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Exploring the structure of appearance:

intentionality, attention and the multi-layered nature of experience through Anapanasati practice

Workshop organized by Andrea Sangiacomo (Department of the History of Philosophy)


The Anapanasati-sutta (MN 118) is a discourse preserved in the Pali canon of the Theravada Buddhist tradition, mostly known for its instructions about how to cultivate ‘recollectedness’ (Pali: sati, more commonly translated as ‘mindfulness’) of ‘in- and out-breathing’ (anapana).

The purpose of this workshop is to use anapanasati practice to investigate some fundamental features of what might be called ‘the structure of appearance’, which underpins any phenomenological experience. In particular, we’ll explore (1) the role of attention in the arising and ceasing of phenomena; (2) the multi-layered nature of the contents of appearance.

Anapanasati practice offers a guided progression that takes one’s own experience of an ordinary phenomenon (the breath) as the focal point to cultivate direct acquaintance with the structure of appearance.

This approach aims at experimenting with a form of ‘meditative philosophy’ that has been more current in past times (even in the West, e. g. Augustine, Anselm, Descartes), and can contribute to support diversity within today’s philosophical practices.

Meetings will introduce basic information and reflections on the Anapanasati-sutta, they will include some time devoted to group practice, and will leave ample time for sharing the participants’ own reflections and contributions. Attending the workshop does not presuppose any previous experience or familiarity with anapanasati practice. However, it is expected some commitment to engage with this practice during the period in which the workshop will take place.


Time and location: all meetings take place from 4pm to 7pm at the Faculty of Philosophy, room Alpha

  1. Friday, January 24, 2020: Introduction: appearance and experience
  2. Friday, February 7, 2020: First tetrade: recollectedness of the body
  3. Friday, February 21, 2020: Second tetrade: recollectedness of feeling tones
  4. Friday, March 6, 2020: Third tetrade: recollectedness of mind
  5. Friday, March 20, 2020: Fourth tetrade: recollectedness of phenomena
  6. Friday, April 3, 2020: The structure of appearance, general conclusions

Registration and information

For registration please use this link:

For information: Send an email to Andrea Sangiacomo

Last modified:19 December 2019 12.14 p.m.