Kasina practice in the EBTs

I am of the understanding that the kasina practice from the Visuddhimagga is different from how the practice was originally understood in the EBTs. However, I am unsure what that original practice would have looked like. Can anyone point me to any resources regarding how one might practice kasina meditation in accordance with the EBTs?


From @sujato 's How Early Buddhism Differs From Theravada.

“Modern Theravada, drawing on the Visuddhimagga, explains the kasiṇa as
a physical disk that is used as a basis for beginning meditation. It may be a
pure element, such as earth or water, or a bright and clear color.
The root meaning of the term kasiṇa, however, is “universal” or “totality”
and in the EBTs it is always used in this way. It is a description of a state
of samādhi, not an object used to gain samādhi.
The kasiṇa meditations were raised from their relative obscurity in the
EBTs and placed at the start of the list of meditations as found in the
Abhidhamma. This sequence, which was followed by the Visuddhimagga,
seems to have contributed to the idea of the meditation “object”: something
that you watch, but which itself is independent of the observer.”


So what is the relation of these meditative states to states of samadhi with which we are more familiar? Is there some unique practice that leads to eg the “totality of earth” that is seperate from standard meditation practice?

Well, you can check for yourself the relevant suttas referenced in the PED. Cf. Kasina2, especially AN5.60.


Imho the most obvious thing to say is that it’s simply part of contemplating rupa.

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They meditate dependent on earth, water, fire, and air. They meditate dependent on the dimension of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, or neither perception nor non-perception. They meditate dependent on this world or the other world. They meditate dependent on what is seen, heard, thought, known, attained, sought, or explored by the mind.

I am also interested in this question. The suttas mention kasinas quite a bit, yet no where (to my knowledge) are explained in detail. Anapanasati is explained in detail in the suttas and in the Patisambhidamagga (early commentary found in Sutta Pitaka). The strange thing is while Ptsm explains anapanasati even more than the suttas, it doesn’t talk about details of kasina practice. Where kasina instructions lost in the suttas, and early commentary? From whom/where did Ven. Buddhaghosa learned about kasina practice which he has put in VsM?

I sure can’t.

I’ve read 747 suttas so far.

I haven’t seen any mention of kasina meditation yet.

So far, the standard block of text I have seen over and over again peppered all over the collections goes something like

“Be aware of your breathing, go into Jhana 1…4, see past lives, get a clue about the nature of existence, reach the goal for which gentlemen ( and ladies ) go into homelessness for”.