Sound Kasina

Hector, modified 11 Months ago.

Sound Kasina

Posts: 89 Join Date: 5/9/20 Recent Posts
Instead of a water kasina thread (I'm using water) but really I am exploring sound.
I thought I'd start a new thread from the fire kasina one just to separate it out and investigate sound.
Hae1en and Linda had mentioned some sound things so I thought I'd start a new thread here so I can get ideas
on how to work with sound or music.

So far today I've imagined an ocean beach and rain, replaying the sounds in my head.
Last time I did ocean I ended up with what Tim called mermaids singing. I'm not sure what the process is like
and I'm interested to know how other people experience sound in meditation.

Should I work with om or tibetian ringing bowls or my jaw's harp? Is the progression the same
as fire kasina? What are the different sound screens for sound like?
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Working with Sound / water

Posts: 5375 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Interesting! I don't know if anyone has ever developed a terminology for this sort of thing, but I think it would be valid to think of something corresponding to the different visual screens. For instance, there is a difference between imagining a tune and actually hearing it, but sound hallucinations dissolve that boundary. The gradual development of sound hallucinations show that there is no clearcut boundary there to begin with. Imagined sounds that haven't yet come close to hallucinations don't cover external sounds, but are more apparently transparent. It is possible to be so absorbed with them, though, that outer sounds have to be sudden and sharp to cut through. Focusing on inner sound in meditation can be so strong that outer sounds disappear, and the inner sounds take on new dimensions. I haven't yet worked with a mantra to that extent, but the nada sound sometimes turns into something symphony-like, and it can definitely shut out everything else if the focus is strong enough.

I can easily imagine sounds, and several layers of sounds, and zoom in and out on the various melodies. That can be distracted by other tunes playing. I can easily imagine silence in the midst of noice. When a song is stuck in my head, it tends to cut through basically anything. That happens with some mantras. I haven't worked with it systematically enough to make a model of it, but that would certainly be doable. I'm not sure I could stand to have anything even more stuck in my head, though, as it has triggered my Tourette's throughout my life. Less so now, but it's not entirely transcended. There are some sounds that I just love, and those I can repeat. I have a couple of singing bowls with very interesting and soothing sounds. The harmony of the overtones is different from what western music is usually based on, and that makes it less prone to cause compulsion. 

I would say work with the kind of sound that you can stand a high dosage of. 

As for the connection between sound and water, the sound waves make interesting patterns on the water if you put water in a singing bowl. I have been thinking of developing some kind of ritual with that for the purpose of working with the water element. 

A very basic map model for sound pertains to how the warrior seed syllables come out in my voice. The degree to which clear overtones appear varies a lot, and if there are no overtones, it is clear to me that I have something to work on. Working with those syllables help, and when there are clear overtones, the aspects of may daily life that resonates with that particular syllable are temporarily cleared out from much of the hindrances. I use sound healing as taught by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (there is a playlist for that available at Ligmincha International's youtube channel). 
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hae1en, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Working with Sound / water

Posts: 98 Join Date: 10/13/19 Recent Posts
Food for thought:
Description of divine-ear powers from Samaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Contemplative LifeClairaudience

"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the divine ear-element. He hears — by means of the divine ear-element, purified and surpassing the human — both kinds of sounds: divine and human, whether near or far. Just as if a man traveling along a highway were to hear the sounds of kettledrums, small drums, conchs, cymbals, and tom-toms. He would know, 'That is the sound of kettledrums, that is the sound of small drums, that is the sound of conchs, that is the sound of cymbals, and that is the sound of tom-toms.' In the same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability — the monk directs and inclines it to the divine ear-element. He hears — by means of the divine ear-element, purified and surpassing the human — both kinds of sounds: divine and human, whether near or far."This, too, great king, is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime.

I z Iddhipada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of the Bases of Power: "He hears — by means of the divine ear-element, purified & surpassing the human — both kinds of sounds: divine & human, whether near or far."  
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Working with Sound / water

Posts: 5375 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
hae1en:
Food for thought:
Description of divine-ear powers from Samaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Contemplative LifeClairaudience

"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the divine ear-element. He hears — by means of the divine ear-element, purified and surpassing the human — both kinds of sounds: divine and human, whether near or far. Just as if a man traveling along a highway were to hear the sounds of kettledrums, small drums, conchs, cymbals, and tom-toms. He would know, 'That is the sound of kettledrums, that is the sound of small drums, that is the sound of conchs, that is the sound of cymbals, and that is the sound of tom-toms.' In the same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability — the monk directs and inclines it to the divine ear-element. He hears — by means of the divine ear-element, purified and surpassing the human — both kinds of sounds: divine and human, whether near or far."This, too, great king, is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime.

I z Iddhipada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of the Bases of Power: "He hears — by means of the divine ear-element, purified & surpassing the human — both kinds of sounds: divine & human, whether near or far."  
Wow. Yeah, no wonder that I haven't heard anything like that, then. That's definitively not a description of me.
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hae1en, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Working with Sound / water

Posts: 98 Join Date: 10/13/19 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
For instance, there is a difference between imagining a tune and actually hearing it, but sound hallucinations dissolve that boundary. The gradual development of sound hallucinations show that there is no clearcut boundary there to begin with. Imagined sounds that haven't yet come close to hallucinations don't cover external sounds, but are more apparently transparent. It is possible to be so absorbed with them, though, that outer sounds have to be sudden and sharp to cut through.

Two days ago I tried sculpting in advanced third screen hypnagogia to add auditory screen - or shall we call it soundtrack? or audiotrack? But (hypothesis 1) probably because vision was still in the second screen (2D, but colorful and had some texture volume, but not 360 degrees, just a bit bulging) - I couldn't add sound. Or (hypothesis 2) maybe focus in the auditory channel wasn't sufficient. I was sculpting a face from a fractal. When it appeared fully I noted no color, so I asked: color. The face went colorful. And then I noted no sound, so I asked: sound. And guess what? No sound appeared, but below the face something like a text-cloud from comic book appeared with fosforescent words written inside :-))). Of course random word salad. But this is how my active visual sculptor dealt with the inactivity of the audio sculptor :-).

Hector, How about we change the name of this thread to SOUND KASINA? ;-) (it's a potentially viral name, it could catch up) :-)))) Although kasina means disc.... But this is to stress that external sounds (or nada) when focused on can leave something like an inner replica or mental counterpart sign just like it happens in kasina practice. 

I also do not think we need to limit it to water, for example I am watching the development of inner sound also when there are some outside noises in the "external environment"  I'm in a deep absorbtion, so I don't consciously hear them, but the inner hearing incorporates the sounds into the inner soundscape. Example - two weeksago my friend was reorganising kitchen behind the wall and I was meditating. She was using a hammer :-) I didn't hear a thing. However in my inner soundscape I could sculp easiy. My attention was walking in the space of audiotory channel and could ask for sounds from all four directions (behind,left etc.) and easily change the angelic chorus into a predator on the roof - scratching sounds. While I was still in an open senses phase of meditation I was following silence and then nada to their source. When the senses got blocked, the auditory channel started to produce inner sounds and to unveil their constructed nature I looked for ways to sculp in them. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Working with Sound / water

Posts: 5375 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
hae1en:

Two days ago I tried sculpting in advanced third screen hypnagogia to add auditory screen - or shall we call it soundtrack? or audiotrack? But (hypothesis 1) probably because vision was still in the second screen (2D, but colorful and had some texture volume, but not 360 degrees, just a bit bulging) - I couldn't add sound. Or (hypothesis 2) maybe focus in the auditory channel wasn't sufficient. I was sculpting a face from a fractal. When it appeared fully I noted no color, so I asked: color. The face went colorful. And then I noted no sound, so I asked: sound. And guess what? No sound appeared, but below the face something like a text-cloud from comic book appeared with fosforescent words written inside :-))). Of course random word salad. But this is how my active visual sculptor dealt with the inactivity of the audio sculptor :-).

[…]

I am watching the development of inner sound also when there are some outside noises in the "external environment"  I'm in a deep absorbtion, so I don't consciously hear them, but the inner hearing incorporates the sounds into the inner soundscape. Example - two weeksago my friend was reorganising kitchen behind the wall and I was meditating. She was using a hammer :-) I didn't hear a thing. However in my inner soundscape I could sculp easiy. My attention was walking in the space of audiotory channel and could ask for sounds from all four directions (behind,left etc.) and easily change the angelic chorus into a predator on the roof - scratching sounds. While I was still in an open senses phase of meditation I was following silence and then nada to their source. When the senses got blocked, the auditory channel started to produce inner sounds and to unveil their constructed nature I looked for ways to sculp in them. 

Both of you are so fluent in constructing things! I wouldn't know where to begin. Do you decide what to make before the meditation starts? Or do the ideas just come to you? Sometimes I really wonder if I have aphantasia. I don't sculpt my images. They just appear. That's probably why they are so rare. I don't put in the work. What's a good thing to start with? I saw in the fire kasina glossary that it's possible to disconnect the ring around the dot from the dot. Maybe I should start with that. But this thread is about sound... yeah, it's the same thing there. I just listen to the sounds that are there. I don't intentionally turn them into something. When I work with mantras, I sing them with my voice. I don't imagine them. Hm, that's not true. I do get mantras stuck in my head and repeat them there, mentally, in daily life. But that's a compulsion, and it triggers micro movements of muscles in my mouth and throat.

The word salad text bubble was fun! 

How do people work with mantras in concentration practice? And how do they manage to repeat them mentally without turning it into a compulsion? Maybe that's just a brain wiring thing. 
Ben Sulsky, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Sound Kasina

Posts: 118 Join Date: 11/5/19 Recent Posts
I'm not a very good scholar but I think in theory one can use any object at any of the sense doors for concentration practice.  Just pick an object and let concentration stick to it for long enough and it seems like some flavor of jhanas will happen.  

Ingram talks a bit about different concentration objects working better for different people, and this makes sense.  For example I've done a lot of concentration with the breath which works great for me, and I've messed around with fire kasina a bit and I can get the jhanas off of it but somehow it's not as pleasurable or as malleable as breath.  This could be a matter of experience or could be because of my wiring.  Curious what the most user friendly way of using a sound kasina is, because I have very auditory thoughts and can easily get stuck on auditory things and it'd be nice to put that peculiarity to jhanic usage!
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Working with Sound / water

Posts: 5375 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
I'm not sure if we are talking about the same phenomenon, but regardless, it's interesting. For me the blips are not volitional, at least not in any way that I'm conscious of. Many here on DhO use the word blip to describe fruitions/cessations. I have no way of telling whether that is what is happening to you or if it's something else, but I can tell you that if you remain conscious during it, it's something other than that. If I remember correctly, the way I wrote about it, I said something along the line that there are also other kinds of "blips" (that can be mistaken for fruitions/cessations) and that I think that they signify a shift in perspectives or mindstates. It just feels like and/or sounds like blip. I don't know how to make that happen. It just comes as a surprise - and that pertains both to fruitions/cessations and to other shifts that have a blip feel to them. But you are talking about something that you do, right? Something that shifts things for you. And you can do that willingly? That's cool. I mean, I can willingly change perspectives, but that doesn't have that same feel to it, and it doesn't give me the same upgrade of perception as fruitions do. And you talk about upgrading senses, so that makes me curious. Could you describe the blips more? If you want to, of course. It's entirely optional. 

As for breaking down external sound or mental talk into something vibrational, I don't have enough precision to investigate that so precisely. I have had such experiences with external sound but I don't know how to repeat them and thus I can't really map them. I don't know if the nada sound ever was any recognizable discursive thinking. I have had mental talk suddenly become self-aware and self-liberate, but I didn't pay enough attention exactly to how that manifested with regard to sound. I focused more on the fact that I was absorbed by a content and suddenly the content dissolved into mere emptiness. It would probably be a very good idea for me to pay more attention to what happens on a sensory level there, and with more precision. 
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hae1en, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Working with Sound / water

Posts: 98 Join Date: 10/13/19 Recent Posts
Hector:
ooooohhhh
blip = what what what dunno dunno dunno (Michael Taft's conceptual and then drop the ball to unwind)

My blips happen when I am in deep sleep, I go what what what during the day and then go to sleep or take a nap and hover at hypnagogia and that is my drop the ball.


"What - don't know" - seems like you are playing with big insight questions right now? It can be considered zen's equivalent of looking at three characteristics. Just to let you know that when you use the word "blip" it becomes hard for me to understand you, because I associate this word with phenomenology of cessations already.

I am curious what do you mean writing "drop the ball to unwind". When you write "hovering at hypnagogia" do you mean you use your handrail or walking meditation method not to fall asleep in this phase? 

How does "don't know" fit into our topic of sound kasina?

BTW for me "don't know experience" is at the end similar to some factors of neither perception but not yet no perception formless attainment.
Dan Jones, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Sound Kasina

Posts: 50 Join Date: 3/15/18 Recent Posts
Hector:
Instead of a water kasina thread (I'm using water) but really I am exploring sound.
I thought I'd start a new thread from the fire kasina one just to separate it out and investigate sound.
Hae1en and Linda had mentioned some sound things so I thought I'd start a new thread here so I can get ideas
on how to work with sound or music.

So far today I've imagined an ocean beach and rain, replaying the sounds in my head.
Last time I did ocean I ended up with what Tim called mermaids singing. I'm not sure what the process is like
and I'm interested to know how other people experience sound in meditation.

Should I work with om or tibetian ringing bowls or my jaw's harp? Is the progression the same
as fire kasina? What are the different sound screens for sound like?
Ajahn Amaro & Ajahn Sumedho are both senior western teachers in the forest tradition of Ajahn Chah (a vipassana tradition) who happen to have a long history with using sound as a samatha object. 

As for 'sound kasina' kasina is a word most commonly associated with the visuddhimagga (as far as I'm aware) and there's no mention of a sound kasina. The kasina's described match to the 6 elements (not physical elements - but primary ways form is known), 3 primary colours and white. MN 140 is a pali canon reference for the elements meditaiton (with more a vipassana angle)

From the hindu tradition there's a long history also of various concentration practices, 'Nada yoga' is the name, and also a name of a book on this pratice.

google either "Ajahn Amaro" or "Ajahn Sumedho" and 'sound of silence' for an example of some advanced western practitioners of a buddhist vipassana tradition using this as a samatha exericise 

I'm not an expert in any of this so take it all with a grain of salt, but here are some pointers. I don't practice this and maybe have like 2 hours of history trying. emoticon 
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John W, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Sound Kasina

Posts: 383 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
I think it's a really cool thing to play around with, especially if you find yourself getting bored or distracted during meditation and you want to try some new stuff out. I've been playing really pumping type trance and beats the last couple of days, or like psyche rock type stuff.  For me it kind of helps pump me up if I'm doing concentration practices.  On the other hand sometimes I just listen to chill ambient stuff as well.  That's just me though... 
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John W, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Sound Kasina

Posts: 383 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
I don't have any playlists... as cliche as it sounds lately I've just been jamming the new Tame Impala record and just finding random trance playlist stuff on Spotify, some of those tracks will last a good 10 minutes or more.  Yeah whatever visualization seems to work, I'd say just go for what feels natural.  For me I'll work in some Ujjayi breathing or Wim Hof method breathing, you might find some practice like that which helps you.  Just have fun and relax, that's what concentration is about!  Of course, concentration is only one aspect of practice.