Institute of Buddhist Studies is happy to announce the return of its
annual graduate symposium in the fall of 2017.
Mass Meditation: Practices and Discourses in
Contemporary Global Buddhisms
October 6th, 2017—Institute of Buddhist Studies,
This conference will focus on the phenomenon of mass
meditation (e.g., lay meditation practices, mindfulness,
secularization) in contemporary global Buddhism. Of particular focus
will be the means by which Buddhist meditation is understood and
promoted in various contexts. We welcome submissions that consider how
meditation has gained an ambivalent relationship to Buddhism—sometimes
being promoted as a “spiritual technology” not connected to any
particular tradition, sometimes as the condition sine qua non for
Buddhist identity and the only practice recommended by the Buddha.
Through the presentations given, we hope to reflect not only on the
ways that meditation has been constructed through the Buddhist
encounter with modernity, but how it has altered modernity and modern
peoples through its global impact.
Topics include but are not limited to: the origins
and popularization of lay meditation practices in Burma, Thailand and
Sri Lanka; the Vipassanā (Insight) and Mindfulness movements in
North America, Europe, and Asia; meditation practice and the
construction of Buddhist identity or subjectivity; the “mystification”
of meditation in promotional literature; the use of scientific language
to justify and promote meditation both within and beyond Buddhist
Dr. Erik Braun, Associate Professor of
Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and author of The Birth
of Insight (winner of the 2014 Toshihide Numata Book Award in Buddhism),
will serve as the symposium’s keynote speaker.
Graduate students at any stage of their program are
encouraged to submit paper proposals. Please send abstracts of no more
than 500 words to Thomas Calobrisi (firstname.lastname@example.org). The
deadline for submission is July 15, 2017. Applicants will be notified
about their submission by August 15, 2017.
Limited travel funds may be available; low-cost housing is available on
site at the Jodo Shinshu Center.