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Mindful China: Embracing Early Meditation and Vipassanā Practices in Search for Awakening, and Secular Well-being

March 28 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


There has been a surge of interest in earlier meditation techniques as well as in Theravāda meditation, particularly vipassanā, throughout the Sinitic world over the past few decades. These Theravāda-inspired meditation techniques, whether rediscovered in canonical scriptures or newly introduced from South-East Asia, retain the allure of being early Buddhist practices and are welcomed as such by their Chinese followers. Many Buddhists adopt them as part of their practices in search of alternative techniques than those traditionally available within Chinese Buddhism. The venues for these practices include mainstream Chinese monasteries, a few Theravāda monasteries, and a large number of secular meditation centers. Practitioners joining meditation retreats range from committed Buddhists to practitioners interested in the positive effects on mental and physical well-being.

The presentation will introduce the popularity of earlier meditation practices such as breath mindfulness and other forms of satipaṭṭhāna, and of forms of modern vipassana. It will examine the practitioners’ motivations, while also addressing the implications of this phenomenon for social well-being.