The present study recruited 12 advanced Buddhist meditators and compared their meditation-induced near-death experiences (MI-NDEs) against two other meditation practices in the same participant group. Changes in the content and profundity of the MI-NDE were assessed longitudinally over a 3-year period. Findings demonstrated that compared to the control conditions, the MI-NDE prompted significantly greater increases in profundity, mysticism and non-attachment. Furthermore, participants demonstrated significant increases in NDE profundity across the 3-year study period.
Findings from an embedded qualitative analysis demonstrated that participants (i) were consciously aware of experiencing near-death experiences (NDEs), (ii) retained volitional control over the content and duration of NDEs and (iii) elicited a rich array of non-worldly encounters and spiritual experiences. In addition to providing corroborating evidence in terms of the content of a “regular” (i.e. non-meditation-induced) NDE, novel NDE features identified in the present study indicate that there exist unexplored and/or poorly understood dimensions to NDEs.