Meditation and mindful presence: A comparative study of consciousness-based practices in Asia and France

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.


  • meditation
  • attentive presence
  • consciousness-based practices and techniques
  • inner actions
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