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there are different translations for this: "establish mindfulness in front". How does this compare to "setting mindfulness to the fore" in this article? Some teachers expect the student to focus on the breath in the face (front) under the nose. I assume the meaning is more like letting the mindfulness arise, sharpen or activate it, than to bring it to the front side of the body? --126.96.36.199 (talk) 23:02, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
Truth is, no one knows for sure what parimukham meant back when this sutta was originally recorded. Today several different interpretations exist, as indicated by the third bullet in this article's "Interpretations" section (Anapanasati_Sutta#Interpretations). The Visuddhimagga itself (as can be found on ATI here ) offers two different ways of interpreting it (Nanamoli's trans., p. 263). Another relatively recent, seemingly unbiased source for information on this is in Richard Shankman's book "Samadhi"; my recollection is that, after reviewing the possible interpretations, Shankman doesn't come to a definitive conclusion either.
Personally, given the present-day uncertainty about this Pali word's meaning, my two cents (feel free to ignore, of course) is to recommend that you interpret it in a way that is most beneficial to your own practice (without obviously distorting the actual text's words) while allowing for the possibility that you (and others and myself) are completely wrong and that, regardless, at different times for different people, alternate interpretations might be more valuable. :-/ -- Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 20:09, 14 July 2012 (UTC)