Can you do stuff with stars and night sky?

Alastair John Jack, modified 2 Years ago at 1/7/20 8:11 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 1/7/20 7:42 PM

Can you do stuff with stars and night sky?

Posts: 4 Join Date: 12/12/19 Recent Posts
From what I've heard so far, some people seem to like the wonder, awe, fascination, curiosity aspect with Kasina work, but since I've been interested in ancient history lately and how they built massive stone stuff around the world that aligns with the stars, it's inspired some curiousity about if there are practices I could do where you can look at the sky? When I gaze at the night sky above it so easily shifts me into awe and fascination, at least on the rare occasion I bother to look up, though bushfire smoke and light polution don't help! I haven't heard of any practices that involve just watching the sky, what do you think? 

(I enjoy visual practices a lot, like Headless Way. I tried doing Fire Kasina a little early last year but it doesn't seem to work well or feel like I understood the practice at the time, maybe I just need to try again.)
Matthew, modified 2 Years ago at 1/8/20 3:32 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 1/8/20 3:26 PM

RE: Can you do stuff with stars and night sky?

Posts: 92 Join Date: 10/31/19 Recent Posts
Yes, as a matter of fact I find that sense of wonder and awe a powerful motivation for practice, to counteract the occasional self-serious striving that can occur especially within the so-called dark night (no pun intended). Looking at the sky, like kasina practice, can be a quick shortcut to concentration which opens up feelings of referenceless depth, similar in a sense to the 5th jhana/1st formless realm/sphere of boundless space. That quality of vast depth without center makes the sky a common metaphor for the liberated mind.

This exists as a practice called "sky-gazing" in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. You can find an approachable, humorous introduction by a Western lama here:

From a technical perspective, the visual quality of the sky that fosters concentration and insight is when it is cloudless, it can be a blank 3-D canvas devoid of stimulating objects to grasp onto. Leaning into this non-grasping way of seeing is what eventually produces the concentration and insight. Soto Zen monks aim for this blank-canvas effect more humbly, by staring at a wall.