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11-05-2020 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 9/2020 Open Access

Mindfulness 9/2020

Meditation Maps, Attainment Claims, and the Adversities of Mindfulness

Mindfulness > Uitgave 9/2020
Bhikkhu Anālayo
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The original online version of this article was revised due to a retrospective Open Access order.

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A case study of the descriptions of the progress of Buddhist insight meditation provided by Daniel Ingram shows how a forceful form of mindfulness combined with high-speed mental noting can result in the construction of meditative experiences to accord with expectations created by maps of the progress of insight, culminating in claims to having reached levels of awakening. The potential impact of personal bias evident in this way reveals challenges faced by those researching meditative practices and cautions against overvaluing subjective reports by yogis. In particular, potentially adverse effects of mindfulness practices in the health care setting need to be placed into proper perspective, as the contention that even those who do not engage in deep and intensive insight meditation can suffer from repercussions potentially resulting from undergoing the insight knowledges is not accurate. Progress in research on mindfulness requires the sobriety of evaluating meditative experiences within their context, be it psychological, doctrinal, cultural, or social, in order to arrive at balanced assessments that avoid the two extremes of uncritical enthusiasm and exaggerated apprehensions.

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