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Is Mantra necessary for Fire Kasina?

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Is Mantra necessary for Fire Kasina?
Answer
11/26/18 8:01 AM
I've just started Kire Kasina practice, and I really find that it galvanizes my attention throughout the day afterward- especially visual attention.

I fine the practice very comfortable- even mesmerizing. I didn't set my timer properly yesterday and I sat for 40 minutes instead of twenty without noticing it.  I would have become restless if I had been practicing Vipassana, which I'm more familiar with.  However, I notice during Fire Kasina that my verbal mind is chattering.  This chattering doesn't occupy much of my attention at all, but if I were practising Vipassana I would observe the train of thought, turn toward the breath, and the chatter would be silent for a few breaths.

In the Fire Kasina book, the mediator uses a mantra.  In the basic instructions for Fire Kasina thread on this forum, it isn't mentioned.  I have no practice with mantra meditation, and have great difficulty maintaining one during Fire Kasina. Would mantra be useful in this situation, and if so, would it be useful to practice it as a primary focus for a while to gain skill with it?  Or, is it foolish to change course while the practice is going extremely well?

I appreciate any advice.

RE: Is Mantra necessary for Fire Kasina?
Answer
11/26/18 8:49 AM as a reply to Mathew Mathew Waehner.
Hello Matthew, welcome!

Feel free to use or not use a mantra, and to use it as a primary or secondary focus, as you prefer. There is nothing foolish about doing what you think might work best for you, it is actually the opposite! emoticon

Shannon herself (the author of the FK book) said that she had a lot of benefit from working on the mantra exclusively for some time, and then re-incorporating it into the practice. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I don't use the mantra much. Sometimes I start a session with it, and then I forget about it entirely.

There's all kinds of experiences, and there seems to be a lot of variability in what people do with the FK, so, as someone who has spent about 7 weeks on retreat doing the FK practice, I hereby officially authorise you to be playful™ and have fun© and experiment.

emoticon

RE: Is Mantra necessary for Fire Kasina?
Answer
11/26/18 8:49 AM as a reply to Mathew Mathew Waehner.
It sounds like you're having fun with it as-is.

Have a look at the Fire Kasina eBook. Daniel says in there to "Keep a mantra going during all sits and transitions".

RE: Is Mantra necessary for Fire Kasina?
Answer
11/26/18 4:29 PM as a reply to Mathew Mathew Waehner.
Hey Mathew

Glad to hear you are enjoying fire kasina practice! I also find it mesmerising and love the ease of the sits. 

I personally don't use a mantra when I practice fire kasina. If verbal chatter arises, I just note it and move my attention back to the object of concentration (either the candle flame or the nimitta that has arisen post flame gazing). 

Some verbal chatter is normal, even during this practice.

Is the chatter related to what you are seeing e.g. "wow, this colour is cool" (I sometimes get verbal thoughts related to what I am seeing, especially if it is new) or unrelated everyday thoughts? 

Either way, I would note it without judgement, and over time, with practice, the chatter should diminish significantly emoticon 

RE: Is Mantra necessary for Fire Kasina?
Answer
11/27/18 12:15 AM as a reply to Mathew Mathew Waehner.
On about day 3 of my FK retreat, I told the teacher that the mantra was getting in the way. That it was taking concentration bandwidth and that I was losing visual detail by keeping the mantra going. He told me that I was probably right but to keep it going. I am glad I did.
A couple weeks later I was getting to spots so concentrated that the mantra would fall away and he said that was ok.

Off retreat, I like to do fk with mantra and, in between formal sits, keep the internal mantra in daily life when my mind isn't engaged in a task.

I would also see page 283 of mctb2 for how the mantra can show up on the insight side of things.


All that said, I don't think that dropping the mantra is a big deal especially if it works well for you without it. emoticon

RE: Is Mantra necessary for Fire Kasina?
Answer
11/27/18 8:13 AM as a reply to Jason Massie.
Thanks for your replay, and to everyone who replied.  I won't worry about the mantra.  This question was probably in the genre of "Things are going well, help me mess them up".

I'm not achieving particularly particularly deep states of concentration, but it feels like the volume control on my visual cortex is cranked up to maximum for the rest of the day.