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Insikt och närvaro: Akademiska kontemplationer kring buddhism, meditation och mindfulness i Sverige
Lunds universitet, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4004-3438
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Under 1900-talet har stora förändringar skett i synen på buddhistisk meditation. Från att ha varit en övning som bara ägt rum på kloster och bland ett fåtal munkar, har både ordinerade lärare och lekmannalärare börjat lära ut meditation till lekfolk. Meditation har kommit att framställas som själva hjärtat i buddhistiska traditioner, och som det element som kan isoleras och tas ur sitt religiösa sammanhang för att sedan läras ut i en sekulär inramning. Därigenom har meditation kommit att bli det enskilt viktigaste bidraget från buddhistiska traditioner till de nya former av andlighet och religiositet som den svenska majoritetsbefolkningen kommer i kontakt med. Praktiken återfinns även i de terapiformer som numera erbjuds inom svensk sjukvård, där mindfulness-baserade terapier snabbt har ökat i popularitet de senaste åren. Syftet med avhandlingen Insikt och närvaro är att undersöka på vilket sätt en religiös tradition förändras när den överförs till en ny kontext; hur den emottas och införlivas i sin nya kontext samt hur enskilda individer i Sverige uppfattar och använder sig av denna tradition. Det görs genom att belysa utvecklingen av insiktsmeditation, vipassana, som också är känt som satipatthana. I fokus står det meditativa arvet från den burmesiske lekmannaläraren U Ba Khin, en meditationsmetod som har blivit globaliserad framför allt genom hans indiske elev S. N. Goenka. Denna specifika burmesiska meditationsmetod kan även spåras i flera av de sekulära mindfulnessbaserade terapier som används i terapeutiska och medicinska sammanhang. Förutom att bidra till förståelsen av och för nya buddhistiska rörelseer, buddhistisk meditation och religionsbyten i det nutida svenska samhället, vill studien medverka till en fördjupad kritisk diskussion kring mindfulness. Som sådan kan den även tjäna som reflektionsunderlag för psykologer och andra som är verksamma inom den medicinska sektorn där mindfulness börjat introducerats inom svensk sjukvård.

Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to investigate how a religious tradition changes when transposed to a new context: how it is received and incorporated in its new context and how individuals in Sweden perceive and make use of this tradition. This is done by highlighting the development of insight meditation, Vipassana, and more specifically, the Burmese practice lineage originating from the Burmese lay meditation teacher U Ba Khin and his student S N Goenka. The study gives a broad and rich depiction of contemporary Buddhist insight meditation (Vipassana), its historical conditions as well as the reception of meditation in religious and secular contexts in Sweden. The study aims to contribute to the understanding of new religious movements, Buddhist meditation and religious change in contemporary Swedish society. It wishes also to participate in an in-depth critical discussion of the growing use of mindfulness as a therapeutic treatment. By using a variety of approaches and methods, such as field work, interviews and conversations, survey and text analysis, as well as by applying theoretical pluralism, the study displays the complex web of contemporary interpretations of which meditation is a part. By means of participation observation, the field work includes a total of more than six months meditative experience at intense meditation retreats. In Sweden several groups teach meditation with a more or less Buddhist foundation, where the meditation practice can be said to be either “embedded in”, or “disembedded of” Buddhist tradition. Among the approximately 40 Buddhist groups in the country (comprising around 30,000 Buddhists of mainly Asian origin), Buddhist mindfulness (sati) in the form of Vipassana meditation is taught in Asian temples by monks and by convert groups. The majority of users seem to relate in a liberal way in their interpretations and usages of meditation and their religious inclinations show both modern and postmodern features. Mindfulness, as an East-West hybrid, has become very popular and can be found among many New Age groups as well as other groups in the alternative health sector, where religiosity is expressed in terms of health and whose purpose is expressed in finding one’s own inner potential. Hybrid mindfulness can also be found in more pronounced secular environments, for example, in the Swedish health care sector, where it is applied in a clinical perspective designed to treat specific symptoms. Here, mindfulness is taught - and even sold expensively - in a ritual context that emphasizes the individual and the self, emphasizes health benefits and is closely linked to powerful economic forces. Mindfulness in this respect tends to imply creating a state of sensuality and wellbeing. Practice mimics to some extent Buddhist meditation, but there are also significant differences, particularly in the setting of the ritual context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Makadam Förlag, 2011. , 324 p.
Series
, Lund studies in African and Asian religions, ISSN 0284-8651 ; 18
Keyword [en]
tradition, Burmese Buddhism, DBT, Sweden, mindfulness, mindfulness-based treatment approaches, MBSR, MBCT, Western Buddhism, Vipassana meditation, spirituality, contemporary religiosity, modernity, Buddhist modernism, Buddhist modernism, psychology, health care
National Category
History of Religions
Research subject
Religious Studies and Theology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-45685ISBN: 9789170610950OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-45685DiVA: diva2:958189
Available from: 2016-09-06 Created: 2016-09-02 Last updated: 2016-09-06Bibliographically approved

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Plank, Katarina
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