Pali Term: Nīla, Pīta, Lohita - Kasiṇa colors

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Pali Term: Nīla, Pīta, Lohita - Kasiṇa colors

Postby Dmytro » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:07 pm

Hello Pali friends,

Pali suttas (Mahaparinibbana sutta and others) describe jhana on such colors as "nīla", "pīta", "lohita", "odāta". The same colors are applied in the Indian primary sources on yoga. However in modern works these terms are treated differently, in particular "nīla" is described as dark blue, blue-green, brown, or even black color.

Generally "nīla" can mean all sorts of bluish, "cold" colors, including dark saphire blue (niila-ma.ni) and "pīta" can mean all sorts of yellowish, "warm" colors.
http://www.voiceofcolor.com/en/aboutcol ... /index.asp
However in the context of jhana the meanings of these terms are more exact.

Here's a passage from Mahaparinibbana sutta, DN 2.111:

“Ajjhattaṃ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati nīlāni nīlavaṇṇāni nīlanidassanāni nīlanibhāsāni. seyyathāpi nāma umāpupphaṃ nīlaṃ nīlavaṇṇaṃ nīlanidassanaṃ nīlanibhāsaṃ. seyyathā vā pana taṃ vatthaṃ bārāṇaseyyakaṃ ubhatobhāgavimaṭṭhaṃ nīlaṃ nīlavaṇṇaṃ nīlanidassanaṃ nīlanibhāsaṃ. evameva ajjhattaṃ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati nīlāni nīlavaṇṇāni nīlanidassanāni nīlanibhāsāni. ‘tāni abhibhuyya jānāmi passāmī’ti evaṃsaññī hoti. idaṃ pañcamaṃ abhibhāyatanaṃ.

“Ajjhattaṃ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati pītāni pītavaṇṇāni pītanidassanāni pītanibhāsāni. seyyathāpi nāma kaṇikārapupphaṃ pītaṃ pītavaṇṇaṃ pītanidassanaṃ pītanibhāsaṃ. seyyathā vā pana taṃ vatthaṃ bārāṇaseyyakaṃ ubhatobhāgavimaṭṭhaṃ pītaṃ pītavaṇṇaṃ pītanidassanaṃ pītanibhāsaṃ. evameva ajjhattaṃ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati pītāni pītavaṇṇāni pītanidassanāni pītanibhāsāni. ‘tāni abhibhuyya jānāmi passāmī’ti evaṃsaññī hoti. idaṃ chaṭṭhaṃ abhibhāyatanaṃ.

“Ajjhattaṃ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati lohitakāni lohitakavaṇṇāni lohitakanidassanāni lohitakanibhāsāni. seyyathāpi nāma bandhujīvakapupphaṃ lohitakaṃ lohitakavaṇṇaṃ lohitakanidassanaṃ lohitakanibhāsaṃ. seyyathā vā pana taṃ vatthaṃ bārāṇaseyyakaṃ ubhatobhāgavimaṭṭhaṃ lohitakaṃ lohitakavaṇṇaṃ lohitakanidassanaṃ lohitakanibhāsaṃ. evameva ajjhattaṃ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati lohitakāni lohitakavaṇṇāni lohitakanidassanāni lohitakanibhāsāni. ‘tāni abhibhuyya jānāmi passāmī’ti evaṃsaññī hoti. idaṃ sattamaṃ abhibhāyatanaṃ.

“Ajjhattaṃ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati odātāni odātavaṇṇāni odātanidassanāni odātanibhāsāni. seyyathāpi nāma osadhitārakā odātā odātavaṇṇā odātanidassanā odātanibhāsā. seyyathā vā pana taṃ vatthaṃ bārāṇaseyyakaṃ ubhatobhāgavimaṭṭhaṃ odātaṃ odātavaṇṇaṃ odātanidassanaṃ odātanibhāsaṃ. evameva ajjhattaṃ arūpasaññī eko bahiddhā rūpāni passati odātāni odātavaṇṇāni odātanidassanāni odātanibhāsāni. ‘tāni abhibhuyya jānāmi passāmī’ti evaṃsaññī hoti. idaṃ aṭṭhamaṃ abhibhāyatanaṃ. imāni kho, ānanda, aṭṭha abhibhāyatanāni.


The term "оdāta" clearly means 'white' color. In Pali it is described as color of a morning star "osadhi-tārakā". Nevertheless it is not absolutely clear, which star (or a planet) it is. According to Monier-Williams dictionary, the Sanskrit equivalent "uśana-stārakā " is planet Venus, which appears above horizon in the morning and shines brightly.

"Nīla" is described as a color of the flower "ummaka" (flax, Linum usitatissimum), that is cyan (turquoise). See first picture below.

Vimuttimagga also gives comparison with the flower "asita". Probably, this is modified "atasī ", flax (Linum Usitatissimum).

"Pīta" is described as a color of the flower "kaṇikāra". Apparently, interpretation of this flower in the dictionary Rhys-Davids as "Pterospermum Acerifolium" is erroneous, as these flowers are white (though there may be a version with yellow colors). According to Monier-Williams dictionary, there is one more equivalent for "karṇikāra" – "Cathartocarpus fistula", or "Cassia fistula". See second picture below.

"Lohita" is described as a color of the flower "Bandhujīvaka". All sources (including Indian, http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz/encycloped ... udies1.htm , unanimously state that it is "Pentapetes phoenicia" (see third picture below), with purple-colored flowers.

On the basis of these descriptions the conclusion can be made, that this is a list of primary colours from CMYK color scheme (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key), widely used in modern polygraphy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CMYK

Since all other colors are a combination of primary ones, it seems that the primary colors give best results when used in concentration.

Metta, Dmytro
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Dmytro
 
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