Hi, I'm new here and joined to ask one specific question, though I intend to be around for a long while if you'll have me
My question concerns visualization in Buddhism. I have been a Buddhist for just a couple of years and practice alone due to both my geographical location and a physical disability which makes public sitting a non-starter. I practice mindfulness meditation, but I have always had a vivid imagination and I have 'accidentally' constructed a mental Buddhist temple that I go to when I sit. I use a visualized Buddha statue as a focal point to begin with, then proceed with straightforward mindfulness meditation.
Now, is my use of visualization here unskilful? My 'inner temple' is quite a bit nicer than my real surroundings, but it isn't real, so it could be viewed as an escapist fantasy. Should I stop using it or is the positive gain I get from it okay? Since 'I' am also just an imaginary construct, does that mean all such constructs are to be eradicated, or simply recognized as having no basis in reality?
I know that other schools of Buddhism use visualization, and that the whole 'Second Life Buddhism' approach could be viewed as something similar, but I'd appreciate comments from the sangha - which would be you guys and gals