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Phenomenology and Contemplative Universals: The Meditative Experience of Dhyana, Coalescence, or Access Concentration

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Are there universal structures or stages of experience, socalled contemplative landmarks, that unfold during meditative practice? As commonly described in contemplative manuals or handbooks, there is a transition from a form of meditation where the subject must exert continual effort in order for consciousness to remain focused. As Kenneth Rose has recently shown, these manuals, stemming from the Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian traditions, agree that a transition will take place from effortful meditation into a state where attention is fixed or locked in on the meditation object. This article describes the micro-phenomenology of this phenomenon, sometimes called dhyana or access concentration, from the first-person perspective. This study both confirms and refines the traditional account, engaging with certain difficulties involved in establishing a correspondence between traditional, clear-cut, and sometimes contradictory concepts and actual experiences, which can be hard to conceptualize precisely
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Keywords: dhyana; effortlessness; first-person perspective; meditation; micro-phenomenology;

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Witten/Herdecke, Witten, Germany., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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