Imaginal Practices in Dialogue:

Tibetan Self-Generation and Active Imagination


  • Charles J. Morris



image, imagination, imaginal realm, East-West, Buddhism, Tantra, Corbin, self-generation, non-duality


Jungian psychology considers image to be the basis of psyche, and its principal technique is active imagination. While the importance of image is appreciated in Jungian circles, it is not shared outside the field, where the imagination is generally seen as “not real.” The unreality of the imagination contradicts the assertion of French philosopher Corbin who insisted that the imaginal realm is not only real but also a crucial bridge between the spirit and material realms, whose split has been diagnosed as the root cause of many modern problems. The reality of the imaginal provides the ontological foundation to place Jung’s active imagination in dialogue with the imaginal practice of self-generation from the Tibetan school of Tantric Buddhism, highlighting key tensions between the approaches. By applying the principle of Jung’s transcendent function, it seeks a third path from that tension, providing modern psychological and spiritual adepts with insight to cultivate the power of the imaginal realm in their own lives.