Buddhist Visual Worlds II: Practices of Visualization and Vision


Correspodence address: Chris Hatchell, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Coe College, 1220 First Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402, USA. E-mail: chatchell@coe.edu


This article discusses Buddhist meditative practices that make use of visual worlds. First among these are practices of “visualization,” which involve visual scenes created in the mind's eye. Buddhist traditions contain a variety of these techniques, and use them for a diverse set of purposes: devotion, cultivating mental focus, generating mindsets and motivations, and transforming personal identity. Though less common, Buddhists also have traditions that involve practices of “vision,” where meditators seek spontaneous experiences of luminosity that are seen with the eyes rather than simply created in imagination. The article examines several of these visionary practices, with particular emphasis on meditative techniques found in the Kālacakra and Great Perfection traditions.