By Albin Hamard, Marceau Chenault, Laurel McEwen
This article compares diverse meditative and consciousness-based practices from Asia and France in order to characterize their common denominators and variations. The authors draw from a multi-sited ethnography including: monasteries in the Buddhist Himalayas; an institute of traditional medicine in China; hermitages and Tibetan meditation centers in France; and immersion experiences in French Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Qigong classes. Our observations of meditation in such diverse contexts allow us to make distinctions based on the specificity of their sites, their practices, their techniques, and their inner actions. Additionally, our analysis allows us to identify four types of meditative practices: concentrative, open, introspective, and non-oriented. The results of this research offer an interesting reflection on the transformation of meditative practices within European educational and health contexts and contribute to the creation of new conceptual approaches for the study of consciousness-based techniques and practices.