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I have read some of the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh about mindfullness and anchoring oneself in the present by focussing on in-breath and out-breath.

I am curious what teaching there may be about imagination, because imagination seems to take oneself away from the "here and now".

How can mindfullness and imagination be reconciled? Is there any place for imagination? Thanks

  • Imagination (paññatti) is object of ānāpānassati-jhāna (mindfulness in breath). The excepted imaginations are just imaginations that are objects of unwholesome-consciousnesses, and imaginations that not relate with practitioner's current meditation (although it is an object of wholesome-consciousness). – Bonn Sep 16 '17 at 2:56
  • I answered about "here and now" in thai, [here][1]. I have not enough time to rewrite this title in english, because it is very hard, and my english is very terrible, and many sources of this title are pure pāli. Maybe someone can translate read my thai version, or understand my thai version then rewrite it in his own, before I can write this title in thai by myself. [1]: dhammacomment.blogspot.com/search/label/… – Bonn Sep 16 '17 at 2:57
  • a friend's father used to day-dream while he was driving and almost had car accidents. It seems it is important to be in a "safe place", e.g. meditating, if one is to use the imagination and not be "here and now" focussed – PaulG Sep 20 '17 at 18:25
  • Your topic asking about ānāpānassati, not driving, you loose your own question. Here and now of driver is driving situation, but here and now of ānāpānassati-practictioner is breath imagination. Breath is not the noble truth in tipitaka, so the practictioner has to analysis breath again while meditating insight meditation to see suffering noble truth of breath-imagination, pathavī tejo and vāyo. – Bonn Sep 21 '17 at 0:20
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To progress along the path, to realise what the Buddha did, we need a vehicle. If the vehicle uses imagination as a method, then imagination becomes the path. Imagination is not mindfulness, but is used to train mindfulness.

  • (I am told to not say "thanks", well that's not how I roll. so...) Thanks. I have read a bit about Vipasanna and Samatha, but still wonder how imagination can be used to "train" mindfulness. I recall Thich Nhat Hanh telling a story about a dream he head (a type of imagination), in which he realized that he could perform in a music class with the bell he carried with him in his pocket, even though he was not in his own self-image, a "musician". That was an inspiration (comment cut short) – PaulG Sep 17 '17 at 21:51
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Imagination is a form of fabrication (verbal fabrications). One objective of the practice is to reduce it. [Samma Ditthi Sutta] So by using imagination you are introducing a barrier to Vipassana or Insight.

In case of Samatha practice the focus of attention is a mind made object but the objective of this is different from mindfulness meditation. Samatha can be used as stepping stone to Vipassana.

  • By practicing Vipassana, is one able to find solutions to problems, e.g. do problems then solve themselves, or solutions present themselves as a result of Vipassana meditation, I wonder. – PaulG Sep 20 '17 at 18:27

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