Should one visualize while scanning different parts of the body? If not, should one try to suppress it? When I do body scanning practice, automatically an image of the corresponding body part arises in my mind. In fact, every single time when I am changing attention from a part to another it is the mental image of that part that arises first and sensations after that (if any). I have a hunch that this is not the right practice. I tried to "stop" it, but I could not...and hence the question.

Can you give your insight on this? Also please share a method to avoid visualizing automatically (if that is indeed correct).

2 Answers 2


In fact, You have great opportunity to understand NamaRupa.

The image that you get is Nama and due to that your body follows it, in filtering all body sensation and giving you related body sensation(Rupa).

different people , differently do that. but the common is to create a mental image, which then accepted by your body as command. Some people imagin the letters of that body parts. some people, subtle move their eyes.

Some people(like me and may others), actually just moves location pointer, which then followed by body. Even this is Image/Nama.

Even when you move your hand there is a subtle command to do so. In your mind a rough path of hand movement is drawn first. which is followed by body.

Walking and other routine movement are different case, You just intent to walk. but your body already knows walking. So you dont draw every steps of walking. Think about first time you learned cycling, and how you are cycling now.

You need not to avoid this visualization if it not too much. What you can do is, try other methods which are natural. E. G. Brig your palm together and feel sensation.so this time it was without imagination. Right? Observe it.

Just dont scan body. Just sit idle and let your attention move naturally. Initially it will flow towards gross sensations like itch, pain. Just observe that.

  • Thanks, this is exactly what i wanted to understand. Jan 21 at 0:50
  • in my case the image is quite strong, possibly because I have been trained that way during my scientific career in which I had to routinely use a lot of imagination. From what I understand, imagining the body part and then selectively filtering the corresponding sensation (or even creating the sensation?) Is not the correct technique. I would like to refine that. Is there a way I can avoid falling into this wrong way of practicing? As I mentioned it happens automatically, not something I do consciously. Jan 21 at 0:54
  • Practice ia to observe. Witness. Not to create. Not to like and not to dislile. But problem is wherever your focus goes the tendency to create, lilke, dislike will follow there. You cant tldo much. Jist accept it.
    – enRaiser
    Jan 21 at 12:59
  • Thats why. To bigin with stay at one place. And watch sensation related to breath. And stsy with it. Amd train yourself not to sleep, not to distract not to create, just obsrve. Buold capacity to observe single type of sensation for long time. Like breath.
    – enRaiser
    Jan 21 at 13:04
  • DSSL- distinct awareness of subtlest breath at smallest area. Once you master this. Body scan will be more natural
    – enRaiser
    Jan 21 at 13:05

The suttas contain the practice of contemplating the parts of the body:

And further, monks, a monk reflects on this very body enveloped by the skin and full of manifold impurity, from the soles up, and from the top of the head-hairs down, thinking thus: "There are in this body hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, midriff, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, saliva, nasal mucus, synovial fluid, urine."

And further, monks, a monk reflects on this very body, however it be placed or disposed, by way of the material elements: "There are in this body the element of earth, the element of water, the element of fire, the element of wind."

MN 10

  • This relates to maintaining understanding (if I understand correctly) while contemplating of different parts of the body. Also, was this said in the context of getting free from sexuality and attraction to body? Jan 11 at 3:42
  • What I was asking is something different... Jan 11 at 3:43

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