Meditation-Induced Changes in Perception: An Interview Study with Expert Meditators (Sotapannas) in Burma

By: Gisela E. Full, Harald Walach, Mathis Trautwein
Publication Name: Mindfulness
Year: 2013


Effects and implications of meditation, especially mindfulness-based practices, have become a focus of research in clinical and nonclinical studies over the past two decades. This qualitative study aimed at analyzing alterations in perception through tranquility and insight meditation. Semi-structured interviews were held with expert meditators (Sotapannas) in Burma. Four categories of alterations in perception could be identified: increase in the quality of perception, comprehension of interdependences in perception processing, cessation of subject/object-based perception, and nonconceptual perception. The findings suggest significant alterations in perception induced by mindfulness practices of tranquility and insight meditation. So far, however, it cannot be concluded whether these alterations are genuine experiences and to what extent they are culturally determined.

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