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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the multiple roles that meditation plays in the lives of contemporary Buddhist monastics. Specifically, and drawing on rich ethnographic data, it focuses on the experiences of women who have taken Buddhist ordination within six different Buddhist groups and lineages in the British Isles. This chapter provides a brief history of the lived experience of meditation among emerging and established Buddhist monastic groups in Britain and an analysis of the role, function, and value of meditation practices, particularly among women. It makes comparisons between women of different Buddhist traditions in their approach to meditation and considers the implications of this for understanding the function of meditation in the Buddhist monastic tradition. Underpinning this approach is a challenge to assumptions about the individualistic nature of meditation in the contemporary West, emphasizing its communal role among monastic women in Britain.

Keywords: meditation, monasticism, gender, Buddhism, Great Britain

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