Space kasina

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Space kasina

Postby Nibbida » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:41 pm

What would a person use to make a space kasina? (and don't say, "space.") In other words, would a person use some kind of an obect to surround the space to be used as a kasina?
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Re: Space kasina

Postby bodom » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:27 pm

From the visuddhimagga:

"One who is learning the space kasina apprehends the sign in a hole in the wall, or in keyhole, or in a window opening."

"One should make a hole a span and four fingers broad in a well- thatched hut, or in a piece of leather, or in a rush mat. He should develop one of these as ‘space, space’. " - V 24-42

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The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Space kasina

Postby Nibbida » Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:55 pm

Thanks :anjali:
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Re: Space kasina

Postby PeterB » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:03 pm

Its an interesting thought isnt it, contemplating the absence of a pattern. The space where the design isnt..
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Re: Space kasina

Postby Nibbida » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:31 pm

PeterB wrote:Its an interesting thought isnt it, contemplating the absence of a pattern. The space where the design isnt..



It is interesting. We're so object-focused that we scarcely take time to contemplate space.

What's also interesting is that a psychologist who teaches neurofeedback accidentally rediscovered this. His name is Les Fehmi and he developed a technique called "Open Focus." (If you search on the web for it, you'll find the book by that name and also his website.)

He was playing around with alpha synchrony and found that he couldn't "make" it happen. It only happned when he was about to give up and stopped trying to force it (i.e. equanimity). Then with further experimentation with a number of objects, he found that contemplating empty space was the most powerful way to evoke the alpha syncrhony. He later found out that the same technique has been used for millenia by Eastern mediation practices (e.g. space kasina, immaterial jhana). Alpha synchrony seems to be especially related to meditation and concentration. There is an increase in alpha waves when we are drowsy or in stage 1 sleep, but synchronized alpha waves seems mainly involved with meditation and concentration.
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Re: Space kasina

Postby gavesako » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:35 pm

Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Space kasina

Postby Freawaru » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:58 pm

gavesako wrote:Ajahn Sumedho on "Noticing Space":

http://buddhaspace.blogspot.com/2008/06 ... space.html


Dear Bhante,

is that space of awareness the same as the space kasina? Or are there different "spaces" ?
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Re: Space kasina

Postby gavesako » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:11 pm

It seems that the term "kasina" has taken on a different connotation by the time of the commentaries and Visuddhimagga. In the suttas, it just means "totality", i.e. a single quality filling one's whole sphere of awareness. This could be a colur, or it could just be the perception of "spaciousness" with no particular shape manifesting.
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Re: Space kasina

Postby Nibbida » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:36 pm

gavesako wrote:Ajahn Sumedho on "Noticing Space":

http://buddhaspace.blogspot.com/2008/06 ... space.html


This is great, thank you.
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Re: Space kasina

Postby Nibbida » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:53 am

If you really want to twist your melon on this, consider it from the point of view of emptiness (meaning suññata). All phenomena that we experience through the senses are empty of inherent existence, like foam (e.g. the Phena Sutta). We do not "see" the world around us. We see a virtual reality simulation, assembled in the mind from the shards of information that comes through the senses. When we look at the "world" around us, we're really looking at our own mind (and the same goes for hearing, touch, etc.)

The kicker is that it's impossible for us to see space or depth. Our retina is as thin as a piece of paper, so the image conveyed to the brain is completely flat. The only reason we perceive space is because our brain uses cues like size (nearer objects are larger), interposition (when one object obscures another it's assumed to be in front), linear perspective (things shrink toward a vanishing point on the horizon), binocular disparity (the images from the two eyes are slightly different), and others to infer depth. You've never seen depth in your life, only your mind's cobbled together interpretation of it.

So when we focus on an object, it's simpler: we focus on the mental image created initially by light on the retina. It may be a simplified, distorted perception of whatever actually exists (seemingly solid and separate), but it is a stimulus. When we focus on space, what are we focusing on? It's almost as if we're focusing on the process of inferring reality in the absence of an actual object.

I'm still mulling this one over.
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Re: Space kasina

Postby Freawaru » Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:37 pm

gavesako wrote:It seems that the term "kasina" has taken on a different connotation by the time of the commentaries and Visuddhimagga. In the suttas, it just means "totality", i.e. a single quality filling one's whole sphere of awareness. This could be a colur, or it could just be the perception of "spaciousness" with no particular shape manifesting.


Thank you, Bhante. :smile:
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Re: Space kasina

Postby SDC » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:43 pm

Nibbida wrote:If you really want to twist your melon on this, consider it from the point of view of emptiness (meaning suññata). All phenomena that we experience through the senses are empty of inherent existence, like foam (e.g. the Phena Sutta). We do not "see" the world around us. We see a virtual reality simulation, assembled in the mind from the shards of information that comes through the senses. When we look at the "world" around us, we're really looking at our own mind (and the same goes for hearing, touch, etc.)

The kicker is that it's impossible for us to see space or depth. Our retina is as thin as a piece of paper, so the image conveyed to the brain is completely flat. The only reason we perceive space is because our brain uses cues like size (nearer objects are larger), interposition (when one object obscures another it's assumed to be in front), linear perspective (things shrink toward a vanishing point on the horizon), binocular disparity (the images from the two eyes are slightly different), and others to infer depth. You've never seen depth in your life, only your mind's cobbled together interpretation of it.

So when we focus on an object, it's simpler: we focus on the mental image created initially by light on the retina. It may be a simplified, distorted perception of whatever actually exists (seemingly solid and separate), but it is a stimulus. When we focus on space, what are we focusing on? It's almost as if we're focusing on the process of inferring reality in the absence of an actual object.

I'm still mulling this one over.


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Re: Space kasina

Postby Nibbida » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:27 pm

I'm really having interesting results from focusing on space. I use it sometimes in meditation, but throughout the day, I find myself focusing on empty spaces as Ajahn Sumedho suggests. If this topic interests you at all, I highly recommend Les Fehmi's book The Open Focus Brain. It's no Visuddhimagga, of course, but it's really a nice discussion of focusing on space, expanding one's field of attention, and the numerous applications and benefits of the technique.

Here's an excerpt from the book on a practitioner who uses the technique to experience pain with more equanimity:

Image
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Re: Space kasina

Postby Nibbida » Tue May 18, 2010 3:29 am

Um, where did the picture go?
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Re: Space kasina

Postby Anicca » Tue May 18, 2010 4:32 am

Nibbida wrote:The kicker is that it's impossible for us to see space or depth.

1950's my father wanted to be an air traffic controller. Back then they used flat screen radar to represent 3d air space. The only thing they couldn't teach was how to make the mind "see" the isolated blips on the flat screen as 3d airspace populated with planes flying at different speeds, different directions and different altitudes.

This was a "make or break" ability for the controllers. Dad wanted it real bad - try as hard as he could --- he could not "see" it. Week after week he couldn't - time ran out on him - he was washed out - he couldn't make it to be an air traffic controller - they gave him his good-bye party in the radar room.

After the party he started to leave, but realized he'd left his coat across the room on the back of a chair. As he walked over to get it he glanced down at one of the screens and nonchalantly told the controller - "Watch out Joe, you've got a potential problem there" pointing down at the isolated blips on the screen... the room broke out in a cheer and after many years of controlling traffic and teaching he retired from the FAA.

Sorry if that was off-topic...
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Re: Space kasina

Postby pegembara » Tue May 18, 2010 5:18 am

The more one notices space the less objects grab ones attention. The objects could be sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch or thoughts.

Form depends on emptiness and emptiness on forms.

“Space is something that we tend not to notice, because it doesn’t grasp our attention, does it? It is not like a beautiful flower something really beautiful, or something really horrible – which pulls your attention right to it. You can be completely mesmerized in an instant by something fascinating, horrible or terrible; but you can’t do that with space, can you? To notice space you have to calm down – you have to contemplate it.”
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Space kasina

Postby Rui Sousa » Tue May 18, 2010 10:58 pm

Whenever I try to focus on space what pops into my mind is that space underlays everything, it is the common factor of all matter, it has no boundaries and reaches everywhere. That property of space becomes my object of focus, and I feel it really brings the mind together.
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