Kasina is an ascetic rite among the Buddhists, by the practice of which they hope to acquire supernatural powers. There are ten descriptions of this rite:
1. Pathawi, earth; 2. Apo, water; 3. Tejo, fire;
4. Wayo, wind; 5. Nila, blue; 6. Pita, golden; 7. Lahita, bloodred; 8. Oddta, white; 9. Aloka, light; 10. Akasa, space.
The priest who performs the Pathawi-kasina forms a small circle which he can easily fix his eye upon. The circle must be of clay of a light-red color, placed upon a frame made of four sticks, covered over with a piece of cloth, a skin, or a mat, upon which the clay is to be spread free from foreign substances. After preparing the earth-circle according to these and other directions with the utmost exactness, the priest sits down, and, gazing upon the circle, meditates upon the evils arising from the repetition of existelie, and the best modes of overcoming them; on the benefits received by those who practice the dhyanas and other modes. of asceticism; on the excellences of the three gems; and he must endeavor to secure the same advantages. He must continue to gaze and to meditate until he receive the nemitta, or inward illumination, by which all scepticism will be removed, and purity attained.
In performing the Apo-Kasina the priest pours water into an alms-bowl or similar vessel, and having chosen a retired place, must sit down and meditate, gazing upon the water, and reflecting that the perspiration and other fluids of his own body are composed of the same material.
The Tejo-Kasina is practiced by taking wood, dry and firm, cutting it into small pieces, and placing it at the root of a tree, or in the court of the wihara, where it must be ignited. He must then take a mat made of shreds of bamboo, or a skin or a cloth, and making in it an aperture one span and four inches in diameter, he must place it before him, and, looking through the aperture, he must meditate on the fire, and reflect that the fire in his own body is of a similar nature, flickering and inconstant.
The Wayo-Kasina is performed by sitting at the root of a tree, or some other convenient place, and thinking of the wind passing through a window or the hole of a wall; the Nita-Kasina, by gazing on a tree covered with blue flowers, or a vessel filled with blue flowers, or a blue garment covered with flowers; the Pita-Kasina by gazing on a golden-colored object; the LohitaKasina on a circle made with vermilion; the Odata-Kasina on a vessel of lead or silver, or the orb of the moon; the Alokak-Kasina by gazing on the light passing through a hole in the wall or the side of a vessel; and the Akasa-Kasina by gazing at the sky through a hole in the roof of a hut, or through a hole of the prescribed dimensions in a skin.
From the practice of Kasina in any one of its forms a Buddhist expects to derive many advantages. More especially does he expect the power of working miracles, according to the species practiced. The Kasina is exercised in fourteen different ways. See Hardy, Eastern Monachism, page 252 sq.