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Among the 40 Kammattana how can I choose more suitable Kammattana for me?

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You will need trial and error but generally based on the personality types.

The Pali commentaries further provide guidelines for suggesting meditation subjects based on one's general temperament:

  • Greedy: the ten foulness meditations; or, body contemplation.

  • Hating: the four brahma-viharas; or, the four color kasinas.

  • Deluded: mindfulness of breath.

  • Faithful: the first six recollections.

  • Intelligent: recollection of marana or Nibbana; the perception of disgust of food; or, the analysis of the four elements.

  • Speculative: mindfulness of breath.

The six non-color kasinas and the four formless states are suitable for all temperaments.

Source: Kammaṭṭhāna

The forty subjects are also differentiated according to their appropriateness for different character types. Six main character types are recognized — the greedy, the hating, the deluded, the faithful, the intelligent and the speculative — this oversimplified typology being taken only as a pragmatic guideline which in practice admits various shades and combinations. The ten kind of foulness and mindfulness of the body, clearly intended to attenuate sensual desire, are suitable for those of greedy temperament. Eight subjects — the four divine abidings and four color kasinas — are appropriate for the hating temperament. Mindfulness of breathing is suitable for those of the deluded and the speculative temperament. The first six recollections are appropriate for the faithful temperament. Four subjects — mindfulness of death, the recollection of peace, the defining of the four elements, and the perception of the repulsiveness in nutriment — are especially effective for those of intelligent temperament. The remaining six kasinas and the immaterial states are suitable for all kinds of temperaments. But the kasinas should be limited in size for one of speculative temperament and large in size for one of deluded temperament.

Immediately after giving this breakdown Buddhaghosa adds a proviso to prevent misunderstanding. He states that this division by way of temperament is made on the basis of direct opposition and complete suitability, but actually there is no wholesome form of meditation that does not suppress the defilements and strengthen the virtuous mental factors. Thus an individual meditator may be advised to meditate on foulness to abandon lust, on loving-kindness to abandon hatred, on breathing to cut off discursive thought, and on impermanence to eliminate the conceit "I am" (A.iv,358).

Source: The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation by Henepola Gunaratana

Anapanasati and 4 Satipatthana are generally safer type of meditations.

  • Hari api ayath vana charithaya hoyaganne kohomada? – Olivia Glad May 12 '17 at 11:38
  • See Puggala-paññatti and also found in Visuddhimagga – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena May 12 '17 at 12:00
  • What you said?You said that anapanasati and 4 satipatthana are safer type of meditation.So it means other kammattana are unsafer. – Olivia Glad May 15 '17 at 14:48
  • Yes. If you do one which is not suitable and without a Kammatanachariya. Anapana and 4 Satipatthana is suitable for a wider audience. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena May 15 '17 at 15:53
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Based on AN4.94 Tatiya­samā­dhi­sutta

“Monks, these four types of individuals are to be found existing in the world. Which four?

“There is the case of the individual who has attained internal tranquillity of awareness, but not insight into phenomena through heightened discernment. Then there is the case of the individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, but not internal tranquillity of awareness. Then there is the case of the individual who has attained neither internal tranquillity of awareness nor insight into phenomena through heightened discernment. And then there is the case of the individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.

The individual who has attained internal tranquillity of awareness, but not insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, should approach an individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment and ask him: ‘How should fabrications be regarded? How should they be investigated? How should they be seen with insight?’ The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced: ‘Fabrications should be regarded in this way. Fabrications should be investigated in this way. Fabrications should be seen in this way with insight.’ Then eventually he [the first] will become one who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.

“As for the individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, but not internal tranquillity of awareness, he should approach an individual who has attained internal tranquillity of awareness… and ask him, ‘How should the mind be steadied? How should it be made to settle down? How should it be unified? How should it be concentrated?’ The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced: ‘The mind should be steadied in this way. The mind should be made to settle down in this way. The mind should be unified in this way. The mind should be concentrated in this way.’ Then eventually he [the first] will become one who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.

“As for the individual who has attained neither internal tranquillity of awareness nor insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, he should approach an individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment… and ask him, ‘How should the mind be steadied? How should it be made to settle down? How should it be unified? How should it be concentrated? How should fabrications be regarded? How should they be investigated? How should they be seen with insight?’ The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced: ‘The mind should be steadied in this way. The mind should be made to settle down in this way. The mind should be unified in this way. The mind should be concentrated in this way. Fabrications should be regarded in this way. Fabrications should be investigated in this way. Fabrications should be seen in this way with insight.’ Then eventually he [the first] will become one who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.

“As for the individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, his duty is to make an effort in establishing (’tuning’) those very same skillful qualities to a higher degree for the ending of the (mental) fermentations.

“These are four types of individuals to be found existing in the world.”

"A Teacher is needed to find out which one is suitable for you."

The "Feeling" Type of meditation Object such as Brahmavihara is the most suitable for Female. I've met a lot of Extraordinary Female Yogis using "Feeling" type as their object of meditation.

  • Sadhu! That also fits well to the list of formost disciples (see their tendency in regard of lay/monastic and gender. But there is one error, Brahmaviharas are not about feelings/emotions, but way of thinking. And Atma is not sure, if the Buddha even gave another kammathana aside of Brahmaviharas, Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, Sila, Caga, Deavanusati to lay people having undertaken the Uposatha already. But maybe worthy making a list of Suttas to each kammathana. – Samana Johann May 19 '17 at 5:37
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    14. Etadaggavaggo – Samana Johann May 19 '17 at 5:47
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Kammattana means recitations. Benefits of listening to such recitations as recorded chanting of sutta will increase if one understood the content. Pali words tend to condense a lot of meaning. Also Pali words have more than one meaning. One meaning would be of a mundane level, while another would be at a deeper level.

The Buddha said “bhavanaya bahuleekathaya…..”. Bhavana (or meditation) if used frequently, thinking about it and examine it in many different situations as much as possible, then the true meaning starts to “sink in”. Formal recitations are part of this process.

Right now I am not in a position to tell you as to which Kammattana is the best one for you, but by end of July this year I will be able to give you an answer. It is because I will go for a continuous 14 day meditation retreat where the focus is Nibbhana. We will do Anapanasati of a different kind, and it is not about concentrating on the breath. By taking the breath as a ‘nimitta’ a Yogi can attain Jhana states, but it will not be of the type that will further you in the Noble Eightfold Path.

But for now you can work on “Making the conditions right”. Associating with good friends and listening/reading Dhamma is the way to go. Practice Buddhist recitations, and in the middle of recitations contemplate about relevant Dhamma concepts or your own daily experiences. By this you will be doing insight meditation in the middle of the recitation itself.

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Only Budhdha who could realize your hurdles in attaining Nibbana could give you the precise Kamatthana at once. The next best option is to meet a Bhikku who is skilled in helping you realize the best Kammatthana for you. This is a trial and error process and you are known to the Bhikku (also known as Kammatthanachari - teacher of Kammatthana), (knows your way of thinking, values, and personal traits, character) it would definitely be helpful in narrowing down the best Kammatthana. The process usually involves:

  1. Request for a Kammatthana
  2. Kammatthanachari Bhikku studies your traits and makes a guess of a suitable Kammatthana for you.
  3. you practice the Kammatthana for a while and reports back to your Kammatthanaachaari Bhikku on your progress/difficulties.
  4. Alteration of the Kammatthana if required.
  5. Repeat steps 3 to 5 until you have found the Kammatthana which is best for you.

There are skilled Kammatthanaachaari Bhikkus who can help you reduce the the repetition cycles, provided you are being honest in providing the initial information about you and your progress.

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