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“Defining and Measuring Meditation-Related Adverse Effects in Mindfulness-Based Programs”, Britton et al 2021

2021-britton.pdf: “Defining and Measuring Meditation-Related Adverse Effects in Mindfulness-Based Programs”⁠, Willoughby B. Britton, Jared R. Lindahl, David J. Cooper, Nicholas K. Canby, Roman Palitsky (2021-05-18; similar):

Research on the adverse effects of mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) has been sparse and hindered by methodological imprecision. The 44-item Meditation Experiences Interview (MedEx-I) was used by an independent assessor to measure meditation-related side effects (MRSEs) following three variants of an 8-week program of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (n = 96). Each item was queried for occurrence, causal link to mindfulness meditation practice, duration, valence, and impact on functioning. Eighty-three percent of the MBP sample reported at least one MRSE. Meditation-related adverse effects with negative valences or negative impacts on functioning occurred in 58% and 37% of the sample, respectively. Lasting bad effects occurred in 6% to 14% of the sample and were associated with signs of dysregulated arousal (hyperarousal and dissociation). Meditation practice in MBPs is associated with transient distress and negative impacts at similar rates to other psychological treatments.

“The Varieties of Contemplative Experience: A Mixed-methods Study of Meditation-related Challenges in Western Buddhists”, Lindahl et al 2017

“The varieties of contemplative experience: A mixed-methods study of meditation-related challenges in Western Buddhists”⁠, Jared R. Lindahl, Nathan E. Fisher, David J. Cooper, Rochelle K. Rosen, Willoughby B. Britton (2017-04-02; similar):

Buddhist-derived meditation practices are currently being employed as a popular form of health promotion. While meditation programs draw inspiration from Buddhist textual sources for the benefits of meditation, these sources also acknowledge a wide range of other effects beyond health-related outcomes. The Varieties of Contemplative Experience study investigates meditation-related experiences that are typically underreported, particularly experiences that are described as challenging, difficult, distressing, functionally impairing, and/​or requiring additional support. A mixed-methods approach featured qualitative interviews with Western Buddhist meditation practitioners and experts in Theravāda, Zen, and Tibetan traditions. Interview questions probed meditation experiences and influencing factors, including interpretations and management strategies. A follow-up survey provided quantitative assessments of causality, impairment and other demographic and practice-related variables. The content-driven thematic analysis of interviews yielded a taxonomy of 59 meditation-related experiences across 7 domains: cognitive, perceptual, affective, somatic, conative, sense of self, and social. Even in cases where the phenomenology was similar across participants, interpretations of and responses to the experiences differed considerably. The associated valence ranged from very positive to very negative, and the associated level of distress and functional impairment ranged from minimal and transient to severe and enduring. In order to determine what factors may influence the valence, impact, and response to any given experience, the study also identified 26 categories of influencing factors across 4 domains: practitioner-level factors, practice-level factors, relationships, and health behaviors. By identifying a broader range of experiences associated with meditation, along with the factors that contribute to the presence and management of experiences reported as challenging, difficult, distressing or functionally impairing, this study aims to increase our understanding of the effects of contemplative practices and to provide resources for mediators, clinicians, meditation researchers, and meditation teachers.

“2013 Lewis Meditation Results”, Branwen 2013

Lewis-meditation: “2013 Lewis meditation results”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2013-07-12; ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Multilevel modeling of effect of small group’s meditation on math errors

A small group of Quantified Selfers tested themselves daily on arithmetic and engaged in a month of meditation. I analyze their scores with a multilevel model with per-subject grouping, and find the expect result: a small decrease in arithmetic errors which is not statistically-significant⁠, with practice & time-of-day effects (but not day-of-week or weekend effects). This suggests a longer experiment by twice as many experimenters in order to detect this effect.

“Meditation and Its Regulatory Role on Sleep”, Nagendra et al 2012

“Meditation and its regulatory role on sleep”⁠, Ravindra P. Nagendra, Nirmala Maruthai, Bindu M. Kutty (2012; backlinks; similar):

Intense meditation practices help to achieve a harmony between body and mind. Meditation practices influence brain functions, induce various intrinsic neural plasticity events, modulate autonomic, metabolic, endocrine, and immune functions and thus mediate global regulatory changes in various behavioral states including sleep. This brief review focuses on the effect of meditation as a self regulatory phenomenon on sleep.

“Personal Best: Top Athletes and Singers Have Coaches. Should You?”, Gawande 2011

“Personal Best: Top athletes and singers have coaches. Should you?”⁠, Atul Gawande (2011-10-26; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

[Meditation by doctor interested in medical improvement/​progress (elsewhere, checklists). In tennis, he had improved his performance enormously after just minutes of coaching from a young man who pointed out his errors. Coaches are used in many areas and often spot problems that highly-competent trained professionals continue to make. A good coach is emotionally supportive, careful, speaks with credibility so they are not reflexively dismissed, brings an independent eye to highlight blind spots, and always finds a way they can push themselves to improve and deliberately practice.

Gawande, having noticed his surgery success rates plateaued, considers a ‘medical coach’. Doctors are intensively taught up until they become full-fledged doctors, at which point they are cut loose to act as little gods in their domains, with no supervision. Yet, they are almost surely not perfect, and their skills may degrade over time. In domains far less important, like entertainment (arts/​athletics), no individual believes they are perfect and they use personal coaches to constantly critique themselves, spot errors that untrained eyes would not, and strive for improvement. Why don’t we do the same thing in important things like surgeries? Why not coaches for doctors? Does the mystique of doctors intimidate themselves (and patients) away from acknowledging error and fallibility and improving?

Gawande talks a former medical professor into coaching him. Gawande, while proud of his surgical technique, is surprised how many flaws his coach notes, and embarrassed; he had become used to working on his own, with no accountability or external critique. Other doctors made fun of the idea of coaching (coaching for thee, not for me). But he worked on his errors, and feels positive about his improvements and the possibility of breaking out of his plateau.]

“Mindfulness Meditation Improves Cognition: Evidence of Brief Mental Training”, Zeidan et al 2010

2010-zeidan.pdf: “Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training”⁠, Fadel Zeidan, Susan K. Johnson, Bruce J. Diamond, Zhanna David, Paula Goolkasian (2010-01-01; ; backlinks)

“Meditation Acutely Improves Psychomotor Vigilance, and May Decrease Sleep Need”, Kaul et al 2010

“Meditation acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep need”⁠, Prashant Kaul, Jason Passafiume, Craig R. Sargent, Bruce F. O’Hara (2010; ; backlinks; similar):

Background: A number of benefits from meditation have been claimed by those who practice various traditions, but few have been well tested in scientifically controlled studies. Among these claims are improved performance and decreased sleep need. Therefore, in these studies we assess whether meditation leads to an immediate performance improvement on a well validated psychomotor vigilance task (PVT), and second, whether longer bouts of meditation may alter sleep need.

Methods: The primary study assessed PVT reaction times before and after 40 minute periods of mediation, nap, or a control activity using a within subject cross-over design. This study utilized novice meditators who were current university students (n = 10). Novice meditators completed 40 minutes of meditation, nap, or control activities on six different days (two separate days for each condition), plus one night of total sleep deprivation on a different night, followed by 40 minutes of meditation.A second study examined sleep times in long term experienced meditators (n = 7) vs. non-meditators (n = 23). Experienced meditators and controls were age and sex matched and living in the Delhi region of India at the time of the study. Both groups continued their normal activities while monitoring their sleep and meditation times.

Results: Novice meditators were tested on the PVT before each activity, 10 minutes after each activity and one hour later. All ten novice meditators improved their PVT reaction times immediately following periods of meditation, and all but one got worse immediately following naps. Sleep deprivation produced a slower baseline reaction time (RT) on the PVT that still improved significantly following a period of meditation. In experiments with long-term experienced meditators, sleep duration was measured using both sleep journals and actigraphy. Sleep duration in these subjects was lower than control non-meditators and general population norms, with no apparent decrements in PVT scores.

Conclusions: These results suggest that meditation provides at least a short-term performance improvement even in novice meditators. In long term meditators, multiple hours spent in meditation are associated with a significant decrease in total sleep time when compared with age and sex matched controls who did not meditate. Whether meditation can actually replace a portion of sleep or pay-off sleep debt is under further investigation.

“Mental Training Affects Distribution of Limited Brain Resources”, Slagter et al 2007

“Mental Training Affects Distribution of Limited Brain Resources”⁠, Heleen A. Slagter, Antoine Lutz, Lawrence L. Greischar, Andrew D. Francis, Sander Nieuwenhuis, James M. Davis et al (2007-03-14; ; backlinks; similar):

The information processing capacity of the human mind is limited, as is evidenced by the so-called “attentional-blink” deficit: When two targets (T1 and T2) embedded in a rapid stream of events are presented in close temporal proximity, the second target is often not seen. This deficit is believed to result from competition between the two targets for limited attentional resources. Here we show, using performance in an attentional-blink task and scalp-recorded brain potentials, that meditation, or mental training, affects the distribution of limited brain resources. Three months of intensive mental training resulted in a smaller attentional blink and reduced brain-resource allocation to the first target, as reflected by a smaller T1-elicited P3b, a brain-potential index of resource allocation. Furthermore, those individuals that showed the largest decrease in brain-resource allocation to T1 generally showed the greatest reduction in attentional-blink size. These observations provide novel support for the view that the ability to accurately identify T2 depends upon the efficient deployment of resources to T1. The results also demonstrate that mental training can result in increased control over the distribution of limited brain resources. Our study supports the idea that plasticity in brain and mental function exists throughout life and illustrates the usefulness of systematic mental training in the study of the human mind.

Author Summary :

Meditation includes the mental training of attention, which involves the selection of goal-relevant information from the array of inputs that bombard our sensory systems. One of the major limitations of the attentional system concerns the ability to process two temporally close, task-relevant stimuli. When the second of two target stimuli is presented within a half second of the first one in a rapid sequence of events, it is often not detected. This so-called “attentional-blink” deficit is thought to result from competition between stimuli for limited attentional resources. We measured the effects of intense meditation on performance and scalp-recorded brain potentials in an attentional-blink task. We found that three months of intensive meditation reduced brain-resource allocation to the first target, enabling practitioners to more often detect the second target with no compromise in their ability to detect the first target. These findings demonstrate that meditative training can improve performance on a novel task that requires the trained attentional abilities.

Intensive training in Vipassana meditation enhances one’s ability to allocate attention efficiently in order to detect visual targets accurately. Behavioral and event-related potential evidence for a causal link between behavioral training and brain plasticity in adults is shown.

“Meditation Practices for Health: State of the Research”, Center 2007

“Meditation Practices for Health: State of the Research”⁠, University of Alberta Evidence-based Practice Center (2007; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Many uncertainties surround the practice of meditation. Scientific research on meditation practices does not appear to have a common theoretical perspective and is characterized by poor methodological quality. Firm conclusions on the effects of meditation practices in healthcare cannot be drawn based on the available evidence. Future research on meditation practices must be more rigorous in the design and execution of studies and in the analysis and reporting of results.

“Behind the Sensationalism: Images of a Decaying Corpse in Japanese Buddhist Art”, Kanda 2005

2005-kanda.pdf: “Behind the Sensationalism: Images of a Decaying Corpse in Japanese Buddhist Art”⁠, Fusae Kanda (2005; ; similar):

The kusözu⁠, “painting of the nine stages of a decaying corpse”, portrays the sequential decay of a female cadaver in graphic detail. The shocking subject, rooted in Buddhist devotional practices, was regularly painted and reinterpreted during half a millennium of Japanese art. The images of a decaying corpse were charged with contextualized functionalities that have gone unrecognized in current scholarship. Through an examination of four major exemplars of the genre, this study shows how new meanings of the image were catalyzed by religious and social transformations.

The kusozu, “painting of the nine stages of a decaying corpse” (hereafter, painting of the nine stages), was executed in Japan from the 13th through the 19th centuries in various formats, including handscrolls, hanging scrolls, and printed books. The subject itself is derived from a traditional Buddhist doctrine that urges contemplation on the nine stages of a decaying corpse (kusokan, hereafter, contemplation on the nine stages). The teaching dates to the early fifth century and promotes a systematic meditation on the impurity of a decaying corpse as an aid to ardent devotees who wish to liberate themselves from sensual desires and affections.

This paper explores unrecognized features of the paintings of the nine stages as they appear through almost half a millennium of Japanese art. We will see that these narrative paintings functioned as distinct visual agents for audiences in different eras. The functionality of the image shifted from a meditative focus for pietistic catharsis, to a didactic incentive for the pursuit of paradise, to an intercessory offering for the dead at merit transferal rites, to a popularized platform for politically manipulated precepts on feminine morality. After giving the textual and theological background for the nine stages of a decaying corpse, I will examine four images of the nine stages from different centuries, which I term the Nakamura, Raigoji, Dainenbutsuji, and Akagi versions. Finally, some remarks are offered on the enduring vitality of this sensational subject.

Buddha's Lists”, Wiki 2022

Buddha's Lists⁠, Dhamma Wiki (; backlinks; similar):

A book by David N. Snyder⁠, Ph.D., published in 2006, which was an Amazon.com bestseller, at the #1 position among Theravada books sold in March–April 2006. The book was in the Top 10 for over 80 weeks from 2006 to 2009. The book includes over 600 of the Buddha’s lists and relies heavily on the Anguttara Nikaya [WP] of the Buddhist scriptures.

  • About the author and Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • Foreword: The Four Evolutionary Stages of Religion by Venerable Madewela Punnaji
  1. Introduction; The Nine Ways not to accept something as true
  2. The Four Noble Truths
  3. The Eightfold Middle Path, The Five Precepts, The Threefold Summaries and The Triple Gem
  4. The 12 parts of Dependent Origination and the Three causes of karma
  5. The 31 Planes of Existence
  6. The 10,000 World Systems; Buddha and Science
  7. The Three Characteristics of Existence and the Five Aggregates
  8. The One Prerequisite to being a Brahmin; The Buddha on Equality
  9. The Eight Points in the Lankavatara Sutra; Buddha on the Human Animal
  10. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness
  11. The 40 Meditation Subjects
  12. The Five Hindrances to Meditation and the Nine Jhanas
  13. The 13 Major Meditation Rx for Total Wellness
  14. The Four Supreme Efforts and the Four Divine Emotions
  15. The 84,000 Dharma Doors; Buddha and Tolerance
  16. The Ten Hindrances to Enlightenment, the Four Stages of Realization, and the Ten Perfections
  17. Completing the Eightfold Wheel of Dhamma
  18. The Seven Directions of Loving-Kindness and other reference prayers and meditations
  19. The Seven Enlightenment Factors and a Step-by-Step Guide to Awakening
  20. Other Lists of The Buddha: Over 600 Lists
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography

“Book Review: Mastering The Core Teachings Of The Buddha”

https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/09/18/book-review-mastering-the-core-teachings-of-the-buddha/: “Book Review: Mastering The Core Teachings Of The Buddha” (backlinks)

Miscellaneous