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Conceptual Proliferation

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In Buddhism, Conceptual Proliferation or Self-Reflexive Thinking (Pali: papañca, Sanskrit prapañca) refers to the deluded conceptualization of the world through the use of ever-expanding language and concepts, all rooted in the delusion of self; it is intended to elucidate reality although it has the unexpected result of distorting it and\or creating a false perceptual reality.

The term is mentioned in a variety of suttas in the Pali canon, such as the Madhupindika Sutta (MN 18) and is mentioned in Mahayana Buddhism as well. When referencing the concepts derived from this dubious process, such concepts are referred to in Pali as "Papañca-sañña-sankha".


Aprapañca is the diametrical opposition of prapañca.

Further reading

Nananda, Bhikkhu (1976). Concept And Reality In Early Buddhist Thought. Buddhist Publication Society. ISBN 9552401364. 

See also

Monkey mind

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