suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.
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suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby dharmaamrita » Sat May 07, 2011 3:06 pm

where in the suttas are kasinas described? As described in the vishudhimagga?

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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby bodom » Sat May 07, 2011 3:30 pm

The Kasinas are enumerated in AN 10:29.

The following is Nyanatiloka's translation from The Buddhas Path to Deliverance:

There are ten kasina spheres, O monks. And which are these?

Herein someone perceives earth as his kasina, above, below, round about, undivided, without bounds.
Again, someone perceives water as his kasina...fire...wind...blue...yellow...red...white...space...consciousness,
above, below, round about, undivided, without bounds.

These are the ten kasina spheres, O monks. It is considered as the highest of these kasina spheres, however,
for someone to perceive consciousness as his kasina, above, below, round about, undivided, without bounds.

There are beings with such perception, O monks. But also regarding the beings with such perception, there
my be noticed impermanence and change. Understanding thus, O monks, the wise noble disciple turns away from it.
And turning away from it he becomes detached from the highest, how much more so from lower things.


http://books.google.com/books?id=kLQzuaw3xUYC

I highly recommend checking the link above as Nyanatiloka provides other sutta sources and additional notes
on the practice of the kasina meditations.

:anjali:
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: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby dharmaamrita » Sat May 07, 2011 4:47 pm

thank you bodom! This was exactly what i wanted. Metta :-)

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Re: suttas and the kasinas (vishudhimagga)

Postby mirco » Sat May 07, 2011 8:23 pm

Not quite often, ain't it?

I don't get, why this object of meditation is rarely found in the suttas but stressed that much in the VM and takes much space in meditation teaching.

If it was that meaningfull as it is treated today, why did the Buddha did not teach it more often, e.g. like anapanasati or metta?

Just wondering...



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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 07, 2011 9:21 pm

The ten Kasisnas are also in, at least, MN 77 http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2S ... yi-e1.html

My view is that the Suttas are very light on specific meditation instructions. These techniques were taught by personal instruction (as today - see the sutta reference below), and it is likely that the various concentration techniques were common knowledge among various sects at the time. Even with regard to the Ananpanasati Sutta, which is by far the most detailed sutta in terms of technique there are long threads here discussing exactly how one might implement it, and whole books by a variety of modern teachers with quite different interpretations of how to use that Sutta in practice.

This lack of specifics in technique is, perhaps, because it's not the specific technique that is important, but the result. So it is important to measure one's experience against suttas describing right concentration, mindfulness etc, but not so important to worry about which particular object one used for concentration (for example) and whether that object was one that the Buddha taught.

Given suttas such as: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html where the Buddha tells his followers to ask someone skilled in tranquillity and/or insight for specific instructions, my view is that searching for detailed instructions on such matters in the suttas is likely to be a futile exercise.

:anjali:
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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby dharmaamrita » Sat May 07, 2011 9:28 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Actually, it's also in some of the MN Suttas. I'll try to find the reference later.

My view is that the Suttas are very light on specific instructions. These techniques were taught by personal instruction (as today - see the sutta reference below), and it is likely that the various concentration techniques were common knowledge among various sects at the time. Even with regard to the Ananpanasati Sutta, which is by far the most detailed sutta in terms of technique there are long threads here discussing exactly how one might implement it, and whole books by a variety of modern teachers with quite different interpretations of how to use that Sutta in practice.

This lack of specifics in technique is, perhaps, because it's not the specific technique that is important, but the result. So it is important to measure one's experience against suttas describing right concentration, mindfulness etc, but not so important to worry about which particular object one used for concentration (for example) and whether that object was one that the Buddha taught.

Given suttas such as: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html where the Buddha tells his followers to ask someone skilled in tranquillity and/or insight for specific instructions, my view is that searching for detailed instructions on such matters in the suttas is likely to be a futile exercise.

:anjali:
Mike

its mentioned in MN77. From the suttas it seems the Buddha stressed anapanasati to enter the jhanas. Rarely does he mention the kasinas. Yet the VM gives a lengthy explaination of the kasinas as objects for meditation.

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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 07, 2011 9:46 pm

dharmaamrita wrote: From the suttas it seems the Buddha stressed anapanasati to enter the jhanas. Rarely does he mention the kasinas. Yet the VM gives a lengthy explaination of the kasinas as objects for meditation.

It would be interesting to do some counting, but my impression is that in most cases there is no mention of technique at all.

In numerous suttas (e.g. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.027.than.html)we have this:
"Having abandoned these five hindrances — imperfections of awareness that weaken discernment — then, quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation.


And, by the way, in the MN version of the Anapanasati Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html there is a nice description of how the different senior Bhikkhus were instructing various numbers of junior Bhikkhus:
On that occasion the elder monks were teaching & instructing. Some elder monks were teaching & instructing ten monks, some were teaching & instructing twenty monks, some were teaching & instructing thirty monks, some were teaching & instructing forty monks. The new monks, being taught & instructed by the elder monks, were discerning grand, successive distinctions.

But, of course, no mention of exactly how they were teaching...

:anjali:
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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby dharmaamrita » Sat May 07, 2011 9:59 pm

well i havent advanced much in my training and im from a place lacking a buddhist teacher. So the suttas provide me with most help. Does it mean perhaps that when one overcomes the 5 hindrances and withdraws completely from sensual lust then one enters the first jhana automaticly through practice of everyday mindfulness and vipassana without using kasinas. Its unfortunate the suttas dont expound the actual practice of meditation in a lot of detail.

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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 07, 2011 10:03 pm

Greetings,

I think there's a certain degree of pragmatism involved to the extent that if a meditation 'technique' can achieve the intended aims in relation to jhana and samadhi, it wouldn't matter if it were a case of sitting cross-legged or sitting on one's head.

I'd be very surprised if kasinas didn't pre-date the Buddha, and if the Buddha saw that certain ascetics were already proficient in achieving jhana through this method, it hard to see why he would then turn around and go, "No, actually, that method is no good... you must do this way instead". Anapanasati, kasina, sitting on your head.... so long as there could be Right Samadhi when the technique was conjoined with Right View, I don't think there would have been a problem.

The comparative lack of references in the Sutta Pitaka though would presumably indicate though that it wasn't the Buddha's 'technique of choice'.

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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby Ben » Sat May 07, 2011 10:09 pm

Hi Retro

The jhanas actually predate the Buddha. In the Noble Search, the Buddha talks of his two teachers who taught him the seventh and eighth jhanas. Also, anapana-sati predated the Buddha. In another sutta, I don't recall which one, the Buddha talks of attending a festival when he was either four or six and then sitting under a tree, started observing respiration and experienced the first jhana.
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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby bodom » Sat May 07, 2011 10:13 pm

retrofuturist wrote:The comparative lack of references in the Sutta Pitaka though would presumably indicate though that it wasn't the Buddha's 'technique of choice'


Yes the Buddha favored anapanasati more than any other technique it seems from reading the sutta's. He often went off on solitary retreats to practice mindfulness of breathing. In the Samyutta Nikaya,the Buddha himself called Anapanasati the "Dwelling of the Tathagata".

:anjali:
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: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby Alex123 » Sun May 08, 2011 2:37 am

bodom wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:The comparative lack of references in the Sutta Pitaka though would presumably indicate though that it wasn't the Buddha's 'technique of choice'


Yes the Buddha favored anapanasati more than any other technique it seems from reading the sutta's. He often went off on solitary retreats to practice mindfulness of breathing. In the Samyutta Nikaya,the Buddha himself called Anapanasati the "Dwelling of the Tathagata".

:anjali:


The word that includes kasiṇa are mentioned about 352 times in the Tipiṭaka.
ānāpāna is mentioned 183 times in the Tipiṭaka.

(I did e-search for *kasiṇ* and *ānāpāna* in Tipiṭaka )

So, it is not so rare. The only thing is that instructions for them seem to be somewhat lacking in the suttas. But the more precise instructions could have been explained in the commentaries, or it was something a practitioner had to figure out by himself. The most important is the purpose that one uses them for. Awakening is not a matter of dialing in correct ritual actions to create some magical effect. It is about fading away of all craving (taṇhā). Since each of us have our own internal and external conditions, the exact specifics for each of us may differ. So there may not be "one-size-fits-all" sort of teaching. Maybe each of us has to use our own ingenuity to find a specific application that works for us.
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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby Kenshou » Sun May 08, 2011 3:57 am

Alex123 wrote:The word that includes kasiṇa are mentioned about 352 times in the Tipiṭaka.
ānāpāna is mentioned 183 times in the Tipiṭaka.

I would wonder how many of each entry is in each pitaka, though.

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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby daverupa » Sun May 08, 2011 4:14 am

Kenshou wrote:
Alex123 wrote:The word that includes kasiṇa are mentioned about 352 times in the Tipiṭaka.
ānāpāna is mentioned 183 times in the Tipiṭaka.

I would wonder how many of each entry is in each pitaka, though.


It's a good point.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby serg_o » Sun May 08, 2011 6:04 am

Hello,
I suppose a kind of meditation somewhat analogous to what Buddhaghosa describes is in Culasunnata sutta - The lesser sutta about voidness. Buddha says there:
"Further, Ananda, the monk — not attending to the perception of human being, not attending to the perception of wilderness — attends to the singleness based on the perception of earth. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of earth. Just as a bull's hide is stretched free from wrinkles with a hundred stakes, even so — without attending to all the ridges & hollows, the river ravines, the tracts of stumps & thorns, the craggy irregularities of this earth — he attends to the singleness based on the perception of earth. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of earth.

AFAIK according to buddhist cosmology the Earth is flat and of sircle form.
http://www.buddhisme-videnskab.dk/files ... mology.pdf
So here the attention is to this great Earth circle. At the next stage:
"Further, Ananda, the monk — not attending to the perception of wilderness, not attending to the perception of earth — attends to the singleness based on the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space.

And what do we see in Visuddhimagga? First a meditator attends to a sircle of clay (representing earth element) I suppose about the size of a plate. Then he attends to the image of such a sircle in his mind.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/bits/bits061.htm
So Buddhagosa writes about contemplating a hand-made circle and Buddha speaks of contemplating the circle of Earth. Really there are no details about what is meant by earth in the sutta, so "the circle of Earth" is my assumption.

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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby rowyourboat » Sun May 08, 2011 1:45 pm

Hi Serg_o,

It could also be the mental image of earth- it is possible to make this 'boundless' etc and play with it in the mind. It does give rise to quite a bit of samadhi. Apart from that function, I suppose it is good to notice the impermanence of such images/objects/colours and free your mind from any attachment to those aspects of Rupa/sensuality.

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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby Alex123 » Sun May 08, 2011 1:54 pm

Kenshou wrote:
Alex123 wrote:The word that includes kasiṇa are mentioned about 352 times in the Tipiṭaka.
ānāpāna is mentioned 183 times in the Tipiṭaka.

I would wonder how many of each entry is in each pitaka, though.


DN, MN, SN, AN, KN, Vin, Abh
kasiṇa: 22,13,0,50,108,0,159
ānāpāna: 2,20,94,15,45,4,2

Is that what you were asking?
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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby LastLegend » Sun May 08, 2011 3:01 pm

With specific techniques, Buddha did not talk of such because we have different capacities. And for Buddha to say specific techniques would be attachment to techniques on his part-unless what he said can be applied to all.

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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby Alex123 » Sun May 08, 2011 3:51 pm

LastLegend wrote:With specific techniques, Buddha did not talk of such because we have different capacities. And for Buddha to say specific techniques would be attachment to techniques on his part-unless what he said can be applied to all.


IMHO, is that there is no "one-size-fits-and-explains-everything" set of instructions. Each of us have different specifics, and the precise instructions have to be fitted for each of us specifically and for specific circumstances that we are in. Different things are required at different times and for different defilements and obstructions. Ultimately one would have to develop his/her own ingenuity and use what would work on that specific occasion. The "vagueness" of instructions may be due to the Buddha giving us the"bare bones" of practice which we would have to flesh out during actual practice in the way that works for you for that occasion. There very well may be different variations in how one uses the same subject on different occasions to deal with different minor issues. It may be impossible to catalog every single variation that can occur for people that would practice not only in 5th century BC in India, but in modern world.

Ultimately Dhamma is not found in words, but in your own experience. Somethings you just cannot be adequately put into words, and if every single variation of even one meditation subject were fully explained, that could take thousands and thousands of pages of words - or maybe even more... And words only point to something, they are not real thing. Word "food" cannot ever satisfy your hunger. Actual food does.

The point is that practice leads to more and more fading of craving & ignorance. Exact specifics of, lets say, anapana, may differ. Maybe clinging to "this is the only way to do it, all other ways are false" is itself clinging to rites and rituals...
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Re: suttas and the kasinas(vishudhimagga)

Postby mirco » Sun May 08, 2011 4:07 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Kenshou wrote:
Alex123 wrote:The word that includes kasiṇa are mentioned about 352 times in the Tipiṭaka. ānāpāna is mentioned 183 times in the Tipiṭaka.
I would wonder how many of each entry is in each pitaka, though.
DN, MN, SN, AN, KN, Vin, Abh
kasiṇa: 22, 13, 0, 50, 108, 0, 159
ānāpāna: 2, 20, 94, 15, 45, 4, 2

The Abhi-Dhamma does not belong to the discourses
and what I think is that it doesn't count in this comparison.

And don't forget about the brahmavihāras.


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