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Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding

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Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
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3/10/20 1:26 PM
I ran across some writing on this site by Kenneth Folk about concentration practices. From what I gather is he says that after the a&p a person can use concentration practice like kasina and counting meditation to run up the insight stages and get fruition's. My question to those in the know about this stuff is is this possible? Is that what he's saying. Also why not till after a&p? And if using straight concentration wouldn't you miss major insights or does it matter if you still get fruition's? I e been doing kasina disc in the morning and seems to be a really good practice for me. Also been doing noting practice at night. Just kind of curuios on what others think about concentration practice to pop fruition's. 

*****here's the link to chicken bearding by Kenneth Folk 

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/Jhana+and+Ñana+/en

RE: Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
Answer
3/10/20 1:50 PM as a reply to Dustin.
I was an early student of Kenneth's. What he is saying is that up to A&P, a student needs to focus on penetrating objects (vipassana, noting, etc.), which is another way of saying a student needs to investigate the 3 characteristics thoroughly. After A&P a student needs to learn how to concentrate properly, and that vipassana alone will not be very effective. He is also saying that this is an unfortunate cultural issue and difference between Burmese and western teachers:

There are two very different instructions, depending on whether a yogi is pre- or post- fourth ñana. A pre- fourth ñana yogi, i.e. one who has not attained to the level of the Arising and Passing Away of Phenomena, must put his focus on penetrating the object. A post- fourth ñana yogi must concentrate. It's that simple. And the reason, in my opinion, that the western dharma scene has been so spectacularly unsuccessful in producing high levels of attainment in its students is that western dharma teachers give beginning instruction to intermediate and advanced students; they tell post- fourth ñana students to ratchet up the intensity of their vipassana, when they should be telling them to concentrate their behinds off.This, in my opinion tragic situation, is due to a misunderstanding that arose out of a cultural difference.

The western vipassana scene, as exemplified by Insight Meditation Society, is influenced primarily by Burmese Mahasi-style vipassana. It seems that
Burmese people, by and large, concentrate so well that it is difficult for them to learn vipassana. This, at least, is the conventional wisdom, and my experience in Burma in the early and mid-'90's led me to believe that it is, although a stereotype, generally accurate. Burmese yogis very quickly attain a deeply concentrated state and it is all the teachers can do to get them to look clearly at an object. Westerners, on the other hand, have no concentration whatsoever. We watch television, drink coffee, and obsess endlessly about our careers and our relationships. We are so goal-oriented that if you so much as suggest to us that there is something to gain by striving we will strive from here to eternity. When Burmese monks give instructions that were designed for Burmese yogis to American yogis, the result is too much effort and too little concentration. Without concentration, the strata of mind that contain advanced insight are never reached. This leads to the chronic achiever, as Bill Hamilton put it, the yogi that has attained to the all important fourth ñana, but is unable, year after year, to attain to the Paths.

RE: Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
Answer
3/10/20 2:06 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I remember reading this post from Kenneth, and I've never been entirely sure how to apply it practically. I believe myself to be post A&P and therefore I currently, I segment my practice into one session for concentration (a concentration practice that is not about over efforting) and another for noting. My assumption is that by building concentration as a skill in my concentration sessions it will naturally improve my concentration in my noting sessions.

So far this seems to be the case, and it actually leads to much more relaxed and effortless noting sessions, but is there something more specific that can be done within a noting session to broaden the concentration? I do still find myself tending to want to penetrate objects in my practice, but should the focus be more on the sense of flow, for example -- the lava-lamp like feelings in my face? Is it more appropriate to open the aperture?

RE: Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
Answer
3/10/20 2:20 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I was an early student of Kenneth's. What he is saying is that up to A&P, a student needs to focus on penetrating objects (vipassana, noting, etc.), which is another way of saying a student needs to investigate the 3 characteristics thoroughly. After A&P a student needs to learn how to concentrate properly, and that vipassana alone will not be very effective. He is also saying that this is an unfortunate cultural issue and difference between Burmese and western teachers:

Ok. I see what your saying. With one practice you can get some where but with both you can go further. Do I remember correctly that you have a daily practice of concentration and vipassana. I thought I remember seeing that in a post of yours.

RE: Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
Answer
3/10/20 2:47 PM as a reply to Dustin.
Dustin:
I ran across some writing on this site by Kenneth Folk about concentration practices. From what I gather is he says that after the a&p a person can use concentration practice like kasina and counting meditation to run up the insight stages and get fruition's. My question to those in the know about this stuff is is this possible? Is that what he's saying. Also why not till after a&p? And if using straight concentration wouldn't you miss major insights or does it matter if you still get fruition's? I e been doing kasina disc in the morning and seems to be a really good practice for me. Also been doing noting practice at night. Just kind of curuios on what others think about concentration practice to pop fruition's. 

*****here's the link to chicken bearding by Kenneth Folk 

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/Jhana+and+Ñana+/en

I worked with Kenneth last year over Skype. He never told me that concentration was necessery for awakening. What he told me is that Sati is needed to awaken. Moment to moment noticing of the arising and passing experiences/perceptions.

He even told me that one doesn't need to attain these Paths to awaken. One can simply Just Awaken as in the Sutta story of Bahiya. At that time I had no clue what he was talking about emoticon as I just wanted to practice to get out of the Dark Night.


Now back to Mahasi Vipassana and Samadhi as per my own experience;

I find that for me Noting constantly without breaking the stream of consciousness (steady profound mindfulness) always leads to a strong concentration, more or less. 
I would always rest my open eyes on a spot on the floor or on the wall and keep it there and keep Noting Aloud. My noting aloud voice would also become sort of a Mantra like recitation of noted sensations especially in the A&P. 
The visuals would get doughnut-like dark cloud coming out of the floor and vanishing abruptly, the do it again and again until I let go of it and look if there is anything else going on.

I find that once mind starts being interested in all the flickering Anicca it gets gladdened and the body calmed, and concentration comes as a result of this. I find concentration to come up like this and holds well on its own, effortless. 
All this while Im continously noting aloud (by the way, its Kenneth's Freestyle Noting Aloud technique).

RE: Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
Answer
3/10/20 2:59 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Kenneth has never been one to stick to one version of things. He's switched things around so many times it'll make your head spin.

RE: Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
Answer
3/10/20 3:07 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I think the important thing here is: after A&P if jhana shows up, enjoy soaking in the jhana. 

There is definitely a puritanical problem where western students resist jhana. "Oh, I'm not working hard anymore. My mind isn't clear and precise. My mindfulness is softer. I'm not investigating the three C's anymore..."  These meditators often need to be told. "It's okay. Enjoy it. Nothing wrong with it. In fact it prepares the mind for EQ and SE in the best way possible. RELAX...and enjoy." Etc.

You know what I mean?

RE: Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
Answer
3/10/20 3:21 PM as a reply to Dustin.
I'm currently working on a document where I summarize my development, and I can definitely see that I have done some version of this without having that panoramic view of it. When the path starts, concentration just isn't there. I must investigate the three characteristics to work with my hindrances. Then those insights accumulate and it tips over in the more concentrated A&P. Then concentration dissipates again and the development stagnates until I have built the foundations for it anew, this time from a softer angle, as the wired up mind can't see the whole picture. The cycling then sort of spirals upward to a more concentrated version of the same sequential unfolding, and that's when things just happen on their own. And that leads to insight. 

RE: Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
Answer
3/10/20 3:21 PM as a reply to shargrol.
In relation to Kenneth's comments I think this is the theme, the punch line, the thesis:

Without concentration, the strata of mind that contain advanced insight are never reached. This leads to the chronic achiever, as Bill Hamilton put it, the yogi that has attained to the all important fourth ñana, but is unable, year after year, to attain to the Paths.

Which reads in a way that would cause one to think concentration is a requirement for path attainment. It's Kenneth's old "strata fo mind" material." I have no idea what Kenneth's current take on this is. I plan to ask him.

Also, yes, puritanical take. I posted about that in another topic today:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/19072907#_19_message_19297408

RE: Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
Answer
3/10/20 5:03 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
So kasina by itself is not for attaining fruition. Kasina is an add on to vipassana to gain deeper insights and ultimately fruition? 
Also if using kasina disc for concentration would you use it as kasina in the morning vipassana at night type of deal or kasina 20 minutes and vipassana 40 minutes. Or just whatever feels right? 

RE: Kasina Disc/ Chicken Hearding
Answer
3/10/20 11:10 PM as a reply to Brandon Dayton.
Brandon Dayton:
I remember reading this post from Kenneth, and I've never been entirely sure how to apply it practically. I believe myself to be post A&P and therefore I currently, I segment my practice into one session for concentration (a concentration practice that is not about over efforting) and another for noting. My assumption is that by building concentration as a skill in my concentration sessions it will naturally improve my concentration in my noting sessions.

So far this seems to be the case, and it actually leads to much more relaxed and effortless noting sessions, but is there something more specific that can be done within a noting session to broaden the concentration? I do still find myself tending to want to penetrate objects in my practice, but should the focus be more on the sense of flow, for example -- the lava-lamp like feelings in my face? Is it more appropriate to open the aperture?

I think penetrating the object is the main point. Also I think your practice is on point from the sounds of it. I started practicing with concentration and vipassana but went to straight vipassana for the last year and am now adding concentration back in. After tonight session I could see that higher and more enveloping concentration helped penetrate the object of my attention way more clearly. I would like to know more about the lava lamp feeling in your face?