Candle Flame Concentration

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Mike Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

Candle Flame Concentration

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Hey, I've been messing around semi-regularly with the old "staring-at-the-kasina-until-your-concentration-gets-better-to-dabble-with-cool-shit" trick, but it hasn't seemed to help very much, least not that I can tell. I pretty quickly get this blob of black surrounded by a hazy red outline that shifts around and goes in and out of my vision, but trying to shift my attention to that results in it moving around in my field of vision and disappearing. Any tips and tricks folks?
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Nikolai Blue Mountains Bush Yowie*, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Candle Flame Concentration

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Here is what i did. it worked. it may or may not work for you.


:-)

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2010/12/nicks-current-candle-flame-kasina.html

Nick
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Candle Flame Concentration

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Mike,

check out this old thread: Shamatha practices with Kasinas There's quite a bit of discussion about the black dot in there, as well.

Cheers,
Florian
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Andy R, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Candle Flame Concentration

Posts: 42 Join Date: 10/24/10 Recent Posts
Here's a KFD thread on jhanas and eye-focus that might also be helpful.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Candle Flame Concentration

Posts: 3209 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
That is a really early stage. Keep going, it gets better, clearer and more stable if you get your practice stronger.

d
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Mike Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Candle Flame Concentration

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
K, will do. Right now I have entirely too many methods going on at once, so I think it might be prudent to pare it down to three methods, which I alternate depending on where I am during the day. When I have a candle, I do kasina practice. When I'm just sitting somewhere, like on the train, I do either 1-10 counting the breath (repeat limitlessly) or just straight Shikantaza. Strangely enough, I can follow the 1-10 cycle for a long damn time and the same with following the candle flame, yet nothin happens. I have a sneaky suspicion everything I try with regards to shamatha ends up turning itself automagically into vipassana.
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Candle Flame Concentration

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Mike,

One thing that I found surprisingly helpful to initially enter tranquillity was to consciously relax my body, by imagining and inviting it to be comfortably warm, heavy, and soft, a kind of sinking-into-the-pillows effect. Especially with the candle flame, since it's so easy to go rigid with the strain of staring fixedly at one thing.

For example, relax on the in-breath, relax on the out-breath. Whole body, from the top of my head to the weight on my buttocks or feet (if standing), including shoulders and fore-arms and face.

One other thing was that I found counting too complicated and used a simple meditation word instead, which I kept going all the time (whenever I remembered to). I'd imagine "listening to" this word, find out how it "sounded". The breath would then join in of its own accord sometimes, which was nice, but apart from letting myself breathe freely (not pulling in the gut), I left the breath alone when doing that.

As to doing vipassana automatically: yeah, can happen. You could try to use formal resolve to have a concentration state arise.

Enjoy! Tranquility can't be entered by grim force. emoticon

Cheers,
Florian
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Mike Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Candle Flame Concentration

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
Stability is getting better, but it's still very early and unstable. When I steady my eyes, a large purplish-black outline of the candle as well as a slightly flickering central blob representing the flame appears and quivers for a few seconds, but my eye muscles twitch and I lose it. It reforms again and again if I steady my gaze at one point for a second or two, but the stability isn't there yet.
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Ben H, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Candle Flame Concentration

Posts: 16 Join Date: 8/10/11 Recent Posts
Hi Mike,

I've been experimenting with candle flame kasina for the last week too. The first few times I did it the after-image of the flame would float out my vision quite fast, but now it is fairly stable in the middle of my vision. One thing I found that helped when it was floating everywhere was to just follow it as far as my eyes could go and then lock them there and stare at it. It is a bit of a strain, but it would float less slowly at the extremes of my vision. Something I found recently is that the image is a lot clearer for me if I do it with eyes open. After staring at the candle for a good 10 minutes I'll blow it out and cover my eyes with my hands (and keep them open) and focus on the afterimage. One last tip: I found that switching candles helped stabilize the red dot (mine is really more of a yellow dot with a red border) quite a bit. It also helped to get as close as possible to the flame when staring.

Hope this helps!
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Mike Kich, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Candle Flame Concentration

Posts: 170 Join Date: 9/14/10 Recent Posts
It does Ben, thanks. emoticon

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