Knowing Body, Moving Mind

Ritualizing and Learning at Two Buddhist Centers

Author : Campbell, Patricia Q

Knowing Body, Moving Mind

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Synopsis

This ethnographic study investigates ritual and learning in meditation classes at two Buddhist centres in Toronto, Canada. The Dharma centres, Friends of the Heart and Chandrakirti, are led and attended by Western (sometimes called "convert") Buddhists: that is, people from non-Buddhist familial and cultural backgrounds. Inspired by theories that suggest that rituals impart new knowledge or understanding, the author examines how introductory meditation students learn through formal Buddhist practice. Along the way, she also explores practitioners' reasons for enrolling in meditation classes, their interests in Buddhism, and their responses to formal Buddhist practices and to ritual in general.