Magical wonders are all around us. How many types of magical powers are recorded in the Buddhist scriptures? According to the most common classification, there are six main categories. These are celestial vision, celestial hearing, the power of knowing others’ minds, the power of performing miracles, the power of knowing past lives, and the power of eradicating all defilement.  The Buddhist Perspective on Magic and the Supernatural

The “Magical Thinking” subscale of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire consists of these questions:

1.    Have you had experiences with the supernatural?

2.    Do you believe in telepathy (mind-reading)?

3.    Are you sometimes sure that other people can tell what you’re thinking?

4.    Do you believe in clairvoyance (psychic forces, fortune telling)?

5.    Can other people feel your feelings when they’re not there?

6.    Have you had experiences with astrology, seeing the future, UFOs, ESP, or a sixth sense?

7.    Have you ever felt that you are communicating with another person telepathically (by mind-reading)?

Two recent studies compared magical thinking in mindfulness meditators and non-meditators. Meditators scored significantly higher in magical thinking than non-meditators. The study authors suggested two possible reasons for this difference between groups: the mindfulness meditators came from a Buddhist tradition that incorporated magical ideas; and/or mindfulness is associated with greater open-mindedness.

However, the SPQ’s magical thinking questions don’t ask if you’re open to the possibility of telepathy, ESP, astrology, etc. rather, they ask questions about belief and experience. To be open is to consider. To believe or to interpret an experience in a particular way is to commit.

My take: mindfulness and magical thinking are in a committed relationship. Magical thinking – the fallacious attribution of causal relationships - is how humans think without the discipline of the critical mind. Mindfulness practice not only discourages critical thought processes but includes other threads of belief that increase magical thinking.

How so? See next post. 


Antonova et al: Schizotypy and mindfulness: magical thinking without suspiciousness characterizes mindfulness meditators. Schizophrenia Research: Cognition 2016; 5, pp. 1-6. ISSN 2215-0013

Raine A: The SPQ: a scale for the assessment of schizotypal personality based on DSM-III-R criteria. Schizophrenia Bulletin 1991; 17:555–564