The White Kasina

It says in the suttas, that the white kasina is the best of the four colour kasinas, because it makes the mind clear and bright. For that reason, I shall explain how to develop that one first.

To develop the white kasina, you should first re-establish the fourth anapana-jhana. When the light of concentration is bright, brilliant, and radiant, you should use it to discern the thirty-two parts of the body internally, then the thirty-two parts of the body externally, in a being nearby. Then discern just the skeleton part. If you want to discern it as repulsive you can do so, but if not simply discern the external skeleton.

Then take either the whitest place in that skeleton, or, if the whole skeleton is white, the whole skeleton, or the back of the skull, and concentrate on it as 'white, white'.

Alternatively, if you want to, and your concentration is really sharp, you can, if you have seen the internal skeleton as repulsive, and reached the first jhana, take that skeleton as white, and use that as your preliminary object.

You can also discern first the repulsiveness in an external skeleton, and make that perception stable and firm, thus making the white of the skeleton more evident. Then, you can change to the perception of it as 'white, white', and instead develop the white kasina.

With one of the objects of white in the external skeleton as object, you should practise to keep the mind calmly concentrated on that white object for one or two hours.

Because of the strength and momentum of the fourth jhana concentration based on mindfulness-of-breathing, you will find that your mind will stay calmly concentrated on the object of white. When you are able to concentrate on the white for one or two hours, you will find that the skeleton disappears and only a white circle remains.

When the white circle is white as cotton wool, it is the uggaha-nimitta (taken-up sign). When it is bright and clear like the morning star, it is the patibhaga-nimitta (counterpart sign). Before the uggaha-nimitta arises, the skeleton nimitta from which it arises, is the parikamma-nimitta (preparatory sign).

Continue to note the kasina as 'white, white' until it becomes the patibhaga-nimitta. Continue concentrating on the patibhaga-nimitta until you enter the first jhana. You will find, however, that this concentration is not very stable and does not last long. In order to make it stable and last a long time, you need to expand the nimitta.

To do this, you should concentrate on the white patibhaga-nimitta for one or two hours. Then determine to expand the white circle by one, two, three, or four inches, depending on how much you think you are able to expand it. See if you succeed, but do not try to expand the nimitta, without first determining a limit: make sure to determine a limit of one, two, three, or four inches.

While expanding the white circle, you may find that it becomes unstable. Then go back to noting it as 'white, white' to make it stable. But as your concentration increases the nimitta will become stable and calm.

When the first expanded nimitta has become stable, you should repeat the process, that is, again determine to expand it by a few inches. This way you can expand the nimitta in stages, until it is one yard in size, then two yards, and so on. Do this until it extends in all ten directions around you, without limit, and so that wherever you look, you see only white. Do it till you see not even a trace of materiality, whether internal or external. If you developed the white kasina in a past life, during this or a previous Buddha's dispensation, that is, if you have white kasina parami, then you will not need to expand the patibhaga-nimitta, because as you concentrate on it, it will automatically expand in all ten directions. You should in either case now keep your mind calmly concentrated on the expanded white kasina, and when it is stable, then just like hanging a hat on a hook, put your mind on one place in that white kasina. Keep your mind there, and continue to note 'white, white'.

When your mind is calm and stable, the white kasina will also be calm and stable, and will be exceedingly white, bright, and clear. This too is a patibhaga-nimitta, produced by expanding the original white kasina patibhaga-nimitta.

You must continue to meditate, until you can concentrate on that white kasina patibhaga-nimitta continuously for one or two hours. Then the jhana factors will become very prominent, clear, and strong in your mind, and you will have reached the first jhana. The five jhana factors are:

1. Applied thought (vitakka): directing and placing the mind on the white kasina.

2. Sustained thought (vicara): maintaining the mind on the white kasina.

3. Joy (piti): liking for the white kasina.

4. Bliss (sukha): happiness about the white kasina.

5. One-pointedness (ekaggata): one-pointedness of mind on the white kasina.

The jhana factors are together called jhana. In the way described in the talk on mindfulness-of-breathing, practise the five masteries of the first white kasina jhana, and then develop the second, third, and fourth jhanas.

The four jhanas are also called fine-material-plane jhanas, (rupavacara-jhana), because they may cause rebirth in the fine-material realm. But here we do not encourage the development of jhanas for the sake of attaining rebirth in the fine-material realm, but for the sake of using them as a basis for developing Vipassana meditation.

If you have developed the white kasina meditation up to the fourth jhana using the white of an external skeleton, then you will also be able to develop the brown, blue, or black kasina using external head hairs, the yellow kasina using external fat or urine, and the red kasina using external blood, etc. You can also use those parts in your own body.

When you have succeeded, you can develop the colour kasinas using the colour of also flowers, or other external objects. All blue and brown flowers are calling out, inviting you to develop the blue kasina. All yellow flowers are calling out, inviting you to develop the yellow kasina. All red flowers are calling out, inviting you to develop the red kasina. All white flowers are calling out, inviting you to develop the white kasina. Thus, a skilled meditator can use whatever he sees to develop kasina concentration and insight, be it animate or inanimate, internal or external.

According to the Pali texts, the Buddha taught ten kasinas. They are the mentioned four colour kasinas, plus a further six: the earth, water, fire, wind, space, and light kasinas.

Now, I would like to explain how to develop the remaining six types of kasina.

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