Practice Questions for Kasinas

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Alobha
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Practice Questions for Kasinas

Post by Alobha » Thu May 21, 2015 10:26 pm

Perhaps someone either can recommend a good source or has some experience and would like to offer some advice. I've taken a look at the Visuddhi Magga and didn't find the instructions very helpful (I found the descriptions rather obscure).

1. Are there ideal recommendations for the form when creating colour disks for the white, blue, red and yellow kasina? Round, but what else? I've taken plate-sizes and used coloured drawing paper. I'm confused as practically everything can be used for the kasinas (baskets full of blue flowers for the blue kasina, bones for the white kasina etc.) which will of course alter the visual experience drastically. Colourdisks have a very smooth, evenly colour without too much noise within the discs in my case. It would be very different for using flowerbaskets or other complex and multicoloured objects. I imagine that coloursdisks made during the Buddha's time might have looked rather uneven too (clay may show more structure for example than smooth paper). Do any of these differences matter for the meditation?

2. To stay with the colour disks: Are there recommendations for the distance from which to look at them?

3. Looking at the meditation object can be done in different ways and i'm unsure what the general attitude should be there. Should one focus and stay at one point (like the middle) of the disk with the eyes?
Or should one let the eyes wander around on the disk from time to time?
Should one blink? It refreshes the eyes but I feel like it "resets" the focus of the eyes.

4. Even more basic: While looking (or staring) at the colour disk, should one note the colour in the mind "blue, blue, blue" ? Should one imagine the word written on the disk?

5. The Visuddhi Maggha talks of "counterpart signs" which I understand as signs of developing concentration. Is this correct? Since the descriptions of them are so obscure I think it's better to just ignore this until something totally weird happens during the meditation which might then be a counterpart sign. Is anything speaking against this strategy?

paul
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Re: Practice Questions for Kasinas

Post by paul » Fri May 22, 2015 12:16 am

The Visuddhimagga should be one's reference for as your practical experience grows, relevant passages will begin to have invaluable meaning to you. It's a meditation manual, meant to be read in association with practical experience.
The most important thing at the outset is to understand the operation of the jhana factors and their application because they describe the stages in the process of concentration; applied thought, sustained thought, rapture, happiness and one-pointedness. You can look away, but when concentration begins to experience interest in the object (rapture), then you will be aware that by looking away, the momentum of the jhana factors subsides, so you have to apply discipline to keep that momentum building over hours. Happiness arises when the concentration begins to fix on the object.
http://www.buddhanet.net/mettab3.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mudita
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Re: Practice Questions for Kasinas

Post by Mudita » Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:25 pm

Hello,

the recommendation for the distance is two elbow room and a half (chapter 4 - Globality of the earth - paragraph 26 Warren-Kosambi edition).
In my understanding we can blink, it seems to "reset" the focus of the eyes but i think it's not important because the sign is a mental phenomena, not a physical perception. Also i think we can let our eyes wander in the disk, what is important is to be aware of the act of seeing the color, as in anapana practise what is the most important is not to observe the beginning or the ending of the breath but to know that we are breathing. The gaze will become stable naturally with the development of the concentration. I think it's also sufficient to observe the disk globally if we need, as long as we are aware of seeing the color. In that way, as for anapana practise, i think it is not needed to repeat the name of the color when we look at it nor to visualize it in the disk. But it can be helpful to do it if our mind is too agitated or too sleepy, as the method to count the breath-in and the breath-out or to say "breath-in" when we are breathing in and "breath-out" when we are breathing out, in anapana practise for the beginners. Repeat the name of the color can help to focus the mind on his object in some difficult situations but it's also tiresome if we do it constantly and there is a risk to sureptitiously focus our mind more on the word we repeat than on the color itself, and this way is naturally wrong.

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