Open main menu

In Theravada Buddhism as summarized by the Visuddhimagga, kasiṇa (Pali; Sanskrit: kṛtsna) refers to a class of basic visual objects of meditation.

Contents

List of kasiṇaEdit

There are ten kasiṇa described in the Visuddhimagga, which are mentioned in the Pali Tipitaka:[1]

  1. earth (paṭhavī kasiṇa),
  2. water (āpo kasiṇa),
  3. fire (tejo kasiṇa),
  4. air, wind (vāyo kasiṇa),
  5. blue, green (nīla kasiṇa),
  6. yellow (pīta kasiṇa),
  7. red (lohita kasiṇa),
  8. white (odāta kasiṇa),
  9. enclosed space, hole, aperture (ākāsa kasiṇa),
  10. consciousness (viññāṇa kasiṇa) in the Pali suttas and some other texts; bright light (āloka kasiṇa) according to later sources, such as Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga.

The kasiṇa are typically described as a colored disk, with the particular color, properties, dimensions and medium often specified according to the type of kasiṇa. The earth kasiṇa, for instance, is a disk in a red-brown color formed by spreading earth or clay (or another medium producing similar color and texture) on a screen of canvas or another backing material.

Concentration meditation methodEdit

Kasiṇa meditation is a concentration meditation intended to settle the mind of the practitioner and create a foundation for further practices of meditation. In the early stages of kasiṇa meditation, a physical object is used as the object of meditation, being focused upon by the practitioner until an eidetic image of the object forms in the practitioner's mind. In more advanced levels of kasiṇa meditation, only a mental image of the kasiṇa is used as an object of meditation. Unlike the breath, Buddhist tradition indicates that some kasiṇa are not appropriate objects for certain higher levels of meditation, nor for meditation of the vipassana (insight) type.

The Visuddhimagga is centered around kasina-meditation, a form of concentration-meditation in which the mind is focused on a (mental) object.[2] According to Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "[t]he text then tries to fit all other meditation methods into the mold of kasina practice, so that they too give rise to countersigns, but even by its own admission, breath meditation does not fit well into the mold."[2] In its emphasis on kasina-meditation, the Visuddhimagga departs from the Pali Canon, in which dhyana is the central meditative practice, indicating that what "jhana means in the commentaries is something quite different from what it means in the Canon."[2]

AbilitiesEdit

According to scholars, the Visuddhimagga is one of the extremely rare texts within the enormous literatures of various forms of Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism to give explicit details about how spiritual masters were thought to actually manifest supernormal abilities.[3] Abilities such as flying through the air, walking through solid obstructions, diving into the ground, walking on water and so forth are performed by changing one element, such as earth, into another element, such as air.[4] The individual must master kasina meditation before this is possible.[5] Dipa Ma, who trained via the Visuddhimagga, was said to demonstrate these abilities.[6]

Although practice with kasiṇas is associated with the Theravāda tradition, it appears to have been more widely known among various Buddhist schools in India at one time. Asanga makes reference to kasiṇas in the Samāhitabhūmi section of his Yogācārabhūmi.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ A.v.36, A.v.46-60, M.ii.14; D.iii.268, 290; Nett.89, 112; Dhs.202; Ps.i.6, 95
  2. ^ a b c Bhikkhu Thanissaro, Concentration and Discernment
  3. ^ Jacobsen, edited by Knut A. (2011). Yoga Powers. Leiden: Brill. p. 93. ISBN 9789004212145.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Jacobsen, edited by Knut A. (2011). Yoga Powers. Leiden: Brill. p. 83-86. ISBN 9789004212145.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Jacobsen, edited by Knut A. (2011). Yoga Powers. Leiden: Brill. p. 83-86. ISBN 9789004212145.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Schmidt, Amy (2005). Dipa Ma. Windhorse Publications Ltd. p. Chapter 9 At Home in Strange Realms.
  7. ^ Buddhist Insight: Essays by Alex Wayman. Motilal Banarsidass: 1984 ISBN 0-89581-041-7 pg 76

External linksEdit