentioned before). Unfortunately, I do not have a location in which to light a big fire, and I don't have the firewood for it either! I plan to use a candle instead, but worry that it might not be the same sort of kasina that I would be developing with the bonfire method. Thoughts? :candle:

The air kasina is one kasina that might be more convenient in the modern age. I plan to buy a small electric fan. The whirring might be annoying at first, but because it will be constant, it should disappear into background noise.

So, these were my thoughts. I know kasina practice is best overseen by a qualified teacher, but I do not have practical access to one right now, and so wanted to voice my concerns to you guys here instead. Some of what I am worried about might seem silly, but because doubt is one of the Five Hindrances, I wanted to eliminate these before beginning. Thank you for listening, and please tell me what you think.

Hello friend,

I would like to help you on your path.

I am not sure where you read about only 8 Kasinas, I would like to let you know that there are 10 Kasinas. 4 Colors and 6 elements. White, red, yellow and 'Nila' which can be translated as either blue, brown or black. The six elements are Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Light and Space.

Externally, the learning 'disks' are used only to aid visualization. The actual Kasina meditation begins when the Kasina is perceived in your mind. Look at the Kasina material with eye consciousness then close your eyes to intensify. Each of the ten perceptions begin small in your mental field, meditators may perceive them as luminous disks, or spheres. Then through concentration one must develop the capacity to expand the particular perception to unlimited proportions. The Vimuttimagga defines "Kasina" as "pervasiveness". Keep that in mind.

Kasina samadhi is a serious undertaking, I would recommend it for retreat situation. For your reference, the color kasinas are best derived from physicalness. Ie: White is perceived from the color of your bones. Red is from your blood. Yellow is your urine. 'Nila' is from your bile. For most meditators, Kasina is not a beginning meditation so we have some degree of concentration already and are easily able to visualize these as the basis for the color Kasina to arise then expand it to unlimited proportions.

Elemental Kasinas are begun by actually looking at the material. Earth: get a plate with dirt on it. Fire: use a candle. Rest is obvious. Space can be begun as something with a hole. Like a piece of paper with a hole in it. Again, the external is just the catalyst. It really begins when the mind can hold the perception with eyes closed.

One must be absolutely stable in the perception of infinite color or element. Then enter in Jhana all the way to 4th. Be able to go backwards and forwards in such Jhana's, enter any one at will and remain in for set times in order to 'Master' the Kasina Samadhi. The Iddhipada are a bi-product, not the goal. The intensification of the light of wisdom derived from the unlimited pervasiveness of the perceived kasina is helpful when one directs the mind to investigate NamaRupa. This leads to the Insight Knowledges.

May you have blessings, success and one day the incomparable peace crossing the shore difficult to cross.

:meditate:
:anjali: Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Saṁbuddhassa :anjali:

By oneself is evil done,
by oneself defiled,
by oneself it’s left undone,
by self alone one purified.
Purity, impurity on oneself depend,
no one can purify another.
-Dp 165

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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:34 am

flemish wrote:Hello everyone, I am pursuing concentration based on the first eight kasinas, namely: earth, water, fire, air, blue, yellow, red, and white. The Visuddhimagga is quite specific as to the construction of the learning disks, but some of the instructions are not practical for me. There are some things I am perfectly confident in breaking with Buddhaghosa with, but I thought I'd bring the other things up with this forum.
I made a DIY kasina disc and it seemed to work fine. It was an old round chopping board thing about 8" in diameter, I tidied it up and painted one side a nice sea blue and then hung it on a hook.
So not strictly according to the traditional instructions, but I don't think that made much difference. In my experience the best approach is to keep it simple and just get on with the practice.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:38 am

flemish wrote: While I do plan to gain proficiency in all of them, I will only be practicing one at a time until I master it, starting with the earth kasina.
I'm not sure what the traditional view is, but I would keep it simple and work with just one kasina for a period of time. Get to know earth directly!

Viewing the kasinas as a set of things to be "accomplished" could be counter-productive.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by srivijaya » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:54 pm

Have you ever experienced the sense of tranquility which comes over you when gazing out across a lake, or into a fire? It can happen with clear, vast sky or freshly dug earth in the garden. All can invoke mental stillness. A coloured disk will never have the same power to open and still the mind.

It's this stillness you are looking for, as it's the gateway.

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Aloka
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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by Aloka » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:16 pm

srivijaya wrote:Have you ever experienced the sense of tranquility which comes over you when gazing out across a lake, or into a fire? It can happen with clear, vast sky or freshly dug earth in the garden. All can invoke mental stillness. A coloured disk will never have the same power to open and still the mind.

It's this stillness you are looking for, as it's the gateway.
:goodpost:

In general, I've always found that meditating outside & gently relaxing & letting go of mental proliferation, can be fruitful in this respect.

flemish
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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by flemish » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:23 am

Okay, so I've found the relevant sections of the Visuddhimagga to explain why I'd like to do what I'd like to do:
Buddhaghosa wrote:1. [373] It was said above with reference to the mundane kinds of direct-
knowledge that this development of concentration "provides . . . the benefit of the
kinds of direct-knowledge" (XI. 122). Now, in order to perfect those kinds of
direct-knowledge the task must be undertaken by a meditator who has reached
the fourth jhana in the earth kasina, and so on. And in doing this, not only will
this development of concentration have provided benefits in this way, it will also
have become more advanced; and when he thus possesses concentration so
developed as to have both provided benefits and become more advanced, he will
then more easily perfect the development of understanding.
So meanwhile we
shall deal with the explanation of the kinds of direct-knowledge now.
Buddhaghosa wrote:If a meditator wants to begin performing the transformation by supernormal
power described as, "Having been one, he becomes many," etc., he must achieve
the eight attainments in each of the eight kasinas ending with the white kasina.
Although... after skimming through this chapter, it seems I might have been remiss in only considering the first eight kasinas. It seems that all ten kasinas, or even all 40 objects of meditation might be necessary for some supranormal powers. I should study this further, but in any case I will be beginning with the earth kasina, so I can take my time. :reading:

So far I'm leaning towards the exact method of producing the learning disk as not being so important, and I have the wonderful people in this thread to thank for pushing me in this direction. Thank you all for your contributions so far.

:thanks: :namaste:

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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by MettaCittena » Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:10 pm

Opanayiko wrote:
Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:49 am
flemish wrote:Hello everyone, I am pursuing concentration based on the first eight kasinas, namely: earth, water, fire, air, blue, yellow, red, and white. The Visuddhimagga is quite specific as to the construction of the learning disks, but some of the instructions are not practical for me. There are some things I am perfectly confident in breaking with Buddhaghosa with, but I thought I'd bring the other things up with this forum.

I plan to make the color kasinas out of paper. I have no qualms about this except for the size of the disks I can make. Buddhaghosa says to make them about a span and four fingers across, but because of the size of the sheets of paper I have handy, I can only make them a bit more than a span. (I might also just have big hands. :tongue: ) I assume this will not be a problem, but I decided to mention it anyway.

As for earth, I plan to use some clay that would normally be purchased for modelling or pottery. I'm pretty sure this in itself is okay, as I believe the kind of clay called "Terra Cotta" is made up of actual earth rather than being plastic, but the fact that most of these are a reddish brown concerns me. The Visuddhimagga says to avoid having the colors blue, yellow, red, or white in your kasina, and it is the 'red' in the 'reddish brown' that I am bothered about. I don't think I have any clay the color of the dawn or the river Ganges's!

Water I am not concerned about. :toilet:

Fire is one that is confusing to me. Buddhaghosa recommends lighting a bit of a bonfire, and then viewing this fire through a hole around the size of the other kasina disks (a span and four fingers, as mentioned before). Unfortunately, I do not have a location in which to light a big fire, and I don't have the firewood for it either! I plan to use a candle instead, but worry that it might not be the same sort of kasina that I would be developing with the bonfire method. Thoughts? :candle:

The air kasina is one kasina that might be more convenient in the modern age. I plan to buy a small electric fan. The whirring might be annoying at first, but because it will be constant, it should disappear into background noise.

So, these were my thoughts. I know kasina practice is best overseen by a qualified teacher, but I do not have practical access to one right now, and so wanted to voice my concerns to you guys here instead. Some of what I am worried about might seem silly, but because doubt is one of the Five Hindrances, I wanted to eliminate these before beginning. Thank you for listening, and please tell me what you think.

Hello friend,

I would like to help you on your path.

I am not sure where you read about only 8 Kasinas, I would like to let you know that there are 10 Kasinas. 4 Colors and 6 elements. White, red, yellow and 'Nila' which can be translated as either blue, brown or black. The six elements are Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Light and Space.

Externally, the learning 'disks' are used only to aid visualization. The actual Kasina meditation begins when the Kasina is perceived in your mind. Look at the Kasina material with eye consciousness then close your eyes to intensify. Each of the ten perceptions begin small in your mental field, meditators may perceive them as luminous disks, or spheres. Then through concentration one must develop the capacity to expand the particular perception to unlimited proportions. The Vimuttimagga defines "Kasina" as "pervasiveness". Keep that in mind.

Kasina samadhi is a serious undertaking, I would recommend it for retreat situation. For your reference, the color kasinas are best derived from physicalness. Ie: White is perceived from the color of your bones. Red is from your blood. Yellow is your urine. 'Nila' is from your bile. For most meditators, Kasina is not a beginning meditation so we have some degree of concentration already and are easily able to visualize these as the basis for the color Kasina to arise then expand it to unlimited proportions.

Elemental Kasinas are begun by actually looking at the material. Earth: get a plate with dirt on it. Fire: use a candle. Rest is obvious. Space can be begun as something with a hole. Like a piece of paper with a hole in it. Again, the external is just the catalyst. It really begins when the mind can hold the perception with eyes closed.

One must be absolutely stable in the perception of infinite color or element. Then enter in Jhana all the way to 4th. Be able to go backwards and forwards in such Jhana's, enter any one at will and remain in for set times in order to 'Master' the Kasina Samadhi. The Iddhipada are a bi-product, not the goal. The intensification of the light of wisdom derived from the unlimited pervasiveness of the perceived kasina is helpful when one directs the mind to investigate NamaRupa. This leads to the Insight Knowledges.

May you have blessings, success and one day the incomparable peace crossing the shore difficult to cross.

:meditate:
I have always heard "nila" described as blue-green or simply blue. Just curious why you translate "nila" as brown...

Sukhi hotu.

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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by MettaCittena » Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:34 pm

flemish wrote:
Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:31 am
Hello everyone, I am pursuing concentration based on the first eight kasinas, namely: earth, water, fire, air, blue, yellow, red, and white. The Visuddhimagga is quite specific as to the construction of the learning disks, but some of the instructions are not practical for me. There are some things I am perfectly confident in breaking with Buddhaghosa with, but I thought I'd bring the other things up with this forum.

I plan to make the color kasinas out of paper. I have no qualms about this except for the size of the disks I can make. Buddhaghosa says to make them about a span and four fingers across, but because of the size of the sheets of paper I have handy, I can only make them a bit more than a span. (I might also just have big hands. :tongue: ) I assume this will not be a problem, but I decided to mention it anyway.

As for earth, I plan to use some clay that would normally be purchased for modelling or pottery. I'm pretty sure this in itself is okay, as I believe the kind of clay called "Terra Cotta" is made up of actual earth rather than being plastic, but the fact that most of these are a reddish brown concerns me. The Visuddhimagga says to avoid having the colors blue, yellow, red, or white in your kasina, and it is the 'red' in the 'reddish brown' that I am bothered about. I don't think I have any clay the color of the dawn or the river Ganges's!

Water I am not concerned about. :toilet:

Fire is one that is confusing to me. Buddhaghosa recommends lighting a bit of a bonfire, and then viewing this fire through a hole around the size of the other kasina disks (a span and four fingers, as mentioned before). Unfortunately, I do not have a location in which to light a big fire, and I don't have the firewood for it either! I plan to use a candle instead, but worry that it might not be the same sort of kasina that I would be developing with the bonfire method. Thoughts? :candle:

The air kasina is one kasina that might be more convenient in the modern age. I plan to buy a small electric fan. The whirring might be annoying at first, but because it will be constant, it should disappear into background noise.

So, these were my thoughts. I know kasina practice is best overseen by a qualified teacher, but I do not have practical access to one right now, and so wanted to voice my concerns to you guys here instead. Some of what I am worried about might seem silly, but because doubt is one of the Five Hindrances, I wanted to eliminate these before beginning. Thank you for listening, and please tell me what you think.

Edit: It seems I may have been mistaken in only targeting the first eight kasinas. See below.
Hello friend,

I do not mean to discourge you in your pursuit of concentration through kasina in anyway. I just wanted to share, while ordained in Thailand, I had an opportunity to here a desana by a well regarded monk believed to have attained siddhi, by the name of Ajahn Plien. He told a story of caution, about his own develpment of concentration though kasina. He said that he first developed the fire kasina, and while in the south of Thailand he was approached by an angry woman who rushed him during alms round. He had already aquired the nimitta while walking. As she rushed him he looked up, felt anger with the nimita up, while looking at her, and according to him she stopped, screamed out as if in pain, reached down the back of here shirt and pulled her hand out covered in blood. She reportedly ended up in the hospital with burns on here body.

He said he felt tremendous guilt and regret after that and tried sending here medication while she was in the hospital and tried appologizing but she rebuffed his efforts. He told the monks and novices there that he cautioned his students away from kasina since that time based on the concern that they supernatural powers could distract from the intended goal of the path. The concern is that someone may become preoccupied with the power and power in general which can be a cause for one to accumulate further unwholesome karama. Senior monks often remind that while these phenomena may come as a byproduct of practice, they are not the path and can in fact distract one from the path.

I wish you well on your path.

Sukhi hotu.

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SDC
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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by SDC » Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:49 pm

MettaCittena wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:10 pm
...
Hi MC, welcome to the forum. Just so you know, you've quoted, in a 5 year old thread, a member who has been inactive since the day it was posted. All good, but just wanted you to know that it is highly doubtful you will get any response in these cases.

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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by Zom » Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:11 pm

Forget about kasina disks and visuddhimagga kasinas altogether 8-)

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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by SarathW » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:50 pm

MettaCittena wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 5:34 pm
flemish wrote:
Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:31 am
Hello everyone, I am pursuing concentration based on the first eight kasinas, namely: earth, water, fire, air, blue, yellow, red, and white. The Visuddhimagga is quite specific as to the construction of the learning disks, but some of the instructions are not practical for me. There are some things I am perfectly confident in breaking with Buddhaghosa with, but I thought I'd bring the other things up with this forum.

I plan to make the color kasinas out of paper. I have no qualms about this except for the size of the disks I can make. Buddhaghosa says to make them about a span and four fingers across, but because of the size of the sheets of paper I have handy, I can only make them a bit more than a span. (I might also just have big hands. :tongue: ) I assume this will not be a problem, but I decided to mention it anyway.

As for earth, I plan to use some clay that would normally be purchased for modelling or pottery. I'm pretty sure this in itself is okay, as I believe the kind of clay called "Terra Cotta" is made up of actual earth rather than being plastic, but the fact that most of these are a reddish brown concerns me. The Visuddhimagga says to avoid having the colors blue, yellow, red, or white in your kasina, and it is the 'red' in the 'reddish brown' that I am bothered about. I don't think I have any clay the color of the dawn or the river Ganges's!

Water I am not concerned about. :toilet:

Fire is one that is confusing to me. Buddhaghosa recommends lighting a bit of a bonfire, and then viewing this fire through a hole around the size of the other kasina disks (a span and four fingers, as mentioned before). Unfortunately, I do not have a location in which to light a big fire, and I don't have the firewood for it either! I plan to use a candle instead, but worry that it might not be the same sort of kasina that I would be developing with the bonfire method. Thoughts? :candle:

The air kasina is one kasina that might be more convenient in the modern age. I plan to buy a small electric fan. The whirring might be annoying at first, but because it will be constant, it should disappear into background noise.

So, these were my thoughts. I know kasina practice is best overseen by a qualified teacher, but I do not have practical access to one right now, and so wanted to voice my concerns to you guys here instead. Some of what I am worried about might seem silly, but because doubt is one of the Five Hindrances, I wanted to eliminate these before beginning. Thank you for listening, and please tell me what you think.

Edit: It seems I may have been mistaken in only targeting the first eight kasinas. See below.
Hello friend,

I do not mean to discourge you in your pursuit of concentration through kasina in anyway. I just wanted to share, while ordained in Thailand, I had an opportunity to here a desana by a well regarded monk believed to have attained siddhi, by the name of Ajahn Plien. He told a story of caution, about his own develpment of concentration though kasina. He said that he first developed the fire kasina, and while in the south of Thailand he was approached by an angry woman who rushed him during alms round. He had already aquired the nimitta while walking. As she rushed him he looked up, felt anger with the nimita up, while looking at her, and according to him she stopped, screamed out as if in pain, reached down the back of here shirt and pulled her hand out covered in blood. She reportedly ended up in the hospital with burns on here body.

He said he felt tremendous guilt and regret after that and tried sending here medication while she was in the hospital and tried appologizing but she rebuffed his efforts. He told the monks and novices there that he cautioned his students away from kasina since that time based on the concern that they supernatural powers could distract from the intended goal of the path. The concern is that someone may become preoccupied with the power and power in general which can be a cause for one to accumulate further unwholesome karama. Senior monks often remind that while these phenomena may come as a byproduct of practice, they are not the path and can in fact distract one from the path.

I wish you well on your path.

Sukhi hotu.
Interesting story!!
Great powers come with great responsibilities!
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

form
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Re: Creating kasina disks out of modern materials?

Post by form » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:53 am

Making kasina apparatus out of clay disk is likely not what the Buddha taught. In the sutta, he mentioned looking at colour of flowers and retaining in in memory.

The details are added in commentaries as in capturing the colour in the mind and concentrate on that very closely. As the concentration increases, the sign and subsequently countersign will be recognised.

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