An Evolving Gossary of Fire Kasina Shop-Talk Terms:
Kasina: an external object viewed initially to generate an afterimage (see below). It can be nearly anything, but traditional items would include colored disks (traditionally white, yellow, red, or blue), a candle or fire, a light, a limited are of space, etc. These can be images on a screen or phone, a picture on paper or a card, or material objects.
Afterimage: those images that appear immediately after viewing the kasina and closing one’s eyes, particularly initially. They are typically of the complementary color of the viewed kasina and its background, and may include variable amounts of what is behind and around the kasina. These typically change in some way to become the dot (see below).
The dot: the often round but possibly oblong or other shaped cleaner image that appears out of the afterimage. It tends to be more clean and well-bounded than the afterimage, more simplified. The color will vary depending on the kasina object and to some degree on the practitioner. The Dot may also be called the “nimitta”, but this can annoy traditionalists and dogmatists who argue over the meaning of the term, and is less straightforward than “dot”.
First screen: the screen on which the dot appears. It tends to be small, generally is centrally located, corresponds with the focus of attention, may initially wander off-center until practice stabilizes, is not pixelated, and, when displaying internal movement, tends to do so rapidly, and that rapidity generally correlates with the phase of the breath once the details of the dot are noticed. This rapid movement has some correlation with the second vipassana jhana. There are four major screens, with a few oddities that seem to in some ways be their own screens, and trying to figure out which screen they relate to best can be fun.
The black dot: the dot will often progress to become a black dot, and this tends to be a bit larger than the original dot. It may also be other dark colors, such as very dark green, purple, blue, etc. depending somewhat on the practitioner and phase of practice. The dot may undergo many odd transitions before it becomes the black (or other dark colored) dot. The black dot initially tends to be flat, but later may acquire more dimensionality, such as becoming a disk that may even rotate, as well as a ball or sphere. It initially tends to appear to be on the main “inner screen” of the visuals, but later may seem to be in front of that screen (see second screen below), or even seem to be depressed into that screen. The black dot correlates with the fifth insight stage, dissolution, in some way. Remember that black is a valid color to concentrate on, and that pure black is almost impossible to achieve, though it can be fun to try. Black nearly always has a bit of static, color, or other subtle details, and noticing those is great practice. The black dot sits on the junction of the first and second screens, and may seem to move between them at times. The black dot also sits on the border of the dot and the murk.
The Murk: what happens after the black dot appears, as well as referring to images that may appear around the dot. The murk takes place on what is called the second screen. Figuring out the murk is one of the major initial projects on a fire kasina retreat, and can take days to get a handle on. Patience helps. The murk can present in a wide number of ways, with some of the common themes described below.
Second Screen: a wide screen that curves around towards us as it gets wider, generally relatively flat, though may become more 3D at times, tends to have a sense of being at a fixed distance from our eyes initially, often described as being about 12-18 inches from our face initially. It starts as the murk, and gradually becomes less murky as one progresses in concentration. It responds much more slowly to intent, requiring patience and a somewhat more laid back approach to attempts at control, but what occurs on it may become much more complex than the second screen. It initially may start out very murky, but, with practice, can become much more intricate and vivid. Often, images that form on it will have some sense of symmetry or repetition. It is a more pixelated screen, and images that appear on it tend to seem like drawings or cheap CGI rather than being photorealistic. It is a complex screen with many aspects. It eventually may start to interact with or incorporate the first screen. The third screen, which is much more photorealistic and less pixelated, can often be first glimpsed through holes in the second screen, though sometimes there will just be a clean, complete screen transition.
TV snow: an early murk appearance, in which the second screen appears to be undifferentiated, but may contain lots of little color static that is barely organized into patterns or not at all.
Color washes: generally appear as blobs of a color, such as purple, blue, red, green, or even black or grey washing across the visual field of the murk, on the second screen. When these become very vivid, more confluent, or even completely fill the screen, this is a sign that the second screen is being mastered and is much less murky. The same is true for when one attains to “color control” and even color fine-tuning, such that, not only can one make the washes any color one wishes, but one can fine-tune the exact hue of the color and even do things like make it glow a neon color or make it shimmery metallic. Color washes can also be shaped into images, initially rudimentary, crude representations, but finally definite images, and this is called “image control”.
Your color: color washes, as well as other things that appear in the murk, will often appear of a color that one will end up identifying as one’s own, sort of default color that comprise objects in the murk if attention or intention doesn’t turn to some other color. Common colors are purple, blue, and red, yellow, green, and white, and even lines made of rainbows. It is unclear what the meaning of one’s particular color might be, though creating theories can be fun.
The Black and Grey: tends to be frustrating, dark, shifty, complex, an odd mix of organic curves and harsh angles, moves oddly, seems out of phase, and can be frustrating, particularly to those who have a hard time accepting grey and black as colors. However, the Black and Grey is a very valid object, and focusing on it can lead to lots of other interesting effects and colors.
The Grey: very much like the Black and Grey, but often a lot more uniform, though may contain texture, lines, angles, and curves, and so, for those who like colors other than grey and patterns that are more defined, can be frustrating, though ends up being like the Mother of All Colors, and eventually can be transformed into any color with practice.
The White and Gold: tends to occur high and centrally in the visual field, often with the eyes crossed somewhat and focused up towards the “third eye” or sixth chakra. It tends to be blobular, a mix of bright white and a pale to golden yellow, and moves with a rapidity that taxes our ability to comprehend it. Distracted attention tends to make it fade rapidly, and very strong attention that yet is able to get out of the way of the very rapidly presenting shifting of the surface and edges. It is an intense and compelling object that can be made larger and more intricate, but holding attention that delicately yet intensely tends to eventually cause fatigue. It is hard to tell if the White and Gold is really on the second screen or actually third screen (see below), or something sort of in-between.
The Black and White: tends to involve harsh lines and angles, jagged irregular shapes, tends to move moderately quickly, and, while somewhat interesting, can also be irritating and erratic. Continued attention through the frustration tends to make it eventually morph into much more pleasing colors and images.
Spirals and tunnels: may arise out of lines of color in the second screen. They often move and may even rotate or move towards us or away from us slowly. They can be sort of like bent, moving grids sometimes.
Spirographs/Sacred Geometry: commonly appear around the edge of the black dot initially, but can also appear independent of the black dot. Often involve some sort of complex radial or other symmetry. May be of any color and may resemble fractals. These can be beautiful, fascinating, rich objects, and they may morph and shift in fascinating ways. They are a sign that the murk is being mastered, as are the patterns getting wider and finally seeming to extend to the edges of our peripheral vision of the second screen.
Creepy crawlies: the second screen may present arrays of creepy images, such as centipedes, spiders, fingers, mushrooms, eyes, skulls, snakes, crabs, strange creatures hard to classify, and the like, often moving around in creepy ways. Those who have seen things like this on Ayahuasca may find similarities. These images are not harmful, but may disturb some practitioners rather than be a source of fascination. They are a very valid concentration object.
Third Screen: often initially seen through holes or translucency in the second screen, though may suddenly be flashed onto as a complete transition from the second screen. The third screen is much more photorealistic than the second screen and its pixilation is very subtle to often undetectable. It tends to present much more complex images whose obvious origin is often mysterious, though it can sometimes respond to intents to see things that were intended before the screen arose. Landscapes, faces, scenes, realms, and many other images may arise. Controlling what happens on the third screen in realtime is very difficult for many, and often may initially result in rapid image deterioration of the images or regression to the second screen. The third screen responds well to quiet fascination and calm interest rather than control. It tends to be much more volumetric than the second screen.
Fourth Screen: a fine achievement, and a sign of very refined, sophisticated, balanced, deep concentration. The fourth screen is totally immersive, vast, intricate, with the high degree of resolution, the perfection of life-like, entirely believable, hyper-real graphics, but, instead of being something viewed like watching a scene, we are now totally in the scene or realm, though the sense of us, our body, etc. may be subtle to absent, ironically. Entities here tend to seem to have their own intelligence, and may speak and interact in surprising ways, conveying information we don’t consciously know and couldn’t predict, and doing other things, such as conveying wisdom light, divine energy, and other strange magickal things. Fourth screen experiences are so completely immersive and compelling that Conformity knowledge is very close at hand. Attainments such as stream entry, Fruitions, and the like, are much easier when the fourth screen arises. It is like total immersion in a magickal realm where anything seems possible. The fourth screen doesn’t respond well to any attempts at control once it arises, presuming one could even figure out how to create enough of a sense of self to even attempt that in the fourth screen. It does, however, respond well to intentions made before one starts the sequence with the flame, dot, etc.
Elemental imbalance: effects that can come up in the body that impair practice that result from excessive presence of or attention to one element, such as fire kasina practices generating heat in the body.
Elemental balancing: adding in some attention to other elements to help with elemental imbalance, such as paying more attention to earth, water, air, and space when experiencing too much heat from the fire element.