• Lars Valdemar Schermer Didriksen
4. semester, Psykologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This master thesis suggest using their term contemplative science when doing research on different meditation practices. In recent year several papers have been published on mindfulness, that share many factor with the Zen meditation. However when mindfulness is measured it is often done on other contemplative practitioners such as Zen practitioners or Tibetan monks the results reveal a possible gap in how mindfulness is understood.
The thesis starts with a literature review regarding the theoretical background on Zen and Psychology. Zen practice shows positive results, on brain morphology but measurements done with scales intended for mindfulness reveals that there are cultural factors that need to be accounted for when doing research on contemplative practices.
The thesis uses interpretative phenomenological analysis to conduct an empirical study of the experience of five Zen Buddhist practitioners varying in age, gender, years of practice and Zen tradition.
The results are five themes. Duality, Conceptualization and Self were regarded quite differently in the context of Zen practice. Leading to the conclusion that the cultural context of the practice needs to be accounted for when creating tools such as questionnaires in order to measure contemplative practices like mindfulness self report questioners.
The experience of awakening is explained in detail by several of the participants leading to a better understanding of the concept. The concept of awakening is accompanied by a change of perspective that is applicable in therapies. How zen practitioners experience frustration due to their training is also a recurring theme that is explained as serving a purpose.
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