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What is Kasina Meditation & How To Do It (10 Simple Ways)

Let me guess – You are on this page because of two reasons. One of them is you are either wondering “What is Kasina Meditation?” or probably you have come across this term “Kasina Mediation” and looking for more clarity in terms of how to practice it? Give me five minutes and you will have all the answers.

History of Kasina Meditation

It is believed that when Gautam Buddha died his disciples wanted to preserve his teachings. During those times (i.e. 400 BC) most of his teachings were preserved in Pali language. The Pali Canon is one such standard collection of scriptures during the Buddhist tradition. This Canon was later passed from one generation to another and during the reign of King Asoka it was transmitted to Sri Lanka.

This ancient Buddhist text mentioned 40 visual objects for meditation. Out of these, ten visual objects were know as the kasinas. These visual objects were taken from earth’s different elements or their primary colors. The purpose was to simply gaze upon an object without developing any emotion or thought unto them. This gave rise to Kasina Meditation.

What is Kasina Meditation?

What is Kasina Meditation

Kasina Meditation is a form of concentration meditation. The objective is to sharpen the concentration skills and this is how novice meditators in the olden era used to master their concentration skills. All that was required was to simply gaze upon the object without creating or indulging in any thoughts. This was a very basic yet a profound practice which was fairly simple and did not require many skills. I shall now list the Ten Kasinas and thereafter we shall look into each of them in detail:

  1. Pathavi Kasina – Gazing upon earth
  2. Apo Kasina – Gazing upon water
  3. Tejo Kasina – Gazing upon fire
  4. Vayo Kasina – Gazing upon wind
  5. Odata Kasina – Gazing upon white color
  6. Pita Kasina – Gazing upon yellow color
  7. Lohita Kasina – Gazing upon red color
  8. Nila Kasina – Gazing upon green color
  9. Akasa Kasina – Gazing upon space, a hole or sky
  10. Aloka Kasina – Gazing upon bright light.

Kasina meditation was mainly taught to develop concentration and there is no one size fits all meditation hence practitioners were given to choose from range of ten kasinas so that they can adapt to their style. Now we shall individually look into each of these kasinas and see how to practice each one of them.

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Pathavi Kasina (Gazing upon Earth) – Soil or Clay Tray

How to prepare?

The first kasina is related to the element of earth. The idea here is to gaze on an earth element. Soil or clay is one of the purest form of an earth element. Here’s what you need to do – Take a clean tray (spherical in shape) and put some red colored soil or clay in it. Mold the soil or clay to the shape of the tray.

How to practice?

Place the soil or clay tray around two to three feet away from your gaze. Sit comfortably with your back straight and gaze directly upon the soil tray. As you gaze the soil tray, focus on the color, texture, shape of the soil. Do this for 3 minutes and then close your eyes. Now imagine the color, texture, shape of the soil in your mind for the next 2 minutes. Once done, you can open your eyes.

Apo Kasina (Gazing upon water) – Bowl of water

How to prepare?

The second kasina is water. Have you sat near a riverbed and watched the river flow. As you think of the river you tend to feel relaxed – Isn’t it? Here’s what you need to do. Pour water in a clean transparent bowl (like a fishbowl). The idea here is to focus on the awareness of water.Bowl of water

How to practice?

Place the water bowl on an elevated platform like a table around two to three feet away from your sitting position. Sit comfortably with your back straight on a chair and gaze directly at the water bowl. Pay attention to the water, see the stillness and how it has molded the shape of the bowl. Do the gazing for around 3 minutes and then close your eyes and imagine the water, its nature and characteristics. Do this for 2 minutes and then you can open your eyes.

Tejo Kasina (Gazing upon fire) – Candle

How to prepare?

The third kasina is fire. You do not need a campfire to focus on the fire, all you need to do is light the candle. Make sure you place a candle in a relatively dark place and is not windy. To better the experience you can use scented candles.Candle

How to practice?

Light the candle and place it around two to three feet in front of you on a table or an elevated platform. Make sure your gaze is at the same level as that of the candle. Focus on the flame, its movement and the contours. Do this for 3 minutes and then close your eyes and imagine the flame, the movements of the flame, the color for about 2 minutes. Once done you can open your eyes.

Vayo Kasina (Gazing upon wind) – Take a walk in nature

How to prepare?

The fourth kasina is the element of wind. Unfortunately you can’t have a physical object for this, like for the above three kasinas. So the best way is to find a park or a garden. If you are unable to find a park or garden then find a lane in your vicinityWalking in nature which is quite (i.e. less traffic) and covered with trees.

How to practice?

As you take a walk in the park or garden find a bench or a place where you can sit for a while. Maintain a straight back and focus on the natural breeze around. Place your attention on the leaves, branches swaying back and forth. Do this for about three minutes, sometimes as you gaze at the branches you may feel as if they are talking amongst themselves. After three minutes close your eyes and imagine everything you saw in your mind, do this for two minutes, once done open your eyes.

Odata Kasina (Gazing upon white color) – White Lily or Orchids

How to prepare?

The fifth kasina is color white. Can you find a white flower a Lily or Orchid from your local plant nursery or even from your White Orchidspremises. The idea is to find a white object and the reason I suggest a white flower is because it truly invokes a serene feeling.

How to practice?

Position the flower in such a way, two to three feet away from your sitting position. Ensure that you can gaze at the flower directly. As you gaze at the flower, look at its petals, its shape, the purity and the beauty. Do this for three minutes, then close your eyes for two minutes and imagine the flower in the mind, focus on all the minute details like its delicate structure, shape etc. Once done you can open your eyes.

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Pita Kasina (Gazing upon yellow color) – Corn or Lemon

How to prepare?

The sixth kasina is color yellow. Yellow signifies liveliness, robustness and vitality. So if you are feeling a bit low or down this meditation is an apt choice for you. So in terms of preparedness, you need to first find some object which is naturally yellow Cornin color. The object can be yellow flower like a sunflower or lemon or corn. If you are using corn then make sure there is a tray full of corn.

How to practice?

Position the yellow object at a distance of two to three feet from your sitting position. Ensure your gaze is at the same level as that of the position of the yellow object. For the first three minutes gaze at the object look at its natural yellow color, the brightness, the structure, different angles just about everything. Then for two minutes close your eyes and imagine everything that you saw. Once done open your eyes.

Lohita Kasina (Gazing upon red color) – Strawberries or Tomatoes

How to prepare?

The seventh kasina is red color. Red signifies passion, love, strength and leadership. So this meditation is apt, if you are looking to imbibe these traits in you. You can find a variety of red objects like apple, tomatoes or strawberries. Choose Strawberriesanyone that resonates with you.

How to practice?

Place the red object on an elevated platform or on a stand which is two to three feet away from your gaze. Sit comfortably with your back straight and simply gaze at the object. If it’s an apple then see its shape, texture and the red color. Then for two minutes close your eyes and imagine the apple, its color, shape etc. Once done open your eyes and have the apple if you wish ๐Ÿ™‚

Nila Kasina (Gazing upon green color) – Pear or Leaves

How to prepare?

The eight kasina is green color. The color Green is associated with harmony, growth and freshness. This meditation can can help you revive especially when you feel dull or insipid. When it comes to green color look for the fruit Pear or a bunch of Green Leavesgreen leaves.

How to practice?

Place the Pear or bunch of leaves on an elevated platform or a table, approximately two to three feet away from your gaze. Sit comfortably on a chair and gaze at the object. If you are using leaves, then focus on the shape, structure, the fresh color for about three minutes. Then for two minutes close your eyes and imagine everything what you saw. Once done open your eyes.

Akasa Kasina (Gazing upon space) – Sky

How to prepare?

The ninth kasina is simply gazing at an open space. One of the best ways you can do this is by focusing on the sky (preferably in the morning as it is clear). This meditation helps you release the feelings of loneliness and makes you Skyconnected to infinite reality.

How to practice?

The idea here is to simply sit next to a window and gaze outside, focusing on the sky. As you sit for this meditation particularly focus on the vastness and the ever expanding, borderless sky. Your connection to infinite space only deepens as you realize there is something huge out there that is overlooking you and supporting you all the time. After three minutes, you can close your eyes for two minutes and imagine being engulfed by the space, fully protected and safe. Once done open your eyes and say thank you in your mind.

Aloka Kasina (Gazing upon bright light) – Sunlight

How to prepare?

The last kasina is gazing on light, more specifically on the rays of sunlight. Light has significant spiritual meanings, for instance the Bible says on the first day of creation God said “Let there be light and there was light”. Light is sometimes referred to as a symbol of life. As all living things on planet Earth needs sunlight to grow.Sunlight

How to practice?

Find a place where you find natural sunlight coming in through windows. Sit on a chair two to three feet from the light and gaze on the rays of sunlight. Do this for three minutes, then close your eyes for two minutes to imagine the warmth of sunlight and how it illuminates you. Once done open your eyes.

So you just completed reading about the ten Kasinas, keep in mind you do not have to meditate on all objects, the idea is to experiment and choose the one which best helps you in improving / developing your concentration. So go ahead start your practice, share your experience below in the comments and let me know if you need any further help.

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This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Hi Satish,

    I am to be honest here…I loved this post. Your writing style is easy to understand and makes me want to read more. This was a new topic for me and you made it really easy with simple steps to practice it right away.

    I wish you the best brother.

    1. Satish

      Hi Jacobus,

      I appreciate your honesty and I am happy to know that you found my writing style easy to understand and thank you so much for good wishes ~ Stay Blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Joseph Chunta

    Hi Satish,

    I’ve never really thought about doing meditation before, but this is a good post to help me get into it. I knew 0% of any of these, so this was a great learning experience and a fun read.

    Thank you for the article and keep up the great work!
    -Joseph

    1. Satish

      Hi Joseph,

      I am glad you learnt something new today. Try to incorporate meditation as a part of your daily routine ~ Stay Blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Ola

    Hi Satish,

    I am surprised to read about this particular meditation practice as it is new to me but it is very interesting to learn. I will be able to approach meditation with more information which I have read here. Great detail in your article – Thank you for an engaging post.

    1. Satish

      Hi Ola,

      I am happy you found this post interesting and engaging. Thank you for your comment and wishing you all the best with your practice ~ Stay Blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Yahya

    Hi Satish,

    I came across your post and was intrigued by it, so I decided to give it a read. I belong to the religion of Islam and therefore meditate in slightly different way. Instead of focusing and observing certain aspects of nature and finding inner peace through this, we as Muslims recite from our Holy Quraan where we find peace within its words and from trying to recite in a melodious manner.

    Overall I find your post interesting and it is always good to find out more about how people of different religions pray

    1. Satish

      Hi Yahya,

      I am happy you found this post interesting and thank you for sharing your experience. Meditation is a spiritual practice, regardless of your religious beliefs. The ultimate goal of meditation is realization of the true nature of the self. The practice of meditation is “key” the approach can vary for different people ~ Stay Blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Kenny Lee

    Hi Satish,

    I am a meditation practitioner although I’m more on the Vipassana method. This is the first time I’ve read about kasina meditation.

    I think it’s really good practice for people who struggle with concentration. Vipassana or the mindfulness method can be tough for beginners. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Satish

      Hi Kenny,

      Glad to know that you are already practicing meditation. You are right – Kasina Meditation is a form of concentration meditation. The objective is to sharpen the concentration skills who struggle with concentration ~ Stay Blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Anestis

    Hi Satish,

    A very informative article on meditation. I have to admit that prior reading this the only knowledge that I had on meditation, was the word itself. Keep up the good work.

    Regards,

    Anestis

    1. Satish

      Hi Anestis,

      I am glad you found something new today to learn ~ Stay Blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Jukka

    Hi Satish,

    I’m just discovering meditation. Well, I’ve of course heard about it but never really had the patience to try it (oh the irony…) seriously. I’ve had somewhat of a spiritual awakening in the past couple of years. I have a very scientific and atheistic background, but some personal experiences and realizations as well as few books I read really opened my eyes that the world is probably not like it seems on the superficial level. Our consciousness is something much more and everything in nature and the universe seems to be connected on a deeper level.

    Being still in the moment, aware of your surroundings, and without constantly thinking about past and possible future events have really made me appreciate life and simple things.. Meditation plays a huge role in achieving this state. You need to concentrate to shut the ego and just experience life as it is. I’ve never actually really tried pure Kasina Meditation as I usually meditate with my eyes closed. But I’ve done my share of staring at the wonder of nature with a blank mind, so I guess that counts.

    1. Satish

      Hi Jukka,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, I think you are going on the right track. Continue your meditation practice with the conviction that it will bring a deeper understanding of the self ~ Stay Blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Donat Koller

    Hi Satish,

    Thank you for this wonderful explanation of Kasina Meditation. I will try this right away.

    1. Satish

      Hi Donat,

      Wishing you all the best with your meditation practice ~ Stay Blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Melanie

    Hi Satish,

    I’ve tried a number of different ways to meditate but none as good as this one. Thanks for a really good and simple explanation on how to do the various aspects. I’m going to give these a go and especially the sunlight one which I really liked. I think in this day and age we all really need to meditate just to get back some sanity in a mad, mad world.

    1. Satish

      Hi Melanie,

      I am glad you found this post useful, wishing you all the best with your meditation practice ~ Stay Blessed ๐Ÿ™‚

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