Meditation on universals (kasina)?

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    • #43837

      AN 10.25: Kasiṇasutta – Mahāsaṅgīti Tipiṭaka Buddhavasse 2500 (

      #1. What is the idea / concept / benefit behind meditation on universals (kasina) listed in the sutta above? 

      #2. What is supposed to be meditated upon or perceived based on what is mentioned below?

      “Someone perceives the meditation on universal earth above, below, across, undivided and limitless”

      Pathavīkasiṇameko sañjānāti uddhaṁ adho tiriyaṁ advayaṁ appamāṇaṁ;

      “They perceive the meditation on universal consciousness above, below, across, undivided and limitless.”

      viññāṇakasiṇameko sañjānāti uddhaṁ adho tiriyaṁ advayaṁ appamāṇaṁ (I’m guessing this line is about arupa jhana’s?)

      #3. Kinda related to question #1. In the sutta and others about kasina, it also lists 4 different colors. Blue, yellow, red and white. What’s the idea / concept / benefit of meditating on the 4 different colors or how it’s associated with Buddhist meditation?  

      If I’m correct or remembered correctly, when someone enters the 4th jhana, one would see white light?  



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    • #43840

      1. There is no specific kasina meditation in Buddha Dhamma.

      2. Those who follow the Visuddhimagga foolishly follow Vedic kasina meditations using “kasina objects” such as a water bowl, clay ball, etc.

      3. Buddha Dhamma has only one “meditation”: Satipatthana (same as Anapanasati.)

      4. In the “Mahārāhulovāda Sutta (MN 62)” the Buddha instructed Ven. Rahula to contemplate on the nature of pathavi, tejo, vayo, etc., as preparation for the cultivation of Satipatthana/Anapanasati.

      5. One can get to jhanas by cultivating Satipatthana/Anapanasati. I have not cultivated jhana. The following description is from Waharaka Thero.

      • If one cultivates the fourth jhana to the highest degree, one is getting close to transcending both the “kama loka” and “rupa loka” and approaching the “arupa loka.
      • That is when one loses all perception of a “physical body” or “any rupa” and a white environment is the only thing one is aware of. It is not a “white light” per se.

      6. Someone who has gotten to that stage is able to discern the effect described in the sutta you quoted in #2 of your comment: “Someone perceives the meditation on universal earth above, below, across, undivided and limitless.”

      7. The point is that there is no specific “kasina mediation” with kasina objects in Buddha Dhamma.

      • The goal is to stop the rebirth process, not cultivate jhana or kasina.
      • However, some people automatically get those on the way to Arahanthood. They may be able to experience the effects described in AN 10.25.

      8. We have discussed some of this previously: “Kasina meditation?

      9. Incidentally, I came across a discourse by Waharaka Thero yesterday, where he stated that he got to the highest arupavacara samapatti (after sequentially going through the four jhanas) JUST ONCE. Of course, he may have gotten to jhanas (up to the fourth jhana), but he did not elaborate on his jhanic experiences. He always emphasized the need to get to magga phala.

      • H described being aware of the “infinite space” at the first arupavacara samapatti (Ākāsānancāyatana), then the infinite vinnana ( Viññāṇañcāyatana), up to Neva­saññā­nā­sañ­ñāyata­na during that episode.
      • However, I have not heard him mention experiencing kasina as described in AN 10.25.

      10. We also know that one needs to get to the Sotapanna stage before being able to cultivate the Noble version of the Satipatthana/Anapanasati. It is best to focus on that unless one is confident that one has already attained it.

      • Even after that, the focus should be on getting to the higher stages of magga phala
      • Jhana, samapatti, etc., are nice to have but not necessary. We all have attained the anariya versions of Jhana and samapatti uncountable times in our deep past. Jhanas correspond to the mental states of rupavacara Brahmas, and arupavacara samapatti correspond to those of arupavacara Brahmas. We have been born in all those realms uncountable times! What is the point? Of course, some people may get those on the way, and that is a bonus.
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    • #43850

      I thought of writing down a few points to think about.

      1. For most people, “meditation” automatically brings up to the mind an image of someone sitting in the lotus position with eyes closed and in “deep meditation.”

      2. That may be true for Vedic “breath meditation” (Prānāyāma) or even “being mindful for calming the mind”: “How to Meditate.”

      • There is no question that those techniques will help calm the mind and bring some “peace of mind” to those living hectic lives.
      • But “Buddhist meditation” goes much deeper.

      3. The correct “Buddhist mediation” is not for such temporary relief. It is focused on ending ANY trace of suffering in the rebirth process, not just in this life. 

      • But one must first understand this “long-term suffering” that Buddha taught. Before fully understanding that (and becoming a Sotapanna Anugami), one cannot even start on the correct Buddhist meditation. 
      • I have started a new series of posts to emphasize this and explain the process: “Buddhism – In Charts.”

      4. Only after one comprehends the “broader worldview of the Buddha” that one will realize that one needs to be engaged with “meditation” in every waking moment. 

      • Thus, the first step is to become a Sotapanna/Sotapanna Anugami by getting to the first step in the Noble Eightfold Path, i.e., Samma Ditthi. 
      • The first type of “Bhavana” or “meditation” in Buddha Dhamma to get to this stage mostly involve learning the “broader worldview of the Buddha” from an Ariya/Noble Person (listening or reading) and then contemplating those concepts and grasping those concepts. That involves learning Four Noble Truths, Paticca Samuppada, Tilkkhana, etc.

      5. After that, one must follow that Path and complete the rest of the steps. That is the second type of “Bhavana” or “meditation” in Buddha Dhamma.

      • That simply means “living according to the principles learned to overcome the rebirth process: Samma sankappa (right thoughts), Samma Vaca (right speech), Samma Kammanta (right actions), Samma Ajiva (right livelihood), Samma Vayama (right effort), Samma Sati (right focus), and Samma Samadhi (right mindset of an Arahant).
      • One must try to think “right thoughts” and discard any “immoral thoughts,” for example. Does not that involve every waking moment? Same for speech, actions, and livelihood. 
      • That is not about getting jhanas, samapatti, etc., even though some people may get those too.

      6. Note that the Buddha taught that one can AND should “meditate” in all four postures: sitting, standing, walking, and lying down.

      • Of course, a part of that can involve formal meditation sessions in the sitting position where one contemplates Dhamma concepts AND cultivate the anicca, dukkha, and anatta nature of this world. 
      • The Budha taught Satipatthana/Anapanasati to formalize and streamline that process. Those steps involve contemplating the nature of one’s physical body, how to contemplate Tilakkhana (while reviewing Paticca Samuppada), etc. That involves formal meditation sessions. One only gets a taste of Paticca Samuppada at the Sotapanna stage.

      7. Such a “formal meditation session” may be used even before getting to the Sotapanna stage, where one can contemplate and try to piece together Dhamma concepts.

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