Universal colors


I don’t think it would work for me. I don’t have a powerful visual imagination. I wouldn’t have much success, I fear, in visualizing flowers and then altering the content of the visualization. My meditation seems more involved with thoughts and bodily feelings. When I do walking meditation I try to attend to the interplay of bodily sensations, volitions and emotional reactions, and disregard the visual.


Ah! Thank you for sharing your own experience. I stand corrected. :slight_smile:


I didn’t mean it to sound like a correction. I just mean that’s not the approach I take myself. Different kinds of people have different kinds of dominant mental tendencies, and there are different Buddhist traditions that have experimented with different practices.


This is a very important point.

In the suttas it is sometimes difficult to understand when a list is an enumeration of possibilities as opposed to a list of progressive steps. If a list is an enumeration of possibilities, then we should choose according to circumstance and inclination. However, if a list is progressive, then we should proceed in the order indicated.

In this case, and as evidenced by comparing our respective experiences, I would propose that the ten universal mediations might be more an enumeration than a progression. We can just pick one or two or whatever. For example, the ninth and tenth are space and consciousness. These two interest me more than the other eight. They are an intertwined pair, just like the preceding eight are two groups of four.

If my hypothesis is wrong, then we should proceed through earth, …, through blue,… before meditation on space and thence on consciousness. That would be a LOT of work, hence the doubt that the meditations are strictly progressive.


That’s how I used kasina practice with a blue disc, a static visual object to focus on. In the end it’s just a colour, in the same way that the breath is just the breath. Just something to observe.


Here is an interesting article on colors in the Homeric epics and one theory on how color terms develop through time.


Great article! And perhaps those of us with memories stretching back before RGB might remember a different blue than today’s?


I am reminded that it can’t be proved that we are all seeing the same thing as ‘blue’!


Though there does seem to be a degree of consistency in colour perception. This is demonstrated by the widespread use of colour-coding, including safety critical applications like traffic lights and electrical cable colours.


Or we can look at flowers that have been the same color for 2500 years. :hibiscus:


The experience of blue. A qualitative vs quantitative explanation.


I used to do theatre stage lighting, and there were over 100 named colours in the gel catalogue ( gels are the colour filters that go at the front of spotlights ). A degree of objectivity here.


I’m not talking about objectivity and subjectivity. I mean the raw experience of it may be variable.


People have different favourite colours.

Wouldn’t it be funny if everyone’s favourite colour was the same colour? There’s no guarantee we hallucinate the same colours named “blue, green, etc.”. Maybe everyone likes blue but some people perceive blue as blue, some green as blue, some red as blue.

What a dumb post by me.


Since the color meditations cycle through the secondary colors, we would all develop equanimity to any color.

Do you see the white heart below?


That might explain some people driving through red traffic lights. :yum:


Is white really a colour, or just an absence of colour? :yum:



With white, the transition to the formless becomes palpable. In the sequence of hearts above one alternates between the perception of the internal heart form and the perception of absence of the form. This is also an unexpected outcome of the color meditations, that they should lead to the formless.


I’m not sure if you mean could or should, but it depends whether you use it to develop samadhi or wisdom.


I wot not what I would. :persevere::see_no_evil:

But seriously, yes. The word “should” is often a blind coercion imposed on oneself or others. I meant “should” in the sense of wonder that two dropped objects “should” fall at the same rate. It was “should” in the observational sense.