Light Kasina

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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tam
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:50 am

Light Kasina

Post by tam » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:13 am

Hello All,

First time poster, newbie practitioner.

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of sources regarding the Light Kasina? A friend of mine recently told me about their method of concentration they practice. She said that, when she concentrates, she can see a very bright light, and if she focuses, she can make lines go to this spot of light. When this happens, she said she can feel the core of their brain activating, and their focus becomes excellent, and she can then go on to remember things with photographic memory. This is all while her eyes are open, mind you.

I told her that this sounds very similar to the Light Kasina that I've read about in the Visuddhimagga. In particular, the learning sign of the kasina. Does anyone have any other resources apart from this text that my friend and I can take a look at? I'd like her help with the practice, and if I can learn something along the way, that would be great.

Sources I've found thus far: I well read through Wisdom Wide and Deep and The Path of Serenity and Insight as best I can, but if anyone can offer any help, I would be very much appreciative.

Thank you!

Peace,
Tam

paul
Posts: 1095
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Light Kasina

Post by paul » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:48 am

The Visuddhimagga is the main source of information on practical meditation. The Pa Auk Forest Monastery is the best learning centre for putting the theory into practice. Their chart gives an overview of the part played by kasina meditation and is divided into the three trainings in morality (1), concentration (2) and wisdom (3-7):
https://i2.wp.com/paauktawyausa.org/wp- ... =749%2C992

It is recommended you begin with the Four Elements meditation:
"Altogether, there are twelve characteristics:
1. Earth Element – hardness, roughness, heaviness, softness, smoothness, lightness
2. Water Element – flowing, cohesion
3. Fire Element – heat, coldness
4. Wind Element – supporting, pushing
1 According to the Sayadaw, strong concentration is one of the key factors to success, especially in the later stages of meditation.
25
II. SAMĀDHI (CONCENTRATION)
Your practice begins by discerning each of the twelve characteristics individually, starting with pushing, followed by hardness, roughness, heaviness, and so on. Eventually, you will be able to discern all twelve characteristics together. At that point, you will see only elements, not a person or self. As concentration develops, you will begin to see a smoky grey light.1 If you continue to concentrate on the four elements, that light will become whiter and brighter until your entire body appears as if it were a solid block of transparent ice. Maintaining your concentration on the four elements within that “block of ice,” you will see it begin to sparkle and emit light. When you can concentrate on the four elements in that sparkling form for at least half an hour, you have reached access concentration."---"Teaching and Training", Bikkhu Moneyya.

tam
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:50 am

Re: Light Kasina

Post by tam » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:47 am

Thank you Paul. I appreciate your input.

I'm a little confused by your samadhi instructions, to be honest. I suppose that's just a sign of my own lack of depth in samadhi?

paul
Posts: 1095
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Light Kasina

Post by paul » Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:05 am

Not at all, I can see you’re interested. But a common problem in meditation from beginner to advanced is the danger of being sidetracked by the samadhi effects rather than the purpose. Four Elements meditation is easy to understand and it’s described in the Visuddhimagga and also in “Teaching and Training”, and what you should be studying is how it leads to the realisation that the thing called “body, person”, is really a combination of impersonal elements. The interest in the benefits of samadhi as an indication of concentration must at some point be related to the context of sila, samadhi and panna.

tam
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:50 am

Re: Light Kasina

Post by tam » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:15 am

Indeed. You are right. My own jhanic practice is somewhat inconsistent, especially lately. Yet, my insight practice has continued to flourish, so I am unperturbed.

I have another friend that has access to the first formless jhana, the jhana of infinite space, and is currently working on the second formless jhana, the jahana of infinite consciousness. I told him that this is good to practice, but is not the goal. I have not explained to him about insight meditation yet as I believe he and his wife are still in the phase of building concentration. When they can sit for longer than 15 minutes, consistently, then I hope to introduce them to insight meditation. I have heard Ajahn Mun state that mere access concentration is enough for insight meditation, but I also feel I have read Ajahn Lee saying the opposite. What do you think is a good path forward for them?

tam
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:50 am

Re: Light Kasina

Post by tam » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:15 am

Indeed. You are right. My own jhanic practice is somewhat inconsistent, especially lately. Yet, my insight practice has continued to flourish, so I am unperturbed.

I have another friend that has access to the first formless jhana, the jhana of infinite space, and is currently working on the second formless jhana, the jahana of infinite consciousness. I told him that this is good to practice, but is not the goal. I have not explained to him about insight meditation yet as I believe he and his wife are still in the phase of building concentration. When they can sit for longer than 15 minutes, consistently, then I hope to introduce them to insight meditation. I have heard Ajahn Mun state that mere access concentration is enough for insight meditation, but I also feel I have read Ajahn Lee saying the opposite. What do you think is a good path forward for them?

paul
Posts: 1095
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Light Kasina

Post by paul » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:36 pm

The fact that you’ve naturally gravitated to insight and they are exploring jhana is an illustration that temperament plays a part in practice. Some temperaments, particularly the astrological earth signs are more placid and easily able to access jhana, but the danger for them is their practice will become unbalanced towards tranquility and they will become moribund on a Hindu path and you will have to guide them at that point. If they start talking about chakras etc. or develop idleness, you will know the time has come to step in and introduce insight meditation. But I would not be too critical of concentration as tranquility is a much needed quality in western countries.
On the other hand you yourself will reach a stage in the destruction of the defilements when the pleasure formerly obtained through sense desires has to be replaced by the pleasure of samadhi, and you will have to allow the mind to feed and stabilise your insight with serenity meditation. So in both cases it becomes a matter of balance of faculties.

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