Awareness Versus Un-Clinging : Which Matters in Mindfulness?

Siu-man NG, King Wo CHOW*, Hi Po LAU, Qi WANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Awareness and un-clinging have been emphasised in Buddhist discourse as important facets of mindfulness practice for over 2500 years. However, there is a lack of rigorous research examining the relationship between these two elements and their importance to well-being. To evaluate these abstract constructs, the current study adopted multiple assessment modalities; namely, a self-report scale, experience sampling (assessing ‘momentary mindfulness’), and semi-structured interviews (assessing ‘rater-rated mindfulness’). A total of 415 participants completed the questionnaire survey. Among them, 71 participants further took part in the experience sampling procedure and semi-structured interviews. The findings reveal that self-reported awareness was mildly correlated with momentary mindfulness (r =.35) but was not significantly correlated with rater-rated mindfulness. Self-reported un-clinging was moderately correlated with rater-rated mindfulness (r =.53) but was not significantly correlated with momentary mindfulness. Un-clinging, but not awareness, can distinguish meditators from non-meditators. Lastly, based on the Buddha’s mindfulness discourse, a path analysis model illustrates that the effects of un-clinging and awareness on stress reduction are mediated by emotional intelligence and non-attachment. Practical implications and future research designs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-291
Number of pages15
JournalContemporary Buddhism
Issue number2
Early online date3 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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