Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
lotus flower
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Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by lotus flower » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:56 am

Helo. some peoples say Kasina meditations are right to attain jhanas. some other peoples are skeptical and they say it is the right way: Nimitta (the sign) should be develop by Anapanasati meditation. and then attain jhana by nimitta.

Many kasina meditation skeptical persons say kasina is not here in the suttas. i understand their skeptical thoughts. I don't know suttas enough. Really the Buddha didn't taught kasina meditations?

Thank you for the answer
We found the teaching of the Buddha. Be grateful for it... We can meditate... Be grateful for it... We know that this universe is the samsara. Be grateful for it... We have THE CHANCE TO ATTAIN NIBBANA. Be grateful for it... :buddha1: :buddha2:

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Alobha
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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by Alobha » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:26 am

Many kasina meditation skeptical persons say kasina is not here in the suttas. i understand their skeptical thoughts. I don't know suttas enough. Really the Buddha didn't taught kasina meditations?
Yes, the kasinas clearly were taught by the Buddha and they are explained and recommended in several Suttas.

Maha-Satipatthana Sutta (DN.22):
[5] "Furthermore... just as a skilled butcher or his apprentice, having killed a cow, would sit at a crossroads cutting it up into pieces, the monk contemplates this very body — however it stands, however it is disposed — in terms of properties: 'In this body there is the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, & the wind property.'

"In this way he remains focused internally on the body in & of itself, or focused externally... unsustained by anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself.
Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10)
5. The Reflection on the Material Elements
And further, monks, a monk reflects on this very body, however it be placed or disposed, by way of the material elements: "There are in this body the element of earth, the element of water, the element of fire, the element of wind."
[...]
Maha-hatthipadopama Sutta: The Great Elephant Footprint Simile (MN 28)
"And what is the form clinging-aggregate? The four great existents and the form derived from them. And what are the four great existents? The earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, & the wind property.
[detailed instructions follow]
In the Maha-Rahulovada Sutta (MN 62), the Buddha goes into great detail explaining the elements as meditationobjects
Then Ven. Rahula, emerging from his seclusion in the late afternoon, went to the Blessed One and, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to him, "How, lord, is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing to be developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?"

"Rahula, {any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.' There are these five properties, Rahula. Which five? The earth property, the water property, the fire property, the wind property, & the space property.
[detailed instructions follow]
And yet another detailed analysis is found in the Dhatu-vibhanga Sutta (MN 140)
"'One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? And how is one not negligent of discernment? These are the six properties: the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, the wind property, the space property, the consciousness property.
[detailed instructions follow]

lotus flower
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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by lotus flower » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:03 am

Thank you Alobha.
We found the teaching of the Buddha. Be grateful for it... We can meditate... Be grateful for it... We know that this universe is the samsara. Be grateful for it... We have THE CHANCE TO ATTAIN NIBBANA. Be grateful for it... :buddha1: :buddha2:

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Dhammanando
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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:21 am

lotus flower wrote:Many kasina meditation skeptical persons say kasina is not here in the suttas. i understand their skeptical thoughts. I don't know suttas enough. Really the Buddha didn't taught kasina meditations?
The kasiṇas are listed in the Suttas, though the list is slightly different from that expounded in the Visuddhimagga:

Pathavī-kasiṇa – earth totality.
Āpo-kasiṇa – water totality.
Tejo-kasiṇa – fire totality.
Vāyo-kasiṇa – air totality.
Nīla-kasiṇa – blue totality.
Pīta-kasiṇa – yellow totality.
Lohita-kasiṇa – red totality.
Odāta-kasiṇa – white totality.
Ākāsa-kasiṇa – space totality.
Viññāṇa-kasiṇa – consciousness totality.

In the Visuddhimagga viññāṇa-kasiṇa is replaced with āloka-kasiṇa, the light totality.

As to scepticism about whether the kasiṇas were intended by the Buddha as devices for developing the jhānas, it’s true that this is not explicitly stated in the Suttas but is from the Visuddhimagga. But then the Suttas say very little at all about the kasiṇas beyond listing them. So, if people are sceptical about whether the Visuddhimagga gets things right, then it seems to me they have three choices:

1. Make their own wild guess as to what kasiṇas are all about.
2. Treat the kasiṇas as a mystery that they don’t understand.
3. Embrace one of the non-Theravādin expositions of this doctrine.

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by Mkoll » Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:31 pm

Dhammanando wrote:As to scepticism about whether the kasiṇas were intended by the Buddha as devices for developing the jhānas, it’s true that this is not explicitly stated in the Suttas but is from the Visuddhimagga. But then the Suttas say very little at all about the kasiṇas beyond listing them.
It seems to me that the suttas say very little about devices for developing jhana in general. To my knowledge, there's nothing that says: "do practice X, attain jhana." I think this is because jhana depends on many wholesome factors that must be sufficiently developed for it to arise - the device to develop jhana is to develop the Path in toto.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by paul » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:24 pm

lotus flower wrote:Thank you Alobha.
The definition of the 4 elements internally (in the body) is a subject distinct from the kasina elements and is more advanced because it requires skill in visualisation from the start, whereas the kasinas develop visualisation gradually through looking at the kasina then producing the learning sign mentally. For those suited to them, including beginners, one of the kasinas is an effective subject in developing concentration. If interested in developing jhana, perhaps one should set their sights on spending a few weeks in the monastery environment:
http://www.paaukforestmonastery.org/meditation.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

"That is why, at Pa-Auk, we teach first to develop the strong and powerful
concentration of the jhānas (absorption concentration (appanā·samādhi))
using, for example, mindfulness-of-breathing (ān·āpāna·sati) and the ten
kasinas, or access concentration (upacāra·samādhi) using four-elements
meditation (catu-dhātu vavatthāna)." -extract from "Knowing and Seeing".

Three Signs

The preliminary sign (parikamma-nimitta) is mentally constructed such as by visualizing meditation objects or mentally and verbally reciting Lord Buddha’s virtues etc. The preliminary sign signifies Momentary Concentration (khanika-samādhi) and can be attained with all types of meditation.
The learning sign (upacāra-samādhi) is a sign that lasts longer. While opening and closing the eyes, the meditator can recall the sign accurately. The learning sign is also called the visualized image. The learning sign signifies access concentration and can be attained with all types of meditation.
The counterpart sign (patibhāga-nimitta) is stable for a long period, fixed in the eye and mind and can be made bigger or smaller. The counterpart sign signifies attainment concentration (appanā-samādhi) and can be attained by twenty two types of meditation: the Ten Kasinas, the Ten Meditations on Corpses (asubha), Mindfulness of the Body (kāyagatāsati) and Mindfulness of Breathing (ānāpānasati).

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:56 am

10. The Ten Kasiṇas

“Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the ten kasiṇa bases. One contemplates the earthkasiṇa above, below, and across, undivided and immeasurable. Another contemplates the water-kasiṇa…Another contemplates the fire-kasiṇa…Another contemplates the air-kasiṇa…Another contemplates the blue-kasiṇa…Another contemplates the yellow-kasiṇa…Another contemplates the red-kasiṇa…Another contemplates the white-kasiṇa…Another contemplates the space-kasiṇa…Another contemplates the consciousness-kasiṇa above, below, and across, undivided and immeasurable. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the perfection and consummation of direct knowledge.
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn77
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by Zom » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:00 pm

10. The Ten Kasiṇas
This should be cited together with other passages there - Bases for Transcendence, Eight Liberations, and Four Jhanas, since they are all connected. All these things are "jhanic practices". And suttas do not support the point of view that kasinas (totalities) are developed prior to jhanas, as is it stated in later commentaries.

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by mal4mac » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:32 pm

Alobha wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:26 am
Many kasina meditation skeptical persons say kasina is not here in the suttas. i understand their skeptical thoughts. I don't know suttas enough. Really the Buddha didn't taught kasina meditations?
Yes, the kasinas clearly were taught by the Buddha and they are explained and recommended in several Suttas....
[/quote]

According to Wikipedia kasinas are visual objects, like actual coloured disks, and I see nothing in your sutta references about looking at coloured disks, or other things "out there", with open eyes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasina
- Mal

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by mal4mac » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:44 pm

paul wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:24 pm
The definition of the 4 elements internally (in the body) is a subject distinct from the kasina elements and is more advanced because it requires skill in visualisation from the start, whereas the kasinas develop visualisation gradually through looking at the kasina then producing the learning sign mentally.
That may be the view in your tradition, but analayo does not view it this way, my (severe) paraphrase:

Contemplation of earth and water comes from observing the physical sensations of the solid and liquid parts of the body. Awareness of fire comes from noting body temperature. Air is covered by the breath. https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... t-path.pdf p.150

This approach requires no visualisation, no building up visualisation from kasinas, and is really quite simple. (I can feel wetness on my tongue, I'm quite warm on my left side where there is heater, earth in the solidness of my seat, etc.,...)
- Mal

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by Zom » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:39 pm

This approach requires no visualisation, no building up visualisation from kasinas, and is really quite simple. (I can feel wetness on my tongue, I'm quite warm on my left side where there is heater, earth in the solidness of my seat, etc.,...)
If we take suttas, Buddha says about both internal and external elements like water, fire, etc - not only about things (sensations) in the body. That means that elements are there in the outer world too, not only inside your body. From my understanding, totalities are developed by working with your own in-jhanic perception, which can be extended by overcoming the limits of your own body, and, with the perfect proficiency, can be extended infinitely (this stage automatically leads you to formless jhanic attainments). Thus, while in jhana, you can select (if you want) the "theme" of your in-jhanic perception: element, color, space, consciousness itself. It seems like in "normal" jhana you can see different things by some kind of inner vision, inner perception, but you can also throw away everything leaving only one aspect (like "water element") and then develop your perception by grapsing to this aspect only. If you do that, you will percieve only "water" or only "blue" or only "space", etc. Then you try to extend this kind of perception in all directions - above, below, across (just like brahmaviharas), or, if this is difficult, only across - it is mentioned in a very intersting sutta MN 127:

Here a bhikkhu abides resolved
upon an area the size of the roots of two or three trees, pervading
it as exalted: this too is called the exalted deliverance of
mind. Here a bhikkhu abides resolved upon an area the size of
one village, pervading it as exalted…an area the size of
two or three villages…an area the size of one major kingdom…
an area the size of two or three major kingdoms…an area the
size of the earth bounded by the ocean, pervading it as exalted.


Why should one do that - suttas do not say, except that this is (generally) useful and helps to reach nibbana. However, commentaries mention that proficiency in totalities is connected with the development of supernomal powers like levitation and so on (there is some logic if we take elemental kasinas, but I don't know what role color kasinas play here). As for the rest 2 types: space and consiousness kasinas - this is quite obvious: they are simply 1st and 2nd (out of 4) formless attainments, known as "sphere of infinite space" and "sphere of infinite consciousness". Interesting to notice, though, that suttas (AN 10.29) say that "consciousness kasina" is the highest, the best one; and well, among all those attainments 2nd arupa-sphere is indeed the highest. However, still, the "best" and "highest" type of perception ever possible is 3rd arupa-sphere named "sphere of nothingness" which is attained by transcending "sphere of infinite consciousness".

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by mal4mac » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:41 pm

Zom wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:39 pm
From my understanding, totalities are developed by working with your own in-jhanic perception, which can be extended by overcoming the limits of your own body, and, with the perfect proficiency, can be extended infinitely (this stage automatically leads you to formless jhanic attainments).
From my understanding, which might (of course) be wrong, "it's all in the mind", even the feeling of "spaciousness", which seems like you might be overcoming the limits of your own body, as you float in a grand canyon-like space that you somehow "perceive" to be around you. My interpretation has some support from Analayo, who points out the Buddha described jhãna states purely in psychological terms, without using mystical or supernatural explanations. He suggests one should regard absorption as merely a product of the mind, a conditioned and volitionally produced experience. (p.181)
- Mal

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by Zom » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:07 pm

My interpretation has some support from Analayo, who points out the Buddha described jhãna states purely in psychological terms, without using mystical or supernatural explanations. He suggests one should regard absorption as merely a product of the mind, a conditioned and volitionally produced experience.
Yes, it is a product of mind (better to say, not a product, but a state). But then, what is the mind itself? Why do you think it must be always limited to a physical body and cannot be extended not virtually, but realistically? Especially that Buddha says from time to time: "consiousness can be distant or close". And without a doubt jhanas are connected directly with both mystical and supernatural things like levitation, water walking, walking though the walls, creating fire out of nowhere, and even creating physical clones of your own body. While jhanas themselves are called "uttari-manussa dhamma" (super-human or above-human phenomenon).

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:21 am

Zom wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:07 pm
My interpretation has some support from Analayo, who points out the Buddha described jhãna states purely in psychological terms, without using mystical or supernatural explanations. He suggests one should regard absorption as merely a product of the mind, a conditioned and volitionally produced experience.
Yes, it is a product of mind (better to say, not a product, but a state). But then, what is the mind itself? Why do you think it must be always limited to a physical body and cannot be extended not virtually, but realistically? Especially that Buddha says from time to time: "consiousness can be distant or close". And without a doubt jhanas are connected directly with both mystical and supernatural things like levitation, water walking, walking though the walls, creating fire out of nowhere, and even creating physical clones of your own body. While jhanas themselves are called "uttari-manussa dhamma" (super-human or above-human phenomenon).
The body is still the basis for mind. Whether mundane or supramundane experiences, mind and body are not separate. It also has nothing to do with what we think they are.

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Re: Kasina meditations taught by the Buddha or no?

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:32 am

mal4mac wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:44 pm
Contemplation of earth and water comes from observing the physical sensations of the solid and liquid parts of the body. Awareness of fire comes from noting body temperature. Air is covered by the breath. https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... t-path.pdf p.150
Though this awareness seems mostly to be based on derived form, experience via the sense bases.
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