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Buddhist Antecedents to the Body Scan Meditation

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Abstract

This article explores the historical background to the body scan practiced in MBSR by tracing it back via vipassanā meditation taught in Myanmar to a particular interpretation of the third step in the canonical instructions on mindfulness of breathing. Although the body scan as such would presumably have been unknown in early Buddhism, its practice does appear to have developed from an aspect of perhaps the most popular meditation practice in ancient and modern Buddhist traditions: mindfulness of breathing.

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Abbreviations

MĀ:

Madhyama-āgama

MN:

Majjhima-nikāya

SĀ:

Saṃyukta-āgama

SN:

Saṃyutta-nikāya

T:

Taishō edition

Vism:

Visuddhimagga

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Correspondence to Bhikkhu Anālayo.

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Anālayo, B. Buddhist Antecedents to the Body Scan Meditation. Mindfulness 11, 194–202 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01259-8

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Keywords

  • Body scan
  • S. N. Goenka
  • Ledi Sayādaw
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction
  • Mindfulness of breathing
  • Proprioception
  • U Ba Khin
  • Vipassanā