In Buddhism, kammatthana is a Pali word (Sanskrit: karmasthana) which literally means the place of work, figuratively it means the place within the mind where one goes in order to work on spiritual development. More concretely, it refers to the forty canonical objects of meditation (samatha kammatthana), listed in the third chapter of the Visuddhimagga.
The kammatthana collectively are not suitable for all persons at all times. Each kammatthana can be prescribed, especially by a teacher, to a given person at a given time, depending on the person’s temperament and state of mind.
The first ten kammatthana are wholes: kasina, things which one can behold directly.
- (1) earth, (2) water, (3) fire, (4) air, wind, (5) blue, green, (6) yellow, (7) red, (8) white, (9) enclosed space, (10) bright light.
The next ten are objects of repulsion: asuba.
- (1) swollen corpse, (2) discolored, blueish, corpse, (3) festering corpse, (4) fissured corpse, (5) gnawed corpse, (6,7) dismembered, or hacked and scattered, corpse, (8) bleeding corpse, (9) worm-eaten corpse, (10) skeleton.
Ten are recollections: anussati.
- First three recollections are of the virtues of the Three Jewels: (1) Buddha, (2) Dhamma, (3) Sangha.
- Next three are recollections of the virtues of: (4) morality (sīla), (5) liberality, (6) the Devas.
- Recollections of: (7) the body (kāya), (8) death, (9) the breath (prāna) or breathing (ānāpāna), (10) peace.
Four are stations of Brahma (Brahma-vihara):
- (1) friendliness (mettā), (2) compassion (karuna), (3) sympathetic joy over another’s success (mudita), (4) evenmindedness, equanimity (upekkha).
Four are formless states.
- I.e. the four arūpajhānas: (1) infinite space, (2) infinite consciousness, (3) infinite nothingness, (4) neither perception nor non-perception.
One is of perception of disgust of food (aharepatikulasanna).
The last is analysis of the four elements (catudhatuvavatthana): earth (pathavi), water (apo), fire (tejo), air (vayo).