The Forty Meditation Themes

Buddha 8

Ten recollections; ten foul objects; ten kasinas; four divine abidings; four formless absorptions; one resolution into elements; and one perception of the filthiness of food.

Ten recollections:
1. Buddhanussati: recollection of the virtues of the Buddha.
2. Dhammanussati: recollection of the virtues of the Dhamma.
3. Sanghanussati: recollection of the virtues of the Sangha.
4. Silanussati: recollection of one’s own moral virtue.
5. Caganussati: recollection of one’s generosity.
6. Devatanussati: recollection of the qualities that lead to rebirth as a heavenly being.
7. Kayagatasati: mindfulness immersed in the body.
8. Maranassati: mindfulness of death.
9. Anapanassati: mindfulness of breathing.
10. Upasamanussati: recollection of the virtues of nibbana — ultimate pleasure; unexcelled ease, free from birth, aging, illness and death.

Ten foul objects:
1. Uddhumataka: a rotten, bloated corpse, its body all swollen and its features distended out of shape.
2. Vinilaka: a livid corpse, with patchy discoloration — greenish, reddish, yellowish — from the decomposition of the blood.
3. Vipubbaka: a festering corpse, oozing lymph and pus from its various orifices.
4. Vichiddaka: a corpse falling apart, the pieces scattered about, radiating their stench.
5. Vikkhayittaka: a corpse that various animals, such as dogs, are gnawing, or that vultures are picking at, or that crows are fighting over, pulling it apart in different directions.
6. Vikkhittaka: corpses scattered about, i.e., unclaimed bodies that have been thrown together in a pile — face up, face down, old bones and new scattered all over the place.
7. Hatavikkhittaka: the corpse of a person violently murdered, slashed and stabbed with various weapons, covered with wounds — short, long, shallow, deep — some parts hacked so that they’re almost detached.
8. Lohitaka: a corpse covered with blood, like the hands of a butcher, all red and raw-smelling.
9. Puluvaka: a corpse infested with worms: long worms, short worms, black, green, and yellow worms, squeezed into the ears, eyes, and mouth; squirming and squiggling about, filling the various parts of the body like a net full of fish that has fallen open.
10. Atthika: a skeleton, some of the joints already separated, others not yet, the bones — whitish, yellowish, discolored — scattered near and far all over the place.

Ten kasinas:
1. Pathavi kasina: staring at earth.
2. Apo kasina: staring at water.
3. Tejo kasina: staring at fire.
4. Vayo kasina: staring at wind.
5. Odata kasina: staring at white.
6. Pita kasina: staring at yellow.
7. Lohita kasina: staring at red.
8. Nila kasina: staring at blue (or green).
9. Akasa kasina: staring at the space in a hole or an opening.
10. Aloka kasina: staring at bright light.

Four divine abidings:
1. Metta: benevolence, friendliness, good will, love in the true sense.
2. Karuna: compassion, sympathy, pity, aspiring to find a way to be truly helpful.
3. Mudita: appreciation for the goodness of other people and for our own when we are able to help them.
4. Upekkha: equanimity. When our efforts to be of help don’t succeed, we should make the mind neutral — neither pleased nor upset by whatever it focuses on — so that it enters the emptiness of jhana, centered and tranquil to the point where it can disregard acts of thinking and evaluating as well as feelings of rapture and ease, leaving only oneness and equanimity with regard to all objects and preoccupations.

Four formless absorptions:
1. Akasanancayatana: being absorbed in a sense of boundless emptiness and space as one’s preoccupation.
2. Viññanancayatana: being absorbed in boundless consciousness as one’s preoccupation, with no form or figure acting as the sign or focal point of one’s concentration.
3. Akiñcaññayatana: focusing exclusively on a fainter or more subtle sense of cognizance that has no limit and in which nothing appears or disappears, to the point where one almost understands it to be nibbana.
4. Nevasañña-nasaññayatana: being absorbed in a feeling that occurs in the mind, that isn’t awareness exactly, but neither is it non-awareness; i.e., there is awareness, but with no thinking, no focusing of awareness on what it knows.

These four formless absorptions are merely resting places for the mind, because they are states that the mind enters, stays in, and leaves. They are by nature unstable and inconstant, so we shouldn’t rest content simply at this level. We have to go back and forth through the various levels many times so as to realize that they’re only stages of enforced tranquility.

One resolution into elements: i.e., regarding each part of the body simply in terms of physical properties or elements.

One perception of the filthiness of food: i.e., viewing food as something repugnant and unclean — with regard to where it comes from, how it’s prepared, how it’s mixed together when it’s chewed, and where it stays in the stomach and intestines.


The Ten Kasinas for Meditation

Red KasinaThe word Kasina means a meditation object whereby the mind is concentrated. There are 10 types of Kasina. The following are how to meditate with Kasina based on Visuddhimagga or the Path of Purification.

1. The Earth Kasina (Pathavi)

The method of meditating using the Earth Kasina can be readily understood by one with previous experience from a past life. He or she might just see a farm or rice paddy field and the Learning Sign (Uggaha-nimitta) would arise easily. Those who do not have such merit must create a Kasina. There are two ways of making an Earth Element Kasina: movable and fixed in position.

Movable Kasina Continue reading

Glass of Water

glass wave sculptures by paul desomma and marsha blaker (5)
Artwork by Marsha Blaker and Paul DeSomma
Continue reading

Cinnabar Field

Upper Cinnabar Field

The Upper Cinnabar Field,
located in the region of the brain

Cinnabar Fields (Dantian)
Fabrizio Pregadio, 2014

The Cinnabar Fields, or dantian, are three loci in the human body that play a major role in breathing, meditation, and Neidan (Internal Alchemy) practices. Located in the regions of the abdomen, the heart, and the brain, but devoid of material counterparts, they establish a tripartite division of inner space that corresponds to other threefold motives in the Taoist pantheon and cosmology.

The Three Fields

The lower Cinnabar Field is the dantian proper and is the seat of essence (jing). Different sources place it at 1.3, 2, 2.4, 3, or 3.6 inches (cun) below or behind the navel, and consider it to be the same as, or closely related to, other loci in the same region of the body: the Gate of the Existence (mingmen), the Origin of the Barrier (guanyuan), and the Ocean of Breath (qihai). In the first stage of the Neidan process (“refining essence Continue reading

Taken for A Child

The Huna “Mechanics of Telepathy and Telepathic Prayer”
from The Secret Science Behind Miracles by Max Freedom Long

A. The physical body.
B. The shadowy body pictured as slightly out of the physical body (as in astral travel etc.) but connected with the physical body by a large cord of shadowy body material. Continue reading

Three Dantians

The Taoist Approach of the Three Dantians
By Dr. Te-Hsin Lo & Master Joseph Zeisky

The Taoist approach of the Three Dantians (Elixir fields):

Quite often, when the phrase Dan (elixir) tian (field) is [used], one thinks of the lower Dantian only, an area about three inches below the naval and one inch inside, which also includes the hui yin cavity in the perineum area and the mingmen (gate of life) cavity in the lower back. These three areas/cavities connected together makes-up what is generally referred to as the lower dantian. It is where the Yuan qi resides, where life begins and the physical area that was formerly connected to the heavenly energy.

In Taoist energy arts, there is the concept of the three Dantians; the upper dantian, the middle dantian and the lower dantian. These elixir fields function on a more subtle level than the body’s more physical manifestations such as blood, lymph, muscle, tendons and bone. The Continue reading

Dan Tian

Dantian (dan t’ian, dan tien or tan t’ien) is loosely translated as “elixir field”, “sea of qi”, or simply “energy center”. Dantians are important focal points for meditative and exercise techniques such as qigong, martial arts such as t’ai chi ch’uan, and in traditional Chinese medicine.

The first detailed description of the lower Dantian is in the Laozi zhongjing 老子中經 from the 3rd century CE, it refers to the Cinnabar field where Essence and Spirit are stored, it is related to regeneration and sexual energy, menstruation and semen.

Traditionally, a dantian is considered to be a center of qi or life force energy. The dantians are important points of reference in neidan, qigong, neigong, tao yin, Taoist sexual practices, Reiki and other self-cultivation practices of exercise, breathing, and meditation, as well as in martial arts and in traditional Chinese medicine. Continue reading


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